The George and Dragon? At that time do you remember me telling you about the plethora of events that were coming up that we wanted to go to? One of them was the Raft Race.
We relaxed in the blazing hot sunshine, chatting about John and Ellie's new house, work and rehearsals for the latest Players production that Ellie is in.
There was no formal sign that we could see, but all at once people gathered up their drinks, fetched children's heads out of buckets of water, hitched up long summer skirts and crossed the road to pick a spot on the river to watch the race from.
Next there was the Dream Boat. I must admit, I raised my eyebrows at this one! It was basically a stripped down bed frame with some ballast duct-taped underneath. I wasn't convinced on the aerodynamics and its speed potential, let alone its ability to actually float! It also didn't look all that comfortable to sit on and would have been quite heavy to manoevour I would imagine. Those PJ's were a nice touch though!
Three boats, three of us, we all selected our flagship and settled down on the bank to cheer them on. Each raft was crewed by a mixture of adults and children, and the kids looked like they were having an absolute whale of a time. This is such a brilliant day out for kids - they get to have fun making the rafts, playing in the river and race with other rafts as well. I was a bit surprised that more rafts weren't involved, although apparently in previous years they have been.
All three boats got settled into the river a bit further up, everyone took their positions and they were away, speeding gracefully down the river like a flock of giant swans.
It was more like a doggy paddle by a golden retriever with a stick in its mouth that is bigger than its body.
The Pirate Ship got stuck and went in circles for a bit before eventually straightening up and joining the race again whilst the Dream Boat had a complete and utter disaster when its crew managed to break an oar and punted itself into the river bank. The floating sheet was steaming ahead though!
Hot on the sails of the Giant Rice Krispie Square (as it shall forever now be known) came the Pirate Ship.
Finally, bringing up the rear, was the Dream Boat. They made the best of a bad situation with a broken oar, but punting is clearly not the fastest way to get down a river. Especially when you are trying to punt in between the slats of a bed.
They made it though, eventually, and crossed the finish line under the bridge to riotous applause (after getting stuck in the bank again just before the bridge and hitting one of the small children over the head with the punting stick by accident as they tried to get free. The next time I saw him, said small child had a bag of ice on his forehead, poor mite!)
After all the teams had made it safely across the finish line and all the participants had stripped off their life jackets and dried off in the toilets, dripping water all over the stone slabs of the ancient pub floor, we made our way into the garden for some lunch and to listen to the singer.
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