Sunday, 15 May 2011


I was awoken early this morning at our moorings in Lincoln just as the light was beginning to seep through my porthole. It was not due to the sound of loud thunder, as I might have expected from the recent weather report, but from the lonely but lusty call of the male Blackbird singing his heart out from somewhere close by. He was happily announcing the approach of another glorious spring day. He must have been loud for I could hear him very clearly, even though I was well battened down in my well insulated steel tube.
He stayed for about a quarter of an hour and then I went back to sleep to awake at six thirty with the light streaming in through the same port. I could see blue sky and noticed that there was no wind. Could this be a foretaste of the day?
But since then, the wind has increased and is quite blustery again while the sky is filled with blackish looking cumulus cloud. It is still chilly with the wind from the north west and I expect we shall have more showers ere long. It’s a good day to remain on board.

The Fossedyke, built by the Romans in AD 120.
Like their roads, it’s as straight as a dye for miles across the flat Fenland!

Back in Torksey, we had to wait on the outside of the lock for sufficient tidal water to float us over the lower lock cill, until Thursday afternoon. But then all went well and we tied up for the night only a few yards on, at the visitor moorings on the other side of the lock, ready for a good start the following day.
As we set off for Saxilby, our first stop on the way to Lincoln and five miles from Torksey, it was cloudy and the chill north westerly breeze was gusting strongly. But the Sun shone brightly and the wildlife on the water didn’t seem to feel the cold like I did. The Mallards and Swans did their usual dunking routine with the water cascading over their heads and off their backs.
The former were doing lots of mating too and on one occasion the poor female was completely submerged for quite some time, so that I feared for her final survival, with the combined weights of two males on top of her, who seemed to fight bitterly with each other for their right to be the one to mate. However when she surfaced again she was quite unperturbed by the commotion and as one male chased the other off furiously, she just dunked her head, shook herself and her tail vigorously while flapping her wings, and sailed off quite unconcernedly in the other direction.
The village of Saxilby has quite a few shops as well as pubs, including a large Co-op which I went ashore to use. We stayed here for the night and after topping up at the fresh water point yesterday morning, we set off for Lincoln, a run of about six miles arriving early in the afternoon.

Arriving at Lincoln

I hadn’t been to the city for many years and have only been once before, while we were on holiday at Skegness when the children were small but I do remember being impressed by the cathedral then. It is a magnificent building, to rival any other in the country I think; or at least the ones that I’ve seen. The city was teeming with people around the shops in particular but the long steep exhaustive climb up to the cathedral and castle didn’t seem to deter people either; everywhere was very popular.

The long steep climb up to the Cathedral

Two things were different since my last visit thirty years ago. The first was that an entry fee was now payable to view the cathedral whereas before a donation only, had been desired. And the second difference was that the real Magna Carta was there to see last time, whereas yesterday there was just a facsimile on display; the real one is currently out on tour. However I was unable to read either the original or the fake so it didn’t make a lot of difference.
I spent a couple of hours there altogether, had a cup of tea in the cathedral restaurant before making the long descent back to the ship. I had looked at the castle in terms of a visit there too but on noting that the entrance fee I had paid already didn’t include this as well, I just looked in at the large well manicured lawn from the entrance gate then turned around and walked away.  
Back at the ship I used the rest of the day catching up with emailing and telephoning as I had a decent signal to use, for a change.

The Cathedral from the west

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