Monday, 14 September 2015

The Taft weekend

Fri 4th September

Rugeley to the Taft

We had an early start from the moorings at Rugeley. Still no sign of John and Jan on Jubilee as we went slowly past.  There were quite a few boats moving. We had seen about five before 9am.

We arrived at Taft Bridge and found a mooring nose on to Ichthus.  Essence was also there.  There was a black and white cat from another boat, and it had been going on board everyone else’s boat and eating other cat’s food. It was called Simba.

We loaded up our two trolleys with PA equipment and walked to the Taft, where we helped with setting up the marquee.  Lots of people trying to find numbers on poles and connect them together.

The pole dance

Peter supervising


Then we put out tables and chairs, and set up the PA system.

We went back to the boat for lunch and a snooze. We found Simba sitting on the worktop (Hugo never does!), with Hugo’s plate licked clean (Hugo never does!). She was summarily evicted. We put down some more food for Hugo and placed it in the bedroom, the furthest from the cat flap.

When we returned to the Taft for the social in the evening, as set out in the BCF Word, we discovered that there had been tea laid on at 4pm, and many people had returned to boats or caravans for their evening meal.  Julie had apparently sent out an email, but we had not received ours.

Finding ourselves on our own, we started running through a few songs that we don’t do very often.  Alan Dilnot joined us on bongos, and then a few others emerged from boats or caravans and gathered for a very impromptu concert.

It was quite chilly and damp, so we returned to the boat and put the Webasto heating on for a while before going to bed.  We had to chase the other cat away again.

0 locks, 2 miles.

Sat 5th September

The Taft

Coffee and chat in the morning, meeting some people who had come for the day. Alan and Geraldine had also arrived in their motor home.

Then the excellent barbecue lunch laid on by Peter and Julie. 

There was a lot of chatting during the afternoon while team games were going on. 

 Putting the world to rights

Don Celia Geraldine Alan David

We also took the opportunity to set up the PA system in preparation for the evening entertainment. David Bull had brought another two mic stands and a mic, so we could get four mics in a row.

Jan was MC this time and we started off as a foursome with “Low Bridge”, and “Well, Jesus was a man..” Alan Dilnot joined us on bongos. There were various acts after that. Monologues, poems, songs, jokes, stories.  We finished off the evening with “Miles and Miles of Poly”, “Oh When the Saints”, and “Pick a Bale of Cotton”.  It was all great fun.

Back at the boat, the black and white cat was again hanging around.  When we were on board, she started pulling the cat flap about every thirty seconds, which was most annoying.  We decided to deal decisively with the situation.  We set the flap on the “in only” setting.  It was quiet for half an hour, and then the cat crept in, probably thinking we had gone to bed, and hoping for more food.  Hugo was sitting on the dinette watching.  James walked towards the intruder, who tried to escape but couldn’t open the cat flap.  After throwing two cups of water over the cat at close range, James opened the door and our invader ran off into the night.  We don’t think she came back.

No boating today

Sun 6th September

The Taft

We were up fairly early and got the PA ready in the marquee for the service at 10am.  As it was all traditional hymns, we left it to David Bull on his keyboard. It was a good time, led very well by Martin Oram.
Martin Oram

Singing at the Taft

More singing at the Taft

This was followed by a bring and share lunch, and, as usual, everyone brought more than was needed.  There was a lot more chatting and catching up.

Geraldine Alan Shadow

In the evening only a few were left, in a typical boaters circle in the marquee.

No boating today

Mon 7th September

The Taft to Shugborough

 Morning reflections at Taft Bridge 69

Those that were left assembled again at 9am for an informal time of prayer and worship.  We led the music, and decided not to use the PA system, to avoid any feeling of “us and them”.  Many people took part in the prayers.

We packed up the PA system and loaded it all onto Amethyst, as David and Sue were heading back towards our boat. After all the farewells, we joined them on board, and when we came into the side by Gabriel, we offloaded everything and stowed it away. Amethyst carried on, and we made our own preparations to leave.

PA gear and instruments on Amethyst

Other boats also left, including Tony and Pat on Paws 4 Thought, whom we had met briefly on the Stratford Canal earlier. It had been good to meet them properly over the weekend.  

Paws 4 Thought

It had been an excellent weekend, but sadly this is the last time at this venue. Neither Peter nor Julie are in great health, and an event like this takes its toll.  So now we are on the lookout for an alternative place to hold a summer event. It will be a hard act to follow.

The rest of the day will be on the next blog, “The Taft to Rugeley”.  This will include boat painting at Tixall Wide, catching crayfish, a visit to Shugborough Hall, and shopping and church in Rugeley.

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