Monday, 2 June 2008

If you go down in the woods today .....

The days of boy scouting and girl guides may be over for most of our crew (with the exception of Splash perhaps, who maintains his healthy interest in the young ladies). However this fact has not dimmed the enthusiasm of the cruisers, as was most ably demonstrated by a strong dose of ‘Ging Gang Goolie’ at The Arm this summer.

It was during the preparations for this event, that Spanner revealed his Gandalf-esque fire lighting ability, and overall knowledge of the ancient art of ‘Magik’.
After several hours of foraging, his helpful followers had assembled a mass of firewood and other combustible material which he has skilfully erected into a small pyre especially for the occasion. One small point had been overlooked – the wet wood.
However Spanner was clearly undeterred by this small fact, and with one touch of his elegant magic pole, he produced a satisfying ‘Whoomp’ as the collection of damp twigs and other limbs from long dead trees, erupted in a ball of flame some 15 ft high, engulfing him and everything else for 20 yards around. Yet such is the resilience of this modern day lore master, that he emerged unscathed (save for the odd singed eyebrow)

Splash was particularly impressed by this feat, and managed to record it on his mobile phone.
Everyone else was astounded by Spanner’s technique and crowded around him to celebrate his success and try to understand how he had achieved it. Yet, ever true to his craft, Spanner would not divulge any part of his secret ability and left everyone wandering about the source of his great power. Only the subtle smell of petrol gave any clue to where his power lay.

With the igniting of the fire, all attention soon turned to the job in hand – an evening of feasting, dancing and merriment, the like of which Capenwray had not seen for many a season.

As the group packed themselves around the camp fire, and sheltered under the small gazebo erected nearby to protect them from the rain, the traditional telling of scary stories began. Pole Dancer immediately drove fear and a chill into every clean loving female around that fire, when she graphically outlined the risks associated with using a rough wooden dancing pole. It was only when the group considered where the splinters would go that the true horrors of that technique were realised. And so everyone finally appreciated why she prefers lubricated metal equipment to practice her art upon.

Whilst Gadget and Ricky roasted several types of local fayre sourced from the nearby hamlet of Carnforth, over their gas BBQs, everyone was impressed to see that the Dormouse had come out of hibernation. In the flickering light of the fire, she enthusiastically re-enacted a scene from The Wicker Man (no ! not THAT scene …. She did remain fully clothed throughout !). Like a modern day Hiawatha, she demonstrated her immense ‘pyromaniac-esque’ skills to ensure that Spanner’s flame remained alight and burning despite the strengthening drizzle. Her ‘Joan Of Arc’ impression and her ability to shin up Spanner’s back, kept her audience enthralled and mesmerised. This amazing feat was only bettered by her dancing ability and pelvic thrusting to Abba’s ‘Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie a man after midnight ….’

By now the average reader will have a clear picture of these festivities: the warmth and subtle lighting of the bonfire, the smell of singed burgers on the BBQ and the thumping music provided by one of Gadget’s rechargeable appendiges. However it would be wrong to ignore the contribution that Chardonnay played to the proceedings.
Her outstanding rendition of ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’, ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘The Wild Rover’ (all sung into an empty wine bottle) only served to warm everyone p for the star turn – a duet of Meatloaf hits with Gadget. Never have ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’ and ‘Dead Ringer For Love’ been sung with such gusto. Everyone was impressed (apart from Splash who put a bag over his head and sat in the corner rocking and mumbling “She promised never to do that again …. How can I live with the shame ?”). With all of these outstanding vocal and dancing talents, it is easy to understand why Simon Cowell went on holiday when she threatened to audition for ‘Britains Got Talent’.

All of this excitement made for a rip roaring evening, and one that ensured no one went to bed on the same day that they got up. The only casualties in all of this were several families of duck which didn’t get a good night’s sleep and looked that they had been on a ‘squalk’ all night

Tales of Derring Do ....

As our flotilla of little boats headed North on our cruise to Tewtifield, tales of ‘Derring Do’ started to emerge from amongst the boaters.

