Monthly Archives: April 2012
It was a really cold, wet day, and as we sat aboard Cambria waiting for the Gravesend crowds to come and view her, we were not that surprised that they didn’t flock down on to the new pontoon. Some came, a few brave souls with children wanting to see what it was all about.
And then, about 4 o’clock my day was made really worthwhile.
Cambria had a tear in her topsail that needed to be repaired before she goes back to Faversham at the end of the week, and she was expecting the sailmaker. A dripping wet figure in wellies and waterproofs descended the ladder, and it was Steve Hall the sailmaker from North Sea Sails of Tollesbury. He is one of the very few traditional sailmakers left.
He set to work, expertly measuring the size of the piece of canvas he needed, cutting it, and then sewing it neatly into place with small, regular stitches. This all done on the splendid topsail that he himself had made not that long ago. He made it look easy, but it’s only easy if you know how and have years of experience. And all the while he talked in the wonderful real Essex tones, (not that rubbish you hear on TOWIE and similar programmes, which is actually part London and part transatlantic TV speak).
We had a long discussion as fellow enthusiasts of Jeeves and Wooster, but Steve’s much better at it than I am, and can quote reams of it.
And I felt then as I watched him, and I still feel now, that I have been truly privileged to spend the afternoon in the company of a master craftsman and watch him at his work.
(Tricia) (photo – Dave Brooks)
The Thames Sailing Barge Westmoreland now has her own Facebook page. Please “like” it and show support for her restoration at Lower Halstow.
Support the Westmoreland!
She will be open for visits on any day in that period at the following times, 10.30am, 12 noon, 2.30pm and 4.00pm. Every effort will be made to stick to that programme, but some time slots may need to be dropped if there are insufficient people to man the barge.
Cambria brought the first of this year’s groups of young carers, (part of the Rotary International scheme), up from the Swale at the weekend – a successful charter.
Hilary Halajko said, “the new bowsprit is fab. We had a lovely beat up sea reach on Saturday night. Bit too windy for the jib topsail but we had it set earlier in the day.”
(Photographs – Dave Brooks)
Dave Brooks has started a thread on the Lower Halstow parish website, urging the Council to allow Westmoreland to return home.
If you agree, please put a comment on the thread started by Dave, which is at: http://www.lowerhalstowpc.kentparishes.gov.uk/default.cfm?pid=messages&threadid=3879
The more comments we can generate, the more it will send a message to the Council.
You can read the whole story here: https://sailingbarges.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/save-the-barge-westmoreland-says-roger-on-rootschat-com/
Ed Gransden has kindly pointed out that your Editor is totally confused about the days, (put it down to the bank holiday last week which made everything different), and that the “Our Food” programme is actually on Wednesday at 8.00pm on BBC2.
I’ve checked the schedules myself now, and confirm that it will be Wednesday that we will see Lady of the Lea and Edith May. Apparently it will be Giles Coren presenting from on board Lady of the Lea on the Medway.
So NOT Tuesday, but Wednesday.
Edith May Trading Company has let us know that she will be starring in a television programme next week, together with Lady of the Lea.
The programme is on BBC2 on Tuesday 17 April, at 8.00pm, and is called “Our Food”. It’s a series, and this particular edition features Kent, and will tell how Thames sailing barges used to take fruit to London. It was filmed aboard Lady of the Lea, with what is described as “a special guest appearance from Edith May”. Can’t wait to see them both.
Here’s Edith May about to go under the Orwell Bridge to the Ipswich Parade of Sail 2011, and proudly flying all her winner’s pennants. (photo – Dave Brooks)
And this is Lady of the Lea finishing, (last we are afraid, but she is little), in the 2010 Thames Match. (photo – Tricia Gurnett)