After the disturbances of Saturday night, Ian and Tina weren't keen to hang around, so we said goodbye to them as they took Holland back up the canal - we of course were heading in the other direction, down the river.
A beautiful boat (well, for a josher...) and excellent travelling companions.
One night in Stratford, it poured with rain. Another, we were disturbed a fair bit by local youth. And on the Saturday, there was the illuminated boat parade (pathetic by any standards I'm afraid, with about three boats taking part. And anyway, haven't LEDs taken all the inventiveness out of it...) and the firework display.
Following the illuminated parade we made our way back to Chertsey thinking that it would be a good vantage point to watch the fireworks whilst entertaining Sean and Dawn. Well, it would have been if there hadn't been bloody great trees in the way.
It was a pretty spectacular display...
But we saw more of this
Never mind though, we enjoyed the atmosphere and the company was excellent. Earlier in the day we'd met up with Colin and Annie from Eli, and the following day, Adrian and Linda of Warrior joined us.
... of Laplander, who joined us on the 'particular significant and historic' moorings after escorting the VIP opening party on Swift with the brief of, in Sean's words 'making a lot of noise' - which they did, with a steam driven siren.
Sean and Dawn provided excellent and entertaining company for much of the weekend. The photos demonstrate one of the many skills required for steam powered navigation. Historic narrow boat owners like people like Sean because they make the rest of us look relatively sane.
Chertsey came with four plaques, from between 1970 and 1981, under Richard Barnett's ownership.
These were the IWA National Rally at Guildford, 1970, the NBOC Christmas Gathering at Fradley, 1973, The re-opening of the Upper Avon Navigation, 1974, and a Black Country Museum Gathering, 1981.
Sadly, she is lacking the magnificent, massive, plaque from the Stratford-on-Avon rally of 1964. This was during the period (1962-69) when her ownership is still a mystery. I have heard talk of a defrocked vicar, but no one has ever been able to attach a name to the person who reputedly travelled with an organ in the hold. Even the records of the 1964 rally show only the boat's name for Chertsey, and not an owner,s, as was the case for nearly every other boat.
This plaque belongs to Tavy Cleave, the plywood cruiser built at Stourport in 1964 and recently restored (probably not for the first time). If anyone has or comes across one for sale, I would be very interested.
For anyone who has trouble telling the difference...
Here are Chertsey and Holland on the very exclusive moorings in Bancroft Basin, Stratford-upon-Avon. The flapping signs say 'Reserved for particular significant and historic boats'. Naturally once tied up we each quickly tidied one away as a souvenir.
You can see why we thought we might have more trouble than most getting through a bridge that narrows towards the top - Chertsey's fore end, and thus the full width of the boat, is as high as many boats' (far narrower) cabin tops (including, sometimes, its own) - and this was before we'd moved the coal back.