Category Archives: Fambridge Festival
SSBR was at Fambridge River Festival yesterday in its fourth year. But no sunlit pictures this time. We were all drowned SSBR rats, and the picture shows two of us together with hastily boxed up books, sopping wet table covers, wet posters shredded by the high winds, and plastic covers over the tables.
From opening at 10.00 to about 11.45 everything was lovely: fine weather and lots of people; Pudge and Ironsides on the pontoon, together with Pioneer, Marigold, the tug Barking and the Burnham on Crouch RNLI inshore boat; a classic car show; a climbing wall; music from the stage so old that even I knew the lyrics; Kevin Finch with some of his shipwright tools, “I just went round the workshop and picked up some things I thought would be of interest”; lots of food and drink stalls from Posh Coffee to Pimms, from lamb shank to hot dogs, from crêpes to ice cream – and no, I didn’t have an ice cream, too wet and cold; yes, I did have a crêpe. We sold a very respectable number of books including Jimmy Lawrence’s new one, “London Light, a Sailorman’s Story,” and the last “Sailing Barge Compendium”. We took some membership subscriptions and found some potential new members.
But by 12 noon the rain was steady. Can’t sell books and magazines in the rain. We covered the table tops with plastic sheets. The high wind seemed determined to rip the SSBR banner away from its pole – the usual two cords tying it to the tent frame had to be increased to four and still the wind pulled the metal pole out of shape. We tied our splendid new gazebo by its legs to the tables, themselves so heavy with books they were unlikely to move. We stuck it out for well over an hour while the wind increased and the rain got heavier. Surprisingly the visitors stayed for quite a long time, all getting drenched, but eventually they drifted away and the place became deserted
We packed up and took all the stuff back to the Archive. There are a lot of things that now need mud removed and drying out – not least me. Clothes went straight into the washing machine. Still, at least we were all home much earlier than expected.
Many thanks to Don Wright, Graham Dent and Tim Mileson who all responded to the plea for help, and to Dilys Renouf who also came along.
Our Archive will be open and one of our committee will be there to show you the vast collection of photographs, books, documents and other artifacts about Thames sailing barges. Sterling work has been done over the years by our Archivist, Don Wright, ably assisted by Society Secretary, John White, in getting all this treasury of information catalogued and properly stored. (Picture shows John and Don outside the Archive.)
Then down by the river, we shall have a gazebo with display panels and literature about the Society of Sailing Barge Research, and our committee will be very
happy to talk to visitors about barges and the Society. Our books and magazines will be on sale and we shall, of course, also have membership forms there. At £20 a year it is great value and you will receive our two excellent publications, Topsail annually and Mainsheet twice a year. And members receive occasional books published by the Society for Sailing Barge Research free of charge; last year there were two excellent such freebies, Still in the Samphire, the Society’s 50th anniversary history, and The Prowess of Charlie Fielder.
The festival will coincide with the Old Gaffers Association 30th Anniversary Crouch Rally visit to the North Fambridge Yacht Club. There will be gig racing on the river, and stands including those taken by the Coastguard, the RNLI, a sail-maker, and many more. sb Ironsides will be present.
More details nearer the date.