Oulton Broad Gala Weekend - August Bank Holiday - Report
Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club
Oulton Broad Sunday Music Night & Bank holiday Monday Gala day. 26th - 27th August 2018
A mixed bag of weather, generally warm but windy, and very wet on the Sunday, forcing us to cancel the BBQ! However, it was sunny and warm for the actual Gala Day, and a lovely evening for the all-important fireworks display. A nice holiday weekend, with 15 club boats moored up in the yacht station, and more members turning up by car.
I had left my boat on the outside of the pontoon since the preceding Monday, returning on Friday afternoon to find it bouncing about in the strong south-westerly wind and rocking with the waves raised by the racing yachts. Unloading the car and going down below to pack away our things, Jen even felt a little seasick, but members helped to get some ropes across to “Jade” and shifted “Lady Grace” up a bit before making her fast and much more stable for the weekend, ready for the powerboats to come on Monday!
Dawn and I returned our respective cars back to Brundall, catching a packed train back to Oulton North as a heavy storm broke, then it was fish ‘n chips and drinks on board to round off a busy Friday.
Saturday was a more restful day; meeting up with other members; having a few drinks, bit of a chat, and organising the evening dinner in the Wherry Hotel for those members who wished to join in. A number of members went into Lowestoft for a morning or afternoon of shopping, the rest of us continued to socialise along the pontoons.
There were 12 of us who strolled over to the Wherry at 7pm, and all enjoyed a lovely meal and drinks until nearly 10pm, when we returned to our boats. Robin and Jane were also over there that evening, but seated separately as they were with their family, but we all had a chat with them.
Sunday started dry but very windy, with clouds building ominously. The weather forecast was horrific for after midday and already we had decided to cancel the club BBQ – first cancellation of the year and the first planned BBQ day which wasn’t hot and sunny. Just our luck! Waves built up on the Broad and we were tossed about in all directions, and heavy rains started right on cue after midday.
A washout afternoon, but we battened down the hatches, ate on board, and prepared for the evening entertainment over at the Boulevard.
Kath, John, and big Al ("Woy Orpington”) performed again for our enjoyment in the restaurant of the Boulevard. Once more it was really good, lots of dancing and singing – and some drinking, of course.
Unfortunately the evening was marred by the news that Peter’s dog Bruno had slipped off the side of his boat (”Askari”) and was lost in the water. Lots of people on the pontoons took part in a frantic search, and a couple of ribs were launched. It was nearly 9pm and quite dark by then, but the search continued for a couple more hours, without finding poor Bruno. Very sad. *
Bank Holiday Monday was a much better day for the Gala but still very strong wind in the morning, with the possibility of both the fireworks and the powerboat racing being cancelled? The entry fee to the park had been increased again from previous years, an eye-watering £8 each now. Still, many of us raided our piggy-banks and went in to see the amusements and entertainment – especially to see the bands and choirs in the stage area. The shows in the arena were interesting, some even exciting, such as the wrestling and the Wheels of Death acrobats show. There were also numerous tents for selling crafts and housing fund-raising activities – such as our own “Joshua’s Journey”’s colourful tombola for their “Sponsor a Sibling” charity, with little Harry taking centre-stage, still smiling as usual.
Luckily the wind abated and the little Albatrosses began sedately racing past at 4pm, followed in the next race by the roar of the Cats hurtling towards our boats. The lower turn-buoy was less than 100 metres away, so prime position was sitting on the front of my boat or on our neighbour “Jade”, with a glass of wine or a beer, rocking gently in the wakes. Racing in all powerboat classes continued for the next 3 hours or so, and soon it was time to prepare for the fireworks and our planned finale pontoon party afterwards.
What a lovely evening followed, clear skies for the firework display starting promptly at 9pm, and lasting a bit longer than last year – nearly a full 15 minutes of echoing bangs and brilliant flashes. Then members and friends joined us for the after-party around the stern of “Lady Grace”, whilst watching the Funfair wind down and being packed back on to the lorries. Plenty of beer, spirits and wine being enjoyed on the pontoon until the midnight hour. A great day and a lovely evening.
* Update: Sadly Brunos' body was found in the water a few days later. Bruno was the third club dog we've lost this year with the passing of Tim and Dees' dog King in June and Arthur and Barbaras' dog Meg in August. Our thoughts go out to Peter, Tim and Dee and Arthur and Barbara.