I took my daughter, Lucy, and her fiancee, Brad, out last week for a liesurely cruise up the canal to a spot called 'Botany Bay' where there is a converted mill housing lots of craft shops and that kind of tosh. Anyway, I'm pootling along at the recommended 4mph, and I notice a barge following me and reducing the gap at an alarming rate. (He must have been doing all of 6mph!!....Hooligan!!)
I decides, because I would be turning around shortly, and this is a tricky operation..almost impossible for a novice like me, to pull over, moor up for a while and let him hurtle past like a cross channel hovercraft.
I do aforementioned moor up, and guess what? The dickhead slows down ready to tie up behind me. He's going to the pub on the nearby bridge with his dog-rough wife and his tribe of mucky little urchins. Each sporting an ASBO like a badge of honour. ( An ASBO, for our colonial friends is an Antisocial Behaviour Order.)
I'm a bit miffed at having to stand on a muddy towpath for 5 minutes, keeping my boat from drifting off to Yorkshire by hanging onto the centre line. I leaps onto the stern, grabs the tiller and whacks the throttle all the way forward.
Oh, how we laughed as 1500cc of BMC diesel engine screamed into life and we lurched forward leaving an enormous wave of boiling water and silt in our wake.
I didn't mean him any harm, honest, but as I glanced back, I saw that the wash from my boat had gone between his boat on the bank, pushing his craft away from the towpath and leaving him floundering in the mud, and his children screaming on 20 tons of steel narrowboat that threatened to break free, skipperless.
I mumbled a cursory, "Sorry." into the deafening roar of engine and oaths, and sheepishly disappeared around the next bend.
His boat was still there as we came back, and I continued home and tied up at my mooring, which is right on the edge of the marina.
A couple of hours later he came back past the marina. I kept my head down on the pretext of fiddling with something on the foredeck.
As he chugged past he shouted something about an 'anchor'. At least that's what it sounded like, but........narrowboats don't have anchors.