It’s Never Just A Dull Grey Day. 31st May

New Fen GOBA Mooring to Ten Mile Bank EA Mooring

Today was going to be a very dull grey day. Boats started moving off first thing, the cruiser and narrowboat ahead of us headed towards Brandon, I suspect they’d both make it over the sandbank and fully into the lock. As the cruiser went past he said to get the binoculars out and have a look for the two Common Cranes in the next field. We did as told but the cranes didn’t show themselves on the bank.

Sanding down

We’d prepared for rain so that is what we got, proper rain too! This of course put paid to my idea that I would do some sanding on my project whilst we cruised. I got a bit done, but it was soon stashed away on the Nicholsons shelf to stay dry.

Black clouds

The odd patch of blue sky was soon followed by black and more rain!

Such a sad looking building

We passed the old pub again. I’d so like a closer look, the structure of it’s first floor very visible.

As we cruise I tend to collect things that I think I’ll write about in the blog. Today the list wasn’t going to be long, a short post for a grey day. Maybe the tree about to be felled would take the lead, but the last cut was still a way off! Or maybe the boat all ready for the jubilee, the Queen hiding away inside the cabin, her standard flying in the breeze.

Looking back to the junction

Back past Little Ouse Moorings, we may pop back to top up on diesel in a few weeks time before we leave the area. Then a right turn back out onto the River Great Ouse, heading down stream towards Denver.

Where to moor though? The GOBA mooring was empty, the wind turbine across the way with blades that had been missing a few days ago was now turning. As it wasn’t raining at that moment we decided to chance it and head another twenty minutes on and see if there was space at the EA moorings where we’d stopped for water. If we could get on the very end, furthest away from the road here would be a good place for Tilly.

Up ahead we could see a narrowboat on the moorings and then a gap just where we wanted to be, brilliant! I bobbed to the bow to get ready to moor up. Now what was that on the mooring? Had some selfish boater left some unwanted item on the moorings? A mattress perhaps? A duvet? Part of a sofa with the rest lurking in the depths?

As we got closer I was still puzzled as to what it was, until it moved!

A grey seal

A seal!

Leave room for the seal

People have been telling us to keep an eye out for seals, but we’d been thinking that was more likely to be nearer to Denver, and more likely to be on the tidal stretch, not here! We pulled in slowly, would there be enough space beyond the seal to moor without disturbing it? It didn’t seem too phased by us pulling in close. A keen eye was kept on us, but there was no urgency to dive in and swim away. We would fit, nose to nose to the narrowboat in front, leaving the seal plenty of room to carry on basking in the now appearing sunshine.

Tilly was kept in, we decided supervised shore leave was in order today, not knowing what she’d make of the seal and what it would make of her. I took a chair out to do more sanding, the dust better in the open air than inside. I had a long chat with the lady from NB Tunnels End. When they’d arrived the seal was attempting to get out of the water, several attempts were made until it was successful.

Just look at the length of those claws!

Once the lady had gone with her dog Tilly was allowed out of the bow door. The usual looking around, a sniff or two along the mooring, it must have smelt of woofer and needed accessing. She walked along the gunnel and then a smell hit the air. She stopped in her tracks, nose held high, what the…..

Leave it alone Tilly!

I’d never smelt anything like it, a touch of Whiskas white fish mixed with yellow biscuits. Then I spotted this big thing. It needed caution, I put on my slowest and lowest of walks possible, my bell none existent. She gave my location away and these two eyes opened up. She told me to look at it’s claws each one the size of one of my arms! I managed to move even slower still. But in the end She interjected, saying that the seal had been here before me and demanded respect. Okay, off into the friendly cover it was.


During the afternoon the heavens opened up a few more times, we did washing and stayed in doors to get on with my project, the paints even came out. Still the seal basked in the sunshine and rain, it didn’t really matter which.

Still there

A rather nice Wide Beam pulled up called Karma, Mick got chatting to John and Lana whilst keeping an eye on Tilly, she was far more interested in the trees on the other side of the bank. On board Karma there are two other crew mates, Klaud and Kato (hope I’ve got their names correct) two very handsome black cats, who watched Tilly from their wheelhouse. Because there was an audience, when it was cat curfew she immediately sprang out of the friendly cover to show how good she was. But then trotted off shouting something about needing the loo and she’d rather do it outside! So in full view of Klaud she proceeded to strop off to find a suitable spot. She then played at being in control until a rugby tackle did the trick. I could see her almost waving at Klaud as she was carried back inside!

Early evening we heard a splosh by the hatch. Too big for a fish. Was it the seal? It sure was. Neil the seal (named by the locals) is a celebrity round here. There used to be two of them that frequented the moorings but he now seems to come on his own although this late in the year he is rarely seen.

Drying off after a dip

He swam round, diving and reappearing what felt like miles away. Another dive to pop up by the mooring, several attempts were made until he had enough momentum to pop up onto the bank. What a privilege it is to witness such creatures. We were memorised. Good job Mick gave lighting the stove a good blast to get it going, we managed to cook our jacket potatoes and cook a pie all whilst being entertained by Neil.

It’s never just a dull grey day on a boat.

0 locks, 10.87 miles, 1 right, 1 grey wet day, 1 almost feld tree, 2 hours sanding, 1st coats, 1 layer of detail, 1 lump to avoid, 1 Neil the seal, 1 American, 1 stove lit late, 3 jacket potatoes and pie by 8:30, 1 lap to show off.

3 thoughts on “It’s Never Just A Dull Grey Day. 31st May

  1. jennie230

    Wow, Pip, what a privilege to share your mooring with such a majestic creature. Jennie x

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