11th and 12th June 2011
Yes Python has arrived at Stoke Bruerne and now so did the crew, Pete and I once again on board ready for what lay ahead.
After sitting on the M1 in the car park traffic due to an accident for an hour and a half, Pete and I eventually arrived at Stoke Bruerne and were warmly invited into Phoenix by Mick and Branson.
That evening Fish and Chips was on the menu and after the extended journey we were definitely ready for it. After we were settled back in to Python and after unloading all our food, the bedding and getting out the bag of firewood and coal for the much promised cold night ahead, we were ready to join Mick, Branson and Toby (with his new neckerchief) for the evening meal in the marquee. There followed a brilliant evening of live music with clog dancing and then a Hungarian band with their dancers!
It was an absolutely freezing evening and so that night it was time to light the fire for the first time on this trip, the second time overall, as we were ready to warm up. After a practice try we cracked it and warmed the cabin up enough to let us sit in the hold!
Saturday came and Pete and I were excited for the day ahead, we carefully thought about how we would use the leaflets we had and the supply of archive information.
Here’s Fazeley a Butty that Python used to pull:
We took some petition sheets which were really useful for us to use to draw people in. Soon we had one sheet full of signatures and of course we were then able to talk to people about the last nine miles of the canal still to be restored. This added greatly to people’s interest so we gave them a copy of the Chesterfield Canal Visitor Guide.
People commented on how great Python looked compared to the last time that she was there in 2009, so we could talk to people about the restoration project.
We also gave out the last few archive information leaflets to those who wanted to know more about Python.
Later it came to dinner time which meant a trip to the local pub with Mick and Branson and on the way the rest of my family turned up including Grandma and Lucy the dog!
After dinner we met my family back at the boat where the last few chores were done with help from my mum and sister. After a brief visit to the Blacksmith I bought a hand-made shovel so that we could clean out the fire from the night before ready for that night.
In the afternoon more signatures were collected and more leaflets wre handed out. We are running low on archive sheets! Overall we collected 75 signatures!
With help from my dad we set up the picture boards and put on the older pictures of Python going back to the time when Arthur originally collected her from Adelaide Dock. There were so many that they only just fitted on.
Eventually people started to disappear and the event started to wind down! Pete and I decided to cook in the galley and not visit the bar marquee.
A really good day was had by all. We had brilliant weather – really sunny – and met lots of people and hopefully friends that we will see at later shows including once again Panther (Python’s sister boat) and their crew.
Sunday unfortunately brought some really bad weather and most people stayed around the Crafts and Museum so Pete and I took the chance to go round the Museum before going home.
It was an absolutely brilliant weekend and a great start to the first festival of Python’s Grand Tour.
Written by: Thomas Flewitt