Oriental for a while

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 26 Oct 2013 20:39
Back on familiar ground after just three months absence. Only it has become a lot colder over the past few days. We are mighty glad we bought the new circuit board in the UK for one of our two Webasto diesel heaters. They have been busy keeping us toasty warm during this nippy spell. The remainder of the trip southwards from Buck Island was uneventful, with no adverse winds, even the sun made an appearance for a while. Have posted some pics of the trip south from Norfolk featuring the usual military hardware in the shipyard.........
    Always curious as to what is in port                           A dry dock big enough for a flat decked assault ship run by BAE Systems
    Then we get stuck behind a tug with a side-tied derrick..........all the way to Great Bridge, where things became rather busy at the lock
They are into re-enactments at Great Bridge, this was to commemorate the original opening of the first waterway - they docked behind us, staggered ashore in their dresses and boots to use the public convenience and then got on with their re-enactment.
Chilly foggy mornings and early fall sunsets
Arriving back in Oriental there was one notable difference as we crept towards our previous slip. Gulls! Thousands of the things have taken up residence wherever they can find an empty dock or piling. As we tied up we stepped ashore onto a carpet of guano. Apparently they are protected here in the States and cannot be shot or eliminated which immediately elevates them to a much higher status than the human population in some inner-city areas we can think of. We have been reliably informed that in two to three weeks will see the end of them as they fly to some other place for another messy stopover. Having washed the droppings off the dock Skip set about coiling a piece of old rope we found to look like a rearing snake which he placed on top of the piling at the end of our finger pier. Seems to work as it's one of the few perches that doesn't seem to get used by the wretched things.
With the gulls now being kept at bay it was straight into social calendar with a live music gig at Silos, but only after spending the morning loitering around the Chilli Cook-off competition at the local Tiki bar. This event was a fund-raiser in aid of The Old Theatre which is 70 years old and run on voluntary contributions. As we'd just had breakfast we couldn't quite face spending $8 each to sample the competitors offerings and vote a winner but it did smell nice - well, most of it anyway. It's what we like about the place, lots going on and many people participating and having fun.
Gail trying some chilli............best dressed participant........and of course it's pumpkin time again
At Silos restaurant Saltwater Gold, the resident band played in the car park again. Apparently a reincarnation of The Supremes, one of many no doubt, had been booked to head the bill but the promoter pulled the plug at the last minute due to ticket sales not reaching 1000. Not surprising really as that's half the population of Oriental!! Anyway Salt-gold are always good value.  Unfortunately, Australia's one and only Sax player has left the area and therefore the band. Missing you already Pete and Gail!!
        The band in action                                                                the Admiral in action
Last night The Old Theatre was showing an Audrey Hepburn film 'Wait Until Dark' (1967). Tickets were $5 each with all the popcorn you could stuff down yourself or drop on the floor throughout the performance. Goodness! Americans do love their popcorn, they eat it by the bucketful. Red and white wine was also available for a voluntary contribution (no liquor license so can only ask for donations). The box office opened at 1830 but the doors not until 1900 which gave us 30 minutes to freeze to death outside the theatre. Gosh! it was cold with the temperatures due to be just above freezing. We walked round the block to keep warm and run down the clock. They let us in a tad early but were having trouble getting the screen to drop down into position. There was a very tall ladder erected on stage which indicated they were working on the problem.  Eventually we watched the film against the backdrop curtain and that was fine. Average age of patrons 70ish and all seemed to know each other. The couple who arrived and sat behind Skip had to reluctantly move because they couldn't see over him - or through his birds nest hairstyle more likely. We heard him mutter about it as he shifted seats, and then the Admiral heard someone say "and that's the cruising couple with the boat in the marina" Yikes!  It was a good evenings entertainment, first a Merry Melodies cartoon followed by an episode of 'Commander Cody' and the Radar Men from the Moon, (can't believe we're typing this!) a sci-fi adventure which was filmed in 1952, Skip's birth year! This was funnier than any cartoon notably for the quality of the writing, acting, shooting locations and the star of the film Commander Cody who donned a bullet-shaped helmet and flew round with a jetpack on. Now that was prophetic, the jetpack that is. Fortunately the nasty Moon Men have never come to fruition but their laser guns certainly did. It's available on the internet if you want a laugh. In fact it's side-splitting!  If you haven't seen 'Wait Until Dark' it was a very good suspense movie and quite scary in parts born out when one of the audience actually screamed at one point which frightened everyone more than the movie itself.
        Before restoration and now. A really nice little provincial theatre run by people that care. And, couldn't resist this - Commander Cody ! How things have changed
We walked back to the boat hoping the heaters had thermostatically kicked in whilst we were in town - they had and we were snug as bugs in rugs!