It was a bit of a saga, and I have already told Celia, but it worked out in the end and das Boot was successfully lifted out of the water, raised into blocks and now I just have to book the inspection so I can renew the insurance at the end of November.
The train journey to Ely usually takes just over an hour from London, so when I was looking at what time train I needed to get to meet Stuart the Boat Man I was puzzled that the journey time had almost doubled in length. Further clicking revealed there were engineering works and after Cambridge a replacement bus service would operate. Oh joy.
For those of you not familiar with replacement bus services, thank your lucky stars. I reckoned with the longer journey time I needed to be out of the house by 6.20am. So I set the alarm and retired to bed betimes. I had my clothes ready, sandwiches and a bottle of water in my bag, my phone charged and my train tickets bought.
It was still dark when MasterB thought he’d try his luck for an early breakfast. I’m almost sure I groaned as he bounced on me to wake me up. Fortunately I also opened my eyes and checked the time. I had overslept. I was out of bed in a nano second. MasterB watched me, obviously confused by this non typical behaviour. The kettle was on, his food in his bowl, my face washed, and I was dressing even as my bread toasted.
I am still quite impressed at how speedily I made it from my bed to the street. Luck favoured me at the tube and a train arrived as I reached the platform. I made it to Kings Cross with fifteen minutes to spare. Only to find my train was cancelled due to lack of staff.
Hell. Nothing to do but wait, buy a paper, recalculate my arrival time and let Stuart know. I glanced up at the departure board to see my train had changed from cancelled to delayed, now due to leave at 7.22. It took three minutes to make it to the platform and an eerily empty train. Seven twenty-two came and went and the train didn’t move. I didn’t want to get off in case it left without me. At last an employee walked past the carriage and in answer to my question, said they were just waiting for a driver.
No further announcements but we left at 7.34, just eight minutes before the next train. I imagine it was more to have my train in the correct place later in the day than for the convenience of passengers that it left at all.
At Ely we were directed to buses where ‘staff will be waiting to help you’. They were. Friendly, smiling and wring. I was directed onto a bus going to Downham Market. Fortunately someone else had heard me say where I was going and seen where I was directed. He took the trouble to redirect me and correct the staff.
I assumed we’d move off quickly. We didn’t. I reckon we waited for the passengers from the 7.42. So by the time I met Stuart the Boatman it had already been quite a morning. Have I mentioned the weather? Drizzle, rain, drizzle again. Low grey clouds.
The plan was to see what had stopped the impeller working, replace said impeller if necessary and mosey round to the slipway. The second was fairly easily achieved, and a lily pad was assumed to be the first. But then still no water came out of the exhaust when we ran the engine. The owner of the marina appeared with a clipboard and said we needed to get round to the slipway. Pressure. Fortunately Stuart spotted what the problem was and was able to achieve a temporary repair. He’s got a calm head, a good man in a crisis.
I untied wet ropes and climbed back on board, my fingers cold and mucky. We made it to the slipway on time. Phew.
Last week in Ely I took a photo of das Boot and thought she looked pretty clean. My opinion changed when she came out of the water. It wasn’t so much the slime around the hull which was quickly hosed off, more the view of the underside of the gunwale. I foresee some energetic cleaning before she goes back into the water in the spring.
We tidied up inside and I felt a thrill of pride when one of the men helping with the whole lifting thing approached me to say how much he liked my boat. Stuart drove me back to Ely where I waited in a cold wind for the replacement bus service. My hopes rose when a bus appeared, but it was for Downham Market. The next was for Norwich. Finally a bus came for Cambridge. Hurrah.
It wasn’t late when I reached home, but I was tired and very glad to climb into first a warm bath, then clean clothes. MasterB settled himself across me on the sofa and we enjoyed a quiet evening at home, followed by a very early night.