Mooring in Limehouse for the past week has been most entertaining.
we arrived on a Sunday evening, and squeezed into a spot a meter too short. So having knocked on the neighbours boat without a response, we shuffled the boat along a little bit so we could fit along the wall. Just as Mr X was about to tie the boat on again, a bald mans head popped out of the boat wondering what was happening. We explained, he shrugged and left us to it.
thereafter, for the remainder of the week we listened to the music of his engine chugging away into the night, until 9pm, and recommencing at 8am. Since we were moored so close, this meant our boat vibrated away as if it were our own engine.
This narked Mr X quite a lot. We gave the neighbour a name, which I shall not repeat on here (in french it is tete-a-con), but shall give a pseudnom to replace his nickname : bald-engine-man
Thursday night, and we were chatting away in the living room, to the familiar sound of our neighbours engine vibrating the grate on our stove when the boat rocked violently to the booming sound of someone on the roof. I jumped up, at that very moment seeing one of my tubs of plants go frisbying into Limehouse basin! [i]"arh!, some cunts thrown my plants in!"[/i] I shouted, opening the side hatch immediately to shout outside [i]"gerrof my boat you cheeky mother fuckers!"[/i]
(as you can see in times of stress, swearing comes naturally to me)
we both ran outside, I was focussing on my plants, only just floating, out of reach near to the boat.
As I went to get the boat pole to retrieve the plants, looking down the wall of boats, I saw that four boats had been untied further down the wall, except for bald-engine-man and us. The cheeky untiers and plant throwers had been disturbed by coal-boat-Liz shouting at them from across the basin.
I grabbed the boat hook, while Mr X teased my tub of plants back to the boat with the boat pole. I set off down the line of drifting boats, hooking the ducks and pulling them back in to the side.
I thought it only neighbourly to alert bald-engine-man, who still seemed oblivious to the commotion happening around him.
I tapped nicely. No answer. I tapped louder with the boat hook. Still no answer. I wondered how it's possible for a person to not hear someone knocking and decided to give it some welly with the handle of the boat hook. Boom Boom Boom.. Boom Boom...
I stood there in disbelief at no reply. Eventually, after several minutes I saw the boat move and from the engine end a bald head popped out, like a prairie dog, looking around.
I explained to him that all the boats had just been untied, except for his and mine, and that mine had been jumped on.
I continued helping to tie the other boats back up and after a while went back inside to carry on muttering about losing one of my plant tubs and scouring the watery horizon for any sign of an upturned plant pot with my binoculars.
The weekend flew by and before we knew it, it was 8am Sunday morning and I was being woken up to the dulcit tones of the neighbours engine once again. But then, the sound faded and as usual Mr X jumped up to see which direction they were heading in, hoping it wouldnt be the same as us to avoid the locks being against us.
He then exclaimed [i]"fucking hell, hes got a woman!" [/i]
I reply sleepily [i]"really? he didnt seem like the kind of man who would have a wife, you sure it's him not another boat?"[/i]
Mr X replied, [i]"yes theres old baldy standing on the gunnel.. and he's... oh now hes giving wifey at the tiller a kiss... maybe he's congratulating her on a perfect reverse manouver?"[/i]
I reply [i]"that's unusal. A woman driving, good for her, breaking with the tradition of : man drive : woman do the locking"[/i]
A couple of hours later we were on our way, heading up towards Victoria park. we just missed a boat in the first lock, but caught up with them at the next.
As I stood at the side with rope in hand I realised we were sharing the lock with the bald-engine-man's boat. So I looked at the bald man sitting on the side of the lock, thinking, [i]he's not the same bald man I saw before[/i]. I shouted across when the lock was full to ask if they wanted to go first or if they were waiting for someone, as the bald man showed no sign of springing into action.
He replied, [i]"she's inside making coffee"[/i]
[i]"Ok"[/i] I replied
at which point, a blonde shoulder-length haired figure arrived with a tray of coffee mugs from the front.
I had to do a double take, and so did she.
The blonde lady was none other than the first bald headed person we had met prairie dogging from the engine hole.
suck me sideways! its HIM.. no HER!
She spent the next few locks avoiding eye contact with us, appearing rather uncomfortable at being "out" with the neighbours, and me trying to catch her attention so I could be sociable and talk, at least about the finer points of the 8pm engine-off time.
I never did get the chance to say how good she looked or even to get a name. Shame.