Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Magnus Magnusson Principle.....

06:45 HRS Saturday 10th November.

wb Pippin casts off from its moorings at The Parish and heads through the lock bound for Ely.


The Boat-man (Yawning, scratching, moderately hung-over......) 

The Engineer (Ditto.....)




Rain. Brighter later. Winds light to variable.


Much improved by lashings of tea and bacon butties consumed at the helm.

Thought for the Day:

"There is no such thing as 'bad weather'....... just 'inappropriate clothing".



And so it was that we made landfall at The Blessed Isle at nigh-on 09:00hrs.

Our mission?


1) Tow The Gentleman's boat to the water point to fill up his water tank.

2) Pump-out Pippin's waste-tank.

3) Get The Gentleman's boat's engine started.

Easy-peasy, eh, readers?

Actually, er, no.........

We had forgotten to factor The Gentleman's possession of Absolutely No Usable Social Skills into the equation.

Thus, when we tied up alongside his boat, having got up at Stupid O'clock to drive Pippin through the dawn and driving rain to be there early enough to accomplish all we had set out to do, (before losing the precious light of a winter's day), he told us in no uncertain terms to "let him finish his breakfast and come back later".


I must confess that at this precise moment, a yawning chasm opened at my feet.

A yawning chasm down which all motivation, morale, and, indeed, any sense of wishing to continue to help the ungrateful sod, was about to disappear once and for all, never to be seen again........


Now, there have been some Interesting Times in my life.......

Times when the only truly appropriate response has been to punch somebody........

Really hard.........


Burst into a rather worryingly prolonged peal of totally hysterical laughter, complete with tears of non-mirth running down my face.......

'Twas the latter course I chose.


And I thus avoided the blackening, not only of any eyes, but also, of my character.


James, The Buoy Wonder, arrived, (having been allowed a lie-in on account of the fact that he's still growing.........)

Having been appraised of the situation, he sportingly offered to go looking for my sense of humour. I assured him this wasn't necessary, as with The Three Musketeers assembled, it would most surely soon return of it's own volition.

We upped-pins and returned to The Gentleman's boat. Mark and James began spannering immediately while I put a little distance between me and any further sources of profound irritation by the simple expedient of 'popping to Tesco for a pint of milk'.

I got back at about mid-day.

The sensible course then seemed to be to head up to the redoubtable Alan Fish Bar to get the lads some lunch. Pie and chips, saveloy and chips, fish and chips......... (Memo: when visiting the Alan Fish Bar in Ely, do not buy a portion of chips per person. One between three would have been adequate, two, a feast. Three was simply unmanageable........)

By this time, The Gentleman had mumbled something, which, (for him), sounded like an apology, so with a renewed sense of well-being that only about a pound of fried spuds, a grudging 'sorry', and a huge piece of freshly cooked haddock can afford, I wandered up to the car shop in Ely to get some Blue Hylomar (leaking rocker-cover gasket) and a nyloc nut for one of the starter motor bolts.

On my return, the engine was spun over on the new starter motor.

Over..... and over...... and over.....

(Kate and Anna McGarrigle had nothing on this..........)

James sprayed Easy-start into the air intake. Mark turned the key. Starter motor whirred. Battery gave up the ghost.... Battery was swapped for the good one in Pippin. Knackered one managed to start Pippin's engine, so was re-charged.....

You get the picture......

So did we get the halt, lame and crippled mud-weight that is laughingly referred to as an engine to actually fire?

Er, no........

It coughed ........

Okay, it coughed like a consumptive nonagenarian having a possible rupture investigated by his GP......

but it did cough...........

And that was deemed progress enough for this day, as we were, by then, running out of enthusiasm, Bradex Easy-start, and daylight.......

Time to go home.

The three of us left Ely aboard Pippin at about 14:45hrs, making the mooring just as the last embers of sunset went out.

And the Magnus Magnusson Principle?

Well, We had been asking ourselves questions along the lines of 'why do we bother?', 'is it worth it?', 'why not let the hopeless old git sort it out for himself? etc etc etc.

But we put such thoughts aside.

The Magnus Magnusson Principle is crystal clear:

We've started, so we'll finish!



  1. Well done

    Personally I would have said a few words that even the Auntie Mary filter couldn't clense and told the "gentleman" EXACTLY where he could stick his engine INCLUDING the can of Easy Start

    Some people.


  2. 'Twas truly tempting, Chris!

    But what on earth had that poor, inoffensive can of Easy-Start done to deserve such a fate?


  3. My thoughts were that if you introduced the can of Easy Start, blunt end first into a location where the sun never shines, it may kick-start his appreciation and gratitude circuits because they're obviously not working at the moment


    1. Chris, you are clearly one of us! It's just this kind of laughter-making that has made helping the silly old buffoon not only bearable, but actually , a pleasure.

      As for 'appreciation' and 'gratitude', I think it's safe to say the snow-ploughs and gritting lorries will be out in Hell before our Gentleman shows any at all.....

      But that isn't really the point.

      He has been horribly swindled. He paid a banderlog between £1900 and £2500 (the amount varies from conversation to conversation...) for a supposedly reconditioned engine which is actually nothing of the sort.

      We have, the three of us, gone a long, long way out of our way to help him. We haven't done it for money, (he's none left!), or any other reason or reward, really, other than it's simply 'the right thing to do'.....

      I hope that doesn't sound smug or twee.....

      Because our Gentleman is a monumental pain in the arse at times.......