Monday, 3 October 2011

In reverse

Gang of boys on their way to school, drinking cans of fizzy sugar and talking loudly. I said "Morning, lads" as I wound my windlass. Suddenly, they were all polite and respectful with "Good morning!" chorused in return. I wonder if they would be as proud of what they accomplished that day as I already was. We'd followed advice about where to moor overnight, and only on checking the guide later did we realise it would take us four hours to get to the next winding hole and back – we have to be in Great Haywood by Tuesday evening. So a plan was hatched – start early, reverse into the lock behind us and go down it backwards, reverse through a curved couple of hundred yards of cut, reverse through the bridge and between the moored boats to Penkridge winding hole, execute an exact x-point manoeuvre to end up facing the right way. Boats are not renowned for being steerable in reverse, but it was all accomplished perfectly, without so much as a single contact with the bridge or another boat. We were well chuffed! Thought we'd earned our breakfast.

That was when we found we'd committed one of the cardinal sins of boating, and run out of water. Pride dashed in an instant! No way were we reversing to the water point – where's the next one? Several hours. Not sure whether humility was banished or increased when we eventually found the reason for the lack of water – one of us had accidentally flicked the water pump switch when coming down the steps into the boat. Doh! Normal cuppa service resumed.

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