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Life on the water

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

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Wedmore WI

Birthdays are a good time for a party, and Wedmore WI had a splendid one in October.

The hall was set out with coloured cloths on little tables, members brought food in ample quantities and we welcomed visitors from Allerton, Cheddar, Draycott, and Rodney Stoke WIs.

Hazel welcomed everyone and, after a brief business meeting, introduced the speaker, Susan Marshfield, who proceeded to entertain us on the subject of Holidays Afloat.

We knew to expect a hilarious talk and we were not disappointed. Mrs Marshfield's description of how her husband, a non-swimmer but liking water, became a boating enthusiast had us in stitches. Tales of narrow-boating on the River Thames, with a baby, a two-year-old and manual locks, were followed by an account of their first boat which came home in a great box as a free gift with lorry tyres, and turned out to be an army surplus inflatable dinghy.

This ended up with the Sea Scouts, but her story of how they crossed from Exmouth to the Channel Isles in a yacht skippered by a friend of her husband, with wife and small child, had us on the edge of our seats. It is the way Mrs Marshfield describes people, situations and events that is so funny, from the harbour-master on Alderney, who was a fount of all knowledge, to taxi fares and bicycle hire charges that were all "half a crown", to young ladies on the beach who ended up looking after the children and were discovered to be "professional", but wouldn't be working while they were on holiday.

We heard about the return journey overnight in a storm, how the children had to be confined in a bunk for safety, and how when nearly home, what they thought was an oil drum turned out to be a submarine. Their own boat, a cabin cruiser, was more cause for hilarity, with practice launches onto the front lawn before trying it for real in Tewkesbury, where they knew the slipway but were unlikely to know any of the onlookers.

The meeting next month will be on November 29, when Hazel's talk is called Whatever the Weather.

A diary date for next year – the coffee morning will be on Saturday, March 16.

Chris Barker

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