30 May 2008

Maiden voyage

Kev’s account of his maiden voyage on 4Evermoore rolled back the years to the day when we had our first trip on the old girl. She’d been fetched back from Huddersfield on the back of a lorry and we were going to trundle down to Burton and back for a snagging cruise. I remember thinking that the boat was too long and the tiller too short (we changed it shortly afterwards) and swearing like a navvie when some bushes decided to attack and put a scratch on her nice new paintwork. I recall ringing up MCC because our macerator WC had gummed up and we were peeing into a bucket. I certainly have clear memories of the doughty Paul putting my porcelain bog on the towpath and fixing it, poor bloke. And who can forget the relief when the Little Chef at Barton opened its doors allowing a lady a little privacy for a certain undertaking.

But what I really remember is the two days moored up in Horninglow. First, there was the explosion. Only a tiny one but some idiot, not me, had put the batteries in our DAB/CD player thingy the wrong way round and they blew up, spurting acid everywhere. The machine was totally kaput so we cleaned up the mess in the battery compartment, took it back to Currys and with a straight face said it didn’t work. They believed us and gave us a new one. Aren’t we bad...

And then there were our visitors. Don’t ask me why, because it’s lost in the mists of time, but A had asked a fairly newish friend, Andy, and his wife to come over to the boat, have the tour and then join us for a curry. They lived locally and duly turned up in the evening. Now it had been intimated that Andy’s wife liked a drink and we were to be very careful about how much vino we gave her. Well, like a drink might have been putting it mildly because it was quite clear that she was pretty pickled when she arrived. After the usual meet and greet, and a large glass of Chardonnay (what the hell was I thinking of? Automatic hospitality mode, I guess) the first thing she said was, ‘That’s a nice bed, can I lie down on it?’Mmm, that was a tricky one but Andy the husband intervened and counselled her to use one of the recliners instead.

We then had a sotte voce discussion about whether we could still go off to the gloriously named Balti Towers curry house with her in this condition. She made up our minds for us by falling asleep, and Andy said she’d be fine for an hour or two. So another delicate situation...how do you say that you’re not too enamoured of the prospect of leaving a drunken stranger on your precious new boat when there is a) gas and b) water handy with which to play merry hell with? In the end, I went but it took the edge off my biryani, I can tell you. And then, what’s with A’s new friend Andy ordering hot mince? What the hell is that? Puts me in mind of the lovely Chinese in Market Drayton where the couple behind us ordered prawn cocktail and steak and chips....

Not surprisingly the evening was not a great success but thankfully everything was as we had left it when we finally regained the towpath. They left, never to be seen again and we settled down to a quiet night. Only for a domestic to kick off on the other side of the hedge...serious decibels, choice language, welcome to the peace and quiet of the waterways.

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