It was Sunday, I was expecting some friends on a boat who I met last year on the river Lee, they are a lovely couple and perhaps the only real boaty friends Ive made apart from the french yaching couple I met in Limehouse basin over the winter.
Anyway, this couple, I shall call them Mr n Ms Axe. They are heading up to a dry dock somewhere past Watford, so planned to meet up with me as I am just over at Rickmansworth at the moment.
Sunday I sent a text to see if they were on schedule and did they want anything from Tesco...
no reply. thats alright though, thats often the way, people are outside, locking, chatting etc, not listening for a phone.
later in the day I was wondering where they might be when I got a phone call from Ms Axe.
"the Plan isnt going exactly to plan... "
I said, "oh yeah thats narrowboating for you, where have you got to?"
"well, I fell in..."
"No shit! you fell in, well hows that stopped proceedings?" sounding bolshy and about to poke fun.
"I fell in a lock at the flight"
suddenly genuinely concerned"Holy shit, what the hell happened?"
" I was ahead of the boat, preparing the next lock and as I crossed the top gate i looked down and my foot went down a gap in the rails where the paddles go...."
"then I got sucked under and went through the channel with the water flow..."
at this point I had to sit down and asked "what you mean you went through where the paddles open?"
"yes, and somehow, I dont know how, but Im still alive, My knee was dislocated and I think I chipped a bone but apart from that Im alright. maybe you could call
After I managed to remove my heart from my mouth I gave him a call and he was as shaken as anything, but had had to leave
Now I can't wait to see them both again to give them a hug and tell them how glad I am to have them as friends, it's moments like this that reminds me, you never know when your time is up, one small slip, one lapse of concentration, and its curtains.
I never knew anyone who fell in like that and survived.