Monday, 26 July 2010

… just messin’ about on the river …

Well, I suppose that, technically, it’s no longer a river when the Ribble becomes Preston Docks, but I feel sure you’ll allow me just that little bit of poetic license, won’t you?

A relatively new annual event took place this weekend, as the basin swelled with visiting narrow boat and their larger cousins, Dutch barges. There were also sailing vessels of various types, including one I spotted which claimed to be the smallest “tall ship” in England. Many people queued to pay for the experience of sailing out for three hours aboard this quaint vessel.

Colourful bunting was the order of the day, or weekend, and it fluttered (damply, at times, as this is England in the summer time, and the drizzle didn’t allow us to forget it) from high points on the variety of vessels. The homeliest of the barges boasted cheery baskets, or buckets, of bright flowers.

An open-fronted marquee-type thing kept rain from the live music performers, whose assorted musical offerings belted out from loudspeakers which, sadly, lived up to their name – even at home we were unable to escape the sounds, and I prepared food to a distinct beat that weekend!

There was a beer tent, obviously, we British seem to require a warm beer to enable us to enjoy a free music event, and a creperie van, children need a sugar fix, don’t they? So there was also a donut van, and an ice cream van. There was also a huge chippy van, so a good, healthy food selection fit for all.

A climbing wall arrived, so some energy could be worked off, and phobias conquered – no, not by me, I’m still afraid of heights, though, I admit, I would love to be able to say I’d managed to get to the top of one of those things – I wouldn’t mind that I was strapped in, in fact, it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t even attempt it unless I was strapped in!

On the Sunday, we watched four young men exhaust themselves demonstrating Shotokan Aikido (I think). It seemed to me that two of them ran through some moves in slow motion, to demonstrate what was about to follow, then the remaining pair “fought” using the techniques we’d just seen, which was a very effective way to illustrate the skills. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to do something smoothly and accurately in slow motion? It’s actually very tiring, as you need to control your muscles very tightly, so they did really well.

A very tall, elegant mermaid, accompanied by a fierce pirate were to be seen parading the port's pathways.  We also watched an escapologist, who managed to make us smile at his wit as he extricated himself from, firstly several metres of heavy chain, then a tightly strapped straight-jacket. My poor old body aches just to watch performers like these, I certainly couldn’t hope to emulate them!!!


  1. That sounds like a fun day out - worth it even if you couldn't escape from the soundtrack at home! :) In a couple of days there should be a blog from me about my day messing around on the river!

  2. Just saw over at Rachel's that you finished University with a first (did I say that right?). Anyway, congratulations!

    I finally finished my undergrad degree a few years back, after working on it for 29 years. And now I'm looking at MFA programs in Creative Writing and wondering if I can get in, and if it makes any sense to pursue that at my age. You've inspired me!

  3. That is a tall mermaid! And the mention of donuts has done nothing for my most recent craving. I see a trip to the donut shop in my near future!

  4. Jeanne, well done on finishing after all that time! I'm planning on taking a PhD now, so that's another 3 years to look forward to. Go for it, and enjoy it - it's such fun to learn about something you're interested in. I took joint honours in Creative Writing and English Literature, so we have the writing bug in common:) Don't think twice, indulge yourself - as the adverts say "Your'e worth it!"

  5. Oops, sorry Joey, didn't mean to blow away your good intentions!! I'm ok, I have a wheat allergy, so I'm not tempted by donuts, or crepes, or cupcakes - but dark chocolate ... well, now you're talking;)

  6. So wonderful to see these pictures and hear about your day! Thanks for taking us along!


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