Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Friday 19th August - Kirkhove to Oudenarde

“Don't Panic” is a phrase on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 

This was apparently partly because the device "looked insanely complicated" to operate, and partly to keep intergalactic travellers from panicking. It is said that despite its many glaring (and occasionally fatal) inaccuracies, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopaedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words 'DON'T PANIC' in large, friendly letters on the cover."

It’s a pity that the Flemish Waterways people hadn’t taken a leaf out of that particular Guide, for today the intergalactic message-ways were awash with panic.   Dave and Ria called to calmly let us know there has been a notice issued to the effect that from next Monday, there will be restrictions on pleasure boats; lock movements will only be carried out in company with a commercial ship as a water saving measure, and in the absence of commercial ships, the wait might be interminable.   Not long after that rumours of disaster were swirling through the very air we were breathing.

The couple in the boat just ahead of us, who share our “home” port were not the only ones to have received a similar albeit slightly distorted message and were racing about loading their bicycles aboard and ready to depart post-haste, having first come to us to tell us that the second but last lock of our journey (at least three days from here) was closing on Monday and they were going to make a dash for it.    

I phoned the lock to confirm our recollection that since there was no water level difference at the moment it was permanently open and unlikely to change in the next week or so.

With that news, they decided like us, they’d take their chances on the Waterways Authority not changing its mind in the next week, unloaded their bikes, and went to lunch.

And so did we.


1 comment

Anonymous said...

Lot’s on the news in Oz about the drought effects on the waterways of Europe. Germany seems to be the most concerned. I’ve wondered if there were any “flow on effects” for you in other parts.

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