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  Thu 23rd August 2012

A quiet week in the newsrooms of rural Lancashire

Trina and I took advantage of one of yesterday's few periods without rain to rig up, somewhat ineptly, a tarpaulin, over the rear end--there's probably a correct nautical term--of her narrowboat. The rain is seeping into the engine enclosure below, and the pump which should detect it and pump it out doesn't work.

The one advantage of the task is that one gets justifiably to use the term "bilge pump". The word "bilge" sounds ridiculous, but to succumb to the tittering amusement afforded by repeatedly saying it with an exaggerrated plosive consonant can sometimes, on a narrowboat, end in farce.

Trina told me to move out of the way and hop onto the bank, so that she could do something involving eyes and knots. The boat sometimes drifts a bit from the canalside, as the fastening ropes continually loosen. Forgetting this fact, I stepped back and fell into the canal. I did a panicked doggie paddle for a few moments before realising that my feet had found the bottom of the canal, and that the water was only about three feet deep.

Peeling my trousers off, struggling against their evident desire to remain wetly clamped to my legs, I discovered that my manoeuvres had caused a rip in the left buttock region. Trina found a safety pin and effected a temporary repair. This required a careful gait on my walk home to avoid a public and a private distress: underpant exposure and/or a stabbed buttock.


Comment from: young at heart [Visitor]

yep…that made me laugh!!

Thu 23rd August 2012 @ 12:13
Comment from: [Member]

Well, it’s a rite of passage. You haven’t been on a canal until you’ve been in one.

Thu 23rd August 2012 @ 12:29
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

Stern. That is the word for the back of the boat not me being disapproving…

Thu 23rd August 2012 @ 13:00
Comment from: [Member]

Of course! That’s the word. Don’t think I’ll be cutting an impressive jib in the yacht club quite yet.

Thu 23rd August 2012 @ 13:14
Comment from: Kolley Kibber [Visitor]

It’ll be deck shoes all the way before you know it.

Thu 23rd August 2012 @ 18:20

Go on, admit it. You deliberately fell into the canal so that Trina would have to pull your trousers off.

I’ve never had a bilge pump, but I think I’ve got something better.

I’ve got a sump pump, and it works. The alliteration is somehow mildly amusing.

Thu 23rd August 2012 @ 18:42
Comment from: [Member]

KK: There’s a C/c -onservatism about canal boating types that I don’t want any part of. “We’ve made it cos we own a boat.” You can see it beaming from them. Clothes from Ethel Austin, politics from Margaret Thatcher.

TSB: Assonance that is, not alliteration. But what’s a sump and why does it need pumping?

Thu 23rd August 2012 @ 21:31

You’re quite right looby, how could I have made such a basic mistake?


Ah, well, such is the fate of someone who learns how things actually work (You know, the hard stuff, maths, engineering, programming etc.)

Hwever, a sump is a depression in an area liable to flooding, like a floor of a basement, or Cheryl Cole’s juicy bits.

When it detects moisture, it starts to pump. Just like Cheryl Cole really.

Fri 24th August 2012 @ 09:56
Comment from: [Member]

You’d be a lot more practical use on a narrowboat than I am. Literary terms are of limited use when your engine conks out.

From what you’re saying, it sounds like it’s in fact a sump pump, and I could have been talking bilge. However, I can say I wouldn’t touch Cheryl Cole with a barge pole.

Fri 24th August 2012 @ 10:11
Comment from: [Member]

‘bilge’ is a word i don’t like. right up there with ‘moist’. glad you could have fun with it, though.

and how did you manage to do a doggie paddle in 3′ of water? THAT’S talent!

Fri 24th August 2012 @ 13:06
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

It’s a bit of a slow week in Suffolk too.

Fri 24th August 2012 @ 13:10
Comment from: [Member]

Homer: What a relief–the cat is not interested in it.

DF: a) by being at a bit of tipped back angle, and b) momentarily thinking that one of the shallowest canals in the United Kingdom was in fact a branch of the Mariana Trench.

Fri 24th August 2012 @ 13:14

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