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FROM THE MANAGER’S DESK or WHO ON EARTH WOULD RUN A BOATYARD? “Excellent, have you been through Braunston Tunnel. It would have taken you about half-an-hour?” “Just a minute; darling he wants to know if we have been through a tunnel or something. Are you there? No it seems as if we haven’t”. It was mid Sunday morning, the wharf was quiet and the Grand Union was alive with both private and hire boat traffic. Our fleet had all departed by early Saturday evening and Sunday promised to be the usual run of diesel sales and pump-outs. Then the ‘phone rang.

“Thank you. Can you see a bridge in either direction?” “Yes. There’s one right above me” Does it have a number on it, on a round sort of disc?” “Yes”

“Wharf Boats. Good Morning”

What number is it?

“We are on South Wharf and we have broken down”

“It has a number six on it. Is that important?”

Sorry to hear that; where are you?” “On the back deck, there’s no signal in the cabin” “Ah! What I meant to ask is where is the boat?” “I have no idea”

“It could be, please wait there the engineer will be with you in fifteen minutes”. Close to lunch-time the engineer returned. “Boss, you know the fuel on/off switch by the start key? Do you think we could make the letters even bigger!” Dredging the Grand Union, Blisworth

Pause, knowing that the boat had set off towards the north. “Have you been through Buckby Locks?” “Just a minute—Darling he wants to know if we have been through something called Buckby Locks; are you there? Yes we have”

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Keels and Cuckoos Issue 30  
Keels and Cuckoos Issue 30