Our boat was at Braunston in July for blacking by Justin Green/Wharf House Narrowboats and, at the same time we asked Justin if he could take a look at our three way, room sealed Electrolux (Dometic) fridge that had been out of commission since September 2013.
Without going in to too much detail, we were entirely satisfied with the work carried out and more than pleased with the reasonable fees charged for that work. Everyone involved made us feel very welcome and it was a pleasure to be able to remain living aboard while the work was carried out.
Alnwick was 'slipped' for blacking at Braunston on Monday and this time we are obliged to stay aboard (the only previous time we have been living aboard during 'blacking' was in the dry dock at Welford many years ago) and it is a very strange sensation. Being used to sitting quite low in the water it is almost alarming to be looking out from a position some three metres above ground level. With the boat supported on two bogies (approximately 7ft gauge), the wind whistles underneath us and, instead of rocking gently when one walks about the boat, there is an unusual firm 'springiness' to the deck.
The only really good thing about being 'high and dry' is that we have a full (four bar) Vodafone signal - something we have not experienced before at Braunston!
My obvious answer to this would be 'Give up and sell the boat' but I met someone recently who lives aboard with his parents. It is the only home they have and work has been short. They are now approaching the time when the licence fee is due and they just do not have the money - is there any help that they can get? All members of the family are over 18 but have not been able to find work for some time and being of 'no fixed abode' doesn't help them.
I have just had an email from Dave Sampson (one time promoter of the Wurzle Bush Folk Club) to say that Rod Felton passed away a couple of days ago. Rod was a first class singer/songwriter and comic who in the late 1960s was half of the duo known as 'The New Modern Idiot Grunt Band' - an act that just had to be seen to be believed. They performed with guitars and all manner of improvised instruments including jugs, whistles, cymbals etc. The repertoire included Jessie Fuller's 'San Francisco Bay Blues', Ray Davis' 'Harry Wragge' and many more of their own compositions. I booked them several times for folk clubs that I helped to run in Rugby and introduced them to Folk Impresario, Toni Savage - who, incidentally, was also the manager and a close friend of Spike Milligan . . .