Monday, 14 October 2019

June 26-30 at Braunston for the Working Boat Rally

Wednesday 26 June at Braunston (Engine Hours 3757, 0 miles, 0 locks)
We have decided to have a chilled week here at Braunston.
We popped into Bottom Lock Chandlers and saw Diane plus Annie's builder Phill Abbott. They are closing their chandlers and moving their boat building business to Braunston Marina. Finding 50% reductions in the Wharf Narrowboats chandlery in their closing down sale, John bought new shiny pigeon box brasses, aneroid barometer, ventilator brasses and lots of replacement double switches on solid brass back plates, a boathook support, elastics, stainless steel shackles, etc etc. John bought their last 14mm rope to make two extra long centre ropes, useful for river locks, plus chain to make a mooring chain from (we have the rings), all for £140, with 50% off. We went back twice more later for other bits and pieces!
We had decided to have a full breakfast at the Gongoozlers Rest narrowboat cafe by Braunston Marina. John enjoyed his breakfast, although their sausage is not too good. After a walk around Braunston Marina and quick visit to chandlery and shop, we walked up the hill to the village. The impressive local butcher was cheery, and we bought a couple of pies plus two each of four different types of his sausages to try! At Tradline Fenders John bought thinner rope to make Turks Head knots from, to decorate the tiller. The new shiny brass ceiling ventilators and three switches look fabulous. The old switches now look tacky! We had a drink at the Admiral Nelson, chilled in the sun and watched tv later.

Thursday 27 June at Braunston
We walked up Dark Lane to the car with dirty washing and rubbish, which we dropped off at Midland Chandlers. John bought red oxide primer and clips to use with the rear boat cover. John spent the day making eye splices and back splices on the new centre ropes, plus checked and remade the back splices on the older ropes. He needed friend Norman's dad's wonderful knot book (pub. In the 1930s) to remind him what to do. Liana took the car to Nottingham, washed all our dirty washing, plus went shopping with mum Flo. After visiting garden centre and eating together at the Willow Tree down the road, Liana left her mum and returned to Braunston. We also saw Chesterfield canal trust working boat Python pass us to moor in the marina for the Rally this coming weekend. We watched England women beat Norway 3-0, playing well.

Friday 28 June at Braunston with Jan and Dave Warsop
We had a pleasant day walking around Braunston village and the marina area. The village butcher looks impressive – we bought two each of four different types of their sausages, including unusual black sausage/pork sausages. We did a few jobs around the boat. As they were selling their boat, friends Jan and Dave joined us in the evening to stay with us over the Working Boat Rally weekend and after, when we all took Python on to Alvecote. We met Pythoneers Dave Atkinson and Paul, too.

Saturday 29 June Braunston Working Boat Rally
After Liana made us all a full English breakfast, Jan and Dave disappeared to get Python ready for the day, with Dave and Shirl Atkinson, plus Sently, another Pythoneer.
Pythoneers were busy, so we both had a great day going round the stalls, admiring the moored working boats. The sun was scorching! As usual, we spent the late morning watching the boat procession from our favourite vantage point on the famous cast iron double Old Turn bridges, made by Horseleys in the late 1800s. Seeing pairs of working boats doing three point turns around the island is always entertaining, for a variety of reasons! When unsuspecting boaters arrive in the middle of the chaos, stewards try to help them navigate through, but it can be lively. We lunched on turkey, stuffing and cranberry rolls in the Gongoozler's Rest. In the beer tent, we met boaters and local bell ringers, who invited John to ring the church bells before the marina church service tomorrow.
In the evening, we had a few pints and a meal at the Admiral Nelson, sitting in the shade, as the sun was so hot. Sently and John had filling mixed grills, and everyone enjoyed their meals. Shirl, Dave, Sently, plus ourselves and Jan & Dave, had an amusing time together, with plenty of repartee. Oh yes: Liana and I are now becoming members of the Chesterfield Canal Trust.

Sunday 30 June Braunston Working Boat Rally
John had to dash to ring the bells, as we got the time wrong!. He rang Plain Hunt, Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Doubles (ok, ok, this is just for ringers who may want to know!!) with the local ringers plus two other boaters, including Elaine Scott, who rang wearing her traditional canal boatwoman's bonnet. The local ringers welcome boaters, and practise on Thursday evenings at 1930. Jan & Dave went to Python, who was one of the last two boats in Sunday's procession, so would set off about 1 pm. AJ Canopies quoted about £1550 for a rear canopy, when we popped in. We were invited to be on board, so, after a quieter morning at the Old Turn watching boats, we returned and enjoyed being part of the procession, for the first time. Dave Warsop did a great job steering Python, while we chatted to our CCT friends and looked decorative!

In the evening, we first ate the tasty chicken a la crème with rice Liana had prepared on Friday, then adjourned to the beer tent to enjoy the excellent band and cheap, tasty beer. As it got later, and kegs emptied, the beer got cheaper, first £2, then free! We were all exhausted (a euphemism?), so slept well (some people loudly!).

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