Coal-boater of the Year winner announced.

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Well, it’s that time of year again. The prestigious title of “Coal-boater of the Year” has once again been hotly contested, and has been awarded for the second year running to Ryan Dimmock, operator of Southern Cross, before any other nominations were received. His deadly rival, Alan Buckle, of Bletchley fame was a close second by virtue of being in the same pub at the same time. The only other crew with any hope at all of success in this contest, Jules and Richard of Jules Fuels, were unaware of the need to be in the right place at the right time (i.e. The Bell), so had no chance of coming third, even if they aspired to this lofty height. 

This years award ceremony was timed to coincide with the annual coal-shovelling refresher course at the Awbridge College of Fine Arts and Bagging. Ryan is shown here having already worked out which end of the shovel to hold - full marks for task number one, Ryan.

The “putting coal into bags” exercise was less successful, all students proving generally inept. Alan, Ryan and Alex finally decided that they might be able to perform this mind-bogglingly difficult task if they worked together; I’m glad that I will not be the one offering these particular bags for sale to the general public. If you are one of Ryan’s customers, then please be aware that there is the correct weight in them, even though the bags look like they have been sealed by a monkey. 


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Having dished out the awards, which consisted mainly of alcohol, we managed to send them on their way with two boat-loads of coal, the majority of which was bagged by our tame “mystery bagger”, known only as “The Stick”. Some say that he’s a one-time member of an international boy band, who had to leave the high-life to pursue his boyhood dream of putting combustible products in red bags, and others say that this is just a complete misunderstanding, and that he has just got nothing better to do. Either way, he’s all we can afford.



The two boats, looking resplendent in their respective owners liveries, left on Saturday morning and made it as far as Pendeford Rockin’ before getting stuck on a large obstruction which was finally moved out of the way by the simple expedient of Alan jumping in and physically shifting the offending lump of masonry to one side. I imagine that this helped him to build up a thirst in time for a sneck-lifter or two at the Fox. 

It turned out to be a good walk along a plank to the pub, but I’m sure they managed.


Ryan, in the meantime, was apparently too cool to worry about such mundane problems. He was too busy grooming his astonishingly dazzling smile (his words), and his astonishingly dazzling hair (his words). Here he is attempting to influence the judging team with his astonishingness. 



In other news, the local wildlife has been observed doing what wildlife does: the robins have fledged, allowing us to access a whole load of pre-pack fuel that they had been nesting on, the heron has been helping to keep down the local fish population, and the moorhens have been observed dashing hither and thither like little balls of black belly-button fluff on outstandingly big feet. It is abundantly clear why moorhens are delivered in eggs. None of these, however, are anywhere near as gifted as the goldcrest that performed a series of impressions on our window ledge. We signed him up immediately and his promo-video is below. © John Jackson 2014