Of Trains, Boats, Bikes, Cows and Coincidence

I had to take the train to Ely today. It could almost have been Alkmaar. The station platform was a sea of chained bikes.

Bikes at Ely Station


The fenlands of Cambridgeshire are flatter, as I know to my cost, than parts of the Netherlands. And the locals are equally fond of their bikes. Though they don’t celebrate them with flowers and suchlike as the Dutch do. These bikes were parked close to the shop where I bought my pannier. Inside there was a sign inviting customers to Pimp Your Bike. Truly.

Dutch Bikes in Alkmaar


From Ely, I was collected and taken to see das Boot, high and dry, jet washed, but as yet unrepaired. I had a fruitful discussion with the nice man who is going to do the work. There’s a scrape on the starboard side from when the boat got knocked against the pontoon. He advised buying bigger fenders. I said how in the Netherlands I had seen lots of pontoons with old tyres hanging from them, and asked if that would be a good idea. He grinned, and said only if I didn’t mind lots of black marks on my boat. I do. However, if I buy a new set of fenders, I can string the old ones along the side of the pontoon for extra protection. Fenders don’t come cheaply, and I need ten, so I am glad I got my holiday in first. The new kitchen may have to wait a while longer. Or maybe I can start selling pictures of NotCat and turn him into a money spinning celebrity feline.
I was interested in another boat they had there in the marina. It was a bigger, more modern version of das Boot, a vessel designed, as she was, for the Norfolk Broads. There was also a static houseboat. This marina has a number of people who live full time on their boats, and I assumed this must be one of them. I was wrong. It turns out it is a country escape for a man who works in London.I asked if he had a day boat too, and was surprised to learn he hasn’t. My man described it scornfully as a shed, and if you look at this picture of a houseboat community of similar boats in Zaanse Schans, you can see what he means.

Static Houseboat Community, Zaanze Schans


I wouldn’t mind living in one, but I would want a day boat. That’s our leader, by the way, striding along the path. This was the last day of the holidays, and by this point only six of us were joining him for a not very demanding walk. The mosquitos were out in force and I still have three nasty bites, plus circles of what look like, but aren’t, blood blisters around my ankles; my first experience of sock rash. I hope it’s my last.
Back on the train to King’s Cross, I turned on the iPad and checked out Andrew’s page. I got a surprise. He too had taken the train from King’s Cross this morning, and by the look of the photo, had taken the very same path to the platform as I had. We had both, bizarrely, taken photos.
Here’s mine:

King’s Cross Roof


If you look here, you’ll see his.
Actually, I took several more photos at the station, which I’ll share now.
One more of the roof, which is not dissimilar to the one by Norman Foster in the British Museum Great Court, which is surely also inspired by fan vaulting:

King’s Cross Goes British Museum


Four trains in the station, the one on the near left is mine, or rather the one I took to Ely. I don’t actually own a train.

Trains in the Station


Outside, the station has its Olympic finery on display:

Olympic Finery


There are also a couple of table tennis tables, should you fancy a quick game before catching your train, and two cows. Notice the escapees from Guantanamo Bay in the background.

Blue Cow


Candy Striped Cow


I don’t know why the cows are there. I don’t think it’s anything to do with this event, but I may be wrong.

33 thoughts on “Of Trains, Boats, Bikes, Cows and Coincidence

  1. We’ve got cows all over Canada too. They seem to crop up in the summer, or anytime a city is having a big event. They used to be bulls, but too many people broke off/stole the dangly bits… now we get cows instead. Apparently, udders are less desirable than balls.

    • My thought too, “the roof, which is not dissimilar to the one by Norman Foster in the British Museum Great Court, which is surely also inspired by fan vaulting”. If you look at the support for this one, it is the fan vaulting that springs to mind most. I need to take a picture from a different angle. I may be taking the train from King’s X again tomorrow, so if time, I’ll have a look around.

  2. I bet NotCat would be a star! Good luck sorting all of the boat stuff out. I want a boat, but then when I think of all the costs I runaway.

    • Do you have any hints on marketing? I could get some printed and ry to sell at fairs, or hawk them around independent shops. Working out costs is yet another aspect…
      Running away is probably a good idea, but then you’d miss out on owning a boat. I wish I had done an apprenticeship in a boat yard. Too late now, alas. A day boat shouldn’t be too demanding, I should have thought.

      • Not sure about marketing. I think fairs would be a good start. And you can make connections and learn from others. And your blog is a good forum I think. I’ll have to think if I know anyone who has suggestions.

  3. Having a train as well as a boat would be showing off somewhat! 😀

    I liked the design of the new concourse at Kings Cross but the barriers mean that you don’t really get much opportunity to see the original station much.

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