Saturday June 9th was preceded by a week of dreadful weather, high winds and rain, and was followed by a week of incessant and miserable rain. But the day itself was gloriously dry and sunny. Robert and Sue Hall must be congratulated for choosing such a fine day — were they just lucky, or do they have some sort of connection to the powers that control such things? Hmmm… Whatever the reason, over thirty Guild members and guests enjoyed the occasion, which consisted of a ring at the Bell Tower, where we rose to Grandsire Caters and rounds/call changes on the 12 (one might have pitied William Hall, Robert's son, who hadn't rung for about 4 years, being given a rope for ringing on the 12 to kick off with… but of course, as an ex-Bell Tower ringer and past Guild member, he rang perfectly capably), a boat trip on the River Avon and then - on dry land - the BBQ.
We were also lucky with the river, as only the day before boat owner and Guild member Tom Sandham had warned the trip could be cancelled. The Avon was in flood from the earlier heavy rain and the danger level at which all navigation should cease was approaching. Very amazingly, considering the weather, the following 24 hours saw the level fall and the river itself to become largely its normal tranquil self. Ah! the power of the Four Shires Guild!
The river trip started at Sankey Marine, the eventual location of the BBQ situated at the downstream end of the big river loop that encloses Evesham, and chugged all the way round the loop to Tom's mooring in The Park. Chris and Helen Povey were picked up here, as they were too late arriving at the Marina (typical: it's always the closest ones…). It was then up through the Workman Bridge to the weir to turn round before returning to Sankey Marine. The river was a picture in the sunshine. It sparkled; an unexpected treat considering the past weather.
Once back at the Marina the proprietors cooked up the BBQ. Drinks of all descriptions were available in the Club House, which we could have used if the weather was inclement. To compound our good fortune the weather treated us even more kindly in the evening, in that it became sunnier and almost still while we collected our food and sat down to eat. The Bell Tower handbells were brought along, but sadly we couldn't do them justice, only managing rounds on 12 and plain hunt Minor.
We left with just a fleeting memory of what June should be like, rather than the poor weather thrown at us this year!
It was a very pleasant event, for which Robert and Sue Hall, and Sophia L-S, must be thanked.
(Handsam Too Boat Co: see www.handsamboatcompany.co.uk