Friday, 10 April 2009

Plastic Fantastic and the dog-fender

I've spent today industriously cleaning the inside of the boat- apart from one notable incident.

I awoke with Amy at 8am, and she went into work. At 9:30, having lain in bed and watched the reflections of the sunlight off the water dancing on the ceiling, I started the engine and the iPod and headed into Ely from Littleport.

The Queen Adelaide stretch was boring as ever, and Ely was, understandably, busy with boats of all shapes and sizes. I managed to moor directly outside the Cutter Inn on the waterfront, and set to cleaning the boat.

There was a small gap in front, and a visiting cruiser decided to fill it. The husband and wife crew seemed a little out of practice, and so to make things easier I offered to take their bow rope if they threw it to me.

Their little Jack Russell dog was attached with a lead onto their front mooring cleat, and was leaping about and getting in the way. As the cruiser came in towards the bank, the dog made a bid for freedom and leapt off- only to be jerked to a halt in mid-air, and to fall, hanging and scrabbling frantically, under the bows of the boat between it and the bank. The boat was heading in still quite fast, and the dog was going to be crushed! I shouted to the husband to go astern, and shoved the bows away as hard as I could, and pulled the poor dog out of the gap as soon as I could reach down, as the top of the bows were already over the bank. The poor thing was half-choked and terrified, but otherwise unharmed- luckily I'd managed to get him out of the gap before it closed. If that had been a narrowboat, then I wouldn't have been able to push it away so easily, and the dog would probably have been quite badly hurt if not killed.

I ended up mooring their boat, as the couple had taken the dog inside to calm it- and themselves- down, and after a restorative cup of tea, set to cleaning the boat.

I spent a good five hours spring-cleaning, putting some things into storage in the well deck, taking the recycling to the nearby recycling point, and generally enjoying the sunshine. The spiders, having left us alone for the winter, are now starting to make their home in the boat; perhaps I should borrow Jess, who likes eating them!

I also bought an OS map of the St. Ives to St. Neots area, so that we can see the countryside and area surrounding the moorings down the Old West river and the Ouse; the Imray guides, unlike the Nicholsons ones, don't show the surrounding area in anything more than cursory detail. Our plan for the next week, in the absence of the Warriors and Moomins, is to cruise to Bedford, investigating the commuting possibilities from the moorings along the way.

Amy's good friend Lottie visited in the evening, and after a wonderful home-cooked pasanda curry, and Lottie's cakes, we had a nice chat and caught up; her childhood home is next to the River Wissey, which is a navigable tributary of the Great Ouse that has its confluence near Denver Sluice; one day, we'll come visiting by boat. Lottie was amazed at how long it would take us to get there, being used to trains and car travel around the area- "Five hours!? Really?"

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