Take for instance the interesting tale of Saint Ricky, patron saint of toilets, and his uncanny ability to release maidens in distress from the smallest room on their boats. A modern day Knight of the Round Table perhaps ? Or maybe the reality of this story is a little more disturbing. One has to question why ‘Saint Ricky’ chooses to haunt the ‘Port-a-potti’ closets of his neighbour’s boats. Does this behaviour have something to do with his enjoyment of seeing the fairer sex partially clad, or perhaps he just wants to catch them with their trousers down. Who can tell ?

We hear tell of the exploits of Leonardo D’Eeyore – a pioneer of unmanned flight across the rolling fields of West Lancashire. Wrapped in green and white striped polythene, Eeyore and his incredible flying gazebo have been seen soaring over the fields and hedgerows. Some say that this was a vane attempt to prevent his boudoir from taking to the skies, others say he can truly fly with eagles. The fact of the matter is that for the want of a few tent pegs and a ball of string Eeyore had decided to defy gravity and show the nearby parachute club what could be achieved with a tarpaulin and a following breeze in the right places.

And finally in this brief sojourn into the lives of heroes, we turn our attention to the underwater exploits of that intrepid adventurer Jacques ‘Spanner’ Cousteau. It was whilst moored at the Whisky Tree that Spanner took to the water. In an effort to avoid soiling his pants for a second time, he was seen to skilfully employ a pair of part worn incontinence pants to spare his blushes. Taking to the water with the gracefulness of a brick the assembled crowd were delighted to observe the effectiveness of this technique, especially as the additional buoyancy provided by his bodily gaseous emissions caused his pants to inflate, thus causing him to float gracefully back up from the depths, and be recovered by his colleagues. The dusky maidens waiting alongside him rewarded this ingenuity with copious amounts of warm soapy water, lathered all over his lean and taught physique …. (must stop this now – I’m getting a touch excited by this !!)

Wind and the willows

Have you ever had a smart idea ? I mean a really smart idea ? One which guarantees to ensure that everyone has an interesting and exciting time ? Well this is the story of one of those ideas. Gadget, Spanner, Ricky, Death, Eeyore and their spouses, decided that the time was right for a cruise to Tewitfield at the Northern end of the canal. These hardy souls were adamant that their trip would go ahead. Death had even bought a load of wine, and so there wasn’t a choice to be had really. No matter what the weather offered, this trip was sacrosanct.

And so it was, on the Saturday before the last bank holiday in May, these sea (sorry canal) farers met at the marina to cast off. Noting a stiff breeze from the East, fervent checks were made of the local weather forecast. It didn’t look good. This was not going to be a passing squall. Even the seasoned sages from the marina were uncomfortable with the conditions and declined to come along. Even so, the boaters declared it ‘safe to sail’ and the flotilla set off.

Over the next 3 days or so, the boaters were battered by winds from the east. (It was reassuring to note that this didn’t have anything to do with Gagdet’s cooking !). Strong gusty wind after strong gusty wind meant that the collection of boats was able to average 2 knots forward (and ½ knot to the west). Ricky claimed to have seen a mini tornado (or two) over his boat on one occasion, however his compatriots put this down to a combination of prescription drugs, alcohol and paint thinners, and so didn’t treat his observations with the respect that they deserved.

As the trip continued, the wind strengthened, on one occasion pinning Gadget and Co to the canal tow path. On trying to leave the Whisky Tree, no amount of effort could prevent him from being driven backwards for 4 boat lengths, before he was able to regain control and set off in (broadly) the right direction.

The biggest hurdle of the trip was 1 mile south of Galgate, when the boats were confronted by a mighty tree. Now tradition has it that these giants of horticulture are supposed to grow upwards, standing tall and reaching their branches to the sky. Yet it seems that Mother Nature had not told this leviathan of the canal bank, that this was what was expected in these parts. As a result it had taken upon itself to lie prostrate across the watercourse, preventing any boat from passing. After much head scratching and thinking through the options, the Dormouse took charge (which amazed everyone, as it was ½ after the time appointed for her afternoon nap).

