crossing the border

old number 38

crossing the border

It’s me!
I’m back.
Don’t raise your eyes to the heavens like that, it’s very off putting.

Anyway, never mind where I’ve been, I’d like to tell you where I’m going.
Sorry, what was that? You hope it’s ‘A long walk off a short pier.’ Well thanks very
much. Love you too.
So, ploughing on regardless.
I’m going out with the lads.
On a narrow boat.
That’s right.
Me, on a boat.
On the cut.
After all these years of writing for this esteemed magazine I shall finally be getting my sea legs.
Do they still sell Kwells at the chemist?

moored narrowboat

Pardon? Where are we going?

We’re off across the border, from the Black Country to Brumagem, England’s second city.
Better get my passport and visa sorted then.
And my inoculations. Beri beri, Dengue fever and a shot of Sambuka.
And a phrase book. Hard to understand these Brummies.
I shall of course go prepared. Hard hat, hi-viz life jacket, beer goggles, wooden leg (I’m told all the best sailors have one) and a parrot on the shoulder.

Did you ask, ‘What sort?’
It’ll be a Norwegian Blue I think.
Oh sorry, ‘What port?’
Well we’ll be putting out of Hinksford Wharf on the Monday and plotting a course for somewhere up by Gas Street Basin. Very challenging - I believe we have to turn left at Stourton.
Better take my sextant.
Stop tittering - this is serious stuff.

Cap’n Dec will be in charge of steering and technical stuff like that.
Bart will probably be cabin boy.
And I no doubt will be put on lookout duties in the crows nest, scanning the horizon for tempests, Sirens trying to lure us onto the rocks and stuff like that.
A very responsible position - I’ve heard that up around Smethwick ‘there be dragons.’
Blue of course will be the ship’s mascot and figurehead, and as befitting his status will
have his lead tied to the prow.

border collie with pirate necktie

What’s that?
We shall of course be well provisioned. 96 cans of Carling Black Label, 10 litres of Jack Daniels (I prefer that to a rum ration) and a plate of cheese and pickle sarnies which we will probably eat on the way back.
Better take some cling film, don’t want them going too crusty.
There will of course be hostelries for the weary traveller along the way, so we shall moor alongside wherever we pass one.

How long are we going for did you ask?
Four days.
Two days there, two days back with a stop in the middle to take in a concert by Hollywood Vampires.
We can restock the cans and bottles whilst we’re there. And get rid of the empties of course.
Perhaps, as we’ve crossed the border, it might be duty free?

You what?
Hollywood Vampires? That’s Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and that bloke out of Aerosmith whose name no one can ever remember. Perhaps I should have called it a gig, not I concert. We’re not going to see the Philharmonic play Mozart after all.

Coming back should be easier of course - it’s downhill.

In other news, my brother...

Yes, that’s right, the looney who walked from John O’Groats to Land’s End a few years back, taking a little detour to do the 3 peaks and a wander around the South West Coast Path.
Glad you’ve been paying attention!

hiker leaning on stile

Well he’s heading off on a little stroll again, from the Town Hall in Brumagem, down to
Gas Street again funnily enough. To Bourneville, where the chocolate comes from, along the Stratford canal to Hatton Locks and down the Grand Union to Brentford. Then it’s along the Thames to the Houses of Parliament. I tried to explain that it’s not a circus, but he insists that he wants to see some clowns.

All the way from Brumagem to Londinium.
Down the cut!
That’s right, you might see him, hobbling along. He is of course younger than me; taller too, but not as good looking.

He wants to get there in a maximum of 5 days, preferably less, so don’t try to pat him on the back or you might get towed along in his slip stream and end up in Berkhamsted.
He’ll be walking from 9 to 5 each day (Didn’t her with the chest do a song about that?)
He raised over 10k last time for Macmillan Cancer, but at the time of this exclusive report he hasn’t decided if he’s going to be sponsored.

So absolutely no point him going then in my honest opinion.

Anyway, nice chatting but I got stuff to do.

See you soon - I’ll let you know how we get on...

This entry was posted in Editorials on by .

About David Robertson

Hi I'm Dave Robertson. I live beside the Staffs & Worcester canal with my wife and a small menagerie. I've just published my third children's book, the first of which was set on a canal boat. My column is called 'Old No 38' because that's the bridge I cross every day... If you would like to learn about my children’s books, here is my Amazon page link