Practice makes ………

October, 2016

Practice makes ………

Now that bookings are getting a little less frenetic, Uncle Rick (aka ‘Our Glorious Leader’) has told us that we must ‘practice, practice practice’. This isn’t how it really happens, but it make a good story,so I’m not going to change it.

Along with Linda (a relative newbie), Dave and Andrew (a couple of skippers), I embarked for a day’s experience sharing on a sunny day near the end of October. Linda had not done much boat handling before – we soon changed that! And as soon as we saw Fred coming down in a wheelchair, we knew what to expect. He doesn’t say much, but does have a habit of getting wet several times every trip he’s on. We also decided that we ought to try to clear some of the overhanging vegetation whilst we were out.

A couple of hours later, we’d got to Apsley and part way back, clearing overhanging vegetation from the approach to the white bridge from both directions. To give her extra boat handling practice, Linda did all of the steering, and the men worked the locks – a reverse of the usual pattern seen on the canal, when the men claim that their accompanying females would rather do the heavy work than steer the boat. As there was a boat filling with water in the lock before turning to return down, we decided it was lunchtime, so Linda reversed around 100m to the nearest mooring point. Dave \had prepared a marvellous repast, so we ate well before setting off again.

Fred went for his first swim in the lock by the Red Lion, then again shortly after we winded in ‘the wide’. Linda managed the 180 0 turn in one move without reverse – Dave and Andrew had never attempted this themselves before, or seen anyone else do it. Linda was chuffed with the move, and all others were impressed. More tree trimming by the Railway Bridge made the time race by, and we returned to base well satisfied with our day on the water. Linda felt much happier about boat handling, we’d learned quite a bit about rescuing people from the water, and got rid of some awkward vegetation – boatmasters will have to find another excuse for hitting the White Bridge, and the approach to the Railway Bridge from the South is now much less obstructed. All had a great time, and felt that they had learned from the day.

Thanks to Linda, Dave and Andrew for a great day on the water, and especially to Dave

Dave for lunch; in Linda’s words, ‘the spag bol was to die for!’

John Bennett