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Sunday, 13 November 2011

The big barn and other happenings

 Romany Rambler: Travelled 19008Km; 319 Nights Away
The weekend weather in Clareville was cold and windy and we were lucky to be able to gather together in the huge adjacent barn to our camp site.  This monster sized structure was built with donated labour back in the 1960s we were told.  Last time we visited is was chock full of huge hay bales, but is quite empty now.
DSCF7950 The big barn
Morning teas and 4zees under the shelter was quite a different rural experience, with the smells of previously stored hay still in the air.  A large flock of pigeons have taken up residence in the barn and flew from one end of the building in panic whenever we entered into their territory.  Robin took great delight in rushing about clapping his hands while the poor pigeons flew every which way.  We presumed it was mating season as there was all sorts of close encounters between the birds, with much squawking and flapping of wings going on up high amongst the steel rafters.
DSCF7978 Meeting up for 4zees in the barn
On Saturday evening we were entertained by a slide show put on by Dot and Derek.  They told of their four year long narrow boat adventure travelling the canals of England, starting with the construction of their boat Gypsy Rover.  Once completed, the boat was then lifted by crane into the canal – and it must have been quite an ordeal to watch their pride and joy dangling in mid air.  
DSCF7981 How it all started
The evening continued with slides of canals visited, different sorts of locks encountered, and lovely English scenery.  The fickle weather played a part and Dot and Derek told of being stranded in Oxford for three weeks due to flooding.  With rising river levels, it was impossible to safely navigate under the bridges and none of the boats were allowed to move.  And for a couple of winters in a row, Gypsy Rover was just one of the many narrow boats stuck fast in thick ice in the canals.  We saw slides of picturesque villages, interesting architecture and beautiful scenery.  It was a wonderful four year adventure, and we will always remember our own small part when the four of us travelled along the Llangollen Canal on Gypsy Rover together.  Now that their boat is sold you can follow their motor home adventures throughout NZ here.
DSCF7982 Dot and Derek after their slide presentation
Robin had taken along the flagpole and raised our club flag every morning, remembering to take it in again in the evenings.
DSCF7954Raising the flag
Thirteen caravans and motor homes shared our joint rally and it was great to catch up with friends from the other clubs again. There were plenty of tall tales told, much fun and laughter, and chatting and banter going on. Most of us stayed till after lunch on Sunday before packing up and heading home.  By then, as usually happens, after quite a cold and windy weekend, the sun came out and the temperatures started to climb to summer levels again. 

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