After much ado without nothing and the recent stress I've been feeling over 'The Event' (i.e. Brexit) it was good to stretch my legs with a nice cruise down the river Thames. This would be my third time running around the yearly London Boat Party hosted by The Firm.
For our respective parts it'd be a repeat of last year: I'd be part of the maid team, my owner would be performing as one of the two DJ's and both MzWhipplash & Ella would be onboard as guests. It's been quite an odd summer so far with no real long sunny period, so whilst the forecast was for dry it also said it was going to be a bit chilly at night, still nothing a pair of tights can't solve ya know?
As you'd expect this meant bouncing off of Romford and then heading off in to central London, interestingly enough we weren't departing from the 'usual' pier but the one the Club Subversion boat party had left from. This did mean that parking should be easier and I think slightly cheaper than before, so very much win-win in that regard.
Incidentally the reason for this, chatting to the crew, was that the various companies buy & sell different piers the 'usual' one had been sold and this companies craft didn't operate from it any more. Curiously despite being written on the ticket which dock to use, it seemed a fair few people were on the wrong side of the river wondering what was going on.
Once we'd arrived and unloaded it seemed the get-in portion and after dumping my coat I ran off to start hauling in the food and lending a hand getting everything as ready as possible. This year our little troupe of maids would be just myself and another with a third person doing the catering. At least that was the general impression I had and whilst two others did pitch up occasionally this is pretty much how it went down as well, fun times and nothing I'm not capable of pulling off.
Nothing much to say about the get-in other than it was all sensible and well rehearsed although another Sarah appearing did cause some confusion when it came to letting guests on; basically I was on the dock collecting tickets and one of the hire companies staff was also called Sarah so thought Ish was asking her to do stuff. It was funny at the time. Still having one of the crew nearby was useful as I took peoples tickets and we started loading.
With 123 people onboard and acting as a spotter whilst the other Sarah cast us off we were on our way down the river. Despite being in July the weather had been rather weird, the heatwave we've had at the end of August was a glimmer in the milkman eye so I wasn't really sure how things would play out this year, usually people tend to retreat to the upper deck when the sun goes down and they need to cool off from play, be somewhere quiet if they're dropping or just to watch London at night drift lazily past. If it were THAT then everyone would be downstairs regardless, this would make the service side of things a tad more challenging (I'm a comfort model, I'm not built for speed) as the play/bar area is usually packed.
As things turned out it was cold but plenty of people were cycling between the upstairs and downstairs sections. Which is excellent, I need the exercise and ambling around with a tray on the top deck was a good way for ME to cool off as well... with bonus 'useful' points.
As far as what we were serving to people went it was, if I'm honest, the usual stuff people expect from The Boat: sausages, meatballs, chicken drumsticks, nacho chips & dip, mozzarella sticks, a fruit platter and finally a selection of sweeties. We had at least one other vegetarian option but I'm afraid I can't remember it as I write. Pretty much all of it was decimated, which is exactly what we wanted and even better from our perspective few people were asking for more.
The chicken was somewhat problematic though, it's something I think we're aiming to correct next year either by going with goujons or just dropping it and bolstering sausages & meatballs. Basically the drumsticks tend to be a bit greasy and whilst we do have napkins and were working hard to make sure we handed them out with the chicken... it didn't quite get the grease off your fingers and even if it did you were still left with a chicken bone to dispose of.
But beyond that all of it went, the few bits of it I tried were all incredibly tasty and smelled delicious! I really must inspect their Norwegian's when I get time as mine struggles to keep things that hot even with pre-warming, perhaps the seals need replacing or I'm missing some fundamental step? Still something to look at eventually.
I have to admit that during my downtime, such as it was, I spent most of my time on the top deck watching London go past and just enjoying the atmosphere whilst listening to my other half on the decks playing an absolute blinder of a set. It's little things like this which, for me at least, really set The Boat apart from all the other events I do. It never gets old that I'm cruising past the Houses of Parliament, on a mobile BDSM club and just enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the experience.
It was fairly funny at the end, the other DJ came over and said it was a bit lonely out front and having more snacks delivered would have been nice. I had to point out to him that he should have asked Tina. He wondered why, so I showed him my phone and said "We've been talking all night to each other over WhatsApp. She quite literally has a button that'll summon either me or another of the maids with whatever you need... within reason. If I'm up to my eyeballs I'll send one of the others over as a priority." Apparently this was made note of so I suspect next year I'm going to be even busier... yes, yes I do keep a track of 'useful' points and I intend to beat my own highscores... why do you ask?
But as with all things we had to end the cruise sometime and we pulled back in to the docks and once the guests had left I started dragging stuff off the boat and on to the quayside. With that done I bid farewell to everyone and we made our way back to Romford before setting off back to Hampshire after a nap.
Although their was one, final, fatality of the night. Somewhere between leaving the boat and getting out the car in Romford the screen on my phone ended up with the thinnest of cracks. Which somehow killed the digitiser. Well... that sucks. On the other hand goodbye and good riddance to Android and hello iPhone SE, which is winging its way from Apple to my grubby little paws as I write this.