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JB's Back!

It's been a while since I was able to post a report on our activities with JB, but here is a catch-up on all we've been doing over the last couple of months.....


29th July - Todwick - apologies to anyone expecting to see us there; I came down with a stinker of a cold on Friday night and it was too late to get anyone to bring JB over to Todwick at such short notice.  Hope to make it up some other time....

14th July - Cutthorpe Festival - What a Drag!

 Despite the persistent rain which had fallen during the week, this event went ahead and on arrival at the entrance a much-in-demand 4x4 was brought across to tow JB to its pitch after the van was un-hitched.  While we were setting up a large selection of classic vehicles passed in front of us to be parked along the edge of the cricket field on what was supposed to be firmer ground, although with the appearance of ever-deepening ruts I'm not sure the groundsman would concur.  Having got JB ready the generator then decided to pick today to go on strike, and despite all my best efforts and gentle cajoling it stubbornly refused to fire up.  Chesterfield Institute of Advanced Motorists had their caravan and display next to us, and one of their visitors came over to offer help.  Despite several attempts at starting and the genny going for a little longer each time, even he was beginning to feel there was no chance, until discovering that the stop button was a little resistant and after fiddling with that eventually we had power for the trailer.  With this event starting later than many we attend, at 2pm, it was a short afternoon, unfortunately made even shorter with a very heavy burst of rain soon after 4 o'clock which sent many of the classic cars (and visitors) heading for the exit, with some of the traders vans having to call on the services of the tow truck.  We packed up in a mix of sun and rain, and also had to be towed off the park again after trying to drive out with the van and trailer hitched together.



8th July - Inkerman Buzz

 A “green” event at Inkerman Park in Chesterfield promoting environmental projects and eco-friendly transport.  Eva was busy with her craft day at Hollingwood so I went with just the gazebo and a prayer for dry weather.  The second hand books and Staveley brick donations proved popular so even though there were not a large number of visitors, it was none the less a not unsatisfactory afternoon.


7th July - Misterton Gala Moves Location

 The weather and a new venue on the edge of the village at the Sports and Social Club seemed to reduce the number of visitors here for this event.  Pat Hodges from JP Boat Handling volunteered to staff JB today as Eva and I met some of the Canal Festival prize winners at Hollingwood.  However, the number of Trust members increased thanks to new signings during the afternoon.



Staveley Rocks, and Rolls and Swings and Jives!

30th June/1st July - Chesterfield Canal Festival, Staveley Town Basin 

 It wasn't just the fabulous evening entertainment by the Swing Commanders on Saturday night, either!  The sun shone on the opening of the Festival by the Duke of Devonshire and there was plenty of entertainment and exhibitors for the crowds, from jewellery displays (rocks - gettit?), food outlets (rolls - see where we're going?), children’s rides (yes - swings) and music and dancing (jives – got there!).  Almost from the gates opening at 10 o'clock there were crowds gathered around JB at the bottom of the main drive into the basin area, and Saturday proved to be busy all day.

The trip boats had a terrific day and there were hundreds of happy faces as people left the event at the end of their day, many asking if it will happen again next year.

Sunday morning started very brightly, although it took time for the crowds to gather during the day, and with extra exhibitors on site for the day, there was again plenty of variety for the visitors.  Through the day our volunteers around the site were getting very positive feedback about the event and the crew on JB were very busy signing up new members and taking donations for Staveley bricks and even late purchases of raffle tickets.



24th June - Bolsover Gala

 A better, warmer day and more people around to visit JB.  Bolsover Gala is held on the large expanse of the Recreation Ground and they pack in a lot of entertainment, so location can be key to the number of visitors.  However, it gave our crew another chance to promote the Festival in the last weekend before it all happens at Staveley next Saturday/Sunday.


23rd June - Brimington Summer Fair

Reportedly showery and cool and a moderate number of visitors to JB. We had tried to get to Brimington last year but again there were several events on the same day and we were too stretched.  Thanks to the members who took JB this year and enabled us to promote our Festival locally.


23rd & 24th June - Logistics Nightmare!

 Early in 2012 with Python planning to visit Braunston I agreed to support the crew on land with some sort of exhibition/display. Unfortunately with the change in the weather conditions in early April the Python tour was rearranged to parts of the canals system less likely to suffer water shortages.  With Eva and I committed to Braunston, and both Brimington and Bolsover as scheduled appearances over the same weekend, we managed to have JB at the latter 2 events while we went with just the gazebo to try fund-raising for 2 days at the Historic Narrowboat Rally held in the Marina at Braunston. Some careful packing of our car and we had all the tombola stuff, sales items, the gazebo and our provisions for the weekend!  We pitched up next to our old friends of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust early Saturday morning and wondered how we would fare.  It wasn't hugely busy for us - there were long lulls in between visitors which at least enabled both Eva and I to have a look around the site - a rare treat when we are away at an event.  Earlier in the season I had put together a printed map of the Killamarsh - Kiveton Park proposed restoration and this drew a fair bit of attention; it was so much easier to explain and show the route to people than try and describe it without the benefit of the JB graphics to hand!  Despite the variable weather and considering we were some way off our usual “patch”, there was a decent amount of interest in what we are doing along the Chesterfield and Eva raised nearly £200 over the 2 days.  And to make it all worth while, Tim Coughlan, MD and owner of Braunston Marina, presented us with a donation cheque (as he does to all the canal trusts/societies who attend) as a thank you for being there.



Thoresby Hall - 17th June

 As part of The Gallery's season of talks and exhibitions Trust member Nick Summerbell gave a talk on the canal to a small but select audience while Eva and I had the gazebo and JB in the courtyard.  Eva actually ended up with more visitors browsing the selection of good-quality second hand books we had on show than came to see me in JB, and the response to Nick's talk was very favourable.


Woodsetts Summer Festival - 16th June

 The organisers had arranged for this year's event to be held outside again on the Recreation Ground after last year's show was reduced in size and held indoors.  We took both JB and our gazebo along and set up beside the main pavilion, opposite the entertainment stage, which resulted in several discussions regarding the sound levels emanating from the speakers pointed in our direction.

Conditions were more suitable to middle winter than mid-summer, but enough people came by to try their luck on Eva's tombola and sample the book stall and the classes from Stepping Out Dance School braved what must have been cold and breezy conditions to perform their routines.

The decibel level rose when the bands occupied the sound stage, but we talked to many people about the canal and encouraged them to visit Staveley at the end of June.  And at the end of the day after a heavy shower drove many people from the rec., the Dinnington Colliery Band came on.  Talk about performing to one man and his dog!  But they gave the small crowd that remained an often lively, always melodic programme of music to close the event.  The organisers felt that visitor numbers were well down on the last time it was held outdoors - there was no large marquee for today’s event so everyone was exposed to the elements.