Jesus Lock - Waterbeach
6 miles, 1 lock, 6 stiles, 4 macaroons, 2 muddy pairs of trousers
In which the Ducks both go for a paddle, enlist the help of a fellow boatie in order to collect various fuels and aquire a superfluity of bread, before moving the Duck up to Waterbeach (avoiding a rowing race) and cycle the 16 miles to Upware and back in order to check their mail.
What a day! It began early, with both James and going for our respective rowing outings. James had a half hour earlier start than me (at 7:30 am) with City boat club's first women's boat. Our boats passed briefly on the water, and we met up again afterwards. James had by this point enlisted the help of Kate, one of his rowers, who has a car and had offered to help us pick up petrol, diesel, and coal. We had planned to fetch them using a couple of trollies, so the help was greatly appreciated!
After dropping our purchases off at the Duck, we regrouped with Kate, and other rowers at our usual haunt, Tishka's cafe. We enjoyed cups of tea and toast, but just as we were leaving the cafe its owner came up and pressed six loaves of bread on us. He said they had too much and so would we please take some? Who were we to refuse? So we have four loaves of Hovis Best of Both! I'm sure we'll not be able to eat ourselves before they go off, so any Cambridge people are welcome to a loaf! If not, we'll feed the ducks...
The next plan for the day was to move the Duck up to the visitor moorings at Waterbeach. However, there was a rowing race on the Cam, and so we obediently waited with the other crews until a gap between the divisions, travelling up the same stretch of water we'd rowed up and down earlier. After racing a few eights along the river, and setting probably one of the slowest times for the course (I'd be very worried for any rowers who went slower, and might suggest that they take up, say, tiddlywinks instead!) we maneuvered through the turning and moving eights at the start line of the race and moved through Baits Bite lock, which was as slow as ever.
Enjoying the sunshine and the fast flow below the lock, and dodging a few first eights who had decided to avoid the race and portage round the lock, we finally made Clayhithe/Waterbeach at 3pm. After a quick cup of tea it was time to get the bikes off the roof, fit panniers, check torches (the ride home would be dark) and then leave to Upware. We had decided to cycle because it was a nice day, and because of work and commitments tomorrow will have to have the boat at Clayhithe. We finally arrived in Upware, having braved very strong winds and LOTS of mud, checked the post (mostly bank statements) and then after some very welcome macaroons in true Famous Five style (minus the smugglers, ginger beer, gypsies and sexism) started to make the long trek back to the boat. The sun was going down and the winds, out in the exposed fens, started to bite; but after a long cycle ride, three stiles and ankle deep mud for half a mile, we arrived home and soon had the fire going.
Settling in again, what could we do with all the bread but make bacon sandwiches? They look about ready- like with most of James' cooking, the smoke alarm's just gone off!
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