Following a few years hiatus we once again celebrated “Tewkesbury’s Big Weekend” and all that goes with it. Usually held over two days, it does feature many activities that involve the community and of course are centered around the rivers and various other places in the town. As my mobility is poor at the moment I did not check in at all the venues but did pause at a few that interested me. The highlight was probably the “Stitch in Time” project which is detailed on the previous page.
The one event that I wanted to see was the so called “Parade of Boats” but that was scheduled for the Sunday, so I really didn’t do much photography on the Saturday. However, there are a few things that I saw that are of interest. The first to catch my eye was an amphibious car which I spotted out of heading downstream before it disappeared behind a mooring! More about this vehicle later.
Drat, I was not sure whether he would return or not so I hung around to no avail. I gave up eventually and continued my stroll. The one image that I had grabbed was an opportunistic one and I was not too sure whether it would come out or not, but I am pleased it did.
Behind the town hall there were a few stalls setup and a small petting zoo which featured 2 goats, a pony and this incredibly sad looking donkey. I was so smitten by the donkey that I missed photographing the pony!
Why do donkeys always look so sad? I guess all those screaming kids and gawking adults would make anybody sad. Looking towards the abbey I could see that strange amphibian larking about, but he made no effort to get any closer.
I did a 180 and headed towards the derelict mill and the displays and stalls set up on the hard. Probably not much to see there, but may as well make the effort. It was not too busy though, so I was able to stroll reasonably efficiently without stressing my leg and hip too much.
There was a nice blue vintage van parked there which may have been a Renault and it was just what I needed for my food van gallery. I see that gallery has an alignment problem, let me fix it quickly…. OK, this could take some time, it seems to be affecting all galleries.
I did the obligatory walk to the lock and then turned back and took one last pic before heading for home. I would return on Sunday to take more pics.
According to what I read the parade of boats was supposed to happen somewhere between 10H45 and 12H00, but I could not find any confirmation of it. I needed to visit Poundland anyway so grabbed my stuff and headed out a bit too early. Nothing was happening so I did my shopping and then popped along to the bridge by the mill. The only movement on the water was a group of paddle boarders and the Maritime Volunteer Service launch Minerva. Just where had it been hanging out overnight?
Still no sign of the boats. however there was a former lifeboat that had been converted into a houseboat. She came off a former Norwegian oil rig and is not the only former lifeboat like this on the river as there is another one moored down by the other mill. These make quite good houseboat and live-aboards but I feel that they have too few windows.
I exited the river area near the Black Bear pub which is being renovated, but so far it has not re-opened. I aimed my own bows towards the George Watson Memorial Hall to see about getting better pics of that embroidery, it was much quieter on this day so I did get better images.
Time was passing and I walked back up to the river, hoping to see the local swans’s nest. I had hoped to see the chicks yesterday but they were nowhere in sight. Today turned out to be a bonus as they were up and swimming.
All together now… Aaaaawwwwwww… I sincerely hope that they manage to get to adulthood and join in the swans that inhabit our rivers, unfortunately it is a hit and miss thing, and previously nests were destroyed and chicks did not reach adulthood. I felt much better having seen the swans, now if only the boats would hurry up! I found a spot to stand and watched the ducks and pigeons as they oggled the passers-by, hoping for food.
And then there was movement and Minerva emerged from under the bridge followed by a fleet of assorted boats. I am tempted to paste pics of all the watercraft but realistically I am a big ship man and not really a boat person. But you know what they say: Whatever floats your boat.
Astern of Minerva was the Avon Navigation Trust bantam tug “City”. I drove this old vessel in May 2018 during a previous Big Weekend.
Astern of her the boats were all shapes and sizes, some dressed with bunting, others with reasonable facsimiles of the Royal Family (I kid you not).
This nice Tewkesbury Marina launch had a waving regal figurine who I only noticed when it was too late. No pic of her then.
Many of the boat owners had joined in the fun and I am sure quite a few pink gins had been consumed, but generally everybody behaved themselves and sailed down the murky waters safely. Wait, is that another Queen that I see?
There was royalty everywhere…
By the time this beauty came past the front of the line of battle had turned around and was heading back towards us in line ahead. But even then, dribs and drabs kept on emerging from under the bridge.
The orange rubber duck is wearing the Severn Rescue branding on it’s side.
and then finally….
Some digging revealed that she is a Dutton 4WD Surf kit car. They are built on the chassis of a Suzuki Jimny and have a water jet propulsion. More info on the amphibian is available on the website. That car/boat made my day. It was time to head off for home, leaving all those boats to head off to their moorings. There were other events planned for the day but they didn’t interest me, besides, I was in need of lunch. My hip/leg had held out reasonably well although I was generally tired. All that inactivity during lockdown sure took it’s toll.
Special thanks to everybody who made the weekend a success, and special thanks to the boat owners who brought their boats out for me to see. Thank you.
DRW 2022. Created 22/05/2022.