Despite the drought, (actually it’s raining as I write –hooray!) we are in a state of some excitement about boating this summer.
I believe the Queen may quite excited too if her minions have informed her that Kath and I will be accompanying her on her Jubillee cruise down the Thames in June. Admittedly not on the same boat (a tinge of disappointment for her there), but on board Nb Indigo Dream. Yes, Sue and Richard have generously invited us as crew on the big day, perhaps because we didn’t panic when it got a tad choppy during the trial rehearsal last year (remember my pic of NB Leo looking as though it was about to dive like a submarine). I believe there will be 998 other boats there too, but I don’t suppose anyone will notice.
The organisers seem to be leaving nothing to chance, having recruited King Canute (well, the Thames Barrier), to stop the tide for a day, a precaution I am very grateful for, having seen how fast the tide can rip through London. We have had to fill in security forms with the sorts of details you might have to disclose when applying for a job with MI6. Even now I suspect that we are under constant surveillance from the house opposite and I’m sure I saw a frogman bob up behind Herbie on the Leicester arm recently. On the form, we had to declare our role on the vessel. It was decided between us and Richard and Sue that putting me down as tail gunner or munitions technician might fail to rouse the security staff sense of humour, so we settled for crew assistant or some such. Thinking about it afterwards I would have liked to offer myself as “oiler” which is a splendid job title often seen on old steam ships.
However it’s not all good news. There is a strict alcohol ban for the day, including 8 hours before the event! Well everybody has to be a hero sometime.
We get extra treats too, for we have to attend tideway rehearsals during May. If they are anything like last year’s they should be enjoyably chaotic.
Our own organisation for that period is somewhat less thoroughly planned and we have a lot to fit in. It is the same weekend as Crick Boat Show and as we have free tickets and Herbie is moored on site we will be attempting to do the show and the Jubillee pageant. That leaves us with the small matter of getting from Crick to Canary wharf for six am on pageant day and then back again for the rest of the show.
In the weeks prior to all that we also have to fit in our annual sailing weekend on the Norfolk Broads, and then in the week before the Crick show and the pageant, we will be guest crewing on another well known boat, for we’ll be giving Adam a hand in bringing Briar Rose up to Crick from his new moorings at Thrupp wharf. No not Thrupp on the Oxford. This one is just north of Milton Keynes on the GU. There are quite a few heavy locks between there and Crick, not to mention the Watford staircase, so the poor lad needs a hand as Adrian is unavailable. Actually we’re looking forward to that too. A chance to work on a superior vessel to our own.
So that’s May and June boating for us – all on other people’s boats. Herbie will be getting jealous.