Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Sun and sand

Sun and sandpapering at Thrapston
"What a beautiful day - the hottest yet I think," exclaimed the Boss, "what shall we do now?". We were tied up at the moorings in Thrapston having just returned from a stroll round the quaint little town to top up on supplies.
"I don't know – carry on down the river?" I mused.
"No, I don't think so," came the reply.
"Well let's just stay here and drink beer in the sun," I suggested.
"No, definitely not. We should be taking the opportunity of the weather to sand down and re-varnish our dog-box."
"Followed by fish 'n chips tonight?" I queried, eager for some distant reward to an afternoon of work.
"Certainly not. I'm doing cauliflower cheese to help us with our seven a day."
And so it was that we spent the afternoon playing with sand - of the sandpaper variety - and stripping back the badly worn varnish on the roofbox followed by the first of a good many new coats.
Of course the Boss was right: it was perfect weather for the job and it was a job that did badly need

doing. Despite being less than a year old the much vaunted Le Tonkinois varnish was, blunty, completely knackered! A very poor result from four or five coats of carefully applied varnish.
So, only a short cruise today; little more than a mile or two from Denford down to Thrapston. But first we had a stroll around the pretty little village. These sleepy honey-stone villages have a timeless quality that always makes me feel I'm stepping back in time. I half expect to see an Austin Seven pottering out of a driveway or a Mary Poppins look-alike nanny with some neatly turned out youngsters.
But the illusion soon vanished in affluent Denford where Range Rovers and personal plates are the order of the day and a modest house will cost you pushing half a million.
Fancy a mooring?
Back on the boat we cruised under the A14 – reflecting the number of times we've driven over the river, looked down expectantly and seen only empty waterway. If only we could somehow be up there looking down at ourselves now!
Beyond the road are the deserted, crumbling moorings of what was Mill Marina (never more than a collection of scaffold pole and plank moorings in my knowledge). It closed a few years ago, I think there were plans for developing the site, but a new sign now announces 'Leasehold Moorings for sale'. A quick check on the internet reveals that the site is owned by major marina operators, Tingdene.  Also that there are just twelve moorings on offer and that leasehold prices start at £34,950 +£375 p.a. service charge - though it doesn't say how long the lease is for. Hmmm. You'd have to be a pretty keen Nene boater to be tempted by that one!
Beyond here the entry to Thrapston takes in two of the river's trickiest bridge. First is the narrow arched, dog-leg road bridge which is tricky enough downstream in a modest river flow and must be ruddy scary when the river is running fast. Get through that and ahead is the lowest bridge on the river, a Bailey style footbridge that even today skimmed only inches above our short 'titch' exhaust stack. I wonder why they don't raise the bridge? It really doesn't look costly - it's just a steel structure on blocks either side. Maybe that would just take the fun away.


  1. The good Lady is not the BOSS for nothing...... I take it that Brian took the top shot!

  2. It's a 'selfie' David courtesy of the self timer. Brian was too busy sleeping in the sun!