Friday 5 September 2014


Today I discovered a third use for the extendable, aluminium-bodied, plastic-headed boat hook.

When we bought Erin Mae, I put out some feelers about what equipment would be useful. Most people scoffed at the idea of a boat hook. (1) They are capable of doing a lot of damage (I think they had the very sharp metal type in mind). (2) Whatever would you use them for on the canals?

Well, the first thing I used mine for was retrieving, in our marina, a sunk fender still fortuitously attached to one of those white poly-something handrail hooks, which was floating and giving away the location. The second thing I used it for, thanks to a hint from (I think) Sue on NB No Problem, was to hoist the bow line to the top of the wall of a lock we were coming up for my best beloved to secure. And the third thing I have used it for was this:

Under the first bridge we met after leaving the Ellesmere Port museum this morning was a large wodge of weed – characteristic, we found, of this section of the Shroppie. I nosed up to it and let Erin Mae's momentum carry it out of the bridge – I had no intention of letting it anywhere near the prop. A little reversing then got me clear and on to the next bridge. But here was another blockage, not so much an island of weed as a solid isthmus between the walls of the bridge. Discretion was called for, so we tied up and with the boat-hook I dragged the blockage clear.

That aluminium plastic thingy has proved valuable. I wonder what the next use will turn out to be.


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