Guess what came in the middle of the night?
That's right, rain. Lots and lots of rain.
We woke up in the morning to grey skies and sheets of rain pounding the boat.
It wasn't going to ease-up anytime soon.
We headed to the St. Ives Lock, where we found ourselves in a queue. I went on the deck and looped a rope around a cleat, to hold our spot in the line. Even though I was wearing a rain jacket, it was so windy that the rain was blowing sideways and I was soaked through to my underwear as I was stood holding the rope.
It was miserable.
After speaking with other boaters, we found out that the river was flooded and that it would be dangerous to continue.
It was without a doubt, the best news that I received on the entire trip.
Dan called the weekend emergency line for the Bridge Shipyard in Ely and explained our situation. It took a few hours to sort out, but we were directed to bring the boat to a shipyard in St. Ives.
The owner of the boat company drove over and picked Dan up, so that Dan could get our car from Ely. Zoe and I gleefully packed up our luggage. The owner was going to be driving the boat back to Ely, so we left him all of our unused groceries. This was another piece of good news, as packing up the groceries would have been a huge hassle and we would have likely thrown much of it out. I hope that he used it, but even if he didn't, at least we didn't have to bother with the clean up.
I was so happy to get out of spending a third night on the boat. The whole time that we were packing up, I was thinking about the warm shower that I was going to take and how were were going to be sleeping in a comfortable hotel bed, that was dry and didn't have spiders or mold. Heaven.
Boating holidays are not for everyone. They are certainly not for me. Truthfully, I can't imagine who would like them. If you're reading this and you're a fan of boating holidays, please leave a comment and let me know what you like about them. I'm genuinely curious!
Here is the apocalyptic sky as we were leaving St. Ives.
It rained off and on during our drive back to Newbury.
On a previous trip to England, we ate at a Little Chef, which is kind of like a English version of Denny's. It was terrible. Maybe I was still basking in my post-boat glow, but our lunch at Little Chef wasn't too bad this time. They even gave us a whole handful of complimentary lollipops when we paid our bill. Score.
The rain had stopped when we were passing the legendary Silverstone Circuit. It was late in the afternoon, but since my stepson, Felix, is such a huge fan of race cars, we thought that it couldn't hurt to try to see the track.
We went to the gift shop and a nice employee told us that there was a race going on and that if we asked the guard, he might let us watch. We went to the guard, prepared with a story of a little kid and his dreams of racing, but the guard just waved us through without a hassle. We arrived in time to see the last race of the day and we were the only visitors in the stands. The whole stadium was empty, except for those people directly involved in the race. We couldn't believe our luck!
The track is enormous and when the cars whizzed by us, it was deafening. The best part was watching how excited Felix was to see his first race. He was transfixed.
We continued to the Hilton Newbury, where we traded in our last night on the boat, for an extra night in a family suite.