Musical interlude

      Between cruising northbound up the Macc to return Cleddau to her Higher Poynton moorings and then turning back south to Stoke-on-Trent there was an interlude, well – two actually.  First, between boating exploits, the Cheshire One took up a holiday residency in her Bedfordshire bed – and then, before the southbound trip could begin, there was Music…

      Boaters to Higher Poynton soon discover The Boar’s Head.

The Braidbar Owners group frequent it often; the Festina Lente crew were there recently and only this week the crew of the lovely Yarwood  feasted on a lunch-time ham and eggs …
      Back in Cheshire on Wednesday evening the Cleddau crew crossed the canal from the Victoria Pit moorings and strolled down the hill for a pub meal. It was midweek, a quiet evening.

Then, just as Boatwif was nearing the end of her haddock and kedgeree fishcakes, the door opened and a succession of musical instrument cases was brought in. Practice night, it transpired, for the RagTag Band. Four guys – and about a dozen different instruments.
      How beautiful was the stainless steel guitar to look at.

      How haunting was the penny whistle

      How rich was the sound from the accordion

 Impressively Kelvin could move within pieces between accordion and mouth organ, glockenspiel and whistle. There was a fiddle number too. How many instruments could this man play? (Eight, apparently).

       Smoothly the musicians strummed on. Only at The Boar’s Head for a quick meal, yet we gained front row seats at a folk session! Were these old friends or fellow students …?  They were soloists who had begun to jam together four or five years ago.
      The audience was thin, ten at its maximum.  A RagTag groupie shared our table. He’d been a long-term Blues and Rock ’n’ Roll fan, but had recently found Folk.  He’d boarded a Folk Train at Manchester Picadilly, taken it through to Hathersage, ensuring he was in the band’s compartment. Now here he was, video camera rolling.
      Good as the food and the atmosphere is at The Boar’s Head, the acoustics didn’t benefit the vocalists. He of the two guitars and a banjo, the red T-shirted one, did a great job of flagging up the band’s CD (“recorded in a studio, only £7”.)

Folk fans, see their website for details of their music and upcoming gigs.


      On Thursday night there was an on-board supper – and the stretched steel box that is Cleddau provided a far better acoustic venue for Ragtag Band’s music. You go to a pub for a pint and a meal – but rarely come back with an addition to the CD collection. Thankfully
there’s no predictability to life on a canal boat.
Friday should see the start of the southbound cruise along the Macc, back to Stoke for a 50 hour engine service and, hopefully, successful resolution to a few snags.

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4 Responses

  1. Thank you for your comments and thanks for buying our CD, we have had some great practices at The Boar’s Head and this was one of the best, as you say a small audience but perfectly formed. The Ragtag Band’s website is

    • Boatwif says:

      Thanks for your comment, Glynne. We still have very fond memories of a great evening listening to the Ragtag Band. Though now on the River Nene in Northamptonshire we’ll be sure to pop into The Boar’s Head when we are back on the Macc, probably in late September. Good luck with your gigs throughout the summer.
      Sue /Boatwif

  2. Hi Sue, Please let us know if you are visiting in September, we have decided to go into the studio again (CD 2) and will be practicing around that time We usually go there mainly on a Monday or the occasional Wednesday, Hope we can meet up again.

  3. Boatwif says:

    Glynne, eventually we will be back at the Higher Poynton moorings and I am sure we will make a bee-line for the Boar’s Head again! Currently we are on the River Nene, at Fotheringhay (place of Mary Queen of Scot’s beheading, incidentally). The next main destinations are Peterborough and Bedford. It’s unlikely we’ll be back before mid /late September. If you do plan a rehearsal at the pub in September /October let me know the day /date in case we can be there too!

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