Welcome to the Festival 2008 On-Line Edition of
Waterlooville's Parish Magazine
St George's News

Up a Lazy River

Youth Club on canal

The youth club annual canal/river boat holiday took place during the first week of the school holidays. The week before the holiday the weather was bright, warm and dry. Then on the Sunday before we left the weather changed and we were greeted by a blizzard with a moderate fall of snow, which worried us somewhat. However when the Monday arrived the weather cheered up and was quite sunny but very cold which is how it remained all week.

We set off for Guildford where we were to pick up the narrow boats Guildford Monarch and Frensham. There were 14 children (Liz, Lizzy, Zoe, Daisy, Billie, Jack, Ben, Katie, 2 Sarahs (Carden and Forbes) Amber, Fleur, Gabi and Emily) and 4 adults (Jane, Candy, John and Tony). Our planned route took us up the River Wey towards the Thames and back to Shalford, taking time out to go swimming at the Spectrum Leisure Centre and to have a few hours shopping in Guildford en route. Each person was issued with a canal boat book in which were games and spaces for recording events as well as colouring pages. Prizes are issued next term for the best book and the best holiday photograph.
The trip was uneventful insofar as no one fell in unlike previous years, though someone managed to get her feet wet! (nameless to prevent blushes!). We passed through the beautiful Surrey landscape and saw a wide variety of wildlife often spotted and identified by Amber who turned out to be an expert in these matters. The children all took turns in steering the boat and it was surprising how good they were at it. They learned how to manage locks and it was surprising how, after just one day they were very competent and aware of how things worked. They also had to take turns in food preparation and washing and clearing up for each meal!

Our first evening found us moored in a beautiful spot by Bowers lock with the sound of the weir gentle in the background. On Tuesday we sailed on North managing to turn our boats at Cox’s lock near Weybridge, no mean feat when you consider that Monarch is 70 feet long and the width at Cox’s lock just a few feet longer and with a strong weir current. On Wednesday we returned towards Guildford stopping for a late afternoon visit to the Spectrum for skating and swimming. The Thursday found us back at Guildford town centre where we stopped for some retail therapy! Thursday evening was a time for our traditional pub visit where we all sat down to a celebratory meal.

The trip finished on Friday with a thorough tidy up of the boats before setting off for the one-hour trip home.

It is really surprising how much one learns about children during a narrow boat holiday. It seems to bring out the best and it is interesting to see their reactions to various situations. In many ways we feel that this is one of the more beneficial activities we undertake and it is thanks to the many people in the congregation who support us.

Tony Rice-Oxley

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page last updated 07 May 2008