FoR News June 2018

Neil Hankin’s school run 7th June

On the Tuesday after The Crick Boat Show, Neil and his crew of Melvyn Forman, Roger and Diana Golder and Nick Lake, took Nutfield & Raymond up to Bridge 42 near North Kilworth, where the boats were left securely moored on the towpath until Thursday the following week, when Neil and Melvyn, together with Neil’s wife, Jean and John Blay returned to move them up to North Kilworth Wharf.

Here, a party of 12 excited, year-six children from Husbands Bosworth C of E Primary School embarked for a trip through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel to Honey Pot Farm Bridge (Br.46). This outing, which Neil and Jean have been organising for a number of years, is now an eagerly-awaited fixture in the school year. As Deputy Head, Alison Vickers, said in her recent letter to us, “The children love the trip and particularly enjoy finding out about the history and traditions of the Raymond and the canals. It has now become a tradition for the year 6 pupils and it is one of the trips they really look forward to.” So, as ever, thanks are due to Neil and Jean, and their willing crew, for providing this service on behalf of FoR, and also to North Kilworth Wharf for kindly supplying life jackets, as they do every year.

After the school children had disembarked at the bridge, the boats continued north for two and a half miles to Bridge 52, where they were winded, with considerable difficulty, Neil reports, owing the winding hole being badly overgrown. They then returned the six miles and one lock up to Welford Wharf.

Welford Weekend 9th and 10th June

Nutfield & Raymond at Welford, 10 June 2018

This was the second year that we have organised a special Friends of Raymond gathering at Welford and, once again, the sun shone on us all weekend. CRT were very helpful in reserving our mooring in the “Finger”, a small basin at the wharf just big enough for a pair of boats. And with our sales gazebo pitched beside it on the freshly-cut grass (thanks to Dave Wilkinson from Welford Marina) we had a very attractive setting for the event. Late on the Saturday afternoon, Neil took Nutfield, with small group of Friends, on a trip down the Welford Arm. And later, about a dozen members gathered for supper in The Wharf Inn, where we had again reserved the Canal Bar for a Friends social evening.

Although our Welford Weekend is as much a social occasion as a fundraising event, we had good number of visitors, both to the boats and our sales stall, and we signed up two new members as well. So, over the weekend we managed to raise £277. £60 of this was due to Nikki Evans’s cakes which went like, well, hot cakes, and had all but disappeared by close of play on Saturday. And a further £42.50 was added by Nick Wolfe as the proceeds from jam and marmalade sales at Langley Mill, when he and Sarah Mallet took his boat Aldgate up to the Erewash Canal anniversary event over the Crick Boat Show weekend.

So, thank you to everyone involved in helping with, and attending the weekend but, in particular to Neil and Jean for having the original idea and helping throughout, to Nikki for her amazing cakes, and to Nick and Sarah for raising money for FoR at Langley Mill. And we must not forget special thanks to Nick (again) and Robin Bishop for their impromptu Towpath Taskforce work on the Friday afternoon, clearing and tidying the path beside the boats and painting the bollards. We hope that CRT have noticed!

The path by The Finger after Nick and Robin’s work, 8 June 2018

Jam ‘Ole Jam returns to Kingshott 11th June

Three years ago, Roger and Diana Golder were invited by their friend Alison Eales, the Director of Music at Kingshott School in Hitchin, to attend the school’s annual music day, when the children were singing a medley of First World War songs. One of their songs, “Oh! It’s a Lovely War” refers to “plum and apple jam” so Roger and Diana went well supplied with Jam ‘Ole Jam to give them a taste of the real thing. This year, to mark the centenary of the end of the war, Alison had arranged for another medley of WW1 songs to be part of the performance, and Roger and Diana were invited back, provided they came with even more jam! Diana said, “Roger and I again jammed 124 pieces of bread so they could have a taste. At the evening concert we told them a little about Raymond’s history and suggested they might like to buy a jar of jam. That night we sold 50 jars and subsequently, the remaining 27 jars that were left, were eagerly snapped up.” The sale of 77 jars of jam raised £192.50. So, a big thank you to Roger and Diana, to Alison for having the idea and to Headmaster, Mark Seymour for allowing us to sell the jam.

Back home to Braunston 13th June

At 9.30 on Wednesday 13th June, Nutfield & Raymond left Welford for the journey home. Neil Hankin, Roger Golder and Nick Lake made good time to Watford Top Lock, arriving around 2pm, where progress then came to the all-too-familiar, grinding halt. But once into the locks two hours later, and with the additional help of Diana Golder who had arrived by car, the pair flew down the flight and headed off for Braunston about 5pm. With Roger and Neil in charge of the boats, Diana and Nick performed a quick car-retrieval from Welford in time to rendezvous with Brian Seymour at Braunston Top Lock and meet them on their arrival at 6.40pm, for the home run down to the marina. All the same, by the time the boats were tied up and put to bed, and the crew ready for sustenance in The Old Plough, it was gone 8 o’clock. So, a long day, but a safe return.

