The Great Day

August Bank Holiday Monday dawned warm but overcast (well, we think it did, but no-one was up that early).

Long before the lightest of hangovers had cleared, the yard of The Angel was humming with activity, as final preparations were made for the Race.

Loading the barge
Even Alan, wending his late way home, stopped to investigate.
Loading is complete

In the depths of the night, the final piece had been added, the symbolic image of the sphinx.

The figurehead

The raft was moved with due ceremony from its secret base to the trailer which was to be its ceremonial transport to The Quay.

The crew looked on with a mixture of anxiety and confidence. The Ceremonial Maiden,

The Maiden
imported by necessity from Sudbury (given the natural shortage of such in Glemsford), looked on with pride, and was asked to test her Ceremonial Throne for size and comfort.

When all was secure, Old Salty Phillips gave the time-honoured order to "Lets piss off then", and the blessed procession moved off to meet its fate.

When the procession reached The Quay, they were greeted by 19 other craft of similar but essentially different design. All manner of creatures were there, included refugees from Spaghetti Westerns, Planet of the Apes, Last Of The Suffolk Wine and even Essex.

The Little Egypt crew went through the final rituals, cloaked as they are in mystery and polyester.

We are ready
All will be swept before us
I'm ready too

At last the order to start was given and the Good Craft sailed bravely into the placid-seeming but threatening waters of the Stour.
Nothing will deter

Huge crowds had gathered to cheer, to hurl sacerdotal bags of self-raising flour (part of the Mystery surrounding this ages-old event) in celebration of the end of another fertile summer and to laugh their heads off.

The Little Egypt Barge forged forward imperiously, sweeping aside all competition,

Even this ...
sprays of water, mindless idiots throwing eggs, and the odd duck.

Even amid the hurly burly, there was a certain serenity about the sylvan surroundings.

The beauty of the Stour

At the appropriate moment (known only to those with the Wisdom of the Ages)

The Maiden is Collected
the sign was given to "Collect the Maiden", and the elegant vessel, looking as though it had been made for just this moment, set off back towards the Quay.
And so back to base

As this page closed for press, the final result was unknown, but the brave Men of Little Egypt, sailing with the blessing of The Angel, had performed their timeless task with vigour and devotion.

Page maintained by Steve Clarke, Copyright(c) . Created: 31/08/98 Updated: 27/07/99