Commonwealth Games part 1

Oh this is wonderful. We arrived in Glasgow on Friday to what was unpromising weather. I had venue specific training on Saturday and as we went off in our double decker bus to see the three venues, we were stopped at the traffic lights at George Square just as the Glasgow Pride March came past. It was wonderful to see them particularly given the view of some commonwealth countries to LGBT issues. By this time it was raining and the bus was steamy, so no photos.
Whilst I was training, Roger moved the camper to our home for the games period. We’re staying at Hamilton Rugby club. The staff at the club are fantastic so this is looking good. In the evening Clydesiders had been invited to the rehearsal for the opening ceremony, so off we went in the rain with our new friends Michael and Ebun to Celtic park. It was inclement but we were well wrapped up and cheerful and chatted our way to the ground. Glasgow is dotted with Clydes and this is one on the way to Celtic Park.
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The opening ceremony rehearsal was good and it was great that so many of the celebrities turned out on a wet night. Obviously not all of them were there and the prize for best over acting went to the Rod Stewart stand in!!
Sunday saw us visiting Hamilton baptist Church where we were greeted warmly and shared in a lovely service and a tasty lunch. Fantastic people. We then found our way into Glasgow and sussed out where Roger was going to be working and found our bearings a bit.
Monday was my first shift. I’m working with the technical officials and assisting them with their transport. This involves trying to organise them and get them at the right place to get the right bus to get to where they need to be. Shift successfully negotiated and then I joined Roger at the BBC on the Quay where we enjoyed some live entertainment before hearing the unmistakable sound of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. They were warming up in the outside stage area rehearsing for the One show. We hung around and were given tickets so saw the whole show live. Alex and Matt seemed to be on good form and it was great.
Tuesday saw us both working an early shift then back to the BBC stage again to see Mel Gledroyc interview Judy Murray for radio 4. When we came out we went over to the main stage to find some open air shade. The tent for the radio recording was very hot with no breeze. Whilst cooling off we enjoyed Simple Minds practising for the One show.
Wednesday meant an early start as Roger and I fancied trying our luck to get into the Ken Bruce live show recording at BBC Quay. We got in and we had the most fantastic time. ken, Lynne, Simple Minds, Paloma Faith and my personal favourite Paul Heston and Jacqui Abbott. What a morning. Live music, great entertainment, sunshine and great company.

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Another short shift followed and we were able to get to merchant City to see the opening ceremony on a big screen – actually not a very big screen and very badly placed in a narrow street, but the atmosphere was tremendous. When the athletes started to come in. We made our way to Dalmarnock, the nearest station to Celtic Park. we stood there to watch the fireworks go off after the ceremony. There were simultaneous fireworks at Celtic Park, Glasgow Green and somewhere else that we couldn’t identify. Didn’t know which way to look!!

A day off yesterday allowed time for some chores and then a walk to Strathclyde Country park for the Triathlon. This was just fantastic. It was roasting hot and we arrived just as the medal ceremony was being held. Two medals for England, felt like a good sign. We were sat by the loch so had a fantastic view of all the athletes as they swam round, but really couldn’t see who anyone was. We cheered and shouted with the rest of the crowd as the field became strung out and wondered at the chap at the back doing breast stroke making very slow progress. We were willing him not to be lapped as this would have meant a disqualification. Whilst he appeared to miss this, he was eventually pulled about 2/3 around the second lap.

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The Brownlee brothers were so strong in all three disciplines and led from the front. It was amazing to see them cycling and running and being so far in front. It was great that they were joined by a Scot for much of the cycling, but they were clearly the strongest in the field. We were standing at the fence as they ran past, but I failed miserably to get anything resembling a decent photograph of them – but we were there. The Scottish crowd were fantastic and really supportive of the Brownlees but the biggest cheers were reserved for the Scottish competitors. A fantastic event and I may go back for the team event on Saturday.
Well today Roger’s off on a shift and I’m off later. Just enjoying some quiet blogging time. Glasgow is fantastic, the people are wonderful and the atmosphere is stunning. There’s stuff for everyone to do whether you love sport or not and I recommend it to you all. Another 10 days of competition to go and another 7 shifts each to complete. I love it!

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Home and a wedding

After a lovely trip away, home gave us the chance to catch up with a few of those domestic chores and meet up with some of our lovely friends. I managed supper with an old quartet at North Warnborough, lunch with old work colleagues in Winchester and an evening barbecue with the lovely Chris, Sara and little Zoe. All good times to catch up.

We then got ourselves ready for the big wedding.

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We headed off for Oxford where I was performing bus monitor at the park and ride. On our arrival we soon saw the transport arranged for us.

