Monday, June 13, 2011

Thrupp lift bridge takes a thwack

I was just getting ready to take the dog out for an evening walk before meeting Petroc in the local pub when I heard the unfamiliar banging in of pins. This is an unfamiliar sound because there aren’t any moorings near us. It turned out that a hire boat had decided to moor up in the winding hole… unusual, but why not – there wasn’t any space anywhere else and it wasn’t my problem. Besides, were a 70ft boat to come to wind they would all have sorted it out together.

Just as I got off the boat I saw another hire boat embraced in plumes and billows of black smoke failing to stop at the lift bridge.  Fortunately the guys on the front ducked just in time or it could have been even more unpleasant for them. The boat did damage the bridge, but the bridge still works.



I knew something was up (despite the fact that some of them found it funny) and on closer inspection it turns out that not only was the engine misbehaving (they said it wasn’t right when they left the hire base) but there was very little power. No wonder they couldn’t stop. They breasted up to the other boat and headed off into the village and then on into Kidlington as out local shut at 10:30.

I was asked by one of them to be a witness to the events, but as I didn’t really want to give my phone number out I said no.  Had they asked me why I would have explained that I had already decided to phone the hire company. I did and told them what had happened, gave my number, and told them that it seemed to me the boat wasn’t actually able to stop.

There wasn’t much need for me to be a witness as there were millions of them.  They didn’t take it too well - one of them in particular was really rather unpleasant to me even in the middle of the night.  However one can’t expect an entire group of young men who have just ploughed into a lift bridge, have a broken window and a genereally had a rather unpleasant  first-time-on-a-boat experience to have impeccable manners!  Some of them were quite lovely – I know this because I had a conversation with them several times in the middle of the night as the party spirit had overwhelmed them but not the rest of us on our boats.

The company came to do engine repairs while the crew went off for breakfast.  The engine repair man left but they still weren’t happy, the bilge pump was going like mad and the water pump was on it’s way out (the two were, as far as I could gather unrelated..)  They looked rather down cast which was unsurprising really as their weekend really hadn’t gone that well so far.

When they came back yesterday they were in good spirits… not least because they had managed to get the hire company they hired from to swap their boat for an Oxfordshire Narrowboats boat. Much more swanky!!!!  I asked them how they managed that and the retort was ‘oh the other one was sinking’…. considering their bilge pump was going for it when they left Thrupp I would love to have heard the whole story… but they had the wind to tackle, a bridge to get under and a holiday to continue so I waved as they sailed off into the distance. I was very pleased to see them looking so much happier!


Blogger WeepingCross said...

Did the brakes not work?

7:21 PM  
Blogger Maffi said...

Brakes? wot brakes?

10:54 PM  
Blogger WeepingCross said...

Ah, no brakes on a narrowboat then ...?

8:14 AM  
Blogger Edward Afloat said...

Firstly Tanks re retrning the Braunston Junction canal book to the library andnext time you catchthe desperado's at it why not send in your high speed hound to shepar them of the the sheriffs and collect the bounty. Tanks that was it re ballasting the otherside. Often in the engine bay space can be find space (with the priority on engine fire safety consideration of course) for adjustably weighty water containers to correct your plimsole line(further weight from centre/luberline the greater the effect.)Regards from Isis lock Oxford and Ive posted a campaigning durge on Justcanals, any tips? Edward.

10:32 PM  

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