Legends from our own lunchtimes

Friday, June 07, 2019

The smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd.
Tuesday 3rd June - Marquion to Peronne

It was seven before the gap in traffic was sufficient to fit in two small boats (behind a larger one none the less) and at first René and Elsbeth in the boat ahead were concerned that a loose ship in a lock can be a dangerous thing, and while they had a ladder they could tie to, in our position there was little in the way of bollards for us to use as the water level rose.  We assured them we would just throw a rope over the recessed bollards and René looked at us as if we were crazy.

Not everyone, which is code for “almost no-one” is adept at the throwing technique we use, so when we cast the first loop over the recessed bollard (degree of difficulty 6.5) somewhat to our bemusement they went nuts in a polite Dutch way.   The bollard above was on the quay, perhaps set back a metre and out of our view, but there’s a paint mark on the edge to indicate its presence.  When the next throw of the line secured that one, they thought there was some sort of evil sorcery at play.

In the next lock and indeed for the six after that, they watched our every move as we repeated the process, gradually breaking down into fits of near hysterical laughter, in the absence of any other emotion which help them deal with what they were watching.  Thankfully, most of our “misses” happened when they were distracted, so perhaps our performance looked better than it was.  None the less, René has promised to send a copy of his video recording (shaking with a constant background of laughter) convinced that we were raised in a circus.

We cannot be sure which of us was having the most fun watching the other, but it did give rise to a very pleasant evening together after what might otherwise have been a very long day.



Al Runnells said...

So Peter, how do you know about the stiffer ropes cowboys use? I feel a story coming on.

bitingmidge said...

Al, it may have been picked up on one of those long nights around the campfire on the trail, chomping on coffee and beans and dreaming of whisky, or it might have been some Canadian vet while having a barbecue at Revigny-sur-Ornain. You choose! 🤣🤣

Vallypee said...

Aha, yes, I remember you demonstrating your throwing skills ;)
I never managed it even after practicing when you'd gone, and I still can't if the bollard is too high. I just use a boat hook. Works for me!

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