Yesterday we embarked on the first part of moving home, by taking a load of kit to Engine Arm to drop it off at the boat; two large rucksacks and a holdall worth of winter clothes, crockery, and assorted bits and pieces.
The day was long and stressful, because we started off in Cambridge. Friday was the last night of the bumps, my crew getting a technical rowover along with most of the top mens' boats after an accident ejected a cox into the water, resulting in the division being stopped for safety reasons. Frustrating, but the only decision the marshals and umpires could take. Although disappointing this did nothing to dampen the spirits of the assembled rowers of Cambridge, who took to various boathouses for late-night partying- Amy and I included, along with Emma and James as they report here. We left after the boat burning, but before the naked rowing...
Saturday morning therefore found us in Cambridge. We were awake at 9:30 and headed, along with (big) James and Emma, to Tishka's, a local cafe, for breakfast and much-needed mugs of tea, before heading into town. James and Emma gave us a wonderful boatwarming present- a bath mat in the shape of a bright yellow duck! Fantastic; pictures to follow soon... it's the third duck we've received so far, and doubtlessly there will be many to follow.
I went to NatWest to do battle with them over a replacement card- they were meant to send it to Cambridge, but it's possibly in Bracknell; rather annoying. We headed onto the first of several trains for the day, travelling to King's Cross, then the underground to Finsbury Park, and a bus to Harringay to pick up the (pre-packed) bags, before heading to Manor House tube station on another bus, then the tube. We went to Regent's Park to meet some friends and after the briefest of hellos had to head off to Marylebone. We made our train with a minute to spare and headed towards Birmingham Moor Street.
This station is utterly fantastic- a sympathetically restored GWR station, winner of several awards.
Amy was also (justifiably) intrigued by Alsop's Selfridges building, seen in the background above- a collection of metal disks on a glass-fibre structure. Either way, it looks like something out of "Doctor Who".
(Amy took this particular arty photo...)
We headed towards the fantastically named Smethwick Rolfe Street station on another train from New Street, having walked a short distance through a shopping centre with all our luggage; we got a number of looks from passers-by, I'm convinced it must have been in admiration at our carrying so much luggage and not mirth as Amy caustically suggested. Oh well.
We arrived at Smethwick and had a brief trip back to Engine Arm with John, and dropped our luggage off. He's moving off over the next week onto his new boat in a staggered process. We had another look around the boat and an informed chat about electrical systems, spares for cruising, tools and many other useful things. The boat looked fantastic, basking in the evening sunlight.
Our fourth duck is the largest yet- a statuette and a custom-painted plinth in the form of the end of a redundant lock balance beam! This lot comes with the boat, and is to mark our mooring.
He generously cooked dinner before running us, now luggage-less, back to the station for our train home.
We finally arrived back in Harringay at half-past midnight- an extraordinarily long day, with the majority of it spent on public transport- extremely hot and muggy, fantastic. Still, it was a LOT cheaper than hiring a van! I'm sure most other "normal" people would just pay a removals firm or hire a car to move things in one go, but we're improvising and moving house by public transport. Part II of the saga will follow on Friday when we move another load of stuff onto the boat. I really can't wait!
Boat unloading on the Manchester Ship Canal
5 hours ago