Monday, 24 August 2009

Back now from a week-long holiday on a narrow boat. It was a pretty good little break… chugging along the Grand Union at 4mph in ridiculous sunglasses and all that stuff. 100 locks, 100 miles… that’s what the man said. I got through three packets of fig rolls - which, I think, is a personal best over that particular timeframe, although it would be quite easy to smash the record should I ever choose to attempt it. I mean, you could probably do a solid 8 to 10 packets a day if you were deadly serious. With a sensible training regime, who knows how far you could go. But I wouldn‘t bother. The only real downside to the week was travelling through Birmingham. Visually it was very interesting - I love looking at those old factories that line the canals, and the way that they’re gradually crumbling away - but it just didn’t feel safe. You feel somehow threatened… what with the hordes of kids gathering on the bridges and hurling abuse (and saliva) at boaters. I think we got something more akin to abuse, but we later met a family who received the full-on saliva from a great height experience. Very nice. I think we saw a total of one other boat on that day, and it was going in the opposite direction.

I devised a new method of feeding ducks which I christened the Breadbomb. I’ll be utilising the Breadbomb from now on, whenever I have the opportunity to do so. It came about as there seem to be so few ducks doing the rounds - at least in comparison to the Norfolk broads - that you find you‘ve stockpiled a shit-load of bread in your hand. You were preparing for an onslaught of ducks but they never came. Eventually I became so frustrated by the lack of ducks that, when I finally found one, I would throw a handful of bread at it. Not to it… at it. I would launch this handful of bread at tremendous speed. Shock and awe. The poor little thing didn’t know what hit it. The breadbomb. Everyone’s a winner with a Breadbomb.

I suppose that’s all really. But here are a few small excerpts from my journal thingy, hot off the press:
  • “I can’t shake the nagging fear that they might be planning on dropping a breezeblock or a trolley. Having said that, there have been no breezeblocks thrown onto our boat. No shopping trolleys either.”
  • “It was the most depressing atmosphere I have ever eaten a bacon sandwich in.”
  • “I instantly recognised that it was a mistake and that, no matter what happened, I needed to get that tool back. The boy momentarily placed it on the ground and I felt a rush of euphoria as I realised that it was my moment to recover it. But I didn’t act on my urge quick enough and, before I knew it, the podgy little tyke had it back in his grasp. I’d blown it. And then I realised… the bicycle! If I stood by the bicycle I’d have some insurance - if the little git tried something clever I’d nick his bike. Whether or not I‘d actually have gone through with it, I don‘t know... Fortunately he too made a mistake, placing the tool on the ground for a second time. I knew there wouldn’t be a third, so I pounced on it. The tool was safely back in my hand. But he wasn’t prepared to give up on it… and so I found myself grappling with a child over a spanner.”
  • “The only pub nearby is a Harvester - which is disappointing in itself.”

It was a good holiday.

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