Bright and bustling in the Black Country

There’s certainly nothing dark and smoggy about The Black Country this weekend. What wonderful, down-to-earth and friendly folks we’ve had the pleasure of meeting so far.

Barry had an endless stream of visitors to The Home Brew Boat – not all were buying, but they took business cards away with a lot more knowledge of the advantages of brewing your own and we’re hopeful they’ll become loyal customers in the future.


Barry even put his best shirt on! Lots of visitors, and the local Army Cadets Kingstanding/Warwickshire, worked tirelessly all day picking up litter and providing some security just in case

Our neighbours The Fudge Boat (Heather and Tony), and Wild Side (Helen and Andy) also had a great day as you can see below …


Waiting patiently for a free fudge tasting


Andy trading from The Jam Butty

Sadly our other ‘new-found friends’ got into a little strife as an Ice Cream van was booked into the festival, and wasn’t too pleased to have some of his business taken from him by ‘All Things Spanish’ which the planners hadn’t appreciated included selling ice cream. A lesson to us all about telling organisers what we’re selling so as not to step on other peoples shoes.

I wasn’t able to face paint as they already had two booked – fair enough. I did check again on Friday, just in case, but it was a no-goer.

Sandra and Bob, from The Ice Cream Boat (All Things Spanish), left this morning. I suspect they’ll head into Birmingham to see if they can trade there while the weather’s fine. Good luck to you both, lovely to meet you and hope our paths cross again soon.


The Dudley trip boat ferries passengers up and down the cut all day for £3 each


Such a marvellous setting – and a very popular event


I went for a walkabout to find the face painter – here she is! Doing very well, wonderful

We had the pleasure of a couple of our favourite people visiting too. Richard Parry, CEO of Canal and River Trust, popped by to say hi. He’s such a transparent and supportive person to the traders, and has appeared at every event, apart from Standedge, we’ve been to this year. Hats off to you Richard, we’re very lucky to have you leading us.

Then we had a surprise vista from Andrew Denny, aka Granny Buttons. It’s been months since we last saw him. Andrew used to be a prolific blogger – in fact he was the first boater to begin blogging about the canals and life on them, on 7th August 2003. He was a bit of a hero of Barry’s while we were planning our initial adventure to the canals, during 2007 and 2008. We first met him in person in May 2010, when we fortuitously moored right next to his boat one evening, phoned him up, and although he wasn’t on his boat at the time he drove the distance from his house to come and make our acquaintance!

We were thrilled he accepted the invitation to join us for dinner last night – we just completely forgot to record the occasion for the blog! You’ll have to come back soon Andrew.

Then we joined Heather and Tony from The Fudge Boat for a couple of pints in the beer tent – it’s a very sociable way to ‘work’!


Music and refreshments in the beer tent

Barry from The Narrowboat Trust, surprised us too. We’d agreed with Ray from NB Stronghold, to a fair price for our ‘Epping’ stove in the Boatman’s Cabin. Having a spent a winter without one in the living area to keep us warm, we decided we definitely need one this winter and although it made the cabin ‘authentic’, we’d rather have the storage space and by selling it have the funds to buy a smaller heater for the lounge.


The Narrowboat Trust Boats arrive yesterday evening


Then this morning they arrived to remove our Epping


Barry, Barry and Colin – with the stove all out and ready for its new home


Bye bye!

This morning we’ve had Pip Norton and Anna Marie filming us as part of a ‘Roving Canal Traders Documentary‘ – more about that to come in the next post …

6 thoughts on “Bright and bustling in the Black Country

  1. It wasn’t that the organiser didn’t know we were selling ice cream as he had seen us selling it from the Wednesday.He just came to Bob on Saturday Afternoon and said he had watched us taking plenty of money and wanted a “substantial “donation as the ice cream van had paid £350 to be there.After a discussion together we decided we weren’t about to be coerced into paying extra money as we have never done so at any festival we have attended unless there was no entry money paid and donations accepted and we give 10% of our takings in that case?The concessions only apply to field traders NOT canal traders we have been reliably informed so we decided not to trade on Sunday.He hadn’t asked us to leave just to give money !

    • Hi Sandra. Thanks for that clarification, we were sad to see you leaving. Hope you’ve found somewhere else to trade? Look forward to seeing you both again, maybe next year? Sandra 🙂

      • We are at Tipton Festival this weekend and Parkhead next so will see you there.I have definite written proof that I put ice cream on the entry form for that one so hopefully all will be well Have a great time in Dublin

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