Apr 30 2007, 10:39 AM
I arrived in Cornwall at 4.30pm (after first driving to stansted airport and then to croydon and then back to harefield) to collect my new dinghy. Its a smart little thing, called a Minipram, it was made in the 70's for the lady i bought it from. She gave me home made cake and chocolate chip biscuits and a drink of fruity squash. With the dinghy and launching trolley strapped to the roof of my car and my wallet £100 lighter i was on my way again. Now if only all ebay transactions were like that!
the day wasn't over yet though as the next stop was Beaulieu, a night stop over in my folks caravan parked up in the new forest and then an early start to get their stall set up for the boat jumble.
a very busy day of getting sun burnt, sweaty and then very very sleepy followed.
a good day all round though, and i came home with some bargains.
I bought a long length of chain to lock up the dinghy, asking price, £14, i haggled them down to £10
a couple of hanks of rope for my sea searcher magnet and dinghy, £7
some new bungee canopy things £4
a pair of small binoculars, 10 x 40, should have been £28 but i only had £22 left in my wallet so the chap accepted that.
I also sold the launching trolley that came with my new dinghy as theres no need for one of those on the canal. £15 back in the kitty, making the boat an even better bargain than before.
SO, feeling burnt to a crisp and thoroughly knackered I still had to drive 120 miles back to the boat.
Arriving back at 11pm, i was rejuvenated by the fresh cool air and decided to tackle removing the dinghy on my own in the dark.
it goes something like this,
4 tie down straps off,
wiggle dinghy a bit,
stand back to have a think about it
go back and rock the dinghy a bit more
shuffle it so its sideways on the car, supported by just one inflatable rack strap
slide it carefully on its runner on the canvass of the roof rack and gradually bring the dinghy down the side of the car
pause to panic for a moment that it might smash the rear door glass,
think, sod it Im tired and I want to go to bed.
30 seconds later its on the floor by the side of the car,
car is now sporting a nice scratch and dint on the window trim. that was a close one clyde.
the dinghy has an attachable transom wheel but its so old and stiff I couldnt get it to work. this meant dragging my new tangerine speedo carefully on its metal runners, down a rubbly path and onto the tow path. Theres some grass there which made dragging it a bit quieter as I need to get it past a boat before I could chuck it in the water.
I couldnt believe no one batted an eyelid to see some person dragging this dinghy around at midnight. even the boat i passed within a couple of meters of didnt stir, not a single curtain twitch.
So, a few nervous minutes later its pushed off the side of the canal and into the water,
I peered into the dark with my windup torch, heart in my mouth as I shone the light onto the freshly installed drain bung.....
the silence was almost overwhelming and the water in the canal looked earily black.
I put all the paraphernalia inside the dinghy and walked it down the bankside back to the big boat.
The batteries were almost dead on Big boat after a weekend without any charge and our hungry amp-munching fridge had chomped away at almost every last bit. So the wind up torch went to bed with me and I woke up this morning at 6am to start the engine and charge the batteries.
I peered out of the window anxiously expecting to see the dinghy half full of water, but it was still there, sitting pretty without a drop of water inside.
unfortunately Ive got a day job so Ive got to wait a few hours now before I can take it for a paddle
I cant wait to get home, to go out and play in it!