Sunday 29 August 2010

Butter Cross Whittlesey

march 042

After our narrowboat fix this week with Joe and Lesley on Nb Caxton we caught the bus to Whittlesey on our way back to March.

The Butter Cross formerly known as the Market Cross was built in the late 17th Century and was originally the open market place and is now a Scheduled  Ancient Monument.

Throughout most of the 19th century it fell into disrepair and there was a request for it to be demolished. A local businessman supplied the slates for the roof, hence the building was saved.

In 1999 the Fenland District Council carried out the enhancements to the area with  support funding supplied by the Cambridgeshire County Council together with support from the Arts Council through lottery funding.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

No Boat but another waterway visited.

Sunday turned out to be a scorcher when we went for a walk to meet up with Lesley from Nb Caxton. We sat in the local park by the band rotunda chatting for ages under a very hot sun. Eventually we walked with Lesley up to Fox Boats Marina mainly to see how long it would take to walk there. Joe and Lesley were planning on moving the boat on Monday up to Bill Fen Marina and invited us to join them for a cruise.

Monday morning rolled around with not a very good start to the day so Lesley texted us to say there would be a delay. An hour or so later she rang to say that as the weather forecast for the rest of the week was for strong winds which makes manoeuvring tricky, they were going to move despite the threat of rain.

march 037 Derek and Joe on the stern of Caxton.

An hour later we were on board Nb Caxton and under way. We had travelled the section of the old River Nene from Fox boats to Flood’s Ferry aboard Gypsy Rover. On that occasion we turned right towards Peterborough via the Whittlesey Dyke, today we would be turning left following the old course of the River Nene towards High Lode and Ramsey. This was of course an untravelled waterway to us, so another one to add to the list.

march 039 Joe studies the map while Derek spends some time on the tiller.

As we neared Bill Fen Marina Joe took over the tiller after having given me the pleasure of steering for a couple of hours.The channel was getting quite narrow and it was becoming a bit of a worry as to what winding facilities there would be. At the marina entrance Joe did a perfect manoeuvre to reverse Caxton into the narrow entranceway. The marina owner arrived to direct us to the mooring which required more manoeuvring in reverse which Joe did with absolute perfection.

After lunch and a couple of hours of chat it was time for us to head off into Ramsey to catch the bus to Whittlesey.  As Joe had to catch a bus on Tuesday to Stanground they both came for a walk along with their two Labradors, Floyd and Fletcher. We had been gloating on the fact that we had completed the days cruise without getting wet but within 10 minutes of leaving the boat the skies opened and by the time we had walked the mile or so to the bus stop we were soaked.

As we had to change buses at Whittlesey and there was a 40 minute delay before catching the bus to March we visited the George Hotel for a muffin and coffee each to try to warm up and dry out a bit. By the time we eventually reached home the weather had cleared up, wouldn’t that just grab ya!

A BIG thank you to Joe and Lesley for a great day out on the water.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Withdrawal Symptoms!

This land based lifestyle is hard to get used to.  The cross stitch has come out again, we haven't done so much for a long time.  There was always something to do on Gypsy Rover and here time goes slowly. Well how do I describe them? The wonderful crew on Nb Caxton, Joe and Lesley will pick us up on Monday taking us for a cruise.  Yippee.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Now that’s one big rig!

Camper and trailer

Sandra and John sent us this photo of their motorhome all hooked up to the car trailer.  Wow! Approximately 18 metres ( 60 foot) front to back.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Green with Envy.

Today we caught the train out to Ely where we were met by Sandra and John Netherwood who did the upholstery on Gypsy Rover. We last saw them in 2004 when we launched Gypsy Rover. We were aware of their plan to sell the business and buy a Motorhome to travel the world. Unfortunately family commitments have put the dampers on their plans restricting their movements to France and Spain until now but they still hope to venture further afield.

march 029John and Sandra outside their 40ft Monaco motorhome

While in Ely we had a wander around while Sandra did some shopping. It was great to refresh our memories of what we had seen in 2008. After this we travelled out to where Sandra and John have their live aboard motorhome parked. When we arrived Dot and I were blown away with their Monaco 40ft luxury home on wheels and it’s accompanying car trailer. Being an American RV it was a left hand drive which would come in very handy for travelling throughout Europe.

march 028 John and Sandra's aerodynamic fibreglass car trailer which is towed behind the motorhome.

John gave us plenty of hints and tips on what we should expect once we get our motorhome and some information on legal aspects that we were unaware of. We had a brilliant day with John and Sandra and the day was over all too soon when they kindly drove us back to March.

Thanks guy’s and safe travelling.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Future plans.

For a birthday treat we have planned a trip to Grimsby to the Autotrail factory to see how our new motorhome is constructed for future reference. We will have to get a rental car for the day as public transport would take too long.
The company runs factory tours on a monthly basis which are restricted to 14 people at a time and it is strictly pre-book only. Unfortunately the first available tour isn’t until November by which time our motorhome may have been finished and delivered to the dealer. It would be great if it was still in the factory but who knows, time will tell.
Last night I attended the March model railway club meeting and the track laying on the new layout is going well. The club now has it’s own official website so come and have a look to see what we are all about.
Today being our wedding anniversary we may take a trip into town later for a meal.

