Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Boat-man: Return of the Caped Cruise-aider.......

Gotham City (aka Cambridge): 20:30 hrs Tuesday.......

A worried Commissioner Gordon looks up from the plot table.... Narrowboat 'Friendly Fox' has seized it's engine just outside Ely..... RCR have towed them to a nearby marina and safety, but The Fox is due for blacking at Brandon Creek the next afternoon, and the owners, Rob and Julie, are due on an 07:00 flight to Bilbao the following morning.........

"This is a job for The Boat-man. Put up the Boat signal!" says Gordon, thinking, only to himself, "I hope to God he's not in the pub..... Again...."

In a beer garden in a riverside hostelry on the outskirts of Gotham, all eyes turn skyward as the searchlight pierces the night.

There are gasps as The Boat Signal appears on the base of a cloud....

Mothers draw their children closer.

"Look darling, the Boat Signal! They need The Boat-man! I hope he's in time....!".

Meanwhile, a shabby, non-descript and rather paunchy middle-aged man swallows the last two inches of his Guinness with practiced grace, mops his mouth on a napkin, burps quietly, then fades into the night.

He knows his mission.......

For by day, he is mild-mannered Hole-Maker John Pippin.

By night, he is The Boat-man.

First, he must contact The Buoy Wonder. He picks up The Boat Phone and speed dials.

"Hello, James? Are you up to much tomorrow? We might have a little job to do....."

And so it was that yesterday, James and I set off to Ely to pick up Friendly Fox. Cathedral Marina were going to charge them £20 a day storage, so time was of the essence.

We cleared Bottisham lock near The Parish moorings at 16:15. It was a beautiful afternoon, so with 2000 rpm on the dial, and slowing only for moored boats, we arrived in Ely at about 18:00.

Having fixed The Fox to Pippin's stern with James's cross straps, we then changed clothes, (all that spandex really starts to chafe after a while.......) then opened the throttle to 'top o' the green' and got underway without delay.

Next stop, Brandon Creek!

A narrowboat with a very bloggered engine........

James, The Buoy Wonder, reaches into his Utility Belt for some bungee cords and lashes the Fox's tiller 'dead ahead'.....

Cross straps applied.....
and seem to work rather well.......

The Buoy Wonder, for it is he....... (No spandex though,....... not a pretty sight to be honest.....)

This is A Cat.

Sadly, Michelle Pfeiffer wasn't answering her Boat Phone.......

As night fell, there was a most beautiful sunset:

We arrived in the dusk at The Ship Inn at the mouth of Brandon creek, moored up pronto-quick-time -stylee and just made last orders for food. (NB. The Ship has just changed hands, and the welcome was convivial, the food good and reasonably priced, and the Guinness slipped down a treat......)

This morning, we delivered the Friendly Fox to the floating dry-dock, breakfasted on sausages and eggy bread, then turned The Mighty Pippin's prow toward home.

We are still en route.

Actually, I think I'd better publish this and take the helm.

The Buoy Wonder needs a wee......


  1. Brilliant! .....and to think I spent Tuesday sitting in an office in front of computer. Can I join your gang instead?

  2. Classic!

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream

  3. John you are such a 'card'..

  4. Great narration....thanks :)

  5. Brilliant! Loved it!
    Kath (nb Herbie)

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