14 June 2008

Aquatic retrievers a breed apart

The trip up to the marina was not its usual deadly dull self this time. Things were enlivened, first, by a narrowboat on the back of a low loader – if yours was due across the A14 on Thursday, then it was still upright when we saw it. Secondly, by an earth mover on the back of another low loader whose gigantic width meant that it had to have warning chevrons on its tyres, such was its sticky-outiness. I wish some wag had hung a sign on it – ‘does my bum look big in this?’ It made me feel positively petite. And for the hat-trick, folks, we passed a van emblazoned with the legend ‘Aquatic Retrieval Unit’ and next to that ‘In Partnership with Tesco’. What the hell is an Aquatic Retrieval Unit? And why do they work for a supermarket? Bizarre thoughts started going round in my head which, for some reason I can’t explain, centred largely on the concept of crayfish being liberated and Tesco being intent on recapturing them...(Note to self: Too much cheese sends you funny). It was only when I got closer and saw the 8 point lettering beneath that all became clear. Aquatic Retrieval Unit is a euphemism worthy of Private Eye – they’re trolley collectors. Specifically, trolley collectors who collect from watercourses.

What was really worrying was what they were towing behind them – not some titanic trailer able to carry a supermarket carpark’s worth but half a hayrick that would just about carry one basket. Hello? Have you seen the amount of trolleys in the average canal or river? Are you collecting them one at a time? No wonder we keep riding over them if the Aquatic Retrieval Unit’s on the case. My dogs could fetch better than that.

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