Lived onboard Hadar

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Roydon to Bishop's Stortford.

Wednesday 14th May.

Roydon to Sawbridgeworth. 7.1 miles…. 9 locks.

Before I begin today’s journal of our cruise, I wanted to share this photograph with you of Marmite. It shows just how hard her life is at the end of a days cruising.The most she did was lie on the back counter after we had stopped. Now that is the life I reckon don’t you?
So today we planned to get from Roydon to Sawbridgeworth, not far but still locks to be done and tight bends to be got around with our 70ft boat.We left Roydon Mill behind and headed off into the countryside, with the first lock (Roydon Lock) coming up straight away. As had been the case with yesterday, the top gates were left open, so they had to be shut before I could open the paddles to let the water out. Thankfully the lock itself was easy to work. After the lock you cruise past Hunsdon Mead nature Reserve, which looked a picture as the meadow was covered in Buttercups. It is extremely beautiful countryside, with stunning views.No photograph will ever really do it justice. The swallows, house martins and swifts were gliding over the water catching flies for their breakfast, and in the distance we head our second cuckoo in the past couple of days.We arrived at Little Parndon Mill, which has a dove cote on the back; the rear of the building is not as splendid as the front. Anyway whilst doing Parndon Lock, we got chatting to a couple of the owners of boats who have their boats moored at the mill, it is a beautiful place for a mooring. The gentleman owns NB Saltheart and works for BW, so was very obliging in helping to close the lock gate after we left. The lady owns NB Orion. The front of the building is beautiful and well looked after.Just after Parndon Mill Lock, we had Burnt Mill Lock, perhaps the name explains why there is no mill there today, but it also struck me funny, because the Essex Fire brigade were also above the lock, practicing what looked like a river rescue.
But everything stopped whilst we negotiated the lock and them.For whatever reason, there seems to be very few boaters on the River Lee or Stort Navigations and yet they are both so well worth doing. On saying that though we did meet 3 boats coming back from Bishops Stortford, two were hire boats from the Lee Valley Hire Company and one was a private boat. But it is still really quiet, not at all what we are used to having spent 3 years on the Trent and Mersey.
Something else we have noticed this past couple of days is the carvings along the way.
They are either in stone or timber.This one say’s “Man may come and go but the River goes on forever” awww that is sweet. They are beautiful and I will take more pics of them on the way back.
We found ourselves skirting past Harlow, which cannot be seen from the river, but it has some 18th-C houses in the old town, but over the years that has been swallowed up by the new town, which was first started in 1947 and has become an area for the London over spill.
We wound north eastwards up the valley, where we reached Harlow Mill, which is a large pub with a huge garden, but cannot be seen to well from the river. We headed under the A11 and the noise of the traffic and found our way into Sawbridgeworth. There is a visitor mooring site, but it was totally unsuitable for our boat. There was a willow hanging over the mooring and the wall was too high for us to get Paddy off of the boat, so we continued up through Sawbridgeworth Lock and found a shady mooring just after exiting the lock, this will be our mooring over night. It was 12.50pm and time for a spot of lunch. After that we took a walk into Sawbridgeworth, to see what it had to offer in the way of shops. There is a Budgens for provisions, a couple of charity shops, a number of pubs, post office, bookies, pharmacy, dentist, vets and other odds and sods, so not bad if you were in desperate need. Yes we did go into the charity shops, but they had nothing we needed today.Back at the boat it was time to allow Mog and Dog out of the saloon and onto the back counter. Mog duly allowed me to put her harness on, this time without moaning. It was then a race to see who would jump on to the back counter first. You may have guessed that Marmite won. Paddy settled himself down in the sun, whilst Marmite decided inside was perhaps better, somewhere in the shade.It’s just as well the stove is not lit at the moment huh. Still it makes her happy and she has found a cool spot for the afternoon. A pleasant day spent cruising through some lovely countryside. I will say though that the BW man was right when he said that there were not enough visitor moorings, there are not. If they want more visitors to use this part of the navigation they need to sort that out.

Thursday 15th May.

Sawbridgeworth to Bishops’s Stortford. 4.2 miles….. 4 locks.

Overnight we had not gotten the rain that the weather forecaster predicted, so we woke up to a dry morning, but the temperature had dropped and it was overcast. The shorts went back into the cupboard and the trousers came back out, as did the coats as it looked very likely that we would get rain. We enjoyed a very peaceful night on the mooring, so we both got a good night sleep, that was until around 5am, when Marmite decided she was awake, so she wanted everyone else to be as well. She pounced on Keith and I and began her Meowing to get our attention. Neither of us what that amused and sent her off with a flea in her ear.
It was as we headed off at 8.45am that the drizzle began to fall, so no photographs today. I will take them on the way back weather permitting. The drizzle was not that bad and at times we only had six drops of rain. Over the past few days we have gotten used to seeing aeroplanes flying over head as they go into Stanstead Airport. Usually it would be either Ryan Air or Easy Jet, people jetting off on their holidays probably.
We over took the BW guys on their work boat again, that’s the third day in a row we have seen them.
Even though the weather was not what we had become accustomed to, it did not spoil the scenery at all. The second lock (Spellbrook Lock) lies near Walbury Camp, said to date back to the Iron Age, it cannot really been seen from the river, as the endless trees shield it. At the third lock (Twyford Lock) of the day, a gentleman came out of his house, just to listen to the engine. He came and joined us at the lock asking about Hadar’s history. It is so nice when people are genuinely interested, it seems he used to own the butty Meteor sometime ago and has a love for the working boats.
On the Stort Navigation there are a number of Nature Reserves and today we passed by Rushy Mead Nature Reserve.
As you come into Bishop’s Stortford you are met with some industrial buildings and a lot of new building work going on, most of which appears to be apartments. These have replaced the old timber yards and maltings.
We took on water and emptied the toilet and then found a mooring on the 14 day stay. We are the only boat here, so plenty of room.
So this will be home for the next few days, as we have friends coming to visit us.

3 comments:

LadyBanana said...

As always Jo, fascinating account there.

Lovely pics of Marmite, she must be fully grown by now!

Jay said...

I'm back, catching up with your travels and beautiful pictures! I'm really enjoying living vicariously on the waterways with you! I've often fancied a trip up the river in a narrow boat and this is the next best thing. Nice seeing little Marmite on the stove!

Maureen said...

OH, I adore the photos of Marmite! She looks so regal in front of your pretty plates!