On 30 April 2016 the trustees put on a Social Evening and Annual Meeting for associate members.
The evening began at 5.45 when Linda Pargeter gave a presentation of the trust and its work in 2015, its first year of operation, and details of plans for events in the coming year. See a video of the presentation.
Immediately afterwards John Greenaway, recently retired owner of Traditional Boat Supplies at Beccles, gave a fascinating talk about his life.
His early years were spent in Mevagissey, then a very close community of fishermen. He was taken out of school by his mother at the age of fourteen and a half to support his family by fishing for pilchard in the family lugger.
After two or three years national service changed all that and, although in a reserved occupation, he volunteered for the forces. A self-taught, extremely fast, shorthand writer he was soon in demand for clerical service overseas and served in Bermuda and Jamaica until demob. He then set up in the charter business with a friend and later for 3 months went as bosun on Errol Flynn’s yacht with the Rat Pack attending frequent parties on board. After various other business ventures he came to Beccles and spent many years building up an international business supplying anything and everything needed for maintaining traditional boats. This year, fed up with his sleep being interrupted by international calls, he finally decided to retire, although in his retirement he will be looking for new adventures. He interspersed his half-hour talk with amusing anecdotes and members were most appreciative. Few of us realised, for example, that a true Cornish Pasty has a filling of pilchard and vegetables, with a jam section at one end.
Thank you, John. Members enjoyed your talk immensely.
Then members had a short time for a chat and a drink before the FISH AND CHIPS arrived. A few people had chosen sausage or a vegetarian option instead of the fish, and nobody went hungry. Quite the opposite!
And many members decided to stay on to see the film of Albion’s trip round to Ely in the 1970s. Everyone enjoyed watching but perhaps we won’t try a similar voyage with Maud yet awhile.
On a chilly but bright afternoon we made about a three-hour trip from Thurne up to St Benet’s Abbey and back. Six new members on board enjoyed a first experience of wherry sailing. Kim Dowe was our skipper and Neil Thomas (one of the WMT Trustees) was his understudy. Neil is taking every opportunity to learn from Kim as he hopes to graduate as a wherry skipper soon.
We had some good bird-spotting too. Two cranes were riding the thermals above our head for a while and a male marsh harrier gave us a fine display.
On the bank near St Benet’s members of a camera club were very excited to see a wherry out and about and promised to put some of their pictures of Maud on Facebook.
On Sunday 20 March volunteers gathered together to put Maud’s gaff back on board and to re-rig.
Nobody present had rigged a wherry before! A copy of David Bray’s instructions were produced and followed and each stage, once correct, was photographed for future use and to put in our manual. Once assembled, all components were diligently tested by the “A team” and pronounced ready for use.
After lacing the sail onto the gaff and making some final connections we were ready to have a test sail. There was a good wind and we had a brisk sail down to Clippesby. The following day there were pictures to prove it on Facebook. Not many wherries are out sailing in March. It’s our ambition to be the first in the year whenever possible.
There have been lots of opportunities for “partying” from February until April 2016 and members have given their time generously.
Maintenance on The Gem
Work started on the 7th February on our tender, The Gem, and continued until she was pronounced ready for re-launching in the third week of March. During that time she was given a thorough clean out, her bottom was scraped and painted and other areas of paintwork touched in. This was the result.
It doesn’t sound much but it was hard work. As a finishing touch the brass letters of the tender’s name were polished and varnished, proving that there is always a job someone can help with.
Maintenance on Maud
On Saturday 13th February work began on Maud and there were 5 work parties in the period to 3rd April.
It’s no exaggeration to say that we all enjoyed ourselves hugely and the weather was quite kind to us. Morale was kept high with some nice touches – Martin’s profiteroles went down a treat, as did most of his jokes. We even found time to do some work and at today’s date, 4th April, Maud is looking smarter than she has for a long time. She has had a good clean inside the hold and the cabin and lots of new paint has been applied to the exterior. As always there are jobs that haven’t been done but we will fit those in between trips.
Keeping Broads history alive…