Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cruise Twelve/Thirteen - Broken Briton

OK, let’s get it over with - I fell in the canal. It was raining, I was standing on one boat pulling the other towards me with a rope, and I slipped. As a consequence, I now have two sprained wrists (one from the rope snapping my wrist back at the time, the other from jumping down awkwardly trying to protect the first sprained one a couple of days after) which makes typing a bit difficult… Spending a morning in hospital wasn’t the most fun either, but on the plus side I was given x-ray images of my left hand. Y’know, for when I get bored. I felt a bit dejected about it at first - you don’t realise how much your wrists are needed for everyday things, let alone boat things, so it feels ridiculous saying “sorry, I can’t do that” about something very simple - but I read a quote the other day (forgive me Ed Byrne, I can’t remember who said it): “If you don’t want to be criticised, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” and I figured the same applied to getting hurt. I’ve never properly injured anything at all before, but this is the most physical job I’ve had, and it carries a certain amount of risk, so to hell with it - I’d rather do this and sprain my wrist than sit doing nothing all day and have no troubles.

We’re currently near Liverpool, having gone down the Anderton Boat Lift to Northwich and back up again. Another glimmer of excitement (considering the tiny canal world in which we operate) was passing the house of a boat-loving children's TV presenter we met in a pub a couple of weeks ago - he was headed the same way so told us to look out for his home. And no, I'm not telling you the name of his boat. Or house. But it was very pretty! We’ve reviewed practices, now that we’ve passed the halfway stage - halfway through the season! - and the past week has seemed very much more organised, which is nice. It also means I’m only a couple of weeks away from going up to Edinburgh for a week, which I’m very excited about. Up there I’ll be going to some shows at the Fringe, including one of my favourite comedians who hardly ever visits the UK, and also taking some friends out for a boat ride on the canal towards the Falkirk Wheel.

I’ve also been trying to plan a few things for the future. I would love to run a hotel boat of my own at some point - obviously Corinne and Neil make it look easy after years of experience, but I think with the right partners in crime I could do something like this successfully, maybe on the Glasgow/Edinburgh canals where there are currently no hotel boats. However I now have a working holiday visa for Australia so that’s my immediate plan, and who knows by what I’ll be distracted out there…

Next up this season, we’re meandering back down towards London, where we’ll arrive by September. En route, Corinne’s sister will be replacing me while I’m in Edinburgh, Sara’s parents (who speak no English) will be visiting, and we’ll be travelling through various places with double-barrelled names about which I previously had no clue. Market Harborough, anyone? Leighton Buzzard? They all sound like 80s soap stars to me.

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