You have good days and bad days on the canals. And sometimes you have Malcolm Tucker days. Today was one of those: a real five-star, catastrophe-ridden, expletive-inducing marathon of a day.
Incident Number One: The Crash.
We are pootling merrily along in the sun when we spot a boat coming towards us. No big deal – this is a wide canal. I move over a bit to allow them to pass without coming too close to the shallow edge. They drift closer and closer towards us. I think, hmmm, that’s odd, they seem to be heading straight for us. Hmmm, really close now. Hmmm, they’re going to hit us. Both boats slam into reverse at approximately the same time, so ensuing bump is minor indeed. Poor people had a fouled propeller so had lost their ability to steer. Oh well, no damage done, on we go.
Incident Number Two: The Stolen Lock.
We smile as we approach the second lock of the day, delighted to find it empty and waiting for us, gates open. The smile is then ripped from our faces as a little man in a yoghurt pot cruiser appears, shuts the gates and fills the lock leaving us to pull up open-mouthed and then go and help him through the damn thing. I swear to God that only Tom’s benign intervention stopped me from coming over all Malcolm Tucker with a windlass.
Incident Number Three: The Broken Lock.
There are a lot of locks on the Grand Union: big double beasts. But we can handle them, we are masters of the art of lock these days. We drift into this one, open the paddles, boat starts to rise, nearly there, nearly there, why isn’t it filling up? After a bit of poking around, we decide there is a problem. Luckily, our broken lock is right next to one of the few lock-keeper’s cottages that hasn’t been sold off by CRT. So I go and knock on the door and before long the man himself appears with a magic tool and he drags his tool around a bit and clears an obstacle and we start again and up we go. Yeehah.
Incident Number Four: The Blocked Sewer
Emptying the loos is nobody’s favourite task, but it has to be done. We pull up to do the dirty, only to find that the disposal point is blocked. Ew. And there isn’t another one for miles and miles. So we’re going to cross our legs and hope for the best.
That’s it. That’s enough for one day, frankly. We have now moored up, lit the fire and are listening to a bit of soothing Norwegian music to cheer us up. Happy Sunday everyone!