Sunday, June 16, 2013

Old Heartthrob and New Waterway

Blue Moon has spent the week in dry dock for blacking at Bromley Wharf and will be re-floated tomorrow, but the weekend has been full on activity for us and we got some fabulous boating in on new territory too.

As soon as work (ugh!!) finished on Friday afternoon it was a dash home, changed, and out again as we had a another concert to go to. After Rod Stewart only a couple of weeks ago, this was another trip with our friends Dave and Sally - this time to Sherwood Pines Country Park to see the wonderful 'Blondie'.

Another blast from the past, but they don't make 'em like they used to. A lovely evening during which the weather stayed kind, we had a picnic tea and then enjoyed some fabulous music. Supported by the lead singer of The Lightning Seeds, Ian Broudie, who warmed the crowd up with an acoustic set, Blondie didn't disappoint and the crowd were in fine voice as she banged out the hits of our youth and some tracks from her new album. It was hard to believe that Debbie Harry is now 67 !!!
video I took of the hit Atomic with a great guitar solo at the end by Tommy Kessler.

Saturday was an early start for a trip down to St Ives in Cambridgeshire to meet up with friends Chris and Gratsi, work colleagues of John. They have just bought a brand new 'Sea Master 28' named Lazee Daze and we met them at their moorings at The Pike & Eel Boatyard on the banks of the Great Ouse. The wind was blowing strongly as we arrived, but after a look around their boat and a welcome cuppa, Chris decided that we would venture out of the marina and onto the river.

The scenery reminded us very much of the River Avon with views across the fields instead of high banks and plenty of twists and turns. John had a spell of steering which was very different to a narrowboat, not only due to there being a wheel as opposed to a tiller, but sat in a high comfy leather seat. The reaction of the wheel was very different to a tiller and took a bit of getting used to, but we didn't hit anything. It was also nice to have plenty of space at the rear of the boat to sit and relax as we cruised along enjoying a drink or two.

We cruised up through St Ives with an unusual bridge to pass under. The small building in the centre is a chapel which is still very much in use. The bridge was built in 1425 and the chapel a year later. Since then it has also been a toll house, a pub, a doctors surgery and a private residence, but is now back to its original use.
St Ives Bridge
Again, we were lucky with the weather as you can see from the photo. We moored at Hemingford Grey for lunch which was well timed due to a torrential downpour, before the sun re-appeared for the return trip to the marina.
Hemingford Lock
Lunch break and time to chill
Hitching a ride
Where are Health & Safety when you need them
Louise doing what she does best 
The return journey in the sun
The Great Ouse is a waterway we have never visited before never mind cruised. We liked what we saw and one day we hope to venture down that way and explore more of the area. We saw a few narrowboats whilst we were out and overall the river was quiet, clean and interesting.

Would we swap from a narrowboat to a cruiser ?? I suppose it depends very much on what you are used to and what you want from boating. The boat was lovely and Chris and Gratsi are really pleased and happy with their purchase and so they should be. It has its advantages of a lovely rear deck for entertaining, but overall we would always come 'home' to a narrowboat and the canals.

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