Sunday, 13 July 2014

34th Meadvale Expolorer Scouts, Day Two.

Sunday 13th July, 2014 near Kingswood Junction.
As predicted, the rain arrived overnight but later than expected, so the lads had managed to get their tents up and have their barbecue before it started.  In the morning, it was raining a little but stopped just after they arrived back at MM.
R (aka. Baldrick) had devised a “Cunning Plan”, which he hoped would make the morning fun as well as testing the skills that the lads had (we hoped) acquired yesterday. 
R told them the story of his former flying instructor, Paul Gliddon, who had told him, towards the end of the flying course, that if R now got himself in trouble, then he would have to get himself out of it on his own. Paul said his role was just to stop R from killing them both! So today, the Scouts’ task was to take MM down the five locks without any help from R, M or Spence (all of whom would be there just to make sure they didn’t kill themselves or damage MM!).
The passage from the first lock to the second was made more complicated by two boats coming the other way. Fortunately, the pound was very wide at this point.
They all rose to the occasion and organised themselves into teams to do the various jobs required.
As a result, they managed to get MM down through the five locks without incident (or help from us). Well done!
At the bottom of the locks, we moored up while they walked back up to get their lunch bags from the van at the top. While there, they did their “good deed for the day”, when a daft small dog fell seven feet into the empty top lock and had to be rescued by the Scouts who wisely refilled the lock (very slowly so as not to drown the little dog in the turbulence) before fishing the dog out with a fisherman's net.
Back at MM, they were rewarded by tea, coffee and KitKats. By now, the sun was out again and we set off back down the canal and back through the festival site, this time on MM. We waved goodbye to Helen on “Jam Butty” and to Rico and Lorraine of “It’s Amore” as we passed.
Mooring up the other side of the festival proved to be a bit of a problem as the canal had concrete sides and, where we could have got mooring stakes into the ground, we couldn’t get close to the side because it was too shallow. So we ended up two miles further down the canal, where we finally moored up and the lads had their lunch, with more teas and coffees.
Eventually, they decided they needed to be on their way. They had a three mile walk back to their van before the drive home to Reigate. They presented us with a huge box of chocolates and a bunch of flowers with a card signed by all of them.
As it was Spence’s final trip as their leader, we also presented him with a card and gave him one of the “Ginger” cheeses that we had bought previously from the cheese boat – to make up for his obvious disappointment that the boat was not at the festival!
We said a reluctant farewell to them all and watched them walk off down the towpath.
It was so quiet after they left – a bit like when one’s children leave home!
M said how much she missed them after they left. We had such a lot of fun with them, they are a great crowd of lads and we really hope they will come again.
Today: 3 miles, 5 locks and 2.7 hours.

Trip: 66 miles, 48 locks and 41.2 hours.

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