Don’t Get Caught On The….. Oh! 21st August

Peterborough Embankment to Ferry Meadows

Weedy wet step

Last night the bottom step along the moorings had just about become dry, this morning it was back under water. The boat behind us pushed off doing his best not to get wet feet or leave them behind as he stepped onto his boat, quite a gap to keep your feet dry.

Zigzagging around the rowers

As we pootled up to the water point another boat was heading down stream, NB Still-Waters. They had been heading up stream and got quite a distance when the news broke that Irthlingborough Lock was out of action, so with not many shops up stream they decided to head back to Peterborough whilst the lock is mended. We’re hoping to have enough supplies on board to just gradually make our way upstream and not have to hang around for too long anywhere. NB Cleddau are also awaiting the lock to open.

Pat or is it Pam (?) kindly helped with ropes at the water point as she’d managed to dig her wellies out, mine are somewhere deep in a stern locker. Tanks emptied and filled, rubbish disposed of and we were on our way. Our paths are likely to cross again in the next week or so as we both head up stream back to C&RT waters.

We pootled our way along in the sunshine, past boats we had met so many weeks ago, past the towpath that is hanging on for dear life before it falls into the river. We passed the entrance to the mooring where Tilly couldn’t get back to the boat one weekend due to so many people wanting to be by the water. I wonder how busy it go there during the really hot weather!

As we approached Orton Lock we could see that there was a cruiser in the lock ready to come down. In the shadows we could also see a narrowboat, but what was the chap doing right on the bow? Mick dropped me off and I walked up ready to work the lock.

What’s going on here?

Was there some sort of problem? A chap was walking over to the far side with a windlass in hand. Had the vee gates not closed properly? Were the sluices/slackers/paddles down properly? I asked the lady by the control panel, she pointed to the bow of the narrowboat, their bow hooked over the top of the guillotine gate. The chap who had been sat there was doing his best to push the boat backwards, but 15 tonnes or so of narrowboat can be stubborn to move!

The paddle on the far side was lifted until the narrowboat floated off the gate again. Then there seemed to be a lot of ropes used to help keep the boat away from the gate. Someone had obviously taken their eye off the ball and let the boat drift over the top of the gate, but thankfully it had been spotted quickly enough to rectify the situation.

They all headed out of the lock and sped off hoping to find space at The Boathouse. Mick brought Oleanna into the lock. I made sure she was well clear before closing the guillotine behind.

Starting to head up the Nene

Our first uphill lock on the River Nene. I lifted the near side paddle, but it didn’t seem to be doing anything, later inspection revealed there was nothing attached to it! The off side paddle was raised and Oleanna rose up. Normally on leaving a River Nene lock you should lift the bottom guillotine gate, emptying the lock. But recently due to the low water levels you are required to leave the bottom gate closed. I really hope they don’t rescind the notice until we’re of the Nene as it takes forever to empty an empty lock.

Not quite a mile on we turned left off the main river and headed in to Ferry Meadows where a large lake sits in a popular park. Here there are two pontoons, plenty of space, we joined NB Per Angusta, shortly followed by a cruiser.

A big lake

Normally we are reluctant to let Tilly out on pontoons. Those that sit parallel to the bank with a gap have to possibility of pounce calculations not being correct and Tilly ending up brushing up on her swimming skills, so these are avoided. But here the pontoon was wide, just some duck weed to be wary of.

Very reluctant to explore

Mick got the boat hook out and moved the weed around, ‘See it’s not grass!’. Don’t be daft I know it’s not grass, grass is yellow! I’m more concerned about this holey outside! My paws aren’t big enough!

Eventually Tilly plucked up the courage to try walking across the pontoon. Land her aim, blimey it took forever! Each paw being carefully positioned. If a dog came for her would she be able to run away? We positioned our plank to give her something solid to walk on. However much of the rest of the day she spent snoozing inside her escape pod.

Back to work for me. New sketch drawings for the troublesome scene were drawn up and emailed off for pricing. The scenery still needs some work, but getting a costing is also important. Then I started to work on a cloth. My pencil drawing needed some adjusting and additions, mostly jars of exotic animal poo! A dinosaur skull and a pith helmet. Then it was inked in and the first washes added.

Todays mooring before it got busy

Mick had a walk to look at the trains at the Nene Valley Railway, no steam engine today, too greater risk of fire so a diesel hauled the carriages. The park was very busy, boat trips, plenty of picnics and bbqs. More boats arrived and turned round as there was no space, if they’d delayed their arrival till mid afternoon those who’d come for the day pushed off.

A roast chicken was enjoyed this evening, the remainders will keep us going for quite a few days. Tomorrow we hope to find a much better outside for Tilly.

1 lock, 3.3 miles, 2 winds, 1 full water tank, 1 empty yellow water tank, 1 helping hand, 1 caught bow, 1 space on the outside, 6 hours of shore leave, 1 hour taken, 1 cloth started, 2kg of chicken, 16 roast potatoes.