Surprise phone call.

This morning I had a very interesting phone from a distant relative that I was unaware of. It transpires that Janet Canvin who lives in Cornwall,is 5 years younger than me and lived in Croxley Green not far from Watford.

This all came about when a friend of Janet’s found the Canvin Family Tree on the internet which has been researched by the late George and Phyl Barber. Phyl and her daughter are now carrying on the good work. However I digress,after searching the family tree there appears to be a link between Janet and myself through a certain George James Canvin. Janet then proceeded to Google our name and came up with our website hence the phone call.

Unfortunately the Family Tree website is down at present so I have not had a chance to research these facts for myself but you can bet I will shortly. Janet will be travelling up this way shortly for a holiday so she has promised to come and visit us, can’t wait, as there will be plenty to talk about.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Power cut and Camping.

march 009River Nene passing through March.

Yesterday afternoon while chilling out Dot decided it was time for a shower only to find that there was no electricity. We hadn’t noticed that the ceiling fan in the lounge had stopped working either. Sure enough Mick, our landlord came out of the house to investigate the loss of power to his part of the house. I suppose we were without power for about an hour, just as well we didn’t have a Sunday roast in the oven. Eventually service was resumed but we are still none the wiser as to what caused the black out. After nearly four years of living afloat and generating our own electricity we were never without power, here two weeks on land and connected to the national grid we are powerless, well what do I say!

Last night on BBC2 there was a very interesting programme on the history of Camping. It all started in the late 1800’s with what was described as Cycle camping where all the equipment was designed to be carried on a bicycle. A Cycle Camping organisation was set up with membership only reaching into the hundred’s. It was a tailor who first came up with the idea of using light weight materials for tents even before the military who had traditionally housed it’s troops under canvas which was bulky and heavy.

This new kind of camping was strictly for the well to do in the beginning. It wasn't until after WWII that the working classes caught onto the idea of cheap family holidays away from the traditional seaside boarding houses where your life was regimented by the landladies and meal times. Farmers and land owners soon caught on to the idea that camping could be a nice little side line for making money with camp sites springing up all over the country. Of course this bought the townies out into the country where life was different and it took a while for the two parties to come to some understanding between each other.

Eventually the Cycle Camping Group changed to the Caravan and Camping Club with membership now into the thousands. As time has gone on manufacturers have adapted, modified, invented and improved equipment for the camping fraternity so that now it’s more like a home away from home rather than the old adage of camping being having to rough it. All in all this was a very enjoyable and informative programme.

Saturday 7 August 2010

The Ship Inn

march 016 The Ship Inn overlooking the moorings in March - note the lovely thatched roof

Thursday 5 August 2010

Keeping my hand in.

While surfing the net I discovered that there is a Model Railway club here in March only a 10 minute walk from the apartment. Contact was made with the club secretary to establish meeting night’s and an open invitation was forth coming.

Last night I headed off to the British Legion club rooms where the March and District Model Railway Club have rented rooms. Upon arrival I was greeted by a very friendly bunch of like minded railway modellers who had several projects underway. It was a pleasure to find that they were not just a bunch of “Armchair” modellers sitting around theorising but achieving nothing.

march 010 Royal British Legion building in March, originally built as a tithe barn.

The main project is a new club “00” layout comprising 8 baseboards which is at the track laying stage. It wasn’t long before I found myself laying the track work for the sidings while a couple of the others concentrated on the mainline. Five sidings were completed before I headed home around 11pm. I am really looking forward to the next few weeks to see if we can complete the track work before the clubs annual open day at St Peter’s Church hall, High St, March on September 4th. Open 10am to 4.30pm everybody is welcome. For anybody wishing to visit, the post code for your Sat Nav is PE15 9JR. Guess where I will be on the 4th?

A topic of discussion last night was the March Railway station which is under the tender loving care of a preservation group. Apparently they are having a working bee this Saturday between 10 and 1 so some of the club guys are going along to investigate the possibility of a working relationship between the 2 groups as there are plans afoot to expand the use of the facilities.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Dog Fight’s

march 012Should I ask the bee what it is?

This morning was nothing less than rowdy. We knew that there is an Air Force base nearby and we had heard the noisy jet fighters in the past at high altitude. However this morning the pilot’s were practicing “dog fighting” at low levels, so low that they were clearly visible to the naked eye. As each plane pulled out of a steep dive and the power went on, the noise was horrendous as the jet engines were pointing straight down to earth. You not only heard the power, you could virtually feel it.

march 005 Italian market in March market place.

Over the week-end the population of March and surroundings were treated to an authentic Italian Market selling everything from wine to cheese and Pasta to Fudge. The stall doing the most trade was the cheese man but nothing tempted us to part with any cash.

march 004The cheese stall was the most popular but nothing to tempt us!

Don’t forget!

Our blog will continue as before with a few minor changes detailing our new adventures.  Our hearts will still be with the canals and following all the adventures of fellow boaters, don’t forget to bookmark our site so you can see what we are up to.