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Miracles do happen

The weather has been absolutely appalling.

I've been checking the weather forecast for weeks and the outlook for Wednesday June 29, the date of our annual boat party, never changed:

Cloudy with heavy showers or persistent rain. Moderate southwesterly breeze. 13oC.

Yesterday afternoon, as I drove to London from Cambridgeshire, it didn't stop raining once.

Over 240 people had registered to attend Smoke On The Water 2016 and at that moment I genuinely thought we'd be lucky if 50 turned up.

Who would want to spend an evening on the Thames in those conditions? You'd have to be mad.

And then a miracle happened.

At five o'clock, shortly before we boarded The Elizabethan at Butler's Wharf by Tower Bridge, the rain ceased.

To say it improved dramatically would be an exaggeration. There was still a blanket of thick grey clouds above the Thames but at least we could stand on the open rear deck without getting wet.

At seven o'clock prompt we docked at Westminster Pier to collect our guests.

At least 100 people were waiting for us.

By the time we left to cruise down river to Canary Wharf over 150 people had boarded the boat.

"I'm a hard Northerner," said one.

"I'm freezing," said another.

Either way I'm extremely grateful to them for braving the weather to support the event.

For the record guests consumed 60 bottles of prosecco and 60 jugs of Pimms. And that was before we opened the cash bar.

Here are some of the comments received today:

"Thank you very much for an enjoyable evening."

"Thanks for a great evening. Wonderful views of London and we even saw a seal in the river."

"I had a wonderful evening. It was a fantastic event. Hope there's another one next year!"

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Reader Comments (5)

Thank you once again Simon, for a very enjoyable evening - even more-so than normal I thought. The big difference to all your other events was the fact that where we are all normally discussing the smoking ban - this time the big emphasis with almost everyone was the referendum and everyone I spoke to was a Brexiter, old and young, and I loved it.

I also met your son for the first time, which was a pleasure - he is such a nice chap.

Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 16:23 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Thanks, Peter. I agree, there was a palpable sense of excitement with events, although I think some of us are still sceptical we'll get what we want (ie full Brexit). That said, I didn't think Leave would win the vote in the first place!

Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 17:57 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

I wonder if the Brexit excitement chatting got around to the bombshell for millions of smokers that will happen to those dabble in cheap blackmarket smokes in a couple of years time.

I suspect HMRC wil be playing games with propagander suggesting all very innocently of course that new laws are in place. They have done their best within the EU to scare the public from following EU rules on buying abroad in devious ways that makes Nigerian scammers blush.

Now they have green light to get real nasty.

Friday, July 1, 2016 at 18:21 | Unregistered CommenterDioclese

I suspect you couldn't care less about smokers. You sound bitter because of the way the vote went. Please understand, after plain packs, car ban, etc, smokers simply have nothing left to lose.

If everything goes to hell in a handcart so what. We were driven in it first and few did bugger all to stop it. Now you get a taste of how we've felt this last 10 years.

Awful isn't it.

Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 13:18 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Smokers really haven't lost anything yet, plain packs means nothing along with that police ignore it car ban.

Brexit will end legal cheap tobacco except for 200 cigs rule and will affect about 40% of smokers who get cut price smokes either illegal or sort of illegal, there is a fine line of bullshit which seperates the two.

This is a real kick in the teeth for smokers pockets big time that dwarfs all the other things like hiding packs of fags in shops, or playing about with covers on packs.

Bootlegged fags/EU shopping allowed the poor to smoke genuine product bought in the EU and millions of smokers did exactly that.
The truth is out there about smoking and Brexit thats got nothing to do with wether I am bitter or not caring or how awful things are.

I won't bother getting drawn into that sort of silly nonsense, just look as my posts as a bit of advice that there is still time to stock up on cigarettes and tobacco and spread the word about the effects Brexit wil have.

HMRC/ ASH know full well whats about to be unleashed on the smoking public, keeping this hidden and not talked about amongst smokers isnt helping them.

I suspect Pat you don't really care about what I have posted, cos there appears to be an "anti" to have a pop got that wrong too.


Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 16:52 | Unregistered CommenterDioclese

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