Sunday, 9 August 2015

An eventful few days!

Having rejoined Tony at Ely, we eagerly awaited the arrival of the Dolan's to celebrate Stan's 3rd birthday on Aylmer.

Tony, Stan, Jasmine & Lily
Birthday spread
Stan's new bike
The Band played Happy Birthday to Stan

Stan has fun in the park
Jasmine learns to ride a two wheeler
Leaving Ely the next day we had a rather splendid view of the Cathedral from the river,  but not much else except a wide expanse of river, high banks and lots of reeds.

Ely Cathedral from the river
We took a short detour up the Little Ouse to a small marina for some fuel, at a bargain price of 75p a litre. This was a much prettier stretch of river with lots of small craft and crystal clear water

Crystal clear water of the Little Ouse

Little Ouse Moorings
 Whilst Tony was refuelling, I wandered around with my camera and managed to get this lovely photo of a blue damselfly.

Blue Damselfly
The end of the journey (for now)

The rest of our journey along the Great Ouse, through the Middle Levels and onto the river Nene was fairly non eventful, until we reached Peterborough on the 17th June.  We were just rafting up against Aria when I received a telephone call to tell me Mum had had a stroke & was in Southend Hospital.  Yes, the very same place I had made a dash back to only one week before to see my brother, who was in a coma following a medical procedure. I needed to return. Quick!  We couldn't leave the boat on Peterborough Riverside as they were having their Riverside Festival that weekend.  Martin, friend on nb. Aria, quickly contacted a local boat club and secured us a temporary mooring, while Tony sorted a hire car to meet us there.  The boat club was a bit up river and we had to go through a lock, which we had negotiated on our outward journey.  

Martin & Karen, once again, came to the rescue and kindly offered to accompany us to the lock to help speed us on our way.  That would have worked had disaster not struck.  On the approach to the lock was a shoal (poorly marked it has to be said)  right in the middle of the river.  Instead of taking the logical route to the lock Tony decided to follow his previous route to the left of the shoal.  Only he miscalculated.  As he was in a hurry he hit the shoal hard and wedged the boat on top of it.  No amount of revving or reversing was going to move it and even the barge pole was having no effect.  We were well & truly stuck!  To make matters worse a large audience was beginning to collect, to watch while we were marooned in the middle of the widest section of the river. As I looked up at the crowd on the bridge I saw someone walking across it with a very long pole held aloft.  It was Martin . Bless him, he waded out to us, water up to his chest, to board Aylmer, and between them, after 45 minutes of being stuck, they managed to free us. So so grateful to Martin who waded through stinging nettles mud & dirty water to help us. Unfortunately I was too much in shock to take any photos, but I think you can imagine my despair.

We eventually made it to the boat club and moored up. They even provided us with electricity and offered we could stay there as long as we needed.  The hire car took such a long time to get to us.  Unbeknown to us the boat club was down a long, private, gated drive with a self operated railway crossing.  The poor driver had had to wait for someone to come along who could unlock the gate and let him through.  Then Tony had to return to the hire office in Peterborough to complete the paperwork before he could return to collect me.  Unfortunately Mum passed away before we had even left Peterborough.

17th June 2015

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