18 May 2010

The dog and tanker

Picture the scene. You’re having a nice chat with your boating neighbours, the dogs are off-lead having a quiet mooch about, the sun is just nudging the yard-arm, all is right with the world. Then suddenly, one of your dogs decides he’s bored with all this and by way of a star turn falls head first between the wharf and your neighbour’s boat. Cue International Dog Rescue with Thunderbird 1 (bearing a striking resemblance to A) swinging into action FAB style…well, actually more dragging him out by the collar style really. No surprises that the dog in question was Arthur – he was okay, just four wet paws and the odd graze as thanks to the small ledge at the bottom of the wharf wall and the position of the boat, he saved himself from full immersion and just got wedged instead. Not very dignified though…I think all the excitement of the past couple of days must have finally caught up with him. I have never been able to let all five dogs off together for such extended periods of time but as there was nothing and no-one around, I took full advantage. It was useful to see how their recall is these days – Miffy, excellent. Arthur, excellent. Susie, pretty good. Monty, improving but still poor. Ranger, absolutely rubbish…well, it is until you wave food at him when his hearing miraculously returns.

So what have we been up to then? Well, yesterday we went down to Barnby Dun on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigations to drop off some rubbish at the sani station. Oh, and to see what the New Junction canal was like…very straight is the answer. But for my power-mad man, it was also nirvana. Mechanised lift bridges, mechanised swing bridges, traffic lights, sirens, automatic barriers and even a mechanised lock with a swing bridge in the middle of it – top that! It meant that the 5.5 mile run to the junction with the S&SY and Stainforth & Keadby canals was a lot more exciting that it first looked…especially for me as I headed underneath these massive lift bridges with the demon keyholder in possession of the pedestal, getting a bit previous with the close button. We turned at Barnby Dun and came back to our mooring of the previous night, delighted that we’d made the effort and that we have kept some new territory in reserve for next time. Everything we have seen and everything we have heard has made us more determined to revisit this area and give some serious cruising time to both the S&SY and S&K canals.

And then just when we thought we’d had enough excitement for one day, at 10pm last night comes the unmistakeable sound of a big screw in the water and lo and behold, the loaded Humber Princess glides by en route to Rotherham. We could just about make out the tanker outline in the water but it was tricky gauging exactly how big she was. No such problem this afternoon when we encountered sister ship Humber Pride at Whitley Lock! She’d been following Princess last night but had carried on up the A&C to unload at Fleet – now she was running back empty to Immingham and we got a proper sense of scale as she squeezed into the upper lock and then went past us on the mooring. You know those little plastic boats in children’s baths? That was us, bobbing up and down in our insignificance. A wonderful sight, those Whittaker’s tankers, So much more edifying than a tubby trapped dog with his bum in the air ..

Aside from that, we’ve done flap all. We stopped at midday today, having taken the executive decision to have a lazy afternoon in the sun. As a result, we’ve eaten too much, drunk too much and absorbed too many rays, leaving us a tad queasy. Suspect it will be an early night, preferably without Ranger on the bed as it was all through last night. Not usual practice for him, but once he was on there, he wouldn’t be shifted. My legs lost feeling for about seven hours and A kept wondering why I was touching his bum all night. It worries me that my husband thinks I have furry hands with long sharp claws….


Anonymous said...

You're doing a great job of selling these northern waterways - I must get a map out and work out exactly where you are.

Poor old Arthur - it always has to happen to him! I hope that the poor boy's allright....

Sue, Indigo Dream

indigodream said...

I am more worried about the furry hands ...