Midsummer BBQ - 11th June - The Berney Mill - Report
The 2nd. Near-Northern's Run
Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club
Another good turnout of 16 boats – plus 1 guest boat – making it the same number as last season! It is a lovely location, plenty of mooring space – if only there was a tide barrier at GY?
Three boats arrived by lunchtime on the Friday, including mine, and moored outside the Mill itself. We sat chatting over lunch and then had afternoon drinks aboard “Lady Grace” before others arrived later, making 7 in all before Friday evening. Dennis had brought some small Union flags, and he stuck these liberally onto the top of the riverbank in front of the Mill – celebrating the Queen’s 90th. birthday weekend – very patriotic!
It was the end of the Spring tides, but the atmospheric high pressure kept the tide rise & fall quite severe. Lovely high water around early afternoon – but a drastic fall by evening, requiring quite a few adjustments of the mooring ropes on the first day. Much like last year, Ken’s cock-up again!
Weather wasn’t too bad, cloudy most of the weekend and a little windy at times – but some sun, and not cold. Some rain as well, but it arrived late Saturday night and didn’t bother us – and the local torrential storms of Saturday afternoon & early evening completely passed us by, resulting in the BBQ’s on the riverside all being finished without interruption. Lucky us!
The remainder of the boats arrived during Saturday morning, including new members Simon & Sue on “Last Chance” (another Renaissance 35, nice?) who were attending their first event. Lee & Barbara (“Triton”) had to leave early due to an appointment on Sunday, but their vacated space outside the Mill was saved for “Ocean Way”, for ease of disembarking the gazebo and its associated paraphernalia.
The RSPB warden, Danny, came over early morning to open the Mill and entrust me with the key, which I had to return on Sunday. We arranged for our “official” Mill opening to be at 2pm, then we erected the gazebo on the lawn behind the Mill – with all members helping enthusiastically. Once again, the site was perfect for our gazebo, with an extra windbreak added at one end to keep the inside a little warmer.
We put up our Club flagpole on the riverbank, flying the Union flag and George Cross (we still haven’t managed to source a club flag yet) and enjoyed great fun in saluting as Bob hoisted up the flags.
We all gathered at the Mill at 2pm, and it was down to me to give the “official” Elf ‘n Safety lecture (all 5 secs of it?) before throwing open the doors and allowing everyone to roam at leisure for the remainder of the afternoon. Plenty of photos were taken inside the Mill, and many of our boats moored outside – including ones of Bob & Norma actually sunbathing on the coach-roof of “Mehallah” - very Mediterranean! Later that afternoon, Andy & Jill on the syndicate boat “Lightning” joined us by prior invitation, and they had a lone look around the Mill after 5pm, before coming along for the evening. The clouds started to look angry, and our resident weatherman, Dave, advised rain coming as shown on his phone “rain-app” – so we started our BBQ’s a little early at 4pm and all cooked individually near to our boats, on the quayside, All finished by about 6pm and by then the clouds had dispersed so we sat about relaxing with a glass or two in the evening sun, before setting up in the gazebo ready for the evening entertainment. The gazebo was full , some members having to sit outside, with more windbreaks added for protection. As the beer and wine flowed, Jen & Dawn went around with a collection for the RSPB, before John and Bob entertained us for the rest of the night, starting about 8.30 and not finishing before 11.30 – almost without break. What a pair of stars!
New member Ken (“Satori”) got up to do a short song interlude – turns out he used to sing in a band ( no, not the sally army one!). Well done to all, another fun night!
Sunday was dry in the morning, after the night’s heavy rain and the gazebo had dried out by 10.30, aided by Dave’s trusty Karcher window vacuum. Some boats had left early but the remaining members, helped by our guests Andy & Jill, pitched in to get the gazebo dismantled and packed quickly away. I opened up the Mill again at 12 noon for latecomers Glenn & Amanda (“Cariad”) to look around and take more photos, accompanied by Dave & Dawn. The previous evening’s collection raised £41.36, plus some members had purchased RSPB badges from a display in the Mill, and put £10 or more direct into the box provided. I left our collection in the same box and locked up the Mill, returning the key to the RSPB warden’s office by midday. I’m sure that they would be happy with the donations made, plus we again sent a cheque of £50 to English Heritage, who maintain the Mill.
Many members had drifted off by this time, on the flood tide, and by 2pm or so the remaining boats were saying their goodbyes and also leaving. End of a very pleasant & successful club weekend.
The next event is the Summer BBQ at Loddon Pyes Mill on Saturday 16th.July. I will not be attending as Spain beckons once more – but I’ll definitely be at Beccles on 6th.August for the annual FunDay. Ken 18/06/2016