River Days

Spot the odd one out.


If you don’t know East Anglia, and in particular, if you don’t know the fens, you might be unaware that Ely cathedral is known as the Ship of the Fens. It is often said in tones of extreme reverence by people you are pretty certain have not been inside a church since their christening.
Older Nephew was born in the East, while I am a Southerner. I was surprised when he whipped his phone out to photograph Ely cathedral, and how many times he referenced it on our cruise. It just goes to show. I know he attended Sunday school, but one of the challenges at Mother’s funeral was to create a service that worked for believers and non-believers alike. I would put Older Nephew firmly in the second category.
I am between the two camps. I had a religious upbringing – Mother did after all want to be a missionary, there was no way we were going to be given a secular education – and I hold a lot of it dear, but true belief? No, I don’t have it. So I took a photo or two of the cathedral, but I was far more engaged by the boats. The abandoned, half-submerged and probably beyond salvaging, attracted me in particular. Why has this pretty green boat been left to fall apart?
I sighed like a character in a Mills and Boon story about the semi-derelict boathouse. Older Nephew scoffed, and I gazed at it so long and so longingly that I almost missed the chance to photograph it.
The larger boats, transformed from working vessels into spacious, though maybe not gracious, living accommodation made me stare. Willow trees hung over boats; lovely to look at, but I bet they are a pain when their leaves drop. A jaunty bowl of flowers on a narrowboat proclaimed boat owner pride.
And at the pub I met Liam. He liked my camera. I asked if I could take a picture of him. He agreed, and smiled. He was happy with the result, so it would be curmudgeonly not to share.

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8 thoughts on “River Days

  1. I didn’t know that about Ely Cathedral. I know it is of unusual design, and rather lovely. The ruined boats and boathouse are rather sad I think, and surprising. They seem lonely and somewhat desolate.

  2. Thank goodness you shared! Oh the Wilhelmina!~Bet she is a great float. Liam made a great portrait subject and I agree with Pam, he looks to be a character. Always sad to see abandoned boats. So not like abandoned barns that have some charm. Boats just shouldn’t be left to go that way, they deserve better. I enjoyed this post Isobel!

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