Braunston Historic Narrow Boat Rally
23rd and 24th June

This year’s Rally was an extra special one for FoR as it coincided, almost to the day, with the date on which Raymond was launched 60 years ago. Fittingly, Nutfield & Raymond led the opening parade. And at 11 o’clock, on the Saturday morning, Nutfield, steered by Sheila Suchet, the wife of this year’s special guest David Suchet, under the watch of Will Hewitt, passed beneath the marina bridge as David himself, on board Raymond with Alice Lapworth and our own guest of honour, Aubrey Berriman, declared the rally open.

Tim Coghlan directs the opening parade from Nutfield,
Sheila Suchet and Will Hewitt at the helm, 23 June 2018.

David Suchet declares the rally open, with Aubrey Berriman and Alice Lapworth, 23 June 2018.

After the opening parade, Nutfield & Raymond returned to the marina arm for the 60th Anniversary celebration (see below) where Raymond remained on show, while Nutfield took part in the afternoon parade, crewed by Nick Scarcliffe and Ian Mulford. Then on Sunday, the pair were together again for the final parade, crewed by Roger Golder, Nick Scarcliffe and Alice Lapworth.

The unusually glorious June weather no doubt played a part in helping us to another very successful event but, with a combination of sales, bucket collections and other donations, we finished the weekend £715 better off.

Nutfield & Raymond in the arm, 24 June 2018.

The FoR sales gazebo, 24 June 2018.

Roger Golder gives the brass sales items a shine, 24 June 2018.

While Brian Seymour waits for customers, 24 June 2018.

Raymond’s 60th Anniversary celebration

The highlight of the Historic Narrow Boat Rally weekend, for FoR, was the celebration held for Raymond, to mark the 60th anniversary of her launch. The event took place on Saturday 23rd June and the talking point of the occasion was, undoubtedly, the birthday cakes made and decorated by our very own Nikki Evans.

The cake designs were composed using artwork, supplied by Chris M Jones, of the boat’s name and a bunch of genuine Ron Hough roses. Nikki had the designs printed on to icing sheets which she then applied to the top of the cakes. The smaller cake was just as a standby, but slices were offered to visitors in return for a donation so that, by Sunday afternoon, only the crumbs remained.

Nikki Evans’s cakes, 23 June 2018.

Six candles, one for each decade, 23 June 2018.

At about midday, when the boats had returned to the arm after the opening parade, a group of well-wishers gathered at the gazebo, directly opposite the spot where Raymond was launched on 11th June 1958. Among those present were some of the people who have been associated with Raymond, and with the work of FoR, down the years, including members of Frank Nurser’s family, honorary members and craftspeople whose skill has helped to maintain the boat in her present condition.

Friends of Raymond’s guest of honour was Aubrey Berriman who spent most of his life building wooden boats and, 60 years ago, came up from Devon to work for Samuel Barlow’s and build Raymond. Ironically, this was Aubrey’s first working narrow boat and, as it turned out, Barlow’s last. But at the age of 92, Aubrey still had more than enough puff to blow out the candles, before handing over to David Suchet to cut the cake.

After leading a spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday”, Tim Coghlan presented us with a cheque from Braunston Marina for £2,000 and then cake and bubbly were served to all.

Aubrey Berriman blows out the candles, 23 June 2018.

And David Suchet cuts the cake, 23 June 2018.

Chairman Chris R Jones receives the cheque on behalf of FoR. Left to right: Tim Coghlan, David Suchet, Chris Jones, Sheila Suchet and Aubrey Berriman, 23 June 2018.

Our thanks are, of course, due to Tim, for making the whole thing possible, for supplying the liquid refreshment and, most importantly, for Braunston Marina’s generous donation. But special thanks must go to Nikki for producing two very beautiful and delicious cakes (they were vanilla sponge and cream, by the way) and to Chris M Jones, without whose artwork the cake designs would not have been possible.

A dampener to end the month

As a counterpoint to the euphoria of the 60th Anniversary celebration, we have discovered that Raymond appears to be leaking. After the recent spell of dry weather, the amount of water that has accumulated under the cabin floor and at the back end of the hold is clearly not rainwater. We are hopeful that any leakage will be found to be due to the caulking below the cabin not being fully watertight, an issue that may be overcome by re-caulking against the new shearing Pete Boyce fitted over last winter and which removed the void that had previously existed behind the hull planking, and which appears to have prevented the caulking from being packed at tight as it should be. We will be arranging for Raymond to be docked for inspection once the summer season is over and will keep bailing meanwhile. We will report again on this issue after the docking.

Signs of a probable leak, 28 June 2018.

Dates for July

Don’t forget that Nutfield & Raymond will be attending the following events in July:

Saturday 21st/Sunday 22nd June: Cosgrove Canal Festival

Saturday 28th June: Linslade Canal Festival

If you have not already done so, and would like to volunteer to help with sales and, particularly, with show-rounds at either of these events, please contact Diana Golder, our Volunteers Coordinator. Or if you are in the area on one of the weekends, please just pay us a visit.

Diana will be announcing arrangements and dates for moving the boats to and from both events very shortly.

Nutfield & Raymond at the Linslade Canal Festival, 29 July 2017.

All photographs by the editor unless otherwise stated.