17 May 2010

Gooley hooley

A hundred years ago, when I was a teenager doing mad double ring holiday hell cruises with my dad, I had one main responsibility – plotting our course so meticulously that we’d always end up outside a pub for the night. My dad had no problem with the 6am starts and the 40 lock mile days as long as he had a pint or five to ease his aches and pains each evening. And I wasn’t complaining either as I would quite happily wile away the hours playing the fruit machines or the trivia machines, and surreptitiously pocketing the winnings as I went….I do, however, seem to remember paying the price for these intense stand-up sessions with regular bouts of the most agonising cramp you can imagine , so it wasn’t all beer and skittles. Anyway, the point of all this wittering is that I’m pleased to say that nowadays it’s all very different. A and I rarely set ourselves a specific daily timetable, instead choosing to call it a day either when we’ve simply had enough or when we see a seductive looking mooring spot giving us its siren call. And sometimes other delights are dangled in front of us that get reverse gear selected and centre lines chucked before you can say ‘big bollards’ – and among the dangliest delights are those signs that have the words Indian and restaurant in close proximity. And this, dear reader, is a very convoluted way of explaining how we came to be moored above Pollington Lock on a Saturday evening. To be fair, we’d been thinking of stopping there anyway but any doubts were immediately swept aside by the canalside notice informing us that ‘Simply Indian’ was 400 yards to the west. Well, we weren’t going to make the same dallying mistake twice and while it may not have been two steaks and a Vienetta for a tenner, a takeaway seemed like a pretty good substitute. Now in my experience, this serendipitous sort of event ends in one of two ways – on a ‘it keeps getting better and better’ high or on a ‘well that was a bit crap’ low. Sadly, this was very much the latter as the Indian, which promised so much, delivered little more than an oily gloop that had all the spicy sophistication of a cricket bat. It delivered a bit more the next morning but thankfully it was blowing a hooley so the effects were mitigated…

And talking of the hooley, wow….when I was making coffee down below, I was worried that A had ploughed on through Goole Docks and was heading out to sea…there was a fair old bit of pitch and toss, I can tell you, but it’s simply because the A&C is so damn wide and straight that the wind blows right up your bum and whips up the white horses….not to mention green dogs, poor things. Anyway, to paraphrase Caesar, we came, we saw, we turned around again – there wasn’t really anywhere very hospitable to stop so we hovered for a bit just by the Goole sani station, having a good look at all the boats, ships and tankers, and then headed back towards the junction with the New Junction canal. Coming down we’d espied a likely mooring just ahead of the aqueduct and we eventually tied up just after five. Now in the dog rummaging stakes, this has to take the gold medal – even Monty was allowed off! We’re effectively on the offside in the middle of nowhere, with hedges and dykes separating us from fields, so that’s about as secure as it gets for us. I did think there was no way round the aqueduct either – so my heart skipped a beat when I saw a big brindle greyhound sprinting along what was obviously a low level footpath along its length! However, as he has done a couple of times now, he came back to me before too long – now Monty’s never really done this before, always having to be chased and caught. So is he a reformed character? Or is age curbing his spirits at long last? I’m not convinced to be honest and will still be very choosy about where I let him off the lead.

Today’s plan is to go down the New Junction canal and back again to this same spot – no real reason, it’s that Mallory thing, ‘just because it’s there’. The power-crazed one will get to play with swing and lift bridges today – and god help us if there are traffic lights too. They send him into a frenzy.

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