"Not anuvver one!" I cried.
I was sick of doing ‘is camera thingy stuff, risking me neck on that towpath. 'Is Lordship assured me that I wouldn’t have to ride ‘is crappy Plashley as he had arranged me to ride on a boat and look after the camera. “Is that more to your taste?” he said. “May bee”, I replied guardedly.
After a horrendous experience at a wedding bash in a tent in high winds the previous day, the noise of the loathsome disco still ringing in my ears, I stood on the pontoons
beneath the Lesta Castle in sunlight and birdsong. My neck was still recovering from a nasty chaffing it had received as it was unaccustomed to being strangled by a sodding tie…. Captain Ian welcomed me by handing me a tin of Brasso and a rag and pointed at the dull brasses that spotted the boat that had more aerials than at that there Davantry. I pointed out that I was there to do the ‘is Lordship’s bidding wiv the camera, holding up the Waitrose carrier that had the tripod sticking out. “Plenty of time for that as we are waiting for Dan Gereaux”.
I froze when I heard that name and terrible nightmares came flooding back of black storms, hard driving rain, waspies beyond counting, the screaming of tortured metal and hysterical echoing laughter that never stopped. So wiv me ‘eart in me mouth I applied me self to the task in front of me and buffed the red light thingy to a high sheen and tried to hold my breakfast of porridge down. Would he bring the dreaded woggle stick I fort, an’ was right in a bother at the thought of it black n’ freatening against the sun….
I knew that Dan Gereaux had arrived cos a big shadow crossed that sun, he was holding on a very new bike an’ he was remarking proudly to the Captain that he had ‘borrowed’ it from a friend of a friend, ‘oo he ‘ad never met.
I made me self small an’ I climbed aboard, keeping to the other end of the boat at the pointy bit and suddenly we were wobbling loosed upstream. Nervously I set the camera up on the cabin roof and snuggled down n’ made me self comfy in the cratch and promptly fell asleep in the gentle sun glancing off the ripples . Next thing I knew and I was deluged by a torrent of bleeding water and all I could see was dripping black slimy walls whirling around as it abated.
Then I realised I was in a locky and Dan Gereaux was up to his old tricks with the gate paddies. He grinned down evilly at me, unseeing, his large fingers performing the machine-like movements to spit out a skimpy rollup.
As we approached the Tea Rooms at King’s Lock – a place where even me is treated wiv respect. The Captain came forward and poked his head in the little tent that he had at the pointy end and said, “That’s it matety, you get off here”,
I protested, “Aren’t you taking me back?” I had removed my sodden woollen hose and was wringing the water back into the canal. The Captain laughed, “It’s a fair day so I’m’s making for the Last Chance Navigation ‘arbour, after the Wiggie afore the Kilby ’eadland, many leagues on and the King was particular that we dropped you here after we’ve had the chance to fill our bellies in them there tea gardens, yonder that stand of trees”.
And so they did, wasting no time in ordering platters of freshly-filled baguettes with lashings of HP and steaming mugs of tea and pointed me at the tap by the drain.
I had to borrow a quid off of Tony so I could catch the bus back to the castle and the last I saw of the Captain and that Dan Gateaux in a cloud of smoke, was them ‘eading off, sharing a joke n’ a laff – an’ probably at my expense!
May bee next time….
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