Friday 16th September
En-route to Jannock we stopped at Lee Sanitation and collected the ‘manual pump-out repair kit’ that I had reserved for collection earlier in the week. After loading all our stuff aboard Jannock I set Brenda off towards the top of Stockton flight and I drove the car to park it in the little car-park opposite the Boat Inn. I then walked to the top lock and had it ready when Jannock arrived. This is the first time we’ve approached the rally at Blue Lias down the flight without a horde of helpers that have walked up from the bottom to assist. We completed the flight in 1 hour and 15 minutes which we thought was good. On exiting the bottom lock we found eight boats already in attendance and we winded in the arm and moored alongside Lord Toulouse, third out from the bank. Having assessed the mooring situation we decided to shuffle a few boats around and then moor Jannock in the ‘buffer-zone’ (the mooring right outside the Blue Lias terrace immediately in front of the bridge) which made more space available for the fifteen boats expected. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent catching up with people we hadn’t seen for about a year and me collecting everybody's money to pay for the rally.
Saturday 17th September
A lazy start was followed by an overhaul session with our self pump-out equipment to replace the perished bellows and prepare it for our return journey through Braunston on Monday. The weather was threatening to rain in the afternoon when it was planned to have a boules tournament on the lawn so I opened up the Blue Lias function room and set up Brenda’s Wii so that we had an indoor alternative. This turned out to be an excellent insurance policy as the Beeky Boules competition passed without any of the threatened rain interfering with proceedings. Tea and cake on the lawn, that followed, was moved into the function room due to the rain clouds finally arriving and an impromptu Wii ten pin bowling competition started.
Our evening entertainment was provided by Life an Times who sang the songs from their production Where the working boats went. During the intermission a poor attempt was made at devouring the Ploughman’s buffet which saw quite a few French sticks being returned to the kitchens un-eaten. The evening was rounded off with Cutweb Infinity Raffle.
Sunday 18th September
The booking in time for items to be included in the morning auction was 10.00 and so no laying in bed this morning. I had obtained some un-labelled Vale VPA beer in presentation boxes of 3 bottles and had made up new labels identifying it as Bowthruster, Cutweb Pale Ale. These seemed to sell well in the auction with one pack reaching a whopping £10. Unfortunately for the purchaser, he wasn’t there so he’ll have a pleasant surprise when he gets the bill ;^)
After the auction a roast beef sunday lunch was served to all who required it with Sunday afternoon being Free Time. I took the opportunity to take my car to UCC at Braunston bottom lock as that was where we would be heading on Monday in order for Jannock to be placed in the dry-dock to be blacked. I returned on the Di Blasi in time for tea ready for the evening quiz which was organised by Brenda and myself as we were part of last years winning team.
Monday 19th September
There were six Cutweb boats wanting to ascend the Stockton flight at about 8am on Monday morning and we were first off the blocks partnering nb Uncle Mort. We breasted Jannock against U.M. once in the bottom lock and let Andrew use the power of his Lister JP3 to move boat boats while Brenda, Sheila and I did the locking with Barney supervising. Luckily the first 4 locks were set for us with bottom gates opened by crew members from the other boats behind and so we completed the flight in 45 minutes. On then to Calcutt locks where we met a pair of boats leaving each lock as we were ready to enter and so we passed up that flight quite smoothly as well. Thanks to the crew of Hampshire Rose and all the other boats through the year that have called out to say they enjoy Jannock’s blog and the website content. We’re tempted to say “get a life” but that would be rude and also a complete antithesis of how pleased we are that our (Brenda’s) rantings brighten someone's day.
A Wigrams we turned left towards Braunston and started the slow slog across the level pound meeting lots of on-coming craft and eventually becoming pig-in-the-middle of a procession of eight boats until we reached Braunston turn where most of the ones in front of us turned left towards Rugby. We stopped at the Braunston sani-station again and this time I managed a complete pump-out due to not having a perished pump. Brenda made a snack dinner which was rapidly eaten as we made our way towards the bottom lock. We ascended this lock and then pulled over to moor up whilst awaiting the previous user of the dry dock to leave so that we could reverse in. We then loaded all our stuff into the car and left for home.