Thursday, 25 February 2010

Not Amused

This new mooring place in entirely not to my satisfaction. Warm-Home-Place-Boat is still the same, but now, if I go outside, hoardes of Noisy-Two-Wheel-Things whizz past, as well as lots of humans who point rudely at me, and far too many Barking-Smelly-Growly-Things (some of these keep their humans on strings. I am thinking of a similar arrangement for my humans, then they might actually feed me more often).

Most of the time I stay inside Warm-Home-Place-Boat, watching all this go past from behind the safety of the window, but when the humans go out, they close the doors and leave me outside, which is most unsatisfactory. There was another place where I could go out of Warm Home Place Boat and chase mice behind a shed, hide under tables, beg food and climb trees, but here there is only lots of noisy things going fast and then grass as far as I can see. So I watch from inside. Unless the humans bring me out. Then I just sit and look grumpy and hope they notice my displeasure!

A few days ago I saw another orange cat who lives on the Small-Purple-Boat next door. At first I thought it was my friend Tom from the Oddly-Wide-Blue-Boat, and I was excited to see him again (I miss him a bit) but no, it was another girl-cat, who was was very shy when I went onto the Small-Purple-Boat. I think I showed her who's Top Cat round here!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

On Curtains (net and otherwise)

Boats, especially ones moored in public places (as ours now is) are subject not only to the idle curiosity that most of us have about our fellow humans but also to the curiosity which land dwellers have for those of us who have chosen to live an alternative lifestyle on a boat. While I would feel embarrassed to dawdle for too long outside the window of a house, I have seen many people openly pointing and discussing the interior of my boat and its contents. "Oh look, they've got a sink and a cooker and everything!". And while I don't mind this now and again (in fact it makes me feel proud that my home is worth commenting on), until now, I've never moored permanently in an area where this could happen all the time.

So, our thoughts have (as I mentioned in a previous post) turned to privacy and therefore the need for some better curtains in our bank-facing windows. With its small portholes and foam stuffers, the bedroom is easily kept private, but the kitchen, bathroom and saloon are very much on display to passers by.

Today, I picked up a large bedspread from a charity shop, which happens to be the same colour and fabric as some of our cushions, so as a temporary measure I will cut that up into some simple drapes to cover the three windows in the living area which are not above the hobs. In the long term I'd like something a bit thicker and fade-resistant, such as velvet, but first I'm going to have to learn to use my sewing machine properly!

I have also been thinking about getting some modern version of net curtains, so that in the summer we can let some light in too. Nothing nasty and floral, or even traditional boat lace, but something plain in cream voile perhaps, with only a subtle pattern if any. But only on the bank-facing side will they stay closed. Part of the reason I love living afloat is being able to watch the swans (and now rowers) passing the windows. I'd like to be able to close all the curtains for warmth at night, but in the day, I want to be able to watch the world go by!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

You Are Here

Last night, we met after work at the waterpoint in the rain, and chugged down the river to find a spot on the Common, stickers carefully (and proudly) affixed to windows.

We chose to moor opposite Trinity Hall Boat Club. We saw a couple of other spots which would be suitable, but this one had the biggest gap. Over the next few weeks we may move about to try different places, but this is where we are now:

And it feels great. James first thought that he'd like to live in a boat on the Cam 4 and a half years ago, when he coxed from Clare Boat Club and saw the narrowboats moored opposite. Now we can see it from our window, he's come full circle. We celebrated with chocolate pancakes, bacon pancakes, and (for me at least) a large gin and tonic!

The Duck complete with flood poles acquired this morning from Logic Scaffolding

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


On Friday, our official letter finally arrived, and there was in fact no stipulation to wait until March, we just needed to get the relevant documents to the City Council, who would give us our mooring licence holder sticker. James and I were away over the weekend enjoying a romantic break on the South Coast (Lyra was staying with friends in Cambridge) so the earliest we could get the documents together was last night. We needed to provide insurance documentation, Boat Safety Certificate and a recent photo.

Since it is half term, James was free to bring the boat into town yesterday, and cruised into the visitor moorings at the Fort St George as dusk fell.

The Duck arrives in town.

