Of My Australian Trip, MasterB and a Day on das Boot

Bar a rather late contribution to a photo challenge (I am always amazed at how some people apologise for their ‘lateness’ less than twenty-four hours after the challenge is announced) it feels as though I have been an absentee blogger and bloggee, or whatever the right word is for someone who reads blogs, for a long time. Oh only just over a week? Well, there you go.

The lovely Romeo has injured his leg and is confined to quarters, so MasterB, who has been refusing to go outside unless I am right beside him armed with my Super Soaker, is being bravely independent and has let me know my hovering is de trop. Therefore I am indoors, impatient to go to bed, but happy My Boy is feeling confident in His Own Garden.

The countdown to my Australian adventure has begun. I have been making lists of lists. I thought I was being over organised when I tried to sort my currency last week, only to be told I should have allowed a month. Fingers crossed I am not reduced to begging. Every day I tell MasterB I shall be back before Christmas, that although I shall not be with him that does not mean I do not love him. I am secretly worried that when I get home he will look at me and say, “I live with B&J now. See you around.”

I don’t want him to be unhappy while I am away, to pine, but I do want him to be thrilled to see me when I get home. Is that too much?

Older Nephew is going to complete the boat winterising. I love das Boot but I am not a good boat owner. I wonder if I should give it to Older Nephew now. Should I pop my clogs he would inherit it. I have no intention of popping my clogs just yet.

We had such a lovely time on the river. There was no other traffic. Lots of birds, especially grebes, which I thought were supposed to be rare, but obviously not on the Cam. Lots of herons.

Heron taking off

Heron taking off

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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