Sunday, 31 July 2011

Granny gets her fix

Narrowboat, foot, train and van. Those were our means of transport yesterday to bring us from Macclesfield to Bury St Edmunds so Vicky could get her fix of grannying before little Martha and her ma & pa go off on holidays.
We set off at 10 a.m., reached Stoke on Trent by 3pm where we left the boat in the Festival Park Marina (and a very helpful outfit they were too), walked to the station, got the train to Lichfield, walked to Streethay, picked up the Astravan and drove to Bury St Eds getting there 12 hours later at 10pm after a Macdonalds refuelling stop en route.
It was a busy and an incident filled day. First we found ourselves holding up a trio of little plastic cruisers so I pulled over and let them by, only to be caught up by another couple and a small narrowboat. Apparently we'd got tangled up in a cruising club outing to the Ashby Canal.
Well, the second lot had to stay behind us to the Harecastle Tunnel entrance where their narrowboat member decided he ought to try and overtake and bashed into the back of Star!
He was in a panic about missing the run through the tunnel - despite the fact that we were joining a line of boats all starting to filter through.
As we left the other end of the tunnel I, shall we say, explained the error of his ways to him - and to the club 'commodore' in the boat behind him!
We stopped for a sandwich and to let the cruising crews get well ahead and then carried on through Stoke to the marina. It being Saturday, a steady stream of newly hired craft were coming the other way, their steerers gradually mastering their new controls.
And then round a bend at some speed appeared one - completely on the wrong side of the water. There followed that couple of seconds when you think "I guess he'll just pull the tiller over and move across" followed by the dawning realisation "Oh no! He's not going to. And unless I do something he's going to T-bone us!"
I swung to the left and waved him furiously to pass on the 'wrong' side. Just as he decided to engage full reverse with plumes of water spraying everywhere. A couple of seconds of that and he's be all over the place. Fortunately he decided to obey my signal and go forwards instead.
As we passed he uttered an unforgettable question "What side are you supposed to pass on, mate?".
He'd actually come from the marina we were heading to and when we got there I saw another boat crew getting pretty comprehensive driving instructions. Clearly that particular boater had been asleep at the back of the class!

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