05 August 2008

Ripping yarn

Are you following the Lucky Duck blog at the moment? It’s smashing fun as, having taken possession of their new floating home, James and Amy are now sailing her back to Cambridge from Birmingham and recording their adventures as they go. They’re happy to share their ‘first time’ with us and it’s a wonderfully fresh, witty and exuberant account of how it is for them. I had to giggle at this bit because it brought back a fun memory of my own:

"Setting off again, we passed through more wooded areas, before reaching Bridge 8. This was a drawbridge, operated with a BW key in a control panel. I guided the boat between two rows of wooden stakes, and Amy went ashore to operate it. Much to the hilarity of onlookers, she caught a car on the bridge between two sets of barriers! The driver, seeing the descending barriers, accelerated hard to try and get through but didn't make it across. It was tempting to try and open the bridge with them on it, but decided better and Amy kindly let them get off."

We had the very same thing happen to us on the Macc last year at the Royal Oak swing bridge. Sadly, unlike James who had a full view, I only got the first reel of our ‘action feature’ (well, this was stunt driving wasn’t it? That’s stunt with a ‘st’ as opposed to a.....never mind). I was hanging back on the boat and could see the right hand side of the bridge and the descending barrier. Then, out of nowhere, a green car shot forward and onto the bridge, shaving the underneath of the barrier and...I couldn’t see any more. The denouement played out behind a screen of trees. It was like your 10p running out in one of those What the Butler Saw machines...Of course, I braced myself for the crunch of metal on metal. But none came. I kept bracing for the sounds of an expletive fuelled exchange and a right old punch up. But none came. I waited instead for some indication that I could proceed. But none came. So I stood around like a spare part for a quarter of an hour imagining all sorts. Maybe they’d throttled one another silently. I was just about to go and make a cup of tea when at last the bridge opened and I moved off. A was smiling and looking unmarked, there was no sign of the other chap or his car, so I could only assume everything had been sorted amicably and A hadn’t lammed Evil Knieval with his windless and shoved him in the cut. When we were finally reunited, A explained – with a very smug expression, I must say – that he had trapped the car perfectly between the two barriers and was quite prepared to swing the whole kit and caboodle except that the weight of the car had somehow fouled the mechanism. Well, fouled everything to be honest as they couldn’t raise the barriers either. A was just about to call the boys in BW blue when somehow everything kicked back into life again, the car was driven off somewhat shamefacedly and I was at last allowed to proceed.

After all this drama, we decided to moor up for the night even though it was early. We’d spied the pub across the way and although it didn’t look particularly promising, it proved to be one of those serendipitous finds. Even a moral dilemma could not take the edge off the warm welcome and the good food – but it did prove an interesting conversation point though. We were already onto our main courses when a couple walked in. The lady was in her forties and wearing a smart dark blue pair of trousers. They took up station at the bar, the lady with her back to us now directly in our eye-line. It was then the fun started...

Old Sherlock, coming up for air from his steak and kidney, immediately notices that she has a huge rip in the seat of her trousers, exposing a fair degree of knicker and buttock. With surprising gallantry, he suggests that I really ought to go and tell her. I respond that what she doesn’t know, can’t hurt her, and besides she’ll surely be sitting down to dinner shortly where it won’t be noticed. Of course, they proceed to stand there for another thirty minutes, with half the Queen’s Dragoon Guards passing by, and A is ploughing through his jam roly poly mentally shaking his head at this lack of female solidarity. Now I swear to you I wasn’t being cowardly, I just didn’t want to embarrass her – it would have been mortifying for her to know that her backside had been advertising itself all this while. Personally, I'm amazed she didn't feel the breeze... Of course, when she toddled off to the ladies, A started jabbing his elbows into my side, urging me to use the privacy of the cloakroom to have a quiet word. I’m afraid I still declined – ignorance was surely bliss, I argued. There was a lot of tutting in between slurping up the custard, I can tell you, but eventually the couple took their seats and put an end to my angst and guilt. She had best end, he had rump, I got a kick up the silverside. What a bummer....

1 comment:

Emma said...

Reading through the lucky duck blog has also brought back to me some of the calamities I managed when we first moved onto a boat, if I wasn't so red-faced about some of them I'd probably blog it.