Tuesday, 26 May 2015

What a weekend

Gosh, what an amazing weekend that was. After arriving at Crick and topping up the water tank, we found our mooring. Chris and Linda, expert mooring managers from the IWA National days, had volunteered to do harbourmaster and saw us into our space. They are going to be involved from an earlier stage next year, so the days of chaotic mooring arrangements may be over.

In addition, the temporary footbridge, which was quite scary last year, had been scaled up to a much more substantial structure, though at the price of completely blocking the towpath so that walkers had to go up one set of steps and down the other side. Bike riders, push chair pushers and dog walkers were not very happy about this, not surprisingly. The decking was a shiny alloy with loads of small holes through it. In the course of the weekend, a number of dogs suffered as a result with trapped claws. It is hoped that they will modify the plans next year to leave a ground level route past the structure.

As I'd expected, the Braidbar team was particularly good this year, coming together quickly both for the set up and working on the show-throughs. New members Mike, Lauraine, Nigel and Chris soon found their feet and I don't believe I heard a cross word spoken all weekend.

The boat itself was stunning and seriously unusual, with a diesel hydraulic drive, a full height back cabin and superb layout and design throughout. We were rewarded with yet another second place in the Favourite Boat in Show competition, coming just behind the Boating Leisure Services boat which featured a tug deck with double berth under and a perspex panel in the deck over the bed.

Seemingly this got the visitors very excited. One of these years we'll win again, but it's hard to see what else we can do; Integrity is probably the best boat Peter and Susan have ever turned out, Sanity Again not excepted.

Socially everything went with a swing too, starting with a meal in the Moorings for the team and some of the other visiting Braidbars. Various of us then catered on the Saturday and Sunday nights; Sanity Again was host to eight on the latter evening. We ended up with the women in the saloon and the men round the dinette. You can tell it was a good night, all were surprised to discover the way the time had flown by.

As usual, we finished with a meal for the team in the Moorings, generously paid for by the company. Chris and Ian organised a charades competition between courses which went with a swing. I even managed to get "veneer" across to the team I was in, which was pretty pleasing, and Sheila did the same with "lockgates".

We had a bit of a lie-in today, then engaged in some boat shuffling, pulling Sanity Again out of her slot to tie alongside Cala, so that the boat which had been outside us could get back on the towpath whilst someone was there to calm the dog they had on board. Both Priscilla II and Cala have gone now, so that the pack of Braidbars is reduced to ourselves and Mirabilis tied on the far side of the bridge.

We'll have a quiet couple of days, hopefully, before Richard Parry joins us on Friday to share the boating from here to Braunston. Unlike his predecessor, Richard has taken a lot of trouble to get to know the boating scene and take on board the boater's viewpoint, greatly to his credit.

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