Legends from our own lunchtimes

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


"We will stay here today" our Dutch neighbour of the ten hours, twenty-eight locks and forty-four kilometre day said cheerily.

"My wife is broken," hastening to add; "Perhaps there were too many locks yesterday".

I nodded sympathetically, our own Mr Perkins had suffered that particular affliction on more than one occasion, so I knew how he felt.

I looked back at our tally of locks for yesterday, and glanced at a wife of my own who thankfully didn't appear to have even the slightest sign of breakage, and the sky which was definitely clearing for the first time in a week, and told him we'd probably move on and wished him all the best and hoped he could get his wife fixed quickly.

About half an hour into our journey, I was beginning to think that a broken wife might have been a reasonable alternative to what was undoubtedly about to happen. Usually at ten in the morning, one has no difficulty seeing things like lights on the shore, mostly because there aren't any. Usually at ten in the morning the sky is not a dark green-grey and doesn't blanket the entire day's supply of sunlight.

Usually at ten in the morning, a boat that is capable of making twelve kilometres an hour across a flat river, is not blown backwards while attempting to exit a lock.

Storms and boats make unhappy bedfellows, and for a short but quite exciting time we were forced to navigate in the face of a water cannon, in a narrow waterway, by ensuring that we couldn't see the shore on either side, reasoning quite correctly as it happens if we couldn't see it, we were unlikely to hit it, although we remained hopeful that at the same time there was no monster barge heading in the opposite direction with the same philosophy.

Thankfully neither we nor the boat were broken when the storm abated, and as we were exactly at the end of our travel in any case, we each settled down to a long afternoon with a good book.


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