Approaching this hunk of wood, she determined to assess the size of chopper that would be required to satisfy her needs. Alas, none of the assembled throng could oblige. This was a bit of a disappointment for us all, but was a devastating blow to Ricky and his ego.

Just as spirits were dropping (and the man from the Waterways had given a gloomy forecast of a 3 day lay up), a man from the LCBC stepped forward with a chain saw and promptly chopped the offending log into firewood. To the sounds of a great ‘Hurrah’, our flotilla abandoned the BBQ party, dismantled the fortified windbreaks and put the corks back into the wine bottles. With a mighty shove in all the right places, the crews sailed forth into the welcoming arms of Galgate and a sniff of the barmaid’s apron at The Plough.

It was just a shame that Windy wasn't around to share in all the fun !

Enter the Whisky Tree

Picture the scene ......

A balmy autumn evening, sitting alongside the canal at one of your favourite beauty spots after a particularly satisfying bbq. The sun is setting slowly in the west and the birds are begining their twilight chorus. A small campfire crackles in the remains of the disposable bbq you have just eaten off, and you are being plagued by hoards of small biting insects (ignore that bit for now).

Winnie has just provided you with enough laughter to last a month, as she misses her footing over the campfire, and stumbles backwards from one foot to the other, before disappearing arse first through a hole in the nearby hedge and into a bed of nettles (where she remained for several minutes until anyone had the strength to pick her up). Only the cows seemd concerned at her sudden presence amongst their evening feast of grass.

In the mellow moment that follows, a small voice pipes up with "I could just do with a whisky to finish the day off" .... but where to get one ?

The Ricky responds admirable with "I've got a wee dram or two if you hold on a minute"... and with that he disappears into his boat and produces a gallon of Bell's from his bilges - complete with an optic !

At this point, if Ricky ever asks whether he can use your port-a-potti for a wee, I would advise that you decline. One can only guess at the capacity of his bladder if he thinks that 8 pints is a wee !!! Anyway, back to the story .......

Once produced, this magnificant bottle was strapped to a nearby tree for all to enjoy. Boaters, walkers, cows and dogs alike, were invited to partake of the water of life. Many refused, but even more accepted, and it wasn't long before ..... everyone forgot what happened next !

It is true that there were a number of big headaches the following morning, and some delicate tip-toeing around until lunchtime. Even the satisfying hum of Death's generator was greeted by curses and howls of derision until he turned it off !

No matter though. With that one selfless act by dear old Ricky, the 'Whisky Tree' was born. It now bears a little brass plaque announcing this fact, and serves as a focal point for future cruising and bbqing.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Back with avengance

After a spot of writer's block, Gadget has decided that the time is right to re-energise the blog and review what has been happening this season so far....

The party season started early this year. It's probably fair to say that it really never ended at the end of 2007. At the end of February a goodly number of the crew gathered together to welcome Black Purl into her 4th decade of life on the planet, and make sure that she had a good look at what life is like on the far side of the hill ! This was a fantastic event at which much merriment was made and friendships renewed.

Parties of this nature are always welcome, and are a source of gossip, entertainment and amusement. However the news of the night had to be the rumour that Windy and Chardonnay were now an item. Quite a suprise really, if not to the happy couple themselves, then certainly to Gadget and Splash who thought they had first digs on Chardonnay's affections.

Rest easy, dear reader, because this was the product of a misunderstanding (probably caused by one or two glasses of the hard stuff too). But in the tradition of all things dear within this crew, these celebrations heralded the start of another fun packed year.

The early Easter turned out to be a bit of a disappointment boating wise. Winds and low temperatures meant that the planned excursions to the south of the system didn't happen. However it is worth commenting on Rick's boat handling skills during a squall at Ratcliffe Wharf. Whilst admiring the renovation work on an approaching cruiser, Ricky took his eye off the ball for several seconds, and that was all that it took. In a move remeniscent of Torville and Dean, his boat pirouetted as though he was sailing on ice, ricocheting off a nearby jetty. In the process one of his fenders was torn assunder, and a little voice came over the intercom "Listen guys.... I'm going to be a few moments .... erm... I've had a bit of a collision and I need to go back and pick up part of my boat ...." (For those insurance reps reading this, Ricky sails a 26ft Seamaster with a red soft top and mahogany timbers on its side !).

