South West Herts Narrowboat Project

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Villager News title image

Articles in the local Villager News magazine
[written by one of our volunteers].

June 2011

Ricky Carnival week and the Canal Festival are what makes the capital C in community. For anyone involved, a massive feeling of pride at playing a part in it. Even more so as part of a team representing SWHNP and Dick's Folly, the following people formed part of the Little Dick's Folly Crew and for whom I offer a personal thank you for their commitment, time and energy. Ann G; Angi N; Claire A-P; Ellen G; John B; John C; Harry A-P; Lesley C; Liz H; Martin C;  Maureen M; Nigel L; Pete L.

We received a number of compliments about our smart turn out from the carnival crowds as they cheered, laughed and clapped us pulling Little Dicks Folly through the narrow streets. Unbeknown to the Ricky crowds the crew were hiding their disappointment having just heard the news that, due to some of the new windows not arriving at the boatyard, Dick's Folly would not be returning for the Canal Festival!

The next few days created a flurry of telephone calls and emails, but I really should take a leaf out of our Australian visitor Ellen's book: 'she'll be right' - and she was! That's because the camaraderie of the people who live and work on the canal is unique. Not only are they there for each other but also there to encourage others to experience life on the water. Eve and Tony from 'The Triple B'  procured a piece of the tow path and set up a stall of items from their own trading stall, with all the profits going to the Project. Janul and Warren with boats Pirate and tug boat Storm stored our publicity banners and photos the night before and invited us to join in again with the Tug of War. On Saturday Ralph with Tug Boat Tiny gave LDF a lift up the canal where he then sat on the top of Storm and during the afternoon Tug of War had Happy Birthday sung to him. Yes, he was officially 1 year old.  Later in the evening our community boat neighbours from Apsley, The Reach Out Project, loaded all our stuff including Little Dick, inside Close Shave for the night.  Phil Bassett former chair of the project and one of the sponsors of the Festival through his company Boatshed invited us to drinks on Persephone  at 6pm which soon became a two hour jam and community singing session, with Janul, myself  and a few others.

Sunday morning found Harry and I watching Claire sing as part of the Rock Choir and then we were off again, telling, selling and singing for Dick's Folly. After lunch we steered Little Dicks Folly back up the tow path, and along with Harry, Claire and Nigel we climbed on the top of Pirate to sing and cheer in the Tug of War.

Notes on the rules of the Tug of War, two boats have a rope tired between their sterns and on the signal pull, until one boat drags the other backwards. The winner however depends on the cheering crowds and an independent referee, who for the second year running was a dog, who chose the other boat even though Pirate very clearly won! Then a whole lot more cheering as Storm took on Steam Boat Swallow!

Two hours later after sitting, singing and being covered in soot we were tipped back on the tow path for the final rally to clear up and store everything inside Storm. As the 40,000 strong crowds drifted home we felt we could truly call ourselves ambassadors of the Project. 

Just to remind folks that volunteering has its perks, and in that same sprit of camaraderie Monday morning saw John B, Martin and myself  assist Pirate and Storm home from Ricky to Apsley which gave us the long overdue chance to crew and for me a chance to take over the helm on both boats.  We jumped ship at our Hunton Bridge base and off-loaded all our equipment and waved Jan and Warren off.

Dare I say that Dick's Folly is due back into Croxley Marina on Friday 10th June which is the eve of Abbots Carnival and where Little Dick's Folly and crew will make their next appearance? They will also be on parade the following week at the Kings Carnival on 18th May 2011.

We are now open for bookings: contact us by email

With All Good Wishes,

Angi Naylor Project Volunteer


Dick's Folly narrowboat.


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