Spring 2006
Contents 7Mar2006

Commodore’s Report
Achieve Inner Peace
AGM, Prize Giving, Party
Annual Dinner
Boat Show 2006
Christmas and New Year
Ferry Meadows
Ice-Box Sunday
Last Working Party
Lunch & Frostbite Cruise
Mascheranda Menu
Masheranda Ball
Open Weekend
Place for Books
Start of Season Party
Thoughts for Today


    Rodger's been at it again! This year ‘Ladies Night' was a Venetian Masked Ball… he's a little devil!
    Planning commenced in The Club bar (where else) in mid January under Rodgers chairmanship. Actually it was more like bar-stool-ship but what the hell! Several pints later things were definitely getting out of control.
    The conversion of the clubhouse into a Venetian Palace was vetoed by Bodgit & Son (planning permission aside). The re-modeling of Waterman to make it look like a Gondola was considered to be a 'little ambitious' and Bryan Clements offer to convert the patio into a replica of St. Mark's Square just wasn't taken too seriously.
    Eventually however the relevant details did get sorted and actions assigned to whomever didn't get out of the place fast enough. The clubhouse did, sort off, get converted into central Venice with a series of graphic impressions around the walls and curved arches replacing the normal 'squareness' of the place; The club watering hole was converted into the "Cafe Rialto su Thamisis" and low-and-behold even Waterman got a Gondola makeover.

Ballet Bodgit
Ballet Bodgit

Venetian clubhouse
Venetian Palace clubhouse
     Rodger worked out the menu, set about procurement and arranged for waiters, barmen and a cabaret. Even the dinner tables got a makeover and ended up black!
    Rumours also started filtering in that masks and costumes were being actively sought by the rapidly increasing number of people who had applied for tickets. Obviously 'Ladies Night' fame has spread to the furthest reaches of the membership.
    The masked ball was held in the clubhouse on Saturday evening 11th February and promised dinner, dance, entertainment and modest debauchery; I think that's a contradiction of terms and should probably have read 'immodest debauchery'.
    The laid up tables were themed black and gold and looked pretty 'spiffy' complete with candelabras.
    As the guests arrived they were greeted by Rodger and our Commodore Nigel with a variety of multi-coloured aperitifs and a flower for each of the ladies.
    The costumes were amazing and as someone once said "a picture paints a thousand words", I will leave it to them when they appear on the club's excellent website.
    Pat Halling and Mike Leigh provided some suitable music and it wasn't long before Aquarius took on a very Venetian ambience.
An excellent dinner was served by Rodger Wheeler, Mike Rodgers, Leo Bond, Nigel Knowles, Charles Dennis and George Bray all dressed as gondoliers.
    Following a very relaxed dinner one or two of the tables where moved to make room for dancing and the cabaret. I won't say too much about the entertainment apart from Pat and Mike's contribution was superb, as always.
    The contribution made by 'Ballet Bodgit' had to be seen to be believed. I saw it and I still don't believe it; and what about the Gondola MS Bodgit? Nigel had a lot of fun making that I can tell you. Rumour has it that it is destined for Ebay. So if you've ever wanted your own, somewhat cut down, Gondola get on, and get bidding.
    The Mascheranda ended with socializing around the bar. I thought the evening was a resounding success, I just hope the Aquarius ladies thought so too. Grateful thanks to Rodger and Nigel for organising the whole thing, and to the small army of 'gentlemen' who helped out on the night and with the clearing up on Sunday morning.
    I'm hoping someone has metaphorically twisted a suitable ladies arm to write a female perspective of the evening. At the end of the day it was the Ladies it was all done for so I guess they should have the last word.
    The problem the club now has is how is it going to top that next year! Ideas in writing please to the Commodore; better now know as, Nigella (Prima Bodgit Ballerina) Knowles.
    So what's the history of the Venice carnivals? Well … they date way back to the year 998 when history records that Croatian pirates raided Venice and kidnapped several Venetian girls. Some young Venetian noblemen traced the pirates and managed to rescue the girls.
    To celebrate their achievement a large festival was held. This event laid the tradition of the Venice Carnival which is still celebrated annually in the city at the beginning of February.
    Roots of carnival, not to be confused with the above, go to the Latin culture. Origins of this holiday lay in the famous Roman saturnalia or wild party/orgy.
    Now I've got your attention! The main tradition of saturnalia was to destroy the difference between master and slaves. During the holiday slaves where allowed to sit at the masters tables and even abuse them. However, in order not to spoil the fun, people wore masques.
    This practice went to Venice and the masque became a key feature of the carnival. Carnival reached its peak in the 18th century where it became the main event of the year. At the carnival nothing was judged and nothing was considered too shameful, bold, dissolute or too heedless.
    For two weeks honourable people could indulge in vices with no need to justify themselves. All they had to do was put on a masque to become unrecognizable.
    The wearing of masques and costumes was well established by 1436, when masque makers or Mascereri were officially recognised with their own guild. Commedia dell'Arte masques are based on characters like Harlequin. With its origins in Renaissance Italy (early 16th Century) the Commedia dell'Arte was one of the earliest forms of theatre as we know it today, starting with street performers donning masque to draw attention to themselves.
    After the big European revolutions however the carnival tradition was lost and only after the Second World War, when Venice became one of the main tourist centres of Europe, did the tradition start to recommence.
    Here endeth the history lesson for this year!
    Mike (Wealth of trivia information) Baker

A big THANK YOU from Rodger Wheeler to all who helped with Mascheranda