Monday, 22 March 2010

The Return of the Duck

Has Spring finally arrived? After the longest, coldest winter I can remember, it seems that the days are lengthening, the spring flowers are blooming and the weather is warming up. We made the most of the glorious weather this weekend with a trip out to tie up a few loose ends at our old mooring.

Saturday, as always, began with rowing, and then the new owner of the wind turbine came over to pick it up. At 1:30, we were joined by a couple of friends who wanted to hitch a lift out of town in comfort and style on the Duck. As one of them was unwell, and the other feels the cold quite badly, we all stayed inside while James gallantly chauffered us downriver. After dropping off our friends we headed over to our old mooring, and arrived with a hoot of the klaxon in our old spot for the last time. We were greeted by John and Jackie who were cleaning out their badly limescaled toilet (oh, the glamour of boating!) on the grass. After a quick chat, an trip to Emmaus was suggested by John, to return a box which we had planned as a shelter for Lyra but is obsolete now we are in Cambridge.

When we arrived, the first thing that caught my eye was a PortaPotti 45, which was in fantatstic condition. It is always useful to have a backup loo, so I enquired about the price. £5! For that price I couldn't resist! I also rather liked the curvy style and wonder how old it is. This is in fact our 4th loo acquistion since we moved afloat. One brown and beige Porta Potti one came with the boat, and is still working but looks a bit nasty, one shiny white Porta Potti (with a smaller casette) came from my dad which we transported across the country on the train, and hoped would fit the larger casette of the brown one. Depite being the same brand it didn't fit. The small white casette then broke, leaving us with a useless(but shiny) top half. James' grandparents then gave us their old Thetford maroon one which is what we are still using. We have now got rid of all the non-working parts, but still have a superfluity of loos on board!

It has quite a neat design which is based to two large bottles clamped together.

New loo!

Anyway, enough of loos. After a trip to Tesco for diesel and food, we returned to the mooring, and had fun re-introducing Lyra to her old cat-friends. Despite haveing been away for a month though, she is still Top Cat, and after showing them who was boss with a swift biff on the nose by way of greeting to Tom Kitten, she did dain to join in with their games.

Sadly we werent able to stay out for dinner with the Pippins and Rowanberries, as we had a prior committment in town. We did however, enjoy a lovely meal with some friends we'd not seen for a long time. We enjoyed the peace and quiet overnight, and woke to a beautiful sunny morning. We dissembled our stealth wood pile, gave the pallet to John, and then tried to remove the huge long mooring stake we'd left in the bank. Bashing with a mallet failed to remove it, but an ingenious method involving using a plank to apply the force upwards eventually dislodged it.

And so we left, with a final turn of the klaxon, waving to everyone as we left for the last time as bona fide residents. Our mooring there runs out at the end of March and we have no time to return before then. However, we will be back, as we get more sunny days, to catch up with our friends out there.

On the way home in the sunshine.

As we cruised home, I put some scones in the oven, ready for our visitors who were arriving later. The smell of baking wafter through the boat, and it was warm enough to cruise along in T shirts! It was a very pleasant trip. We were lucky enough to arrive between divisions of a junior sculling race that was happening, and passed lots of kids, some who were more adept than others! (although James only used the klaxon twice, and we didn't cause any of them to fall in!).

I had to be at a work event in the afternoon, and when I returned I found James on a neighbour's boat, having lent her our anglegrinder for sanding her paintwork. Then, our friends came over for afternoon tea, and to eat the scones I made earlier. It was a lovely evening, and with the huge box removed from the well-deck, we had loads of space to all sit and watch the river, and drink tea. We took them for a dusk cruise to the waterpoint and back, before eating dinner and heading over to Kestrel for a game of Settlers. Poor Jess has hurt her paw and has to wear a cone to stop her biting it, poor little dog!

How are you feeling, Jess? Ruff!

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