Monday 11 March 2024

of chopsticks, power boats and crowded bars

So, Saturday morning was the usual hour of karate, followed by lunch in town with Nikki. Nothing fancy, just Wagamama, but it's comfort food and I get a kick out of chasing stray noodles around my bowl of ramen with a pair of chopsticks.

Then home to change the strings on a couple of guitars and then out to a gig at The Star in Wotton-Under-Edge. We played there last summer, out in their garden as part of their beer and cider festival. I remember there wasn't much room, and a dire need to keep the noise levels down so as to not upset the neighbours. but despite that, it turned into a crowded, lively and energetic gig.

This time around, it being March, we were indoors. A quick search on google tells me that the pub dates back to around 1572. It's a deceptively large pub, but with lots of nooks and crannies and corners and walls and interconnected rooms. At first sight, not the most conducive place to set up a four piece band for a gig. The back wall of the area we were playing in was two or three meters away from the front line of our PA, at most.

Despite that, they crowded in and we all had a great night. Really hope to play there again. Although with only a couple of Saturdays still left free in the band's diary for this year, it might have to be next year now.

It was also a late night; with the band coming off the stage a shade before midnight, an hour to pack up and forty minutes to get home, I didn't get to bed much before 0300.

And was up and back on the road again for 0900 Sunday morning.

I haven't spent much time at the sailing club this year. A couple of weeks ago, I put a Sunday aside from my regular trips down to Plymouth to take the Albacore out with Amanda. In the week leading up to that, the club committee collared her, and suggested that as she'd already sailed a race in the Chilli Dogs series, she should take a turn at running one. 

Which would've left me without her company and, potentially, without crew for the Albacore. So we agreed a trade. They found somebody else to run the race, Amanda sailed with me, and in return I took a duty this weekend running the Safety Boat.

Other than the discomfort of dragging myself out of bed after just a few hours sleep, it was no great hardship. The company was good, the racing, as always, interesting to watch, and the rain held off until after we'd put the boats away and were heading home.

South Cerney have increased the duty commitment of racing members that don't "buy out" of their turns to five duties a year. It feels like a bit of a burden; essentially, I'm down for Safety Boat every Wednesday evening from the beginning of July through to the beginning of August, so if, as is likely, I'm away or otherwise committed through the weekends of those two months, I won't actually get to sail my Laser or our Albacore for over a month through the summer.

The club is having trouble filling the duty roster, so I understand why they've done it. But I do wonder how much of an impact allowing members to "buy out" has on that. They also have quite a heavy racing calendar, with regular events on a Wednesday evening, Saturday afternoon and all day on a Sunday through the summer. The Saturdays and Sunday afternoons are not heavy on attendance. It occurs to me that they could lighten the duty roster load by dropping them, with minimal impact.

I shall see how this year goes. If the new boat in Plymouth impacts my weekends as much as I expect she shall, I might look around at the end of the season for another club with less of a duty commitment, that preferably doesn't allow it's more well-heeled members to buy out of the obligation.

Which would be a shame, because I like South Cerney.  

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