Meeting clients to LNBP is always a pleasure just as it has been for nearly years now, and the 2019 season will see us welcome several new clients with their group including a Scout group from Dublin.
As new clients, initial contact was made between us and the group back in 2018. What was clearly established early on was that this booking will not be for just our standard one or two boat booking – it is for a significantly larger than normal group and one clearly bigger than LNBP could carry on our two boats. So with our help the group have hired extra boats that LNBP will also skipper.
These extra commitments were clearly matters that LNBP Booking Officer Nigel Smith thought deserved a face-to-face meeting with the group and their leaders in advance of their trip. Fortunately, with Nigel living in Birmingham – an airport served by Ryanair – this was a relatively simple and cheap matter to do.
And the day of the meeting across the Irish Sea became similar to the 1966 song by Dionne Warwick of “Trains, and Boats and Planes!”, as Nigel explains.
Having spoken to and communicated by email with the clients in Dublin, a date was set between us for the meeting but with e-mails traded in advance outlining available options for getting together.
Come the day of the meeting, I left home at 1030am, a short walk to the bus stop for the journey into Birmingham City Centre. From here it was a ten minute train ride from New Street Station to Birmingham International Railway Station, before then jumping onto the driverless train from the train station and into Birmingham Airport.
The delays at security were non-existent and into the departure lounge with plenty of time in hand, thankfully time to sit down with a coffee and newspaper.
Boarding started and I was in seat 26A by 3.00pm, forty minutes later and the wheels were touching down at Dublin Airport. Having cleared passport control at Dublin Airport, I was informed in advance that two Scouts in uniform would be in the Arrivals Hall to meet me. I informed the group I would be wearing a red jacket. Two Scouts in uniform is a rarer sight that someone in a red coat, so I found them first!
Out of the doors and they telephoned their leader Pat who was cleverly circling Dublin Airport in a mini-bus waiting to pick me up and we soon made out way to a hostelry near to the end of the runway.
Sitting down together with a meal, cup of tea and canal maps, their week was provisionally planned as various questions were answered and finer details set down, before it was then time to head back to the airport.
Through check-in and en route to the departure gate, there was time to stop off at the shops to buy my wife some soda bread for her breakfast the next morning.
Queue and board again for the 8.40pm flight, seat 26A again (I like that seat) and before you know the plane’s wheels were touching down at 9.25pm. One of the benefits of arriving from Ireland with no luggage is that it only takes a matter of minutes and you are outside the terminal building with the plane journey complete.
A walk to the car park and a telephone call to my wife and she picks me up and I’m home less than 12 hours after setting off.
All in all, a successful and enjoyable trip out, a satisfied client (hopefully) who I look forward to seeing again soon, only on this side of the Irish Sea this time …and Mrs Smith enjoyed her soda bread! So everyone is happy.
We look forward to welcoming the Scout group from Dublin to historic Braunston and the beautiful waterways of central England in the next month or so.
LNBP are now taking bookings from community groups and organisations for weekend, short breaks and longer holidays in 2020 and 2021.
Wherever you and your community group or organisation are based, if would like to experience the beauty of the inland waterways of central England and find out more about life on a canal boat, why not get in touch to find out what we can offer, and check out dates and our current availability.
Please contact Nigel on 07967 406 875 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, you can also check availability online – just click here