Thursday, 31 May 2012

Jubilee Pageant Rehearsal

On Saturday I was privileged to be on narrowboat Indigo Dream to participate in the rehearsal for the Queen's Jubilee pageant this coming weekend. Unfortunately James was too busy working to come too. Although we had travelled from Teddington to Brentford in the Duck in 2008, I'd not been boating on the Thames since and was really excited to have the opportunity to see London from a narrowboat! Twenty-three other boats were participating in the rehearsal (out of the 40 narrowboats which will be joining in the real thing). The Herbies as well as Sarah and Andy from DogsonTour were also joining in - practising for the real thing!

We had an early start - out locking out from Limehouse was scheduled for 7:15, so I caught an early train. We met up on Indigo Dream and then waited our turn for the lock and out onto the river. Limehouse lock is amazing. No paddles, they just crack open the gates to let water in or out depending on the state of the tide. It was low water when we emerged.

Then it was off downstream, all the way to the Thames barrier and beyond. I was surprised to see lots of rowers out on this stretch - including several single scullers! Beyond the barrier, we waited for all the boats to arrive and then set off in single file upstream.

Gort and Fulbourne
 I was lucky enough to be at the tiller as we passed back through 'Echo' span of the barrier. Richard took several pictures of me which I will post when I get them! Through the centre of London it all got very choppy and exciting, but Indigo Dream held her own, ably steered by Sarah.

Next was our rendezvous with the mooring buoys. I think Neil sums it us by saying it wasn't our finest hour! Well, actually Indigo Dream was perfectly handled, but quite a few of the other boats struggled and had to be pushed into place by the PLA ribs!

We locked through into Brentford at about 5pm, quite exhausted, and went for a drink and a delicious dinner in the Weir pub. I then headed home, but the rest stayed to crew the boat back downstream , leaving at 5am the next morning. Neil has posted some wonderful pictures of all the boats in perfect formation!
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  1. Despite the early wake-up, it sounds like you all had a grand adventure! Surely next weekend will find the NBs in fine form.

  2. Hi Amy

    Did you take part in the BCN Challenge? How was it?

    Am trying to catch up with non-pageant events - between hound calamities and the jubilee the rest of the real world seems to have vanished :-)

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream