As a regular user of the West Lynn ferry service, I have noticed its car park has been full since the roadworks began on the A47 Saddlebow interchange.
More people have been opting to use the ferry to cross the River Great Ouse to get to King’s Lynn town centre rather than sitting in queuing traffic on the A17.
And who can blame them? You stand a much better chance of getting to work on time instead of anxiously glancing at the car clock and moving only an inch.
“Hopefully we will keep some of the new customers,” said ferry owner Steve Kingston, who has seen passenger numbers increase by around a third.
I asked him what his thoughts were on the current parking situation, which has resulted in customers parking in nearby streets.
Steve, 65, said: “The car park is not big enough, it never has been, but there’s nothing we can do. But parking could be tidier.”
I agree. The spaces left between cars at the moment are quite big, yet not enough to park in. If we all budge up a little, someone else could also park. Steve and his wife Gail have run SN Kingston Marine Services since the millennium.
From Monday to Saturday, Steve gets up at 5am to ensure everything is ready for his passengers at 6.45am.
This time of year must be hard for Steve with the cold, dark mornings and evenings. I shudder at the thought of walking in shallow water when the tide is out – I feel cold just walking down a supermarket freezer aisle with my coat on.
“If you have the right gear, it’s fine,” Steve said as he points to the coats, hats and waders in his office
But come the summer he, of course, enjoys going back and forth in the sunshine and it’s a lovely view for passengers as you can see the quay and the top of the Minster.
Ironically, Steve, who was raised in Clacton, Essex, admits he is not a strong swimmer but taught himself to row at just eight years-old. “I love being on the water, not in it,” he said.
As a youngster, he would take passengers in his dingy from Brightlingsea to Point Clear for a much cheaper rate than the usual ferry service.
“I used to spend my takings in the sweetshop,” he said.
Now a grandad, Steve has his sights set on retirement but he won’t sell the business, which has been for sale since July last year, to just anyone.
“We’ve had a reasonable response but we’ve not had anyone with the right nature. You can’t run this from an armchair,” he said.
So, here’s hoping whoever takes over can provide as dedicated a service as Steve and Gail. Come rain, shine or even blizzards, the ferry is always ready to set sail.