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A Narrow Boat Trip

A NARROW ESCAPE
by Sylvia Bull

I am delighted to say that this year we resurrected an old Epsom Cine Society tradition – the summer boat trip. Promptly at 12 noon on Sunday 31st August 25 of us assembled in the car park behind the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. Norman and I travelled there with our good friends Bernie and Ella Dennison. We met Viv and Arthur Trevitt, Cilla and Chris, John and Bridget Green, Sheila and Ron Everitt, Gwynne and Jack Ligertwood, Joan and John Gannaway, Barbara and John Gollop and their friends from the Horticultural Society Audrey and Bob Hilston, Eve and Diggy Mottram, Cecilia and Ken Kendall and Keith Palmer. I am pleased to report that it was a simply beautiful late summer’s day – sunny and warm with a little cloud cover so not so hot as it had been in the early weeks of August. Our boat (a large narrow boat) was called the “Alfred Leroy” and was captained by Michael who was ably assisted by Adam - the unfortunate one who had to jump on and off the boat in the lock. The other members of the crew were Celia, Linda and Carol and these three ladies prepared and served our lunch for us. We slipped our moorings at 12.30p.m, and proceeded up the river Wey past the “Weyside Pub” and the GRC Rowing Club.

The Wey Navigation
After about 5 minutes the three charming ladies came amongst us taking our drinks orders – a surprisingly big choice was on offer considering the size of the boat. Our lunch was a very nice salad – of ham and chicken along with the usual lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, coleslaw and hot potatoes (a salad without hot potatoes is of no use to me!). There was lots of French bread and butter on offer and pudding was hot apple pie and cream with coffee or tea to follow.I also had a couple of glasses of a very nice red wine and felt very contented. Whilst we were all gorging ourselves the boat was slipping silently (for I could not hear the engine sitting as I was at the very front of the boat) along the river Wey.We passed sleepy cows and calves in their fields, lots of other boats –among them “The Viking”, “Tarola”, “Wagtail” and “The Norseman” which was staging a birthday party –and a very happy looking bunch they were.

If there were a prize for the most amusing boat name I would award it to “The Ta Muchly” which also had a very cheerful bunch of passengers on board. We went through the shallowest lock on the river Wey - St. Catherine’s which was opened in 1764 – I know this not because I am a local historian but because there was a plaque containing this information mounted on a post at the lock. This was the only slightly bumpy part of the ride. After about an hour we reached a very wide part of the river and Michael turned the boat around and we headed back to the mooring.

As I said it was a particularly nice day and there were lots of families out and about enjoying their picnics and we swapped waves with them. All too soon we found ourselves back at the mooring –almost two hours had passed in extremely pleasant company. If I have one moan it is that Norman and myself and Ken Kendall were the only members wearing the club Polo Shirts. I asked myself (because nobody else seemed interested) what the point of these shirts is. Surely when we do things as a club everyone who has one should wear it – for publicity if no other reason! It rather begs the question “when do we wear them?”
Lunch Time

SECOND TAKE October 2003

 

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