Dressed and out on deck for the fly past this morning for the 75th anniversary of a US bomber that came down in Endcliffe Park, killing all 10 crew. We could see the planes at a distance and plenty of people had come out to witness the sight too.
Push back was at 10am this morning, time for us to vacate our mooring with hook up so that we’d be out of the way for the festivities. Plenty of people were milling about and there were many people wearing blue high-vis with Events Team on their backs. No body came to usher us away, we just quietly moved ourselves out of the basin and up to the visitor moorings behind NB Cuba, no other boats had turned up for the weekend.
Last night there had been a meeting about the festivities and the flotilla, we hadn’t been aware of this, but the chap from the trip boat came and told us there would be a commemorative plaque available for boats here on the anniversary.
|Hmmm…. I’m not so sure about here|
We popped off to pick up post and get something in for dinner, returning as crowds were starting to build up around the basin. Story tellers were trying to drum up an audience in the igloo, kids were colouring in pirate hats, crepes were being cooked and goody bags being handed out (the contents weren’t of interest to us).
The benches alongside Oleanna were full and a couple of lads with Grandad were having a good nosy at our pram cover. Here we had become part of the Theme Park, added extras. We’re quite happy to answer questions about life on the water and listen to the usual comments back. Rob and Sue were out too everyone enjoying the sunshine, no need for coats or even jumpers today.
|Thousands packed the paths and bridge|
After a spot of lunch the crowds had gathered and lined both sides of the canal, the swing bridge was full, a few thousand in the crowd. We dropped our pram cover to improve our view and waited for the first sight of the flotilla.
|We considered keeping it for a tender|
First boat to arrive…. a canoe. The chap got a round of applause from the crowd. He turned round and came to find somewhere to tie his boat up, we were handily positioned so he used us to wedge his canoe against the bank, tied up and headed off for a cuppa.
|The head of the flotilla|
An old C&RT boat NB Industry led the way of the flotilla, brass band in full blow as they came round the bend at Jonathan Wilson’s. They slowly pootled towards us and the crowd, the bridge was cleared and swung out of the way, a length of bunting lowered to be raised just as the boat came through playing Happy Birthday.
|The bunting lifted over the boat|
The trip boats came next, followed by a hotel boat, a charity boat from Swinton, boats returning to the basin and a few that had come up from a couple of locks down the Tinsley flight. In all twenty boats made up the flotilla, we could have tagged on the end but we were happy just sitting and watching.
The trip boats managed to pull into their moorings without crushing any of the crowd, other boats headed back to their moorings and those few visiting boats winded and came back to find a space near us. Plenty of room for everyone, no need to breast up.
|Paul on NB Northumbria with Alfie his dog on the roof|
Festivities around the basin continued through the day, the crowds thinning out and congregating around the Dorothy Pax pub.
|Best dressed boat we reckon|
Early evening we were joined by Fran, Mick’s niece who lives in Sheffield. We had a very nice roast chicken followed by some special chilled medication, then headed out to see what was happening.
Inferno Ash and friend were performing close to the pub. Trickling water sound effects slightly drowned out their singing and poetry. Fire dancing was what we’d come to see and we weren’t disappointed. Flames swirled as Inferno Ash danced on the cobbles. Hoola Hoops of fire were ignited and spun round. When she got three hoops going at once it was quite a spectacle, just a shame the music wasn’t audible, or did she need it anyway.
The silent disco hadn’t started up so we headed back to Oleanna, saving our £5 for another day.