Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Dancing with elephants -
Champignuelles to Pont-a-Mousson

We lowered ourselves gently onto the Moselle quite early this morning for they among us who consider nine to be early, and shifted the throttle to “ramming speed”, flying downstream at times reaching almost nine kilometres per hour with not a care in the world but a steady eye out in case one appeared around the corner headed in our direction.   It’s easy to overstate the danger of travelling on a small river in company with large ships but they do give cause for the occasional flutter of the heart, appearing as they do, silently as if from nowhere and travelling at almost twice our speed. Likewise when they come across us waddling out of their way like an old duck would, we expect that they feel as we do when we come across a flotilla of kayaking schoolchildren.

Like jet fighters they are in their stealth if not their bulk. With engine rooms located as much as a hundred and forty metres behind their pointy ends, they can easily be gone before they are heard. Of course they are piloted by highly skilled individuals who no doubt live in fear of the sort of mountain of paperwork that would result from a collision with a small boat, and there is great heart to be taken in that and accidents at least while moving are extremely rare.    

Charles Dickens it was who summed up the situation nicely, although until I enquired I always thought it was a songwriter from The Who or The Animals sometime in the sixties:

'" 'Every man for himself', cried the elephant as he danced among the chickens."


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