River Cruise on Board M.C. Belle, September 7th & 8th 1937

The diary entries by my dad and his friend Sammy continue in the second week of their cruise up the Cam; it’s 1937 and the two eighteen year olds are joined by friends to enjoy fishing.


We were up again at 6:15a.m. and Don and George went shooting and Jim and I fished. Jim was the only one in our party who did any good, with a few, small, silver bream.


After our breakfast which consisted of three rashers of bacon, an egg and 4 fried tomatoes we went for a swim just below the staunch.

A sing song on the old gate on the bank was then proposed. The sun was very hot.

In the afternoon we fished for eels and Don got two nice ones which we are going to fry. I only caught two bootlaces which we used for baiting the dead lines which we put out at night.

We heard an interesting discussion on fishing the river between Mr Knight and some other gentlemen who came down this evening in a big white boat from Hemingford Grey. We turned in for a good night at 11:30p.m.


We had a late morning this morning and we did not get up before 9:15a.m. We had a large breakfast of bacon & eggs and fried tomatoes and then proceeded to wash down the boat from stem to stem and after checking over the engine and ticking her over, we went to say cheerio to Mr Ellis. Mrs Ellis had one of her Queen’s Pudding’s for us but we were not staying at the staunch for dinner but when she said she’d make it for us Friday we promised our return.

At 12 noon we left our moorings at the staunch and pushed on to St Ives, where were  to pick up Mr Nunn on the Thursday and arrived there at 12:15a.m. just below the staunch where we made our moorings.  We changed our clothes and went to look at St Ives and finally had a  very nice lunch at a café opposite the market place. On our return we fished but were not successful in catching anything really big. Only a few dace in fact. This continued throughout the evening. An at supper time we turned in and played cards until 11:0 p.m.

Once again, the boys were after particular fish, in this case eels to eat and ‘bootlaces’, young eels, to use as bait. The picture of Jim is obviously taken on another occasion when he went shooting with Snick and Sammy. They also caught bream and dace. Obviously this St Ives is the Cambridgeshire market town, not the Cornish seaside town! It is difficult to imagine young men sitting on an old gate for a sing song these days!


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