Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club
Another great turnout, almost filling the quayside, with 18 Boats attending + 2 cars. The weather held-up again, some showers, but generally light winds and warm sunshine over the whole weekend. Around 40 members and guests were at the afternoon “Mad Hatter’s” tea party, and at the evening’s entertainment.
Most of us arrived early for the weekend, and some rafted off until spaces became available, but by Saturday lunchtime all 18 boats were alongside – with quite a few being dressed in flags and other assorted bunting.
We began to erect the new pop-up gazebos mid-morning, struggling a little with the first one until we realised that we had been sent 6m side/door walls instead of 4.5m – but it didn’t matter as for this event, we were butting the gazebos together. ( I took the errant side canvases back onto “Lady Grace,” ready to be exchanged with the correct ones when delivered back home). We then erected the oldest of our large white gazebos, before having more fun arguments deciding on position and layout – eventually all agreeing on a square, back-to-back layout, and tucking the gazebos right into the edge of the tree-line. The ladies put up Jackie’s new oddments cloth bunting around the inside of this “marquee”; the two Sandras added flowers and playing cards arrangements; and our club flags decorated the outside. Bill then installed his comic wooden masterpieces outside – a “that way /this way” signpost; a backward-numbered clock face; and a blackboard title sign. I provided an orange bucket and invited donations in aid of “Sponsor-a-Sibling” – Laura & Graham’s charity. (Final collection totalled £95 ).
The “marquee” was quickly furnished with tables & chairs and then all began to bring in cakes; sausage rolls; jam tarts; jammy dodgers; and a marvellous assortment of sandwiches and crisps. Sandra T even provided a giant jelly for all to scoff. Most of us had changed into colourful fancy dress, and/or donned funny hats, before sitting down at 2.45pm to all that food and drink. The Club boom-box provided a little background music, and I went round filling everyone’s “tea-cups” with prosecco for the opening toast. All enjoying ourselves for the rest of the afternoon, laughing and joking, drinking and chatting, and later, Jen led the congregation into the Community singing. The “serious” business of the fancy dress parade was then held in the sunshine outside at 4.45pm. We had an Alice (WTFi Alice? ....well, actually, a blond haired Ivan!); a couple of Mad hatters; four Queens of Hearts (tarts?) and a couple of White rabbits. Bob and Norma adjudicated, awarding best dressed woman to Hilda (White rabbit) ; best man to Peter (Mad hatter); “commended” was Ian (another White rabbit). Best hat was Jackie’s, with Jen’s being “commended” (with thanks to Sandra T for the design work!).
The big clear up started at 5pm, but there was plenty of food left over which was gathered on one table ready for the evening. Only a couple of BBQ’s were lit near the boats, for those who had not already gorged themselves on the afternoon cakes & sandwiches. Most then sat outside continuing the drinking and chatting, before returning to their boats to prepare for the evening’s entertainment. Jackie had prepared an intriguing “Alice” quiz, 15 questions of Victorian literature, which began at 8.15pm and took half hour, or so. It cost £1 entry fee into the bucket, and was won as usual by Hilda and Ivan, but with only 9 correct answers they must be slipping? They won a bottle of wine, kindly donated by Bim & Jackie. Our house band had earlier set up their stage area in a corner of the marquee, plugging into one of the quayside electric posts, and they started playing before 9pm, continuing right through until the designated time of 11pm, with a short break for the “Pot-of-Gold” club raffle.( this raised £67 - £35 for the club, with first prize of £15 to Alice (Ivan); 2nd of £10 to Steve; and 3rd of £7 to ME !). John’s rude rendition of “Living next door to Alice” opened proceedings, and was perfect for the occasion. Bim strummed his ukulele and sang lots of ditties; and Bob sang some of his Johnny Cash oldies, adding a particularly tearful Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways”. There were lots of dancing to this good music, and we joined in the fun ditties. All three ended playing together the slow dance number, “You look wonderful tonight”. Lovely! Another big “thank-you” to Bob, John and Bim. It had began to rain heavily at 10pm, but luckily had stopped by the time we began to empty out the marquee and return to our boats, just after 11.30pm.
Sunday was a lovely day to begin with, warm and lots of sunshine, and we packed up the gazebos and loaded them back onto Dave’s boat early on. Some left early, but most drifted off around lunchtime, in between some heavy showers.
The afternoon tea party was another success, so that we are planning one for next season, May 2020. This will be discussed at the August committee meeting, with proposed theme being the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a “street party”?
Next meeting is the Summer BBQ at Stracey Arms Mill on 13th.July - The 5th Northern’s Run.
See you all there.
(Ken June 2019)
Mad Hatters Tea Party - 15th June - Bramerton Common - Report