Day 4

It was all going so well, but I think the Nene hates me as much as I hate it. Went to bed last night as soon as it went dark to save electric so was up early. Early moring sun alreadys starting to add a few decimal points to the voltage. Put the Bara Brith on to bake and had breakfast.

Downward opening paddle on Stanground lock with the river coming straight at you.

Time to Stanground is supposed to be 1½ hours but I’m a pessimist so left early and got there just after 09.00. To my amazement Tina waved me in straightaway. Only a few minutes to Peterborough town centre mooring and for once the Elsan sluice was open, working and clean. Topped up the water too and had a chat with a woman with a narrowboat on the mooring. She’s been stuck in Fox’s Marina in March since March last year so starting her first trip. She only bought the boat just before the first lockdown. I asked her is she knew where the nearest supermarket was, last time I came this way I wandered round town for ages before I found a Polish deli. Turns out there’s an Asda next to Watergate shopping centre AND it has it’s own actual water gate onto the river.

Bit tricky mooring because the health and safety experts have decided to fence off the embankment leaving just a gateway though to the water. I managed to tie up to the fence with Seren’s cockpit next to the gate. Got some milk and a fruit and stuff. I wandered around ‘George’ looking for a fleece and basic anorak but failed. None in the rest of Watergate either so I gave up.

No drama at Orton lock, but then it started raining. The good news is the new roof works OK but I wish I’d had time to fit Tony’s wiper mechanism to the windscreen!

By Alwalton Lock the rain was really pouring so decided to stop on the landing stage and eat lunch. As I was finishing a narrow boat arrived so we did the lock together in the rain then they stopped at the mooring above the lock while I pressed on. Did Water Newton lock in the rain then went as far as the EA mooring at Sibson, by one of the many Nene Valley Railway bridges.

I came up the Nene two years ago and that time it rained from Peterborough to Wellingborough by which time the river was in flood and Upper Wellingborough lock impassible. Hope it’s better tomorrow.

One of fun things I like to do on these long trips is push the boundaries of what’s possibe in a tiny galley with limited facilities, hence the Bara Brith. It turned out edible, not the best I’ve ever had but not the worst either (that’s the stuff they stock in gift shops for tourists, it’s a sort of long-life cake version that is always stale whatever the sell by date says). I’ll post my fecipe when I’ve refined it a bit. Meanwhile, today’s experiment is rice pud. It takes a couple of hours at home but I’m not running my stove for two hours, I only use 3.9Kg gas bottles. So I’m trying slow cooking in an insulated box under the bed…

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