Captain’s Log 3rd October 2018

I am at das Boot with the First Mate (MasterB has been promoted). We are both  in the rear cabin, I’m on the director’s chair looking out at the quiet marina, MasterB is purring on the pink fleecy blanket at the end of the bed.

In the field beside us the calves are grazing with their mothers. I got off to photograph some of them. They are so very pretty. One or two were curious but shy. I like to think their mothers recognise me as the woman who uproots sticky weed from my side of the barbed wire fence to give them. Certainly they seem unconcerned by my presence, and do nothing to warn their calves not to speak to me.


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Some Pictures From the East

Naturally while I was East I had my camera. In fact I had both cameras. I was hopeful that the Crested Grebes would have again built their nest on the port side of das Boot so I wanted my long lens.

They hadn’t.

However, a moorhen and her chicks moved about the reeds and betwenn the boats close by. For such shy birds, they are very vocal.

Moorhen and chicks

Moorhen and chicks

The fields were full of poppies.

Poppies

Poppies

The bees were busy.

Busy bees

Busy bees

The clover was beautiful.

Beautiful clover

Beautiful clover


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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. Continue reading

Back in Harness

We spent quite a while looking at cows. When we had got off the boat, or disembarked, which sounds much grander, the cows had been at the far end of the field, but as we turned from our perambulations they were close by the fence.

NotCat sat down. He watched. He lay down to give them his full attention but in comfort. I stood. The path was damp and muddy. Minutes passed. I took some photos. I got bored, and decided if we were going to watch cows all evening I wanted to sit down. I carried NotCat to the steps. The moment I had got comfortable, he lost interest in cows and turned his attention to boats. We crunched along the gravel.

NotCat did that cat thing of walking along the very edge while I held my breath and suggested the grass was nicer to paws. Continue reading