The historic working narrowboat Aldgate carried cases of the ‘Fabulous Vodka Company’s Caralicious, Perivale Dry and Krol Kazimiersz along the South Oxford canal and River Thames. The cargo was bound for the national Inland Waterways Association festival at Beale Park where Fabulous had a trade stand.
“The festival is about everything to do with inlands waterways and it seemed appropriate for our stock to arrive in the traditional way by working boat.”
Aldgate’s skipper, Nick Woolfe, collected the cargo a few days before the show began. The journey wasn’t all plain sailing – if you’ll pardon the pun. As Nick got started, a body was found in a lock in suspicious circumstances. The Police shut the lock while they carried out investigations and many boaters, including Nick, were delayed by up to 24 hours.
Further along the canal, at the lock where we’d arranged to meet, British Waterways officials told Nick he would have to go through the lock as they were closing it for essential maintenance. This left him without a suitable place to moor the boat. With that plan abandoned, Nick had to do some quick thinking; “There aren’t that many places where you can tie up a 71′ narrowboat, park a van and load up a cargo,” .
Not one to be outwitted, Nick chose a new location, rang me with the details. It was a stretch of canal near a road but he had to tie up alongside another narrowboat – not ideal by any means but there was no alternative. Eventually the cases of Fabulous products were passed across one boat to Aldgate – no mean feat on a wet day when both the pathway and the narrowboats were slippery underfoot.
Nick, who is passionate about keeping the waterways tradition alive, managed to make up the time he’d lost and arrived at Beale Park in good time to deliver it to FBC’s Angie and Lynda who were erecting the stand.
The Fabulous Vodka crew are all keen boaters themselves so the IWA festival is a great place to catch up with old friends as well as Caralicious lovers coming to replenish their own stocks.
Among them were members of the Tuckey family, who for have provided crane and transportation services to boaters and boatbuilders for three generations. Barry Tuckey managed to carry his precious supply of Caralicious without the need for one of his cranes!
As always, the festival was a great show and the Fabulous Vodka crew can’t wait for next year!