I know, I know: it’s been too long! But after a couple of months’ cruising, you sort of forget about the rest of the world.
Besides, last weekend was the annual rally of the Dutch Barge Association, which is always a superb opportunity to catch up with old friends and to meet new ones, all of us bound by the fact that we are clinically insane enough to enjoy life aboard a big steel boat designed to lug potatoes around Holland. Take my friends Bill and Sue Cozens here, for example. Whenever they move their barge, Izambard, she insists that he impersonates a hood ornament on the stern while she gets on and does all the hard work.
What do people do at a barge rally, you might well ask? In fact many of you who are asking were actually there, but have come away with only a vague impression of the weekend, especially after the hog roast on Sunday night.
I am reliably informed that one of the highlights of the weekend is always the barge handling competition, in which — and this is entirely serious — judges award points for how efficiently you can retrieve a bottle of beer without killing anybody:
I spent a few days getting ready for the rally, because Calamity Jane was open to the public during the weekend. Fortunately, my friend Chris came to join us for the week beforehand, and as an escapee from the Reservation, she knows all about how to stage a house effectively for a charity tour of homes. So I put her in charge of interior decorating while Poppy and I concentrated on the outside of the barge:
Which reminds me; in case you haven’t noticed, I have posted some interior shots of Calamity Jane on this site, so you can have a snoop around, just as though you were at the rally in person. Tempted to visit? I would love to have you here.