Being in town also made picking Lyra up from Histon Road a lot easier, although carrying her in the cat basket for 20 minutes as I walked back to the boat was a struggle! This morning James went to the Council offices and exchanged copies of the documents for a sticker, and permission to moor up on the Common tonight. So after work, I will meet him at the water point, and we will choose a spot on the Common! James has an outing tonight, so we may make celebratory pancakes when he returns.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Moving In, and Moving Out

We have not yet arranged our exact date for moving into Cambridge on a permanent basis. Hopefully it will be the weekend of the 27th Feb, or a few days before. We've still got to make an appointment to sign the documents, and our official letter has not yet arrived (apparently it was posted yesterday, but I imagine it takes a while for post to make its way out of the Council buildings!)

However, there are lots of things to sort out to facilitate our move, and to sort out when we arrive.

  • Collect all our belongings from under our bush the mooring (including my bike, bags of coal, some wood, and a pallet)
  • Say bye to everyone properly (hopefully with a party, although we're very busy in the next two weeks, so our official 'send off' might have to wait a bit.
  • Consider who we could recommend to fill our spot (M may have ideas already but our spot is quite desirable)
  • Acquire some scaffolding poles in case of flooding. Mike on Innocenti recommends Logic Scaffolding, so when we are in permanently we'll give them a call.
  • Make some heavier, nicer curtains. While we were moored outside the Fort during the lock closure, we felt very exposed, and although I like having the option to have lots of light, I'd also like to have some better curtains and keep them closed on the land-ward side at least. They'll also help keep heat in hopefully.
  • Choose where to moor... Hopefully somewhere on Midsummer Common. We have several spaces in mind.
  • Go and introduce ourselves to all our neighbours (especially the ones we've not met yet).
  • Organise a Mooring Warming Party! This is crucial! (We'll probably reserve a bit of the Fort, probably, since we can only have 6 on board comfortably at any one time).

Monday, 8 February 2010

FINALLY- we're in!

As of the beginning of March, Lucky Duck will be officially licenced to moor in Cambridge.

We just found out today from the lady in charge of the waiting list. She had said a few weeks ago that there was a possibility we'd be offered one of the five currently being allocated, if no-one took them up. And that she'd call me today.

By half three I could wait no longer. So I called her and she said yes, we'll get the letter soon, and can come in and sign the agreement after that. So just three weeks more of our current mooring. Which actually makes us really sad. The place and people out there are so lovely and the facilities so convenient, that we will miss them a lot. James said last night, that although we can enjoy all the advantages of the current mooring, we really do miss out through not having a car. But this is what we've wanted for so long that it is quite incredible to find that we will soon be living in Cambridge. There are quite a few thinsg to sort out in the meantime, and we need to decide where to moor (the licence doesn't allocate a space, but gives boaters the freedom to choose anywhere within the designated areas).

At the visitor moorings last year. We'll probably choose a spot somewhere in this picture, if possible.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Catching up

Sorry for the recent dearth of blogs. Its been over a week! What have we been doing, while still in Cambridge? Most exciting is the run up to James and Emma on Kestrel's wedding. On Saturday, I went to Emma's hen do, which was brilliant fun. We went for a lunch and drinks, played games, had dinner and then went clubbing at a local club's gay night. James met up with all the hen do 'widows' for a trip to the pub followed by a curry and then lots of wine aboard the appropriately named Bacchus, and got to bed only marginally before I did! The next morning, the boys were all far worse for wear than we were! They had an outing at 11, and I had one at 3. After my outing, we loaded Dawntreader, the women's VIII, onto a trailer, in preparation for next weekend.

Next Saturday, while James has fun and frolics on (big)James' stag do, I will be racing in the 5km Head of the Nene in Peterborough, on what is possiblly one of the dullest stretches of river, with about one slight corner. Still, its always fun to race off-Cam!

The Nene towards Dog in a Doublet, where we will be racing

This is part of my training for (hopefully) racing in the Womens' Eights Head of the River Race on the Thames in March. I have two or three outings at the weekends, plus circuit training and erg (rowing machine) training twice a week as well! So that's keeping me busy! James will be coxing the Mens' Head of the River Race two weeks later, and so he is training with the mens crew four times a week as well...

In other news, we have recently acquired a 1933 commemorative blade from when our rowing club used to be Pye Rowing Club (Pye was a radio technology company). It is really lovely, and in the absence of having ever won blades ourselves, we are thinking of hanging it in the saloon! Photos will follow when I can get it in some good light.

James also had an interview at Oxford yesterday, to do a PGCE in History there. If he gets it, things will have to change quite dramatically, but we're putting off worrying about what will happen until he hears back.