Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Where's Wally?

We are now home having just spent the most enjoyable three weeks cruising canals since we have owned our own narrowboat, with good company and fine weather. However, while out and about for that time, and in different locations, we encountered some very strange habits from equally strange individuals. This regular daily encounter, prompted us to run a 'Where's Wally' competition for the most deserving candidate of the day. These, usually from the canal boating community, but not necessarily hire boaters, share boaters or owners, they could belong to any genre, were awarded the daily prize for the most lack of common sense through to straight forward irresponsible behaviour and stupidity. Where shall I start?

Could it be the ones who, having left things a little late in the evening to find a suitable mooring for their overnight stay, find all the moorings next to the pub taken, so choose to park up on the lock bollards or the water point, cocking things up for those, like us, who like to be off again before 10.00am the next day?

How about the large hire boat crewed by half a dozen young men, who joined the lock queue, disembarked, and then made their way to the lock being operated, (for others in the queue) by two women, (our two women), and happily stand there watching. Or the boat owner, whose own female crew happen to be indoors watching their favourite episode of Deal or No Hunt the Bargain Antique, who just stands by his tiller in the queue while everybody else does the work for them?

Could it be the hire boat crew, who sat on the water point at the bottom of Kings Lock, hose in tank, drinking tea and eating lunch, watching lock operations at Wardle, the first of The Middlewich Branch. When our turn to lock up came, Margaret set the lock for me, while all I could do was watch in amazement as the hire boat crew rapidly packed up, untied and entered OUR lock! Leaving me stood there jaw dropped with the centre rope up my a**e and Margaret left wondering what the hell just happened!

Or the elderly owner who had followed us through Harecastle Tunnel, and then down to Harding's Wood Junction, where the next two locks in the pair were both occupied, and there was one other narrowboat taking up the single lock mooring with very restricted space, awaiting passage. This caused Tom and I to have to 'hover' awaiting our turn for the lock for the onward journey on the Trent and Mersey Canal. Unfortunately, this meant we were also (temporarily) obstructing the entrance to the Macclesfield Canal, which is just prior to the lock. There was nothing that could be done, (other than go for a short trip up the Macc), as there was just nowhere to go. Anyway, this polite old gent shouted across to me, "YOU GOING TO MACCLESFIELD"? To which I quietly replied " no". His response was "WELL GET OUT OF THE BLOODY WAY THEN"! Having manoeuvred, (unnecessarily in my view), into a vacant private mooring on the opposite bank, he then shouted to Tom to clear the way, "THERE ARE TWO LOCKS YOU KNOW". To which Tom quite correctly replied, "yes I am aware of that, but they are both occupied". Off he went on his merry way, at full speed - buffoon!

Maybe the owner who hovered at a bridge hole to let Waiouru through - so far so good, but then raced off behind him through the bridge hole, causing me, who was in convoy with Waiouru to have to slam things in reverse to avoid a head on, having been informed of another boat, which he could see, and in any case, was already stopped in the water to let Waiouru through. Then there is the hire boat crew who having been told, (twice), by Tom after he safely exited a blind bridge hole, that there was another boat close behind, (us), chose to throttle up and go for it, causing us to meet in the bridge hole, and me to have to take evasive action to avoid an unfortunate meeting.

Well, for me, today's Wally is the owner of a small 30 footish narrowboat who we had the misfortune to meet coming in the opposite direction close to Swanley Marina. A bush / tree had fallen into the cut, causing an obstruction on a bend, both visually and to the room available. To make matters worse, a hire boat, obviously crewed by Wally's brother, had chosen to stop for lunch just prior to this restricted section of canal on the bend. I slowed right down to tick-over on the approach, having no view, and sure enough, just as we were about to round the bush, there was Wally, full throttle towards us, complete with bow wave, having obviously just lost his water skier in the last bridge hole. There were two walkers on the tow path, who had seen me waiting at a stand still in the water, but by now blocking through passage due to the moored hire boat combined with the fallen bush. They started to wave and shout frantically at Wally, but to no avail. He shot past us at break neck speed, as I did a 'flip' around the bush using bursts of throttle combined with full rudder, one way then the other. He missed us, but not so fortunate I think for the hire boat, after first bouncing off the armco banking. Bloody idiot.

If you, dear reader, believe you may have been responsible for some sort of Wally activity in your past, as I fully admit to, possibly in my case, due to inexperience, then please take the time to read this link:

If, however, you prefer to continue to be that Wally, then this may be more up your street:

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