A new day, a new crew and a new stretch of the river to navigate. For the final stretch of the race to Newark I had recruited some big names to steer Double Fracture to the finish line. SuperSusie has been a fountain of useful boat knowledge over the last few months; this is because she is a boating world champion. Added to this, I had trans-continental adventurer Chris, the woman-who-is-teaching-me-to-live Lizzie and prodigal skipper Poppy.
The day got off to the best possible start by listening to a podcast. Underwhelming, you might think, but this was not any podcast. It was the BBC’s flagship film programme, Wittertainment, and they were reading out my review of Pitch Perfect 2 (about 31 minutes in if you’re interested). Excited does not cover it (Mark Kermode even chuckled at my attempt at humour). I did miss the chance to say hello to Jason Isaacs (may I rectify that here Jason – apologies for forgetting you in my rush to review the film), but who gets everything right first time?
My radio debut celebrated with a cup of tea, we set sail, and straight away arrived at the first challenging moment. Gunthorpe lock was in use and I was surrounded by big, shiny yachts. The kind made out of plastic that do not take kindly to a nudge from a 12-ton lump of steel. With no obvious place to tie up and wait for the green light, I resorted to turning circles in the river, getting palpitations as the weir appeared ever closer. After what can only have been a couple of minutes, but at least a dozen grey hairs and a semi-permanent furrow in the forehead later, the lock gates opened, and two more shiny yachts came out. We had another near-miss with the second (cue angry glares), but made it into the relative safety of the lock. The lock keeper, having witnessed my ineptitude, decided that he really needed to go back to basics with his advice, covering topics such as what a red light signifies, and the worst place for a person to get stuck in a lock (between the boat and the wall apparently). But also gave us a pub tip for lunch, so I can overlook the patronizing preface.
On we went to Fiskerton, and the pub gods were smiling on us – just as we arrived two boats left the visitor moornings outside The Bromley at Fiskerton, allowing us to enjoy a leisurely lunch overlooking the boat (like an overprotective parent, I get very nervous when Double Fracture is out of sight). I can recommend the burgers.
Poppy decided to show us how it was done, and took the tiller for a while. I’m expecting big boating things of this child (I’ve heard Ben Ainslie has made tentative enquiries about America’s Cup availability for 2025). And before we knew, Newark Castle was on the right, and a very tight turn into the marina was on the left. A bit of a thud on the way in seemed like the appropriate way to announce our arrival. I made a quick phone call to the family to let them know of our success was greeted with much relief, and it was time to get onto the serious business of picking out my wedding outfit.
There were four options for SuperSusie to pass judgement on – the blue dress (too short), the purple (too un-wedding-y), the green (too tight; the zip did well to hold it together for those few seconds) and the black (it’s black). The solution: a last minute trip to Monsoon on the morning of the wedding to get a cardigan to add a splash of colour to my otherwise ebony outfit. The outcome: a whole new outfit, and a gasp of horror as I told the saleswoman that the wedding was four hours away. Who said disorganisation doesn’t have its benefits?
This blogpost was brought to you by ‘I’m outta love‘ by Anastacia.