The next major event for the crew was the BBQ party held at the Pole Dancer's estate. Again the weather played an important part in the day, but not to be daunted, Spanner showed off a massive erection which pleased the crowds and impressed his neighbours. Large enough to service the needs of several of the attending ladies, this splendid marquee ensured that everyone was kept dry and warm during the celebrations that followed. Even Gadget was well provided for as he was presented with a splendid cake by Mrs Death (AKA 'She who has yet to be named') to celebrate his 37th birthday.

(note from Chardonnay - "In his dreams - his waist is bigger than that, I should know, I have to iron his shirts over a wok ! Unless he has found a gadget to turn back time, Gadget is now in his 45th year).

In the hours that followed, the crew imbibed themselves on the Pole Dancer's wares, Winnie in particular had a smashing time, before she and the Dormouse retired for a mid-session snooze, rejoining the party in time to watch Gadget blow out his candles.

And that's how things stood as the year started. Plans were laid for an end-of-May cruise and Eeyore strted mugging everyone for the end of season do. Back to normality really.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Boating without water

What do boaters do to entertain themselves when the season is closed ?

After the extravagances of Christmas and the hibernation of January, the crew decided that an outing was overdue (if only to give Gadget something to write about on the blog !). And so the plans were laid - Gadget, Hyacinth (who now wants to be called Chardonnay for some wholly understandable reason), Mr and Mrs Shagpile, Winnie & Eeyore arranged to meet Spanner, the Pole Dancer and the Deaths for some shenanigans in Blackpool. A fine meal followed by a visit to a show (presented by some ex-blokes in frocks) seemed to be the order of the day.

Now Shagpile was a little concerned about this especially as the camera was coming along, but the formerly named Hyacinth was delighted. After seeing Priscilla Queen of the Desert she was keen to see the show. So keen was she, that out came all of her best perfume. Shame that a dab of concentrated Eu-De-Parfume behind the left ear, turned out to be a delicate shade of Strawberry Sunrise, as she gleefully speared lipstick on her neck by mistake.

Despite Chardonnay (new name - please note) being under the weather for part of the time, the night out was excellent. The crew were shown to their booth by a bloke with a beard, whilst a bloke in a basque served drinks from from the other side of the theatre. It was at about this time that tiny beads of sweat starting to appear on Shagpile's brow and top lip. Nevertheless he put on a brave smile, and after downing several large glasses of wine got up to dance to Abba's Dancing Queen and 'Build Me Up Buttercup'. This didn't go amiss with the eagle eyed DJ who praised him for 'coming out' and drew the attention of the 300 or so other show goers to his antics in the corner (where he was standing gently swaying with his back to a wall).

By the end of the night everyone was dancing .... or should I say stumbling in time with the beat. Winnie took it into her head to try some break dancing in the aisle. This was impressive enough but didn't need her to send the whole table of drinks over Gadget just to get her noticed !!

As the evening drew to a close, Shagpile got his wish - a cuddle from one of the more glamorous hosts in suspenders. I'm certain that the stubble rash will wear off him soon. All that remains is for a meaningful auction of the photographic evidence. Gadget has promised not to post the photo on the blog (and won't break that promise), however no guarantee can be given that any future owner of the photo will be so discrete.

And so the bidding begins .... Do I hear £50 from the back ?????

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Dancing with elves

Yes it's Christmas time again, so Gadget thought he would get handy with the web world..... So here you are : Check out five of the funniest and seasonal videos that you're likely to see this year in the links section on the left .....

(I think that Ricky looks really cool in his leggings !)

Can you tell who they are yet ?

You'll need to follow the links to another website, and have the volume turned up on your machine !

Happy Christmas

** UPDATE **
Looks like the elves have gone from the web (aw no).
But fear not, I'm sure I have a copy or two lying around, just waiting for the right moment !

See Ya !