I decided to take a quick trip into Ely yesterday. Just over an hour from Lazy Otter, and I moored in my favourite spot next to the Maltings. Is that big willow starting to turn a lighter shade of green?
I spent a very leisurely couple of hours looking around the town including a walk around the Cathedral.
I mentioned a few months ago, the 'powers that be' have introduced an entrance fee of £7.50 or thereabouts but on Sunday, it's free. Now I don't blame the Cathedral chappies for trying to earn a bit of cash from the day trippers but I don't see why regular visitors should pay the same. Anyway, I took my opportunity and paid them a free visit, thank you very much. And very nice it was too.
Monday morning was very quiet. I didn't hear any rowers or people going to the station so I wondered if it was a bank holiday or something. Perhaps they were all just being considerate to lazy boaters having a lie in. I got up at 9.00am, made myself an industrial strength coffee and tentatively looked outside. I found the morning was already showing signs of being fab-u-lus. There was no wind to speak of and the sun, yes, the sun, was shining. Being only the 4th of March, I couldn't expect it to be too bright but it was there in a spring-like hazy sort of way.
I aimed to go back today because I'm taking Rose into Cambridge tomorrow to view the Quentin Blake exhibition at the Fitzwilliam, so I took a brisk morning walk up the hill to the Cathedral. As I said, the infernal charges apply on all days except Sunday, so I thought I would test the system. I approached the main entrance in a nonchalant, but inquisitive manner and asked if I could just pop in for a few minutes because there was something I wanted to see that I had missed yesterday but was told clearly that the charges don't allow for that. Undeterred, I left and went around to the side door and tentatively opened the latch. Inside, a lady sat behind a desk and when I asked the same thing, I was told the charges didn't allow that. I left and decided I would try again, another time, but with a different cover story. If that fails, I may have to revert to praying.
I left Ely at mid day. It was looking very attractive in its hazey spring sunshine. And it was so warm, I was able to open the front doors and most of the portholes to give the boat a good airing. Fab-u-lus!
Now the boring bit.
I have a message for the Highways Agency (or would it be Suffolk County Council?): my frequent trips along the A14 would be very much nicer if someone could spend a little time and money getting rid of the roadside litter. On a scale of 1 to 10, it's in the negatives at the moment (and I'm being polite). It really is poor for most of my route and it detracts from our beautiful countryside but the laybys to the east of Newmarket are appalling. I totally blame the mindless, inconsiderate people who drop it but whoever is responsible for the thankless task of litter clearance is either doing something more important somewhere else, has had their budget slashed or just can't be bothered to sort it out. Of course, they could be waiting for the grass to grow to cover it up but, believe me, someone has to get out there and clear it up - it's a bl**dy mess!!
End of rant.