A Minor Flood…

A Minor Flood, A Broken Knee, Radio Stardom, Feeding Hundreds of Footie Fans, A Lack of Water, and The Dash for Home for Oatcake Day…

Well, that has the be the oddest but perhaps most exhilarating weekend ever!

It all started with some welcome rain (more on the lack of that later!) but finding that some of it had decided to make its way into the newly painted and pristine engine bay.  Seems our taped-up ex-control panel riser* bodge didn’t quite do the trick (Gina has now done a much more permanent fix!) and we had a bit of a puddle which needed nappying out.  Once that was sorted we were able to get on our way to the Bet365 Stadium for our very first day of trading at a Stoke game.  We stopped for a night halfway there in Barlaston, which was very nice indeed, having passed the lovely Phil who was moored up on the way, and the kinda famous house with its own dock (what we call The David House, due to David of Cruising the Cut YT channel having done a vlog about it a few months ago).

However, Toby’s overnight stay in Barlaston was somewhat tarnished by, somewhat appropriately, a football injury sustained a couple of days earlier. Thinking he’s 23 not 53 sometimes has consequences, and a sprained knee (is that a thing?) suddenly took a turn for the worse and at one point he was moments from calling 111, not being able to move and in total agony.  This just 2 days before the biggest day yet in the new life of The Oatcake Boat!  Gawd knows what the boat moored up behind us thought as screams emanated through the summer air at 2am!

Some ibuprofen and sitting perfectly still for 3 hours eased the pain, and by morning – after a few careful hours sleep – we were ready to chug the remaining couple of hours to the Stoke ground.

Once safely in place, we met up with the awesome Jeff and Wayne of the Barginn-Booze pub boat.  What awesome guys they are, as they gave us so much advice for what was to follow the next day! A big batch of Oatcakes were made (Toby staying up until almost midnight to finish) before setting the alarm (also known as Gina) for a 7.45am appearance on Radio Stoke – which went waaay better than expected. It turned out Toby was not only live on Paula White’s early morning show but also on the hourly news bulletins throughout the day – blithering on about the lack of rain and the impending lock closures…which have put in jeopardy us returning any time soon to the Bet365.

It was a great way to get the brain in gear, and the full contingent of both of us plus our son and daughter got set up and ready to feed the Stoke and Blackpool fans making their way to the match.  It was nerves all round – can we be quick enough?  Did we make enough oatcakes?  Did we cook enough sausages? Will Toby’s knee collapse halfway through?  

As it happened, it actually went very well indeed – well enough that Toby and our son Tommo could escape to the game, only missing the first 5 minutes!  Stoke even won 2-0 to add to the day.

We had no idea what to expect after the match – and as Toby and Tommo came over the bridge they saw a big queue forming – but with Alice on order taking duty it was all cool, and we finished about an hour later with a huge sigh of relief and exhilaration at a job well done.  The guys of Barge-Inn booze had a great day too so it was smiles all around.

All we had left to do was to get back to Stone pronto – the impending lock closures meant we needed to get back to Stone instead of heading up to Westport Lake as originally planned.  So with just a few minutes of daylight left we made it back to just before Fullers Boat Yard – a fave mooring spot of ours in Stone.

That just left a quick chug and 4 locks on Sunday morning to be able to trade again behind M&S.

It also meant we were in a good spot to celebrate Oatcake Day on Monday – and wow you guys came out in force to enjoy a lovely day with many of you entering the draw for the Oatcake Boat Tee – we will draw the winner this week and let everyone know on the Facebook page and group 🙂

And here we are – it’s Tuesday evening – tomorrow we will open for a few hours before heading down to Gt Haywood over a couple of days (some non-boat work to do so we won’t open Thursday) but we will be trading for the very first time for us at Gt Haywood Friday thru Sunday – by the Anglo Welsh boatyard at the junction of the Trent and Mersey Canal and the Staffs and Worcester Canal.

We really can’t wait and thanks to Kev at Anglo Welsh for having us for this coming weekend – it’s much appreciated.

See you all very very soon, and thanks for reading this far!  It’s been such an eventful weekend it seemed silly not to let you all know what the heck we’d been up to.

Until next time, take care, and lots of love 🙂

Toby & Gina
The Oatcake Boat xxx

*The Oatcake Boat (first named Little Beauty, the Que Sara Sara, and now Black Cherry**) was built to go on the Thames we were told – and originally had a steering wheel instead of a tiller.  When that wheel was de-commisioned for the traditional tiller, it left behind an old control panel riser (for the throttle etc) which over the years has rusted and had started to leak under heavy rain.  Just another example of the quirky nature of the Oatcake Boat – next time you’re with us, ask us and we’ll show you!

**that’s a whole other story!