Monday, 14 August 2017

The Bird You Cannot Mention and the Feather Duster

Out on the Trent - catching the tide to Cromwell
Hello. As I write this I am enjoying a bag of Tavener's American Hard Gums. I do like these sweets, although they are not as hard as they used to be.

P.S. I nearly forgot, here are the jottings.

This week we have enjoyed a continuation of showers (occasional, some heavy and persistent), wind (constant, always a bloody nuisance) and enticing sunshine (pleasant in a coat-removing sort of way).Tuesday was different though. We woke early to the sound of hammering on our cabin roof. Eventually I conceded that this wasn't part of a dream. Removing a porthole cover, I peered, bleary-eyed, at a chilly, grey world and at the rain lashing down. Then I got up and made Linda and me a cup of coffee, the first of many that day!

At around 11.00 a huge work-boat with a crane on it chugged passed us. We saw nothing else moving for the rest of the day. I half expected to see the Ark, but it didn't show.

The next day was drier and the forecast for Thursday was good, so we decided to move up through Lincoln to Torksey. Just after we had left Lincoln I noticed a little cruiser following us, which rapidly got closer. After a while I slowed down and waved for it to pass. Five minutes or so later I looked back, wondering why it hadn't gone by. Oddly, it seemed to be doing a boat version of "aimlessly milling about"; still following us at a short distance, but wandering from side to side. It was as if they had dropped something and were trying to find it again. Every now and again there would be a burst of speed, then they'd drop back again. Eventually they pulled into the side, got out and did a kind of a war-dance. Very strange. We just shrugged and left them to it.

I wasn't looking forward to the trip back to Cromwell as it would be a long day. The incoming tide would assist us some of the way, but there would still be a good distance to cover against the current when the tide turned. The lock-keeper advised us to leave Torksey between 09.45 and 11.45 on Thursday, so we dutifully chugged down to the lock at 09.30, and entered the lock shortly after. I asked the lock-keeper what the levels were like on the Trent. "Oh, there's about 6 foot of fresh", he shouted back. Then gates began to open. "6 foot of fresh", I was thinking. "It's a bloody good job we've got a good engine".

As we left the lock I noticed a stretch of weed, logs and other rubbish across the cut ahead of us. I put the engine in neutral and drifted through this barrier, as I didn't want any rubbish round the prop, especially when travelling up the tidal Trent with 6 foot of fresh on it.

All was fine for the first couple of hours. The tide carried us and we were travelling at a good rate of knots. Eventually the tidal flow slowed, stopped and then began to ebb. Consequently our progress slowed. I increased the engine revs and we picked up speed again, but gradually we were making less and less progress. The water being thrust out from the prop looked normal, there didn't seem to be any problem there, but something wasn't right.

Eventually we made it to Cromwell lock, but it had taken us well over four hours. We moored on the lock landing, waiting for the green light, and I wandered to the bows. And there I saw the reason we'd had such a battle. There was a sort of D.I.Y. garden centre caught around the bows. Amongst the acres of vegetation were various tree branches, rushes, water lilies, blanket weed, assorted river weed and a Walkers cheese and onion flavour crisp packet. We must have picked this lot up when we left Torksey and pushed it all the way here. The effect it had was the same as driving a car with the handbrake on.

It gave me great pleasure to attack this abomination with the boat hook. The only thing I was unable to retrieve was the crisp packet, though I removed a snickers bar wrapper that suddenly popped up out of nowhere.

Friday came, as it does, and we left mid-morning and made our way to Newark, where we moored in King's Marina. Compared to the day before our journey was good; we shot through the water like a speeding harpoon (please forgive a bit of poetic license). There was plenty to see on the way. The usual cormorants, ducks, swans and even one of those birds the name of which we are no longer permitted to speak of. You know the bird I mean.

Claire, Jason and Lyndsey visited us while we were in Kings Marina – we enjoyed having a hook-up for a couple of days but Tricky wasn't impressed – it was a long walk to find the grass. The weather was unseasonably pleasant – what a surprise! We left on Sunday for Farndon, hoping to moor on the pontoon there, but it was not to be. Some rotter had beaten us to it, so we turned the boat (always a kind of a wing and a prayer thing) with the intention of heading back to Newark. After turning, we spied a space on the private mooring outside the very posh Farndon Marina. After some remarkable manoeuvring (no one shouted at us) and having a bit of a chat with someone in the Marina office, which included handing over a small fee, we were granted permission to stay there. By 19.00 hours all the other boats on this pontoon had left and I was keen to turn our boat again, ready for the following day. There was plenty of room to manoeuvre and a fair current on the river, so I merely lengthened the bow line, released the stern line and pushed the stern out. The current took over and swung the boat round through 180 degrees, allowing me to tie the stern and shorten the bow line again. Text book stuff. And yea, I can now sit on the mountain of smug!

We are now moored at Stoke Bardolph, just a few short miles from Nottingham. And there you have it.

As you will probably have gathered, this weeks epistle is written by Carl – Linda will be back next week I expect.

Love from
The Floating Chandlers

P.S. The above is the P.S.
P.P.S. Our feather duster got blown into the river on the way here today. It could worry people as it looks like a drowned parrot.
Sunset over the Power Station at Torksey

Cosy Boat

Torksey Mooring

Time for walkies!

Lincoln City Centre

The Glory Hole Lincoln