Welcome to Waterbeach

September 27th, 2007

I have a mooring, hurrah! A nice chap called Martin is letting me moor against his land in Waterbeach, which is a village about five miles from Cambridge. So I’ll get lots of exercise cycling back and forth to town for the next six months at least. Although there is actually pretty good public transport for a rural area – trains and buses to Cambridge (ten minutes by train, 40 minutes by bus) which run all through the day and into the small hours of the night. The bank is rather soft and the river rather shallow, so this morning I went to B&Q in Cambridge with my bike and shiny new trailer (which I’m very chuffed with, and came from Camcarts) and bought a big plank – 2.3m – to help me get on and off the boat safely. Bringing it back bungeed to the trailer was quite an experience!

In other news, I had a coolant leak in the engine last week – lots of steam from beneath the deckboards – which turned out to be a split rubber joint on the heat exchanger. Hopefully there’ll be no further mechanical mishaps.

Next week (1st October onwards) I’m going to be in Leicester being inducted as a graduate student, and claiming my NUS, ISIC and (most importantly) Young Person’s Railcards with much glee!

Mooring update

September 17th, 2007

Some progress on the mooring front – I’ve got a meeting next Wednesday with a chap who says he’s got space for me in Waterbeach, not far from Cambridge. So I’ll be shuttling between two public moorings until then, but hopefully should be sorted shortly after that. Fingers crossed!

Boaty update

September 15th, 2007

Sorry for the long delay on this one, but life’s been quite hectic. I got to Cambridge okay, thanks to the sterling efforts of my many friends and relations who helped out. A few high- and low-lights of the trip:

- being in Birmingham when it was “dead sunnay” and mooring up right in the city centre
- getting stuck behind the steam narrowboat “President” on the Birmingham & Worcester canal and helping unstick them when they went aground (which was quite frequently!)
- getting eggs thrown at the boat from a bridge somewhere near Stafford
- finding that the River Nene is mostly boater-hostile (nowhere to moor, nowhere to pump out)
- finding that the Middle Level is very nice indeed, despite being as flat as a pancake. Upwell and Outwell (where the river forms a “high street” through the villages) are very pretty.
- scary stuff – going on the tidal Great Ouse from Salters Lode Lock to Denver, against the wind and tide, for about 500 metres
- getting the propellor fouled on the Great Ouse and then getting blown into a bank of reeds we very nearly didn’t get out of
- having a nice time in Ely (very pretty)

Having arrived in Cambridge, the Mooring Question has reared its ugly head. Various friends and colleagues had advised me that getting a mooring in Cambridge wasn’t all that difficult, but did require some patience and dedication. I’m on the waiting list for an “official” council mooring permit which will allow me to moor against one of the public parks and commons in the city. Until then (probably April, according to one well-connected source) I need to put the boat somewhere. I started on a 48 hour visitor mooring, then found an empty bit of Stourbridge Common that didn’t have a “permit holders only” sign. On Friday I got a hand-delivered eviction notice from the council, telling me politely to get off their land. I’ll go back to the visitor mooring on Monday and then ring around downriver until I find somewhere…