The Cruise of the Dondevoy

    


During the past week quite a number of boats have visited the Basin, mostly staying for the night and disappearing in the morning without making contact. Another team of Venture Scouts came in, on schedule this time, but there was not much time to talk, as they all got their best clothes on and wandered down to the town to have what they called a "rave up". They obviously did, because late at night they came back singing their heads off. Their boat was another converted working narrow boat, but with fewer "mod cons". In fact, instead of being the equivalent of a canal hotel, it was a waterborne tent - rather like mine, only much bigger of course. It still looked like an old working boat, with the board along the top, and the tarpaulins across. Unfortunately, there were no roses and castles on it, which spoiled the picture somewhat.

When the Aphrodite, a beautiful new fibreglass cruiser came in, I soon made friends with the owners, Martin and Helen. They kept their boat at Whilton Marina on the Grand Union, and they were on holiday. After dark on the night they arrived, a middle aged couple came in on their boat, and immediately asked me to move up a bit so that they could moor, even though there was plenty of room elsewhere. I was more than a little annoyed, especially as he gaily announce that he would move my boat back in the morning - no apology or politeness of any kind. When Helen and Martin got back from their evening out, they were annoyed as well, for the new arrival had moored with their bow rubbing against Aphrodite's propeller. Eventually they were persuaded to move, and promptly backed their boat straight into mine, and had to move again. Luckily they did no damage, but as they were leaving the next morning, they had a good try by bumping Phoenix, which had just been repainted. Thankfully, such people are untypical of the sort one meets on the canals.

The next night, Martin and Helen invited me to go for "a drink" with them. It turned out to be several drinks in more than one pub, but I was certainly not complaining. Afterwards they bought me some faggots, chips and peas, and we spent the rest of the evening talking on their boat. I discovered that I liked faggots; up until then I did not even know what they looked like - excellent.

Work sweeping the roads is hard, but could be a lot worse, and I need the money. Most of the time I have been doing what they call "litter picking", which includes emptying rubbish bins and sweeping up broken glass and anything else which should not be on the pavement. On Friday, I had been brought back to the depot early, and was detailed to shovel away a great pile of burnt out rubbish. It had been brought back smouldering in a lorry, and had burst into flames as soon as it was tipped into the open. I did not get paid this week, as I am working a week in hand, but I did get a "sub", of one pound per day, to tide me over until next pay-day.


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Copyright ©1972 Ben Newsam. The author of this diary may be contacted at ben.newsam@gmail.com