Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Busman's Holiday

What a glorious day. Despite the rain of yesterday and a bit of a “blow” in the night (apparently, unusually I slept through the wind), the morning dawned with blue skies, sun and a light wind.

I was off on my “busman’s holiday” with The Bruce Trust and our clients and volunteers. We picked the boat up at Great Bedwyn Wharf and then cruised up the four locks to Crofton. Mooring there we served lunch to the passengers and crew! The Bruce Trust has 4 boats. All wide beam, all built to take wheelchairs and disabled people. They have lifts, showers and plenty of room to manoeuvre a wheelchair.

Mr Bruce was a London businessman with a string of pubs, which he sold and has used some of the money to create The Bruce Trust. All the boats save the latest are named after members of his family. The last one was built just after the death of Princess Di – guess the name! Canny man, it meant that the Trust received lots of help and donations towards the boat and it was built for half the total cost thanks to this.

They hire the boats out, one is a 12 berth – Hannah, the one we were on. There is Rebecca (12 berth) and Rachel – the family boat that is 4 – 6 berth. Diana (10 berth) was “out” on the Thames. Out of season or when the boats are not hired out they use the boats for giving day trips to local community organisations – which is where we come in.

It was wonderful to see the pleasure on the faces of the elderly ladies we took. They were so grateful and we felt it a real privilege to give them such an enjoyable day. They sat in the bows, getting wet at the first lock (64, Bedwyn Church Lock) from the leaky gates! Exclaiming as the boat bumped as it moved from side to side as the locks filled (and emptied on the way back). Two of them had a go on the tiller – one was a natural as she had sailed in the past!

The volunteer crew – Skipper(s) Bryan and Patrick and Pauline, who came along to help with the locks were absolutely wonderful. To find out more about the Trust click here.

A really good day, I look forward to the next one, hopefully in the spring.

I have now put up our Devizes locks and Caen Hill video, here. Enjoy!

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