Thu 4th June
We started with the usual 8 am Prayer Meeting, in the pub garden. As well as well as discussing the plans for the day and praying for people and events, we prayed over the field and the boats.
Morning prayer time
Prayerwalking round the garden
Praying on the towpath
The water level had risen overnight so we were able to pull the boat in to the side.
Several school assemblies took place locally, but we were not personally involved. Instead, we took the opportunity to practice some songs, with John and Jan Halford, who play recorder and fiddle respectively.
No boating today
Fri 5th June
8am Prayer meeting again, during which we prayed for Saturdays weather, which was forecast as having 40mph winds.
We had some school children visiting the boats, and we were helping out on Mistol.
James was at the stern to explain how the steering worked. There was sign there saying “Please don’t walk on the water”. James asked the kids if they knew of anyone who had walked on the water. The only name they came up with was Dynamo!
Rob had a keen crowd when he showed off his magnet
A group of special needs kids turned up without prior warning, and were given a tour of the boat. It was a challenge to get them up and down the steps but they all achieved it with help, and they were a delight.
Sharing stories after the youngsters had gone
We spent some time finalising our music programme for the evening, before having a barbecue in the pub garden.
We then set up our instruments in the pub. We discovered that our new mic was missing the adaptor that allows it to fit on the mic stand. After some panic involving thinking of alternatives such as gaffer tape, James returned to the boat and found a spare one in our oddments drawer.
Strangely, the song that seemed to go down best was “Pick a bale o’ cotton”, which James used to sing over 40 years ago with friend Ignatius. We had heard a group singing it at the Rickmansworth Festival last month and we decided to try it.
John and Jan joined us very capably for the second set. It all went down very well, but we could have done with another performer to fill in some gaps and extend the time. Roger and Mirjana, we miss you!
Hazel and I had a good chat with girl from Germany at the end, but when the background music started we needed to shout to communicate and that doesn’t help our voices.
No boating today
Sat 6th June
8am Prayer meeting
Thankfully the forecast 40mph wind was now shown reduced to 20mph.
We had breakfast at the pub. Hazel ordered a mega breakfast for James by accident. He had wanted two sausages, two bacon, and two eggs, but he ended up with three of everything. Not wanting to offend anyone, he still ate it all!
James with his mega breakfast (photo: Alan Dilnot)
We had a lift to the Elim church where at 9.30am we had a time of prayer and communion, led by Anne, the pastor. Then we helped to load tables and chairs into a van, before going back to the pub garden to set up stalls and PA equipment.
We had one or two challenges, which made us think we were doing the right thing. Firstly there was a lot of distortion from the mixing desk, so we used ours from the boat instead, which seemed to work OK.
Then the wind caused some damage to two gazebos, which had to be taken down.
David wearing the damaged gazebo to stop it blowing away
Putting away the collapsed gazebo frame
Then we had some power cuts which periodically caused the bouncy castle to deflate. It also stopped the piped music, which was sourced from a laptop with a low battery, so every time it happened, the laptop had to be rebooted.
Good numbers in the garden
Playing with toy boats
Bob the landlord and Andy
Andy was therefore late on with his magic tricks with a gospel message. We were correspondingly late with our songs.
Our set was OK, joined by John and Jan once again, but, as expected, we did not have a participating audience, as they were all over the field patronising the stalls.
Boat trips on Remus
It was good to see a few additional BCF people – Elaine who was staying on Gospel Belle, David and Mary Litchfield, David and Carole Brennand, and Ian and Jan James.
When we returned to our boat, Margaret and Barry arrived unexpectedly on Travellers Joy. They are boaters from the Wey Navigation who used to be part of Byfleet Boat Club, and it was great to see them.
No boating today
Sun 7th June
Once again the day started with the 8am prayer meeting in the pub garden, after which Alan gave us a lift to the Elim Church to set up ready for the service.
It is always “interesting” connecting to other PA systems. We used our own mixing desk, and fed the sound via tape output leads into the church amplifier, which is usually only used for playing CD’s and iPlayers. It worked fine.
The church was packed, as our team had more than doubled their usual numbers.
Don preached about the concept of eternity.
Team members at the Elim Church before the service
Leading the worship songs (Photo: Alan Dilnot)
We had a lift back afterwards, and we packed away our instruments and PA system (until the next time)
There was a free cream tea in the afternoon, there were lots of people around, and Remus was doing boat trips, as they had done yesterday. The weather was excellent. There was a singer with backing tracks who also gave short messages in between songs. Margaret and Barry came to join us.
Hazel with Margaret and Barry
The dreaded selfie
When everything was packed away, we walked to an Indian restaurant in Ilkeston, who managed to fit in 23 people at short notice.
A very successful mission, which has brought the pub and the Elim Church further into the heart of the community.
No boating today