Icebreaker


Driving a boat through thin ice makes the most wonderful tinkling sound, and the sight of sheets of ice breaking up amongst small waves is delightful. It hadn’t been a particularly cold weekend but there was still a lot of ice about on Sunday as we drove from Docklands back to Angel.

(Joining a boat called Troll in a lock yesterday, Bristol Fashion hit ice and was embarrassingly deflected, bouncing off the beam then knocking into the other boat. Apparently the square-ish front of my boat causes it to bounce off ice. Troll has amusing trompe l’oeil paintings of a troll peering out of a window on either side. Look out for it!)

A single sheet of ice covered about 40 foot of the canal. Bristol Fashion simply bounced off it on the first few attempts. A crowd soon formed on the towpath; they had never seen a boat stuck by ice before and they wanted to see what I planned to do about it. So I took the boat pole, walked to the front of the boat and whacked the ice hard, barely denting it. That looked stupid.

Took a run up and charged at the ice, opened a crack along its entire length and sailed through the middle. The crowd cheered but I couldn’t help thinking they’d have been more amused if I’d stayed stuck.

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