The BBC forecast wasn't wrong, and after two days of horrible cold wind and rain, this morning dawned bright and sunny. Just as well, as we still had to take the topcloths off, attach the rest of the stringettes, and roll down the sidecloths, clear out the hold, move the top planks, put the stands in and wrestle the mast back into place, ready to be decked with the bunting I made yesterday.
We were ready just in time to set off backwards into the lock at half past ten. Bath was already in there, facing downhill, and we breasted up. We then went down the lock and proceeded slowly past the long line of thickly moored boats towards Anchor Bridge. Bath was providing the motive power, but I was called upon to provide auxiliary steering - a sort of bowthruster I suppose - causing one wag to comment that it was the strangest tug-of-war he'd ever seen.
Once we got to Anchor Bridge, Chertsey nestled in the (very low) bridgehole while Bath winded, then we breasted up again, both now facing uphill. I attached the bunting - which happened to be exactly the right length - and the Holymoorside Brass Band bagan to arrive. Jim and Adrian helped them and their instruments into the boats, where we had chairs set out ready for them. Right on time (I think the time was 1200) we set off again, with the band playing, back past the line of moored boats, not touching a single one despite them being three deep (and despite one very agitated owner of a Shiny Boat clearly not believing us capable of such a feat), and slowly and magisterially arrived back into the lock, which was then filled very slowly, the boats and band rising triumphantly from the depths, playing, for some reason, New York New York, and not the traditional eighteenth century melodies I promised you yesterday. They played on for a while in the lock, before disembarking and taking up positions in front of the beer tent.
We left the boats in the lock a while longer, while we, with Adrian and Linda, visited the beer tent and the stalls, and then moved back to our spot alongside the dry dock, all the better to enjoy the second highlight of the day - our tea. Linda had cooked one of her spectacular meat and potato pies. Rather, because of the limited size of the Epping's oven she had cooked two smaller ones, but they wouldn't both fit in my oven, so one was sent over to be warmed through in Bath's - and in return Dave and Izzie joined me, Jim, Adrian and Linda on Chertsey's back end deck to enjoy pie, mushy peas, pickled cabbage and gravy, all seasoned of course with Henderson's relish. Fabulous - thank you so much Linda!
What a contrast to yesterday, which was cold, miserable and utterly uneventful. Today has been hot and sunny and a marvellous time has been had by all.