Fri 5th September (Continued)
We returned to the Taft from our mooring by bridge 79 by crossing the bridge and walking along the canal bank as we had done before. We were surprised to find a fence at one point where there used to be none. It was easy to climb (just three iron bars) so we soon arrived at the Taft. Later we discovered that the neighbours were new, and no arrangement had been made with them, so we had been meant to walk along the road instead of the canal bank.
We met lots of other BCF members over tea and cake. The resident dog, Amber really hit it off with Oakley, Tracey’s guide dog, and they were rolling around on the grass and chasing each other round the garden with excitement.
In the marquee we set up the PA equipment that we had brought, before returning to the boat. There we met Sarah and Berni on Lion Star, and we gave them a copy of the programme.
Rob and Trish had also arrived on Mistol. Trish had been canoeing a section of the Trent.
We had some samosas on board, before returning to the Taft for an informal social in the marquee. There were about eight people in a circle, and every time some more people arrived, the circle widened until we had at least twenty people.
Peter Brooks shared our torch on the return to the boat, as the road section was really dark, and the gate padlock needed some light to set the combination.
No more boating since arriving at the Taft. 3 mice.
Saturday 6th September
The Taft weekend
A dewy misty morning was followed by a short time of prayer and worship, led by Vivienne Bull.
Then it was all hands to setting up tables for the barbecue, with 52 people. A very sociable time, even while queuing for the salad bar and turkey steaks.
We were trying to make plans to attend two funerals on Wednesday. Doris Armstrong, a lovely BCF lady, had her funeral in Nottingham at 10.00am, with cremation in Mansfield later. There was to be a celebration of the life of Graham Bell at 6.30pm in Mansfield Civic Centre. We could have had a lift to Doris’s but would have to rely on public transport to return from Mansfield, and we were not confident that it would be possible. If we hired a car from Lichfield, we would not get to Doris’s in time.
Moored by Taft bridge and Hugo’s tree
James was in charge of the evening entertainment. We had ten acts altogether, ranging from songs and poems to John Halford who whistled and hummed at the same time in harmony with himself! We kicked off with A long way down and Well, well, well. David Bull provided the keyboard backing for three acts. It was all well received and good fun.
We returned to the boats with Sarah and Berni from Lion Star
No Boating today
Sunday 7th September
Another damp and misty start to a sunny day.
We had a communion service in the marquee, wonderfully led by Martin Oram. James played guitar David Bull played keyboard, and David Botham played recorder. Then we all went to the quayside for a boat blessing ceremony to bless Sola Gratia, Tim and Tracey’s newly refurbished boat.
Martin with his rosemary
The bring and share lunch was good, and we had ours in the marquee as the sun was hot, although most of the tables were outside.
James went back to the boat with Ernie and Sandra, and Ernie had a look at our immersion heater which doesn’t seem to be working. He tested the electrics and found that there was power as far as the thermostat, but not through the element, so he thought it may be a faulty element. We have hardly used the immersion heater.
Back at the Taft there was tea and cake at 4pm, followed by a cheese supper which was meant to be at 6pm, but didn’t get going until about 7.30pm.
Taft bridge at sunset
All in all it was an excellent weekend of fellowship.
No boating today
Monday 8th September
The Taft weekend
A very misty moisty morning
Twelfth of Never went past. We really must try and have a chat with them.
For those that remained (about 15), we both led a time of praise and prayer for half an hour. We sang 10,000 reasons, To be in your presence, and We’ll walk the land.
Just after we had finished, James had a call from Ernie, who had had an idea about the immersion heater. He though the adjustable thermostat could be the one for turning it on, and as it is set to 75, it should be changed to zero. The other thermostat is factory set, and is the one designed to turn off the power.
There is no winding hole between the Taft and Great Haywood, 2 miles and 2 locks away (about an hour’s journey each way)
To get our PA system back onto the boat we either had to carry it nearly half a mile, or bring the boat back to the Taft. We would need to be in reverse, if we didn’t want to spend two hours going to Great Haywood and back.
Terry and Christine offered to take the gear on Grace, and drop it off on Gabriel. It was further complicated by towing Jubilee backwards (John and Janet Halford) because they were facing Great Hayward, but wanted to go to Rugeley.
So we loaded the PA system onto Grace and set off with Jubilee on tow. Jubilee had to be released when we reached bridge 79 as there was not room for two boats. We had to hold up another boat coming from Rugeley direction, while the PA was transferred onto Gabriel. It all worked as planned, and Grace towed Jubilee on to the winding hole half a mile further on.
(8th September continued under “The Taft to Swarkestone”)