Sunday, 28 August 2016

Getting a full length narrowboat stuck in a winding hole ... in the dark

We had some adventures this evening. We were assisting David and Mary on Kew, their 71' 6" "River class" boat, in the illuminated boat parade. I had helped David rig his lights, all 240V, earlier in the afternoon. They were mostly strings of Christmas lights, with two floodlights of probably 300W each. This was powered by a (noisy) generator running from a gas cylinder on the cabin top. The floodlights illuminated a simple wooden cross with a mechanism for lowering to pass under bridges.

The parade started at 9 pm, when all six participating boats set off at short intervals from Pelsall Junction. As the Boaters' Christian Fellowship boat Kew carried a small group of musicians and singers in the open hold at the front. We sang hymns and choruses - to applause - as we travelled past the moored boats.

All went well until we tried to wind just before Fishley Lane Bridge. This is marked as a winding hole in Nicholson's, with no restrictions as to length of boat, but after an hour of heaving on ropes etc. we had to give up. There was no way a full length boat could wind there. All this time we were trapping another of the illuminated boats; when we gave up trying to wind the other boat was able to return to its mooring, taking one of the singers. The rest of us walked back: it was only about 1/4 mile for most of us. David and Mary will go on in the morning to try the next winding hole.

This is Kew jammed across the canal, not that you can really see it.

The day had started with a service in the entertainments marquee for boaters, traders and site staff.

In the afternoon a piper playing Amazing Grace heralded the start of the open air service for the public.

I counted 64 people at this short service.

Jan and I fitted in two hours of volunteering each; programme dishing out for me and children's work in the WoW (Wild over Water) marquee for Jan. Tomorrow should be slightly less busy!

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