Singing in the rain
It’s the weekend of the Braunston Historic Boat Rally so we moved on to Caxton on Wednesday evening, stopping off at The Boathouse for dinner. We could see that there was some sort of private function going on in one of the marquees but otherwise it was quiet.
On Thursday morning I got up and went to work in Coventry for the day. It was gone five o’clock when I returned to the marina and I could immediately see how Sue had spent her day, the port side of Caxton reflected light like a mirror, it looks like the Greased Lightning product is as good as its reviews.
I got changed and then turned Caxton around on its mooring, a tricky move but it was executed beautifully and of course there was not one single person around to witness it. Once we had re-tied, I gave the starboard side of Caxton a good clean down ready for a coat of Greased Lightning.
We had dinner and then walked over to the beer tent to watch the play, a production call “The Bad Pennies”, performed by the Day Star Theatre Company. It was a very good show as usual but we were pretty tired and were glad to return to Caxton once it was finished.
I awoke briefly at 2.30 to the sound of torential rain battering on the roof of the boat but by the time my alarm went off at 6am, it was dry again. I went to work in Coventry again and despite my best efforts, didn’t manage to escape any earlier than normal. It had rained for most of the day so Caxton’s starboard side remained un-polished. We had dinner and then walked over to the beer tent where we met up with Mike, Jane, two of their three children and Jane’s dad, John. Mike and Jane live in the building that was once the Braunston bakery (it is the house with the Hovis sign on it for those who know Braunston). We had a drink then gave them a tour of Caxton before returning to the beer tent where we listened to the band playing there. The heavens opened again and the tent quickly filled with revellers from outside escaping from the rain. We all had a good singalong with the band until they had to stop at half past eleven.
It was overcast but dry when we got up on Saturday so I got up and emptied the cassettes before too many visitors arrived. We filled the water tank before we got ready and ventured out just after ten o’clock. There didn’t seem to be as many traders this year and there definitely wasn’t as many artists displaying their works. We returned to Caxton where Sue cooked some bacon and sandwiched it in a couple of bread buns that she had baked the day before. We took up our position in the cratch where we could watch the parade and shelter from the rain.
It absolutely hammered down for the duration of the parade and as the time went on, the crowds just dwindled and dwindled until there was only a handful of stalwarts left on the bridge. Like the number of traders, there seemed to be far fewer boats on parade than in previous years at this event. Within minutes of the parade ending, the rain stopped and shortly afterwards the sun came out. We watched the second parade with the cratch covers rolled up but it wasn’t too long before the rain came again so we called it a draw and retreated to the comfort of Caxton’s lounge where we just dossed for a while before we watched the Brazil v Chile match on television.
We knew that this year, the Mikron theatre group were performing in the beer tent at five o’clock and assumed that there would be some sort of musical act following on into the evening. The group turned out to be a very noisy tribute band. We didn’t go to listen to them, we didn’t need to, we could hear every word from inside the boat. I walked over to see what was going on at about nine o’clock, the noise was unbelievable and the tent was nowhere near as full as I would have expected.
On returning to Caxton I did a bit of boater’s blog reading and saw that our boat’s original owners, Joe and Lesley were at Flecknoe and heading towards Braunston. I left a comment on their blog to the effect that their old boat was in the marina and that if they were passing on Sunday, maybe they could stop by and say hello. I neglected to mention this to Sue so she was rather surprised on Sunday morning when there was a knock on the side of the boat, the penny dropped quickly when she saw Lesley and recognised her from pictures on their blog. We chatted to them and to their two friends who were with them for a little while and then said our farewells and let them go and enjoy the boat rally.
The weather had greatly improved by comparison to the day before so we just spent the morning looking at the boats before walking along the towpath to Braunston turn. This of course is where the rally boats have to turn around so we lingered for a while and watched the action from on top of one of the twin iron bridges that span the junction. All that was left to do was to call in at Midland Chandlers to buy a new chimney and a cartridge for the water filter. This done, we stopped off at the Boathouse for a refreshment or two before making our way back to the marina. We spotted Mike, Jane, Olivia and John who were sitting in the sunshine having a drink. We joined them and listened to the live music until everything finished at five thirty. That was it, the Historic Boat Rally was over for another year so we wandered back to Caxton and sat in the cratch, faced the west and took in the beautiful evening sunshine.