This morning my eldest daughter brought a fat envelope upstairs in which was a pile of paperwork from the Ruskin Museum. It contained nothing new, the crucial difference being that this time it not only targeted Bluebird Project but also me personally and therefore, by extension, my family.
I called up various assorted legal minds. First a barrister, then I had a lengthy conference with a litigation lawyer and finally we got an old friend KC on the phone top run it past him. All agreed on the way forward but, unfortunately, all also agreed that to take K7 to Elvington brought with it unnecessary risk of additional costly lawyerly activity that we can simply do without.
All agreed that this would be known to the other side so its arrival today is suggestive of this being no coincidence.
My immediate thoughts were for the ever-dedicated team who have grafted since Christmas to have the boat and all our equipment ready and to be properly drilled and rehearsed as a team to safely and professionally operate the boat for public and charitable benefit. Then I thought of everyone at Straightliners too who have worked equally hard to put on a great event. Of the people excited to visit, who've told their kids they're going for a great day out. Of the hoteliers and publicans and the people who have booked accommodation. It's a very long list of wounded parties. We've been up front about Elvington since before Christmas and invited the RM to be a part of a great event much as we have invited them, on numerous occasions, to sit with us and discuss a future that guarantees them, us and the public what they want to see, hear and feel.
By lunchtime tomorrow, if nothing has changed, we will, with the deepest of regret, be forced to let all those good people down and we don't want to do that but we do want you to know that we have done all in our power to promote and participate in what ought to be a wonderful event and a world-class celebration of both Bluebird K7 and Donald Campbell, plus the ongoing brilliance of some of Britain's present engineers.
Maybe the Museum will read this and reconsider. Maybe enough people will shout about it that the museum reads this and reconsiders or maybe lunchtime tomorrow will bring with it an announcement that we didn't want, and shouldn't have to make.
[Edit] We alerted the organisers of the Straightliners event yesterday afternoon and they made an all out effort to secure K7 for the weekend via the museum and even their solicitors but they were rebuffed. It is just gobsmacking that that could happen - I have no words.
But just to be absolutely clear - Bluebird Project is still committed to displaying K7 in the Bluebird Wing, we always were and that hasn't changed, ever. And we remain ever willing to discuss it and reach a deal. We've never wavered from that position either.