Monday, July 28, 2008

Moorings in the sun

The Great Ouse Boating Association provide many mooring sites along this grand river and the vegetation is kept trimmed by their volunteers.
This one at Goldington has space for about 3 narrow boats or 3 short cruisers! We try not to occupy the whole length by making one end or the other overhang in the reeds. We have been known to go along side our friends boat No Problem when other boats need to stop. This mooring has a few good walks round a lake and there is ‘out of town’ shopping including Tesco nearby.
We did pop up to Bedford Marina for water and facilities. On our return, now down river, we went through a few locks with a cruiser for company till arriving near Great Barford. ‘Our Island’ was full but managed to get the boat against a high bank with an open field further on.
Cow pats indicated a possible problem but we set up our deck chairs, table and sunshades anyway. The next few days were scorchers. Hung white sheets outside the windows to keep the boat cool inside and set up a fan to keep the fridge cool as the temperature rose. Then setup a washing line using the boat hook and mooring pins and proceeded to wash our curtains which dried in no time at all! Some curious cows did arrive later but soon moved away.

Friday, July 25, 2008


When British Waterways ask for feedback from us the information has a habit of going against us boaters with rising costs and lack of resources. They are there to maintain the waterways for us and all the other users but are now losing money because they invested in property. That is not our fault but we will have to pay for it.
Perhaps it would be better to ‘feedback’ to the various boating user groups like NABO, IWA, SOW and RBOA. Then they can ‘feedback’ your views collectively all in one go at the various meeting held with BW. So join up with one of the user groups and get your voice and opinions considered. Let them know what you need and where the problems are.

Bletchley Park, code breakers
Now for something completely different. The secret is out. We now know what it was all about, there was so much to know but I suspect that there is a lot we will never be told.
Thanks go to our friend John who took us there to see the ‘hardware’. Not only the German Enigma machine, but also Lorenz and Bombe. Mechanical computers which encode and decode messages. What an effort during the 2nd world war to decode and translate to English all those messages which saved so many lives. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Polish for they had already started to decode the signals and gave us the ‘know how’ before Germany invaded Poland.
It was taking weeks to find the ‘key’ and unlock the code so the code breakers invented a computer. The first electronic computer ever! It found the ‘key’ in 2 hours! The encoded messages were transcribed from radio signals to paper tape used by teletype machines. The tape was made into a continuous loop and read at high speed by the COLOSSUS computer. Several were made at the time but to maintain complete secrecy they were all but destroyed.
Despite this some photos were taken and circuit drawings kept by engineers, as they do even now I suspect. British Telecom were converting the phone system to digital and much of the old equipment was ‘recycled’ to remake that first computer. Much of it built by voluntary effort by the members of the Bletchley Park Trust. There is no government funding to keep this valuable National asset which includes the National Museum of Computing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What are we like!

Is it summer? Well according to the time of year it is but it is a bit cool n damp outside. Some people on holiday will have their shorts and sandals on because they are on holiday. We have joined them insisting on BBQ’s under a cloudy sky.

Moved on now half way between Godmanchester and St. Neots. One of our private moorings surrounded by trees but able to get the TV signal from the sky. Done all the shopping, filled up with water and diesel and hung out the washing to dry. Settled down for a long weekend not going anywhere and planning a walk about the lakes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Exploring the waterways

That is what we are doing with our narrowboat Moore 2 Life. Do have a look at our website It contains much more information and pictures about our adventures.
We are now on the Bedford Ouse. Back at Ely it was the Ely Ouse. Joining the two is the Old West River and collectively they are the River Great Ouse. Each river has its own character. The Ely Ouse travels through the fens from Denver to the junction with the Cam. It has high flood banks to keep the fens dry.
The Old West River winds its way through the fens as the banks become lower. After 28 miles from Denver we reach the lock near Erith. It lets us up to the higher level of the tidal section of the Ouse. It is tidal all the way back to the sea down the New Bedford River bypassing Ely. After all the recent rain the Bedford Ouse is running quite fast. A family of seals at Erith have produced a pup this year.
As we travel towards St Ives several locks take us up and away from the fenlands. New moorings in St. Ives were full of boats so we stopped just outside the town. A short walk gets us in for shops and market.
It is here that Oliver Cromwell lived between 1631 and 1636.
The river continues past Hemingford, Huntingdon and Godmanchester.

There are many old mills along the way. The millers were very protective of their water supply and became concerned when locks were built to create the ‘navigation’. The millers were using the green power of the river. One mill at Houghton is now owned by the National Trust and has been converted to hydro electric power. It is producing stone ground flour from crops grown locally. We have just made a loaf of bread from flour made at the wind mill in Wicken Fen and very nice it is too!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Up the Cam

Before we left Wicken we talked a while to a friendly boater couple and were joined by a local walker. He turned out to be a historian of the Fenland community. He talked a lot about the people and families that lived here. As he spoke his accent was slightly Australian and he explained that many people emigrated there from Anglia. We wondered after he left weather he was one of those ‘Fen Tigers’.
We moved slowly out down the Wicken Lode and through the lock at Upware. There we turned left to go up the Cam and into new territory for us. Discovering now rather than exploring. Travelling several miles of natural river to Bottisham lock and through into ‘Cam Conservancy’ country. “Some different rules may apply here”. On a short stretch of river we were instructed to cross over to the left and give way to rowers. A few miles on and the next lock came into view at Milton. A hard edge provided a good mooring for the night.
The next day we walked into Milton to find the wonderful Country Park set around two large manmade lakes. This was an old gravel extraction site with well kept paths to follow with trees and bushes for shade and shelter. Unfortunately the visitor refreshment centre was closed so we found our way out and back to the boat.
Several boats were entering Baits Bite lock and we went to watch. A large cutter was slowly mowing the weed under water and getting a bit close to our boat. There happened to be a lock keeper here and we asked if our boat was in the way. “Well actually you are contravening local bylaws”. We explained that it was a good mooring to visit the Park.

Once the lock had cleared we moved on up river, looking out for rowers, passing many rowing club houses and about a mile of various tatty old boats before reaching Jesus Lock.
Here we were able to stay at the official visitor moorings to visit the city and search for supplies. We walked across Jesus Green and into the streets of Cambridge. While Ann went into the shop Molly and I watched people and bikes pass by. Once we had got our supplies we headed back to the boat and had some lunch. The short term moorings were too ‘public’ for us to stay overnight so we headed back down stream to the moorings at Clayhithe near Waterbeach. Next day we continued on back to Ely to meet our friends on No Problem.