Friday, 19 July 2013

First bit of volunteering done at the IWA National Festival

I was up "early" again this morning to help set up the Boaters' Christian Festival stand at 0830. This took until 1000, when, as instructed, I found the IWA Information and Personnel tent to sign in as a volunteer. I had to read a list of bizarre safety instructions - the must ludicrous of which was to agree to stop work if a member of the public approached (I was going to be on gate duty) - and receive a blue T-shirt.

I had to return to the boat for a much-needed drink of water and a cup of tea before going back to the festival site. I was, somehow, drawn to the boat jumble stall where I bought a hand drill and a pack of M6 nuts and bolts (the latter for repairing some ancient garden furniture at home). Then I was on BCF stand duty until 1400, when it was my turn to man the entrance/exit gate to check tickets, direct people to the turnstiles (yes, turnstiles - the local council are being stringent on numbers, not that there was the remotest chance of overcrowding today with volunteers seeming almost to outnumber the public) and stamp people's hands with a barely legible red ink.

I did two hours in the hot sun from 1400 to 1600 with three other blue-shirted volunteers, gradually learning some of the things the IWA didn't tell me, such as there were bottles of water available; also there were tea/coffee making facilities in the personnel tent. I wonder what else they haven't told me. Gradually the shade from a tree crept closer and made things more comfortable (not that I'm complaining about the weather - I'm loving it!) And, suddenly, it was 4 o'clock and my duty was over - until tomorrow, when I have another two-hour stint.

Then I had what seemed like my first chunk of time to have a proper look round the stands. I returned to the boat jumble - in aid of a local IWA branch - to see what other bargains I might have missed. Straight away I found an adult size life jacket, old-type but better than nothing, and a chimney in much better condition than the one on the boat. I whizzed back on the bike (such a useful thing here, given that the festival site is several hundred yards from the canal, and that we're moored another few hundred yards from the bridge) and measured the flue collar to make sure it would fit. It all looked fine, so I returned to the stand and bought the "new" chimney. Having done all this there was no more time to look at anything else, so it was back to the boat again to fit the chimney. Perfect!

On my various trips back and forth along the towpath I chatted briefly to Sarah and Jim on Chertsey - it was good to see you. At the BCF stand we met another blogger: Martin and Margaret of Erin Mae. It was good to meet you for the first time, and I shall have to add you to my blog roll. I've just read your interesting post about noises - I look forward to more!

I forgot to take my camera with me today, so that's my excuse this time. As the owls start up their nightly calling, it's time for me to go to bed. More fun tomorrow - and I must remember to buy some more LED bulbs ...

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