Life in London, moored on a busy towpath is never short of activity, gossip and curiosity. Not to mention unruly dogs and children.
This week, life in the nut house involved several events of note, hardly note-worthy on their own, but as a group, collectively they turn from curious to just plain odd.
So it all started on the Saturday morning when both myself and the Man set about a bit of bike fettling, the man was outside tightening up his bottom bracket (fnar) and I was inside struggling with a slippery cheap chain and tooling around. (fnar again)
The Banjo was on the roof barking at anything that moved and then arrived the first visitor of the day, a red haired lady from a neighbouring boat carrying a spanner. Having seen the Man outside with his tools she thought he was a good person to ask to borrow “one smaller than this” as she held out a 9mm spanner. He, being weak at the sight of a moderately attractive lady, offered her two!
So, fast forward an hour and we have our bikes put back together and are ready for a spin over to Greenwich market and Blackheath.
The Man goes to retrieve his tools.
The red haired lady ( we shall call Hillary) claimed that she couldn’t find them.
The Man comes back agitated and worried for the whereabouts of his 20 odd year old tools.
I sympathetically reply, “yes but they were a bit shit anyway, I’ve still got mine and they are better than yours…they will probably turn up in her cats bed or something”
This didn’t help.
So we arrive back a few hours later, still no sign of the tools, Hillary is very apologetic and adds that she is quite worried because her cat has disappeared. ( I shall call the cat Moggy-Joe)
A ha…. I smell a plot thickening.
So the hunt is on for both Moggy-Joe and the shit-old-tools. I casually mentioned that perhaps the cat has nicked the tools.
This didn’t help
I have spent the past few weeks looking for a remote control for the stereo, it’s small and black, it was last seen at the end of 2007. After yet another evening of searching for this intrepid remote control I concluded that the cat must have this too.
It was late, dark and quite a pleasant evening, then the Coots started hollering. They have a coots-hangout opposite where we are moored and they can be noisy buggers. After deciphering the complex hoots, coots and bird banter I came to the understanding that one of them had accidentally stubbed its boney clawed toe on a spanner absentmindedly left behind by Moggy-Joe after a few jars of catnip following the local wildlife’s secret poker game. The cat took off with the tools and my remote control to avoid getting a kicking from the vicious coots.
The following morning Hillary has turned her boat upside down but still no sign of cat, spanners or remote control.
So, the day progresses like any usual Sunday, the men of the Victoria park posse go about chopping wood, we, the Honey Ryder crew had a small fire on the roof slow cooking our tagine, beer was drunk by all and I turned Mini-Baghdad back into a kitchen again. Complete with useable surfaces and everything. I also answered questions from the tow-path, from curious or just plain stupid passers by. I have everything from "does your dog bite", "can I stroke your dog", "do you live on that", "how much do you pay to put your boat here", "can I have a look around inside?"
Tired of being treated like a freak show I finally sat down to some serious leisure gel battery research when the Man returned ready to serve up the tagine, hotly followed by the neighbours asking to borrow the dinghy to investigate a sighting of Moggy-Joe on the opposite side of the canal near the lock.
It turns out to be a case of mistaken identity. The unidentified cat was looking in a bad way as it seems the coots had caught up with it, thinking it was the cheeky cat that cleared them out at poker the night before.
However the Tagine was lovely and well worth the 2 hours cooking time
Moggy-Joe, the tools and my stereo remote are still at large.