Just A Load Of Hydrogen. 25th July

Priory Marina to Bedford GOBA Mooring

Boat chores to start the day, topping up on water, yellow water tank emptied, rubbish and recycling gathered together and disposed of. Whilst all this was happening we were aware that NB Cleddau had returned just a few spaces away. We said our farewells and thanks to Karen the Marina Manager, put a donation in the charity tin to cover our electric and one use of a tumble dryer. We’ve enjoyed our stay in the marina, a very helpful and friendly place to be.

Marina view

Next, time to say goodbye to Ken and Sue until our bows cross again . This may happen at the end of the week with both boats starting to head back towards C&RT waters.

Danish Camp boat returning to base with rib and raft

We reversed and winded, the wind assisting us thankfully and we turned out back onto the river. A right turn and we pootled just as far as the GOBA mooring. The grey widebeam we’ve seen over the last couple of months was moored up, we joined them and had a chat. It turns out that WB Four Seasons was in the parade of boats at the festival and they were Black Pearl, our best in show! Blimey they had gone to more effort than I’d first thought. Sheets had been bought and dyed, the cabin sides covered to make them black, normally grey. Even more impressive, I do hope they got a prize of some sort.

Sketch groundplan

After lunch Mick helped get my drawing board out from it’s slot. Today I’d have an indoor office/studio. With taking over the table and much of the sofa there’s not much space left for Mick, so he headed off on the bike with a shopping list for a reasonable sized shop, but first he headed off to see if he could find a couple of buildings in Cardington, two Airship sheds.

New housing alongside the sheds

The first shed produced it’s first airship in 1918. Cardington had the worlds best airship facilities, but due to the depression it closed in 1921 after the construction of the R38. However the station reopened in 1924 following the announcement of the Imperial Airship Service, the site was to build R101s amongst others.

The airships were much bigger than before, so the buildings they were constructed in needed to grow, the original shed expanded both upwards and out sideways and a second shed was brought down from Pulham south of Norwich.

The crash of the R101 in October 1930 led to the decision to dismantle the R100 in shed 2. In 1931 the station nearly closed but was used for aircraft storage. However in 1936 RAF Cardington was formed and by 1937 a balloon training unit was formed, by WW2 barage balloons and aerial defences were developed here.

Interesting buildings

After the war it became a Personnel Dispersal Centre, where RAF personnel passed through to be demobbed. The balloon unit continued to experiment on the site until 1966, then it moved to Wiltshire. The RAF base here finally closed in 2000. The sheds are listed buildings and have been used as filming locations for Star Wars and now one of them houses a film studio.

A lot more information on the sheds can be found HERE

A scene plot

During the afternoon I managed to get a very sketchy ground plan together, rough positions of everything and what is known as a hanging plot. This is a list of what is hanging on which fly bar. I worked out depths of the stage and how things would be brought on and off. In one scene change I’m hoping to enlist the actors in part of the action to strike certain elements of the set, it kind of helps that the ship in sinking at the time!

First drawing to help make the model

Then I started to draw up my downstage portal, the design heavily influenced by Crossness Pumping Station.

0 locks, 0.27 miles, 1 reverse, 2 rights, 6 hours shore leave, 1 shopping trip, 2 breakdowns, 1st drawing complete, 2 hangers, 2 boxes wine, 1 longer post than anticipated.