About Us

My photo
In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Last day, another flypast and a couple of mishaps.

Wow, we have been so lucky especially as the BBC news showed the devastation the thunderstorms caused to Birmingham and the surrounding area. Missed us completely and so lucky to have 25 deg + temperatures.

Monday 28th
Usually, on the last day, the numbers of attendees are smaller but not today! Hordes came in through the gates and it was another hot and hectic day. The Hurricane flypast came at approx 2.50pm and once again brought the place to a standstill. This was also the only day we had to make an announcement for St Johns first aiders. A lady slipped by the lock badly twisting her ankle. The ambulance had to be called and we heard later that she may have sustained a hairline fracture. Then almost two hours later a lady who moored at the Langley Mill boatyard was crossing the lock, slipped and fell in. Thankfully no ambulance was needed this time but the first aiders monitored her vital signs for quite some time before giving the all clear.

I managed a few hours away from the Tombola stall so walked the length of the towpath below the lock. Found Dawn Rose the Cuckoo boat with it's sail up. Caused me no end of concern as their anchorage was just mooring spikes hammered into the ground. I had visions of a gust of wind filling the sail and the boat heading off into the distance!

Back above lock and found Dan from the boatyard displaying some engines. No doubt you knowledgeable folk would know exactly what make they are. To me, they are just engines!!

Paul King was the official photographer for the ECP&DA and these next lot are all his taken over the three days.

Trade Boats and stalls. Top L personalised printing and ground Coffee. Bottom R more of the ground coffee and Toy stall

Top L Home made ciders and Lollipop boat.   Bottom L Bonzi and dog food stall

Top L me on the Tombola and LDK. Bottom L James and Debbie Pen Makers boat.

Top and Bottom L day entertainment. Top R Parrot entertainment! and Bottom R Cake boaters bake-off. Mine was the banana loaf with cream cheese icing. I didn't win!!!!
 The site was officially closed by 5 pm and we all breathed a sigh of relief that the three days had gone so well. The feedback from the public, trade boaters and trade stalls holders were glowing and all asked if we could do it all again next year. The answer to that from all of the rally committee was a resounding NO. As much as we enjoyed the whole three days the months of work involved in bringing everything together was enormous. I think 5 years to the next one will be just about right.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

It was the Hurricane today as show stealer.

Crikey I'm that behind with the blog, it's all the partying we do every night I haven't had a chance to put fingers to keyboard. So here goes catch-up....

Sunday 27th

Started slow as people came in dribs and drabs. As usual, I was manning the tombola stall whilst Ian was again out along the towpath sorting out problems in his Harbour Master roll. The sun shone and the day warmed nicely and the public started to arrive in droves. All the traders appeared to be busy and once the beer tent opened, it was a mad exodus to the marquee to quench thirsts. Barlows did another sterling job feeding the hungry thousands and by the time the Hurricane was due everyone was wilting in the heat. But that didn't stop the anticipation of the flypast and again we were not disappointed.

Today was also the day for the fun dog show. I expected utter chaos but all the dogs behaved impeccably and one of our very own bloggers Debbie with Dudley taking second for the best pedigree dog.

Debbie and Dudley

Judge Cheryl from the white house.

Annie McDonald with Tilly Pin (white) took 1st in waggiest tail

So here is another batch of photos of another tiring but productive day of the second day of the rally.

Monday 28 May 2018

ECP&DA rally day 1 and a Spitfire steals the show.

What a great start to the rally. Everything went like clockwork although we did have one or two glitches. The stall traders arrived bright and early and all were set up ready to go by 10am. The band arrived for their walk down to Anchor bridge, they were being taken from there to the rally site by historic boats Bath and Dawn Rose.

Dead on the allocated time for the opening they arrived and sailed into the open lock. Now that is where the first glitch happened. Bottom gates were closed, the band started to play and....ah, why are they still at the bottom?  Noone had thought of taking windlasses to bring the boats up. A good 5 minutes sitting in the bottom of the lock playing their instruments before Dave on Bath signalled to Ian for a windlass. Frantic race back to FS and finally they band ascended.

Izzie & Dave.
 Once the bands had left the boats the opening ceremony began and then the second glitch. The wireless mike would have worked brilliantly if the tents hadn't been erected in the line of sight of the receiver. To say we caught every other word is an understatement! Never mind, most standing nearby heard what was said.

Norman (Chairman) on the mike with the Mayor by his side. Next to the Mayor is Shirley Norman's wife.

From then on the festival went brilliantly. Footfall was excellent and the weather wonderful. The Spitfire flypast was a tad early but giving us four flypasts instead of three made up for the surprise as it arrived. The site closed at 4.40pm and then it was time for the partying for the boaters in the marquee. A fantastic end to day 1.

East Midlands today filming the band.

Selling tea, coffee and Prosecco.

Entertainment during the day
 I took these photos before the site opened.

Sunday 27 May 2018

Day 1 and ECP&DA rally is live on East Midlands today.

Friday 25th

It rained! It was cold and we all hoped this wasn't in for the weekend. East Midlands today came to interview our Chairman Norman and stayed all day as unbeknown to us the weather forecast given by Anna Church was to aired live at 6.30pm.

Norman getting very wet during the interview.

Anna Church
The majority of the day was trying to tick off all the boxes before the big event. All but 4 boats had arrived and Ian with much-needed help from the volunteers moved boats into their final position.

 By 6 pm it was time for the carvery. Massive take up on this, so much so, that halfway through service they ran out of veg. The good news was the next batch was almost cooked but we did have a wait of about 10 minutes. It was worth the wait, the Lamb, Pork and Beef were cooked to perfection without any drying out so if anyone wants a really good caterer then Barlows is your man.

That's the queue at the back

Fitzy kept us entertained throughout the evening and the beer, cider and wine flowed. The bar was much admired, argy-bargy looked great.

Saturday dawned fine and sunny thank goodness and we were all up before 7am to let in the traders. More from the actual rally tomorrow.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Getting closer

What a day. Started tame enough but soon became manic. Most of the Trades boats have arrived although we had heard one was stuck on the other side of Anchor bridge with a knackered starter motor. I think Dan the owner of Langley Mill boatyard may be able to help get him moving again.

Not sure how many other boats have arrived below the lock. I took this photo late morning and I know from what Ian has said that loads more had turned up this afternoon.  Only trouble is that only 15 boats are in their correct mooring so I can see Ian doing a lot of boat manoeuvring in the morning.

We also had another two historics take their place above the lock, Chertsey and Dove. Trout and Bath were already here. Then later this afternoon the last of the private boats went into ECP&DA basin. To get them in meant moving boats out of the way and through the swing bridge including James and Debbie on Lois Jane moored next to us. We had loads of help for this task and all boats were back on their respective moorings within an hour. No photos I'm afraid as both Ian and myself were on the two boats that needed poling across but we had quite a few gongoozlers watching and no doubt hoping one of us would end up hanging on for dear life on the end of the pole.

So more photos of the rally prep.

And this evicted from our boat,

Blog Archive