Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Lunatics and walloped

So captain says we are 90 mins from the Napton Flight.  He wanted to get there early to avoid the rush, I wanted to fill up with water at the top as the bottom of the flight can get congested for a longer boat.  

Off we go at 7:08am, late for some but early-ish for us.  Creeping out of the mooring, whispering and heaving the bow and stern to avoid using the bow thrusters to annoy the neighbours,  a the breeze had picked up.  

Although we arrived here alone, by evening on both nights the moorings here were full. The trip actually took much longer than expected as its so bendy. I often suggest to David to sound his hooter which he is somewhat reluctant to do, he prefers mostly to go real slow on these bends and position himself well.  Today this was just as well.  

Approaching one of these shockers, David says it was the tightest bend on the canal, almost a U Bend and a bridge too.  But just as he was reaching down to press the hooter when someone else’s  was blasted  making us both jump.  It was a little tug thing, very short and going like the clappers, although David whacked us into reverse, walloped the bow thrusters quick and managed to stop us from being hit.   this lunatic however just came bombing through.   The only good thing was that the two young lads on it ended up hard up against the armco there trying to heave it off again.

So with this fresh in our minds, we crept on even more carefully.  But not for long when a hire boat came around a corner.  They were not going ramming speed or anything, just maybe a tad inexperienced,  a boatload of very friendly Germans,  this section is pretty challenging for anyone I think.  However we met them on a 90 degree bend and they ended up in the plants.  We avoided them easily but were also in the plants….  grounded.

No joy reversing so I sprang to help by going up on the roof to get the pole.  These “Barge-poles” are heavy Reader, and it was most unfortunate that in my best efforts to get down from the roof with said pole I walloped David on the shin with it.  

Now it is a truth universally acknowledged by all wives that when you have done your best to help your spouse and your efforts have resulted in no help at all that all wives will just see it as hilarious.  This wife certainly did, in fact had trouble stopping laughing. 
“No I’ve got the bloody thing moving now” He said as he hopped from side to side, swearing and rubbing his shin, so I turned, laughingly to return the pole to the roof, and hit him again on the shoulder.  It was like the scene with Eric Sykes and the ladder Reader really it was hilarious.  I don’t know what the Germans thought watching all this, it still brings tears of joy to my eyes recalling it.

David has now forgiven me.

So onwards to Napton Top Lock.  The water point was free so we did get on it, David was rabbiting on that we should maybe fill up at the bottom, I said nothing as I don’t really mind either way but I just think when you are descending the locks its more user friendly to fill at the top.  Got the nozzle on and bugger me, a boat appears from no where and goes to the lock.  David being the helpful chappie he is went forward with his windless and filled the lock for them, he was sort of thanked, sort of.  We turned and walked back to the boat and would you Adam & Eve it… ?  Two boats arrive.  Sniffy woman on the second of three boats said “Yes and we are both travelling together”  David now über pissed off.  Clearly Reader these two boats arriving was totally my fault.  He withdrew and said he was going  off to make his breakfast, the lady on the second of the three boats said sniffily “Oh I had breakfast on the move….” Reader that went down like a cup of cold sick I can tell you.

So back on Wal, David livid about getting here early and then having to give way to not one but three boats, we eventually fill up with water and are about to start off when a fourth boat arrives, this was all too much, I took cover but no need as the charming man simply gave way to us with a smile. 

So onward. We filled the locks in turn with two or three boats coming up and making life easier.  We carried on down, pretty much following the two sniffy boats.  But there came a time when I was texting on my youngest daughter on matters of great importance….. She is getting married in Feb and has found another dress, yes another wedding dress, she has one but actually today was all about shoes, so important and I was loitering, hanging back form the lock, texting when I was aware of a calling, maybe you would call it a shout… Then another shout this time of  “CAN YOU DO THE GATE?” no "Please", so Reader this was from the captain of the third boat in front of us, this is the boat that I had already helped at the top lock and received no thanks, so I was in no hurry to help them again, but after the shout I did go forward and open and shut the gates so that the wife could walk across simply and guess what….?  Yep NO THANKS AGAIN!

 So David started off furious and then calmed down, I started calm and ended up infuriated, not helped when I got “Told off” by a volunteer lock for filling a lock in front of an ascending boat.  Now this was this boat was entirely unbeknown to me as I completely thought we were still following the two boats down, I hadn’t seen any boat coming up.  
I was incensed to be told off, he then followed it up by saying we should have waited 20 minutes to fill and empty lock….

I shall say no more on that subject but things improved as we finished and found yes there they were on the water point Sniffy Boats one and two and guess what..  Neither boat greeted nor acknowledged nor thanked us for helping them, remember no one had helped us.  Luckily “Sniffies” are few and far between on the waterways and I am in no hurry to meet them again.

I discovered last week that these taste delicious.  Sorry if you are a vegetarian Reader.
So this is the damage to lock 9 I think it was,  a boater appears to have taken the wall out and the corner stone of the lock entrance.

Presumably CART gentlemen making these 200 year old steps "Safer" as they were steep I was told.  One has to ask why?
Moored up later next to NB Yarwood with whom we shall be having fun with later.


  1. Lisa we do so love your posts, especially this one. I admit to a fit of laughter too at your pole antics. Poor David, beaten and bashed. and as for the "sniffies" well....more giggles from Chris

    I think we had a similar near miss with a tug like the one you describe on our return from Leamington spar, was the cabin light blue in colour by any chance?

  2. Yes the cabin was Lunatic Light Blue, that simply must be the same vessel, so a warning to all craft heading north on the South Oxford. They maybe safer on the wide Thames....?

  3. Lisa, Jan just laughed and laughed whilst i didn't even crack a small smile. All I could think was "What are David's options if a shotgun were to be required?" :-)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Actually Tom I am not sure who would be more dangerous with a shotgun, me or him, it would be a close run thing. But if I had of had one that day I may have been tempted to perform a humane cull but not on Sweetie Pie...

  6. It wasn't a boater that took the wall out, it was due to the ground behind it being waterlogged and putting excessive pressure on it. The bywash has been collapsing foe years so the water soaking into the soil

  7. David has bashed his head four mornings in a row on the over head bed lockers helping me make the bed. On the fourth occasion I was helpless with giggles. The air was blue his side of the bed!

  8. Brian,
    Thank you for that. I had been misimformed by the lock keeper there, but frankly I believe what you say far more. It did seem quite an improbable amount of damage for a boat bash. Such a pity that it has to come to such a major amount of work rather than being strengthened prior to collapse.

    David has never helped me make the bed as usually I am still in it, however it is responsible for my having broken four finger nails in total. We both are far too short for head banging on those cupboards, can hardly reach them.