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River madness
by Bruce Ure at 18:53 12/09/10 (Blogs::Bruce)
Today we went on the river. I'm not sure the river was ready for us.
We hired a 12-person narrowboat for Antonia's birthday. A mere 15 minutes in, we were in Shepperton lock and one of our party (not me!) committed a cardinal sin: he tied a rope in a lock.

As the lock emptied, the bow was suspended more and more and everything started sliding down to the stern (it was pretty much indistinguishable from that scene in Titanic actually). Anyway, I shouted frantically for a knife (why was this the ONLY time in the last 35 years I've not had a knife to hand?) but the lock-keeper just sauntered over with a look of contempt you could spit-roast a pig on, and opened the in-sluices, and after a while we were back up high enough that we could free the rope.

The irony was, I (who has a fair bit of river experience) was literally, at that very moment, explaining to Asha why you must NEVER TIE the rope in a lock ESPECIALLY when you're going DOWNSTREAM because your BOAT will be hung up like a fucking KIPPER. Except I didn't say 'fucking' on account of she's 10.

How we laughed, as everyone around the lock pointed and stared at us and made knowing glances to each other. "Hey, look at the landlubbers fucking up!"

As we finally left the lock I shouted to nobody in particular "Did you enjoy the show? We're coming back through again in a couple of hours" and there was much relief and merriment.

Days when something happens which could have been disastrous, or even tragic, are so memorable. Antonia certainly won't forget it in a hurry. Top stuff. Great day.

And now I'm going off to have a heart attack.


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