Garden Centre visit after family lunch but Debbie is ill and then an evening walk to Buckden Marina learning a lot about the gravel pits to collect The Lady and cruise her back home

A slow start to the day with my normal Saturday morning period in bed reading The Economist, Times etc, both before and after breakfast. Eventually up and to dress and let the ducks out. Eleven eggs this morning which is about the average. We are selling all we produce at the moment and I wonder whether the price ought to be increased from the 5pence each we are charging. Out, then, by car and first to Arthur Ibbett where we find that they have not secured the cable needed for our hedge trimmer. On to Buckden Marina and with better luck – The Lady’s engine repairs are ready and she is ready for collection. Back to St Neots to do some shopping and await Daniel’s return from Kimbolton. Poor Debbie stays in the car sleeping and is obviously still not well after catching the tummy bug that has stricken others in her new school class. Once Daniel arrives on the country bus we all set off for our Happy Eater ritual and drive back via Eaton Socon factory and garden centre. At the centre we buy ice creams, look at the garden furniture and replenish our stocks of ‘Ant Doom.’ Recently we have been plagued by ants and this powder is poured along the crevices to keep them at bay. We return home to a cup of tea and I settle down to watch the Rugby League cup final on TV between Wigan and Widnes. The Wigan team is full of colonial guest players and I am therefore pleased to see Widnes win. Then to tea of cockles, strawberries and a chocolate éclair cake and after, nobody else wanting to come, I walked 4 ½ miles to Buckden/Offord to get The Lady.

It was a 2 hour tiring walk but I enjoyed it as it gave me an unparalleled opportunity to see the great area of gravel/mineral extraction and understand the plans for the areas development under the recreational plan. I walked first along the riverside foot path to Great Paxton and out across to the moorings near Wray House. Our old boat Utopia II is moored here and kept in reasonable condition by its new owner. Then turning at right angles to the river onto a public footpath leading in the Southoe direction to pass through the current pit workings, I turned back on getting there to a course parallel with the river again to pass through Boughton, Diddington and then across country to Offord Cluny . I saw large numbers of Mallard and Wood Pigeon on the way and also Pheasants, Partridges, Warblers, Skylarks as well as all the more common birds. I heard no shooting on this occasion as perhaps this season has ended to allow them to breed. Arriving at Buckden Marina in late evening I unmoored The Lady, locked through at Offord and cruised quickly home in failing light. It really came home to me today just how large the scale of mineral extraction is in the Little Paxton area which is a real parallel to the old peat workings of the Norfolk Broads. I resolve today to write to the planning officer to try to overcome their perception of practical problems in connecting the largest chain to the river.