20 April 2009

The pig and camel

No, the pig and camel is not some outré new gastro pub that we hit upon as we wended our way back home; no, it’s simply the easiest way to sum up the long weekend that has seen us return to first base (by boat) and second base (by car).

The pig is the large sow, accompanied by her nine piglets (surely that makes them nonolets?) that had broken out of the farm below Minshull Lock and was making muddy merry on the towpath. From the state of the grass they’d obviously been rootling for a while and having a damn good time while they were about it. Apparently, according to the blue shirts who had been summoned to the scene, it’s not the first time it’s happened but unfortunately the farm owner has been watching too many Scorsese films and considers himself the local godfather. We heard all sorts of lurid tales which I won’t repeat here for fear of waking up with a horse’s head next to me tomorrow morning.

The camel is the large humped beast that we found chowing down on the local village green this morning. In fact, it was two camels and they had two mates which looked remarkably like zebras. Had my latte been spiked with some hallucinogen? Maybe the pig farmer resented me taking pics of his porkers and had already wreaked a terrible revenge and I was dead and in some Dantean netherworld? Actually, it appears that the circus has come to town and they thought the lush village green would be a lovely place to peg everyone out in the sun. Llamas too apparently…

So you can see we’re back to ‘normal’ after the perfect execution of the Friday/Saturday cruise plan. So often when we’ve promised ourselves an early start, we’ve simply thrown the alarm clock on the floor in a hail of throaty invective and gone back to sleep. But the threat of Middlewich madness had us walking the dogs at 5.30 (their expressions all said the same thing: what time do you call this?) and pulling the pins bang on six. It all went off very well until Wardle Lock, when a stream of Andersen/Alvechurch/Middlewich boats decided to come down, with one turning the lock in our face so blatantly that A was in danger of having an apoplectic fit until the nice lady behind them came and calmed him down. Let's just say, if he'd had toys, they'd have been out of the pram...and probably shoved somewhere very painful.

I was just hoping that we’d be able to moor up close to John and Fiona on Epiphany and sure enough we slotted in right in front. Yes, get the kettle on, you two! It was really lovely to see them both again after what must be at least a couple of years and I only wished we could have chatted for longer. They have exciting cruising plans ahead of them and I’ll certainly be following their blog with interest. This was yet another meeting (following on from the likes of Caxton, Indigo Dream, Seyella, Contented Souls etc) that demonstrated once again what a diamond bunch of folk there are out there on the waterways. Yes, sure, you get some muppets but you get them anywhere, but on the cut you do seem to have more of those precious encounters with people you quickly realize will be friends for life.

The rest of the cruise back to base was uneventful apart from the Beatrix Potter-esque interlude at Minshull and here we are at home…until Saturday when we take off again for some work-cum-motorhome adventuring. Poor old Arthur….just when he thought he’d escaped the whiz-bang-clonk of the boat, he’s got to cope with the flying baked bean tins and falling ladders in the van. Tune in again next Monday to see just how many Costa outlets it is possible to visit in one trip up the length of the A1.


Anonymous said...

Priceless! This really cheered me up - I met one of the canal muppets on Friday - was very upset but you've restored the balance as always - thanks....

Dogsontour by Greygal said...

Don't worry about the muppets and hug a greyhound instead!