Cruising Notes

It's been a long time since the last Cruising Notes but that's the way it is. We have had a long winter and I'm not sure it's all over yet. Certainly where we were it was considered the coldest Spring for about 40 years, or as I call it, a double feature winter.

Over the winter there was, as usual, little excitement with the exception of a swan being captured by the RSPCA. It had ingested a fishing hook and could not eat. But, on the other hand did not want to be caught. I did my bit by feeding the other swan and the cygnets while the RSPCA had fun chasing this particular swan in a rubber boat.

This was one very annoyed swan, she wasn't posing for the camera either, there was a lot of hissing going on.

And that was about it for the Winter, well that was worth photographing anyway.

We started cruising mid May and gently crossed from the east to central England, and of course the oddities of boating life started to re-appear. The box on the back of this boat is in fact a dog kennel. One hopes the dog has a keen sense of balance.

Then there is the matter of hay bales. Over the years we have seen many different shapes of hay bales, the newest shape seems to have a few stacking problems

As you can see England is no more a green and pleasant land. More a florescent yellow land as oil seed rape takes over more and more the countryside.

We discovered some super safe moorings at a town called March but their anti vandal system seemed to be a little bit over the top.

Talking of moorings, the Middle Level Commissioners offices (they are the people who are responsible for the waterways in the area) have fantastic moorings. No boats to speak of but great moorings. Shame they won't share. Then again, expecting our lords and masters to share their unused moorings is silly, isn't it John.

This little tern nearly crashed the boat a few times. It followed the boat for about 4 miles fishing. It is almost impossible to keep your eyes on the steering when you know there is a tern fishing behind you,

Then there is the couple who have watched us go by for the last ten years in the quiet of the Middle Levels.

To be honest a lot of the buildings, apart from houses, that we see are rather run down, and many boathouses are falling apart as they are hardly used. They belong to an era of wooden boats and picnics on the lawn. This one was a bit different however, more a BBQ on the boathouse construction.

Mind you, some of the houses in this area show an amazing longevity considering the fact that the fens are an area of shifting soil, mostly downward as bacteria eat away the high humus content. These people obviously planned for it. Note the brickwork bracing the walls and it looks original.

From the quiet still waters of the Middle Levels we then passed into the River Nene. It behaved itself quite well which is more than it's residents did. We went to moor up at a rather pretty mooring beside this old bridge (the traffic light is because there is only one lane). The only sensible way to get there is in reverse, and as soon as I engaged reverse something fouled the prop. It turned out to be some very hard plastic that had presumably been tossed over the bridge.

After about twenty minutes manoeuvring the boat, mostly by hand and a further forty five getting the stuff off the prop, this was the result.

A newly re-sculptured piece of semi rigid plastic.

We were advised to look out for this boat due to it's unusual markings by the crew of a boat we were travelling with.

I just could not work out where you were supposed to stand to shoot the arrows.

We got to Northampton to be met with more unfriendly ordnance, my the waterways seem to be getting a might unfriendly these days.

This bit of the trip was in the Ohh Ahh season so here are some of the pics.

A mother swan showing her brood the latest fast food restaurant to open up in the area.

Just another 365miles 213 locks and 11 tunnels to go.

Have fun!