On Saturday morning, at 8 on the dot, we picked up our Streetcar from Churchill college and drove to Braunston. We liked this car more than the last one: although it is also a VW Polo, it is a petrol car, and a bit newer. Unlike the last one, it didn't stall all the time and was much better to drive. Its small engine made hills a bit of a struggle, but that was it. By 9:30 we were parked up at Braunston Marina and ready to go boating!
We headed for the canal, and looked for Chertsey, where we were to be staying in the hold in a tent overnight. It was easy to spot, even amongst all the other historic boats, as we have been following the process of its restoration with some avidity! Thankfully we had arrived in plenty of time to join the Parade which went off at 11am. We sat on Chertsey's backboards as Sarah expertly steered her wonderful boat along the Parade route, past the Marina entrance, up to Braunston Turn, reversing under the bridge and back down to enter the Marina and head all the way through it and back onto the canal. The whole process took about 3 hours! We saw many fabulous boats: there were a record 94 historic boats in Braunston for the rally.
Victoria and Chertsey ready for the off
Passing Branston Marina, with Archimedes and Ara looking fantastic fully loaded!
The Young Working Boaters Society (YWBS) stole the show with Dan's kit car parked on Liam's cut down BW boat Ariel!
James on Chiswick makes reversing round Braunston Turn look easy!
Here we are enjoying the ride. Note the excellent signwriting!
Entering the Marina
A boat unlike all the others!
As predicted, the intrepid punters who are on their way from Cambridge to Oxford in aid of Help for Heroes made their way through between the two parades. They're nearly there now, on the Oxford Canal. The Parade commentator made sure that they were well received.
The morning Parade over, we headed to the beer tent, having met (big)James and Emma on the bank. There, we found a conflab of bloggers, some of whom we'd met before and some we hadn't: the Alnwicks (there despite Graham's crutches), the Herbies, the Hadars and Simon from Tortoise. (We met various other forum members and bloggers throughout the weekend, on the towpath, on boats, and in the beer tent!) After a convivial few hours, and having bought a hippie dress for £3 from the hippie clothes stall, we headed back to Chertsey to make sure that our accomodation was sorted for the night. We set up a little tent in the hold, next to Jim's which was already up (he doesn't fit in Chertsey's cross bed!)
In the evening, we went for a walk, and came across a gathering of the YWBS guys in the hold of Sarah E's newly acquired Ling. Dan, Sarah, Liam and Kerry were there along with some others who were playing an accordion and singing! We spent the evening with them, which was a lot of fun, eventually heading to bed at about 11:30. James was very excited, as he was going to try his hand at steering Ling in the Parade on Sunday morning. To be continued...