Monday, 7 May 2012

Rain, rain, rain.

Today, Thursday, we might leave our 48 hr mooring, having over-stayed our allotted time. We thought we would pootle down to Littleport or little village of Prickwillow on the River Lark but when I looked outside at 6.00am I saw drizzle, and the local radio DJ was speaking of more rain, on and off, all day. But let’s look on the positive side, at least the pollen count will be low. So, our plans went onto hold until the weather picture became clearer. I would like to be in Ely on Saturday to attend the annual Eel Festival but we will see. By 09.10am, we slipped our mooring at Riverside, and cruised down to Littleport passing the junction with the River Lark – there’s only so many things you can do on a wet Thursday. The journey of about 5 miles took us about 1hr10m. The speed limit on this stretch is 7mph but obviously, with passing moored craft, etc. our average speed was lower. A single Heron, loads of Great Crested Grebes and the brief flash of a Kingfisher. We moored at Sandhills Bridge next to the Black Horse pub. Opposite, we saw nb Midday, another Mick creation. The guide book describes Littleport as ‘an enigma’. Well, that’s one name for it. It has a few old buildings like the church and there are one or two coaching yards but that’s about it. The rest of the place is made up houses of mixed age and design, a few convenience shops, a pub or two and the Littleport Boat Haven. It has a mainline railway station but I’m not sure how many trains actually stop. Littleport is an ordinary down-to earth sort of place and doesn’t appear to hold many attractions for the visitor – not even a Sue Ryder Charity shop. I will tick it off my ‘places to visit’ list and just leave it there. Bt the way, I learnt that a certain Mr Harley was born and lived in Littleport for a while before trundling off to America to design and build motorbikes.  We returned to Skylark with the intention of staying there the night but decided to move back to Ely when we found the water pump had sprung another leak from the repaired joint – obviously a problem with the pump, not Mick’s fitting of it. I rang Mick and Gena and advised them that this needed further work and we would be at Ely for the pre-arranged visit by Mick on Friday. The return journey was uneventful. We even missed the squally showers that had marred the rest of the day. This stretch of the river is used by Kings School in Ely and Cambridge University for rowing practice. I guess this is because its close to their schools and the river has some fairly long, straight bits. In fact they have a couple of boat sheds opposite Ely Riverside where we have been mooring. It’s quite interesting seeing them prepare for their training. Anyway, on our return leg to Ely, I met a couple of men's ‘Fours’ going in the opposite direction – a lot of sweat and heavy breathing as they went past - and that was only Kay! As we chugged slowly into Ely (what a fantastic view of the Cathedral from this direction), we were overtaken by one of the crews. It’s a little odd to be overtaken by a rowing boat but then, having owned an old Land Rover for many years, I am used to being overtaken. Coming into Ely we found a very nice spot at the town end of Riverside, near the Babylon Art Gallery, which will be a plumb position not only for Mick to get to with his tool box under his arm but also for the Eel Festival on Saturday – unless we get a tap on the roof by a nice man from the East Cambs District Council. While we’ve been here for 4 nights so far, which is a little more than the 48 hrs allowed, our continuing mechanical problems is a perfectly good reason to dwell – just look at the local Byelaws. So, we will not be surprised if we are asking us to move on but I’m sure I will be able to explain our position.

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