Saturday, December 29, 2007

That's enough wind now, thank you

Well here we are back at the George, at Ramsey Forty Foot. Couldn’t post last night as we were in the absolute middle of nowhere with but the feeblest signal.

Yesterday morning saw us initiated into the mysteries of the Bill Fen pumpout, which is pretty much like a normal pumpout, once you’ve started the petrol engine that drives the pump. You can then watch it labouring away. It was lucky that we did come back into the marina on Thursday night as this procedure was not a moment too soon. Whilst making a cup of tea for the man who showed us how the pumpout worked, the gas ran out, so that was handy too. And we bought some more coal too before we set off again.

We headed for March next, which has resumed its previous depressing aspect (or that might just have been due to getting a paper and finding out about Benazir Bhutto about twenty four hours later than the rest of the world). Anyway, not wishing to stay there we pressed on into the dusk and finally tied up at the junction of the Nene Old Course and Popham’s Eau. It was, and is, still very windy. I don’t mind the wind provided it’s not blowing us off course; in fact I like feeling warm and cosy inside while it buffets the boat, but this has been so relentless as to be quite oppressive, particularly last night. It also makes the water slap and splosh against the sides of the boat when we’re in bed, which I like but which annoys Jim no end. We really notice this, sleeping under the tug deck, as we’re actually below the waterline. I love thinking of that while I’m lying there. What I also like is lying under the enormously heavy duvet (this is the only time of year one can fully appreciate it; it’s a pain the rest of the time) all snug with the foredeck hatch propped slightly open and a cool breeze playing across my face. I even quite like a light spray of rain when it blows in; sadly last night it rained so much and the wind blew it so horizontal that we had to shut the hatch.

This morning dawned much brighter, although windier than ever as we set off down Popham’s Eau and onto the Sixteen Foot (remembering to remove everything from the roof this time). The wind was whipping up some lovely waves and we were steering straight into it. I stood at the front behind the closed hatches watching the spray fly over the foredeck, occasionally applying copious quantities of Norwegian trawlermen’s handcream to my face. All it needed was a few bars of Khatachurian and the scene would have been complete.

We got to the hamlet of Stonea at midday, where John had recommended the Golden Lion. Having achieved great feats of tying up (there is nothing here to tie up to, and the banks are very steep. And at this time of year, muddy) we made our way over to discover that the Golden Lion doesn’t open Saturday lunchtimes. So we had our lunch and were on our ay again. At one point we had a fantastic vanguard of seventeen swans, and when they all started taking off at once into the low afternoon sun it looked amazing. That was when I found I’d finished the film in my camera trying to capture the spray.

So here we are at the George. It’s not a pub I like very much and the food wasn’t great before, I seem to recall, but we didn’t feel much like pressing on the further half hour or so back to the marina again, so we’re tied to the same old tree back where we were at our journey’s end last August.

Maybe, just maybe, the wind has started to drop.

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