After nine months of planning, 40 boats attending the annual Russell Newbery (RN) Members' Rally are almost here in the village. When we managed to hold the last rally, pre-Covid, in 2019 at Stratford-upon-Avon we couldn't have made that statement: the river had been in flood, and boats were stuck miles from the town.
So Costa del Audlem beckons around 80 RN Register members for their holiday.
You'll recognise them from their name badges, so we know which boat to return them to if they get confused! You might get asked the odd question, as one of the activities is a Treasure Hunt around the village.
There are around 20 other activities happening over the four days, mostly in the Village Hall. We've tried to involve local people and businesses wherever possible. Local celebrities appearing include Jane Marshall leading a workshop on canalware painting, Peter Sylvester talking on running the Mill Shop and his publishing business, and Val Mackin teaching origami.
There will be a big meal (calling it dinner sounds posh, and RN folks don't do posh) provided by Margaret Callwood (Maylands Pantry) from Stapeley, with puds provided by rally attendees Nessa Martin & Helen Dovey.
There has been great rejoicing from the travelling boaters: the Village Chippy will be open!
There will be a barn dance on Saturday with music from Shropshire based Devils Chair Ceilidh Band, so it might be wise be wise to put the local First Responder on stand-by!
The real-ale bar in the hall will have beers from three local breweries (Noble, Salopian & Beartown), and cider from Wrenbury.
The grand finale will be a music quiz and an acoustic music session which will feature the RN Ukelele Ensemble,the Monday night regulars from The Bridge, plus local invited musicians. We had hoped to hold this in one of the village pubs, but uncertainties and practical considerations have made it impossible.
There will also be a unique event at 6.00pm on Saturday. At the striking of the church clock, all boats will fire up their engines in unison for a short while. Remember, these are not normal engines! Not quite as spectacular, or noisy, as an Audlem fireworks display, but very unusual nevertheless.
If anyone has any queries about this RN Rally, contact Dave & Nessa Martin (01270 812453, 07885 433977 / 07763 133552) or Rob Dickinson (01270 812810, 07831 449236).