It’s a relief…….

Last week we finally said goodbye to Ely for the last time (at least during this trip). Gordon was immensely relieved as he’d got a bit bored with wibbling about Ely and was looking forward to striking out for pastures new. On our last evening I went into Cherry Hill Park and took this photo of the lights on the Octagon Tower of the cathedral. I also managed to scare the living daylights out of two young girls who hadn’t spotted me in the dark and jumped out of their skins when I said hello. I didn’t think I was that scary.


Our first stop wasn’t exactly pastures new – we went back to Prickwillow to meet Margaret and Robin for a lovely day’s nattering and cruising. It gave Gordon another chance to go visit the Prickwillow museum along with a far more appreciative partner than I had proved to be. He and Robin spent a good hour looking at all the engines and watching all the videos while Margaret and I spent the same amount of time gossiping on the boat.

We stayed the next night at Prickwillow and went for a walk into Littleport – fast day so no pub or eating out. It’s as well as the pub was shut! We spotted Di and Chris mooring Smiley Barge Brindley at Littleport. We were invited aboard for a very welcome cuppa before the three mile walk back to Prickwillow.


Then it was on to the junction with the Little Ouse and a very pleasant night beside (and inside) the Ship Inn. Still no sign of pastures new but at least we were on our way.


Next stop Downham Market on the Great Ouse Relief Channel – at last, pastures new and the reason for the rather tortured title of the post. The tidal Great Ouse runs parallel to the Relief Channel all the way to Kings Lynn. Shame that the channel is only navigable for a few miles. Maybe some time in the future they’ll open it up all the way.


I took the opportunity to walk for a couple of miles. It felt very odd to see the boat sailing off without me – even though I knew he was going to wait for me at Downham Market – wasn’t he?EwnHaCulReliefChannel

By the end of the day all the boats we’d made friends with on the way back from Bedford had gathered for a couple of days at Downham Market.


We had a great time on the pontoon chatting and drinking with Anne and John from nb Ferndale Fox, Jo and Dave from nb Panacea and Di and Chris from Smiley Barge Brindley along with Anne and John’s delightful dogs Ben and Pip.


John with Ben on his lap accompanied by a rather worried looking Dave.


Di and Chris with Pip in the front on Anne’s lap.


Dave, John, Anne and Jo posing for the compulsory poop deck shot before they leave.

Panacea and Ferndale Fox left the following day leaving Brindley and us to explore the rest of the Relief Channel – all eleven miles of it. We’re planning to spend another week here as it should be a bit quieter over the bank holiday weekend and Gordon’s hoping for some peace and quiet to paint the rest of the boat.

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