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Bus monitor role was duly completed and only three people didn’t quite make it and had to manage the normal park and ride. Poor old Alex is clearly not blessed with either a good sense of direction, or timing! Good job he’s blessed in so many other ways.

The wedding was gorgeous. Beautiful church, fantastic service, one hymn sung in Finnish which I think we all had a good stab at, and most importantly a beautiful bride and groom. Lovely.

We went off for the reception having shared some lovely tea and cake at the church whilst photos were taken, thanks to Joy the brides mum and her fantastic cooking skills, then we were back on the bus to the reception where fun was had, photos taken, food and drink consumed and the wedding was very much celebrated. Thank you Gemma and Oskari for allowing us to be part of your special day, and special thanks to Joy and David – you should be very proud, it was great.

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I loved all the beautiful homemade decorations which included hand made bunting, place cards and the table decorations which had flowers in tea pots on each table. Gorgeous.

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Next stop Glasgow….

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Eunoia and Jack

Having collected Jack from Durham and spent a brass banding weekend at home, we set off again to Eunoia with Jack. This was to be the first trip with a guest. We decided this time to turn left out of the marina and head west. This part of the Trent and Mersey canal is wide and allows the passage of wide berth boats.

DSC01530 This means that the locks are wide too, which creates the issues of heavier lock gates, seemingly stiffer paddles and more movement to the boat in the lock. We travelled off through numerous locks along to Shardlow which is a very pretty place. We then travelled through Derwent Mouth which is the start of the river and end of the canal, when it becomes very wide and we passed lots of signs to avoid the weir. A picture of a boat capsizing by a weir worked for us at keeping us straight.
We then came to the big junction which was right for River Soar which leads to Loughborough, straight on for the Cranfleet Cut which leads to Nottingham and left up the Erewash canal. We turned left.
The Erewash canal isn’t, it appears, much used. It’s a dead end canal, so you have to travel up and back. Along both sides, at the Trent end, were lilies that were beautiful but did restrict the passage. The other thing about the Erewash canal is that the locks are protected by anti vandal locks. This creates an extra challenge for those of us operating the locks in unlocking the paddles, before they can be lowered, passing the key across the lock, and locking up again when the paddles were closed. Another key might have been useful! As the canal wasn’t well travelled we found some of the locks really hard work, and Jack and I worked hard to open and fill the 15 locks as we climbed in one day up to the basin at Langley Mill. Having said that I really enjoyed the Erewash. We travelled through some very industrial, but beautiful buildings and you could imagine the business of those buildings and the canal in their heyday. We also passed some more rural areas and met lots of people. At the locks on several occasions there were groups of people, mostly young, fishing. Almost without exception they offered to help and engaged in amusing conversations about what they were doing and where we were going.

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At Langley Mill there was very restricted room, so we moored partially alongside a brand new boat called Just The One. The owners Bruce and Judy had only picked their boat up at the Crick show and we had a lovely time with them over a bottle of wine putting the world to rights and sharing our stories.

The next morning I was woken by banging and went out to find that we had moved since the night before. A temporary pontoon was being dismantled and had needed to move the moored boats in order to make room. We re-tied and spent a few hours watching the workers work whilst we drank tea. When the pontoon was removed and out of the water, off we went, back down the Erewash. The locks seemed easier for our efforts the previous day and we arrived safely back down above the Trent lock by some of the widest variety of house boats that I’ve ever seen. This one particularly took my fancy as it’s front end is completely within a lean to.
House boat and hut.

Gin and Tonic Cake

 We set off through the Trent Lock back onto the river and then back into the Trent and Mersey Canal. We moored overnight at Sawley where we had great pleasure in welcoming visitors. Jackie, Graeme, Alex, James and Alison who joined us to toast Eunoia and partake in some Gin and Tonic cake that I’d baked to test both the oven and the recipe. A success on both counts from my perspective., and only 10 units of gin in the cake and icing!

Sunday saw us travelling alongside a range of steam boats who were enjoying their annual rally. We travelled the short distance to Shardlow passing a lovely house with a train set that travelled all around the garden. We’d seen it on the way through but without enough time to take any photos. This time we captured some, including pictures of the two engines that were both steaming nicely and awaiting the return of the steam boats who I think went there later in the afternoon.

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We then moored and found a pub that had the Wimbledon final showing. After 5 exciting sets we returned to the boat and a quiet evening.

The rest of the trip passed gently, as we cruised back along the Trent and Mersey, back into the marina. Only one incident and that involved a dog on another boat, a herd of sheep and an irate farmer. Fortunately I think there was no harm done.

A lovely trip with lots of locks, all made so much easier because Jack was there to help. Brilliant. Now home, sorting and getting ready for the Commonwealth games.

Being Relaxed

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