Tuesday, 12 July 2011

In Need of a good rest!

The trouble with leaving blogging so long in between blogs is that there is so much to report on that a lot gets missed out but here we go;
Since my last blog we have had some hectic weekends, eaten loads of the wrong food and drunk far too many pints of beer & wine! But have had an excellent time doing it.
Over the years I have never been to Braunston by boat but have always driven down for the Saturday or Sunday and have thoroughly enjoyed the event.  This year we decided to take Darley, when we made the decision folks said “you won’t enjoy it Blossom” and how right they were.  We booked Darley in months ago and were looking forward to the event.  On arrival, after travelling down from Alvecote with Viv & Si off Monarch, we temporarily moored on the entrance to the marina bridge and found one of the yellow coated ‘organisers’ who stated we were to go back up the cut and moor abreast Whitby, but we told him that there was another boat against Whitby so were told to hang on a bit.  Minutes later Whitby came past having been moved to accommodate a pair, so that plan was scuppered.  After hanging about for about half an hour we were told there was no-where for us to moor and we would have to go below Braunston bottom lock, i’ll let you fill in my answer!  The only other option was that if we could find somewhere and sort ourselves out.  We went inside the marina and spoke to the lovely couple on ‘The Fudge Boat’ as to would they mind Darley and Monarch mooring on the pontoons behind them.  As they had no problems with that we reversed into the marina and tied up and that’s where we stayed for the weekend. On the Sunday afternoon we joined the parade and when we got to Braunston Turns we carried straight on heading for Newbold that night.  We went intpo The Barley Mow for a good meal, reasonably priced and were entertained by a 60’s Karaoke (and I mean the age of those singing) in the back room.  Our intention was, as we were on holiday, to have a relaxing jaunter back to Alvecote, stopping at Suttons and having an early tea/late dinner in The Greyhound, but that was not to be.  Earlier in the day, Kangaroo & Australia had left Braunston loaded with 41 tons of bagged coal and as we approached Suttons Dawn’s mobile rang.  After a short conversation she came to me on the back end and said “that was Laurence, he wants to tranship 4 tons of coal into Darley as he is stuck at Bridge 13"  thats OK but it’s past Suttons!  In just over an hour we were chucking 4 tons into Darley then we were off. 

What started out as an easy, lazy Day ended up as a 13 hour day and throwing 4tons into Darley at Griff, out of Darley at Atherstone bottom and back into Kangaroo, and all because some scroats decided to chuck the bridge parapet into the bridge ‘ole.  On arrival back at Alvecote we discovered that the Samuel Barlow was not open so having had nothing to eat all day we ordered a Chinese set meal for four and we all sat down in darley’s back cabin and pigged out.  As we were on holiday for another two days we stopped at the marina and chilled returning home on the Tuesday, only to return two weeks Later for the Alvecote gathering.
What a difference this boat gathering was. Arrived on Friday night and spent a very sociable evening in the Samuel Barlow amongst many friends drinking reasonably priced well kept Guinness whilst being entertained by the Marina’s sign writers rock band, which by the end of the evening had every body on the dance floor shaking their bits! The pub finally closed at about 1.30am so coalboys Tom and Jay came back to Darley and we continued to drink and chatt until 3.30 Saturday morning just as the sun was rising.  Needless to say Saturday morning brought with it a thumping hangover as I cleaned all the brass inside and out. 

As all the working boats were moored in the marina pontoons end on, it gave the public etc easy access to all the boats which numbered about 40 including
Joshers ~  Kangaroo & Australia, Kestrel & Verbena, Clover & Fazeley, Greyhound, Otter, Jaguar, Tench, Emu, Sunny Valley, Stafford,  Petrel, Dove, Monarch & Grimsby, Hare, Python, Panther, Madeley, Bream, Linda & Longton.
GU’s ~ Darley, Hadley, Cedar, Achilles & Ara, Nuneaton & Brighton, Thea, Chertsey, Victoria
Cowburn & Cowpar’s ~ Skylark, Swallow
As well as iceboat Laplander,FMC dayboat Elizabeth, Bantock Sucsess. 
Over the weekend there were lots of other things going on like morris dancers, welly wanging as well as trade boats and stands.. A competition was also  held for the best turned out historic working boat with every boat owner having to vote for their choice. The trophy, the Les Lapworth trophy was presented by the late boatman’s wife Alice and was awarded to butty Verbena which was a worthy winner (got my vote anyway)  All in all it was a brilliant weekend, but now I need a week off to catch up on sleep and dry out (alcohol)  And so to my final overall summary of the last two boat gatherings:
BRAUNSTON
Meeting and chatting with friends............................................great (if we walked to them)
Seeing all the boats.......................................................................great
Music in beer tent Friday.............................................................very loud crap
Music in beer tent Saturday........................................................even louder crap
Beer in beer tent.............................................................................overpriced crap
Food available on site......................................................................overpriced crap
Public/friends seeing Darley.........................................................didn’t happen
Will we go again................................................................................not by boat
ALVECOTE GATHERING.
Overall summary of the weekend:
Meeting and chatting with friends........................................great all weekend
Seeing all the boats...................................................................great all weekend
Music in pub Friday....................................................................excellent
Music in pub Saturday...............................................................good but very loud
Beer in pub.................................................................................. excellent and fair priced
Food available on site.................................................................OK but limited
Public/friends seeing Darley....................................................total access all weekend
Will we go again...........................................................................can’t wait till next year but until then, as always,
Don’t bang ‘em about
Blossom.

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