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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.
I often think that The Times doesn’t know this part of the world exists. But today they have done us proud. There’s a picture of The Maldon Mud Race last Sunday and a picture of sb Marjorie in the Medway Match last Saturday. Rob Powell’s picture I think, (please confirm). I like the caption too. It says “…. the Medway Barge Match, the first of seven races this summer which celebrate the historic role of barges.”
Some of us have been following with great interest sb Decima’s risky but brave journey up to the lock at Dartford Creek, where she has been during the winter.
This weekend there’s a chance to see Decima and to have a great day out at the Dartford Nautical Festival. It’s on Sunday 27th May starting at 1pm. Here are the details.
I hadn’t seen the film before and it’s absolutely fascinating. There are some great pictures of Cambria, below deck, as she is now and some old pictures too including some nice shots of Bob Roberts.
Dick tells some wonderful stories about his fourteen months as the last Mate of Cambria when she was in trade. He was a handsome young man of 18 at the time.
A bit of a treat this afternoon, Saturday 2 January.
On the Quest TV channel the programme “Salvage Squad” is on for most of the day.
And at 4 pm it will be showing an episode about Lee Hurst and his team working on a Thames Sailing Barge. This is a repeat, previously shown in 2002.
At almost 90 feet long, the 1906 wooden sb Ena is the largest challenge the squad has tackled, and the barge has to be re-decked in a month.
This will give real-life barge restorers the chance to watch, laugh, and perhaps criticize – what a treat!
QUEST TV CHANNEL – SATURDAY 2 JANUARY
4 pm to 5 pm SALVAGE SQUAD
If you have Freeview, then Quest is Channel Number 37.
We’ve added to our list of videos the lovely film made by Chriss Hallam
of the 2015 Medway Barge Match. He was on board sb Cambria, so there are some good shots of her deck, rigging, and so on, including a nice one of Skipper Ian at the wheel. We like the music too!
The 48th London & Middlesex Archaeological Society Local History Conference will have as its theme The River and Port of London.
The Conference will be held at the Museum of London on Saturday 16th November, from 10.30 to 4.00pm.
Tickets available via http://www.lamas.org.uk/localhistory2013
with payment through Paypal or by cheque payable to LAMS with SAE, from Eleanor Stanier, 48 Coval Road, London SW14 7RL. The fee including tea & biscuits is £15.
UPDATE – This Conference has proved so popular that tickets have sold out, but there may be a few returns available on the door.