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Get Knotted!

I’ve never been any good with knots – ever! I can tie them although I have to confess that I couldn’t tie my school tie until I was fourteen years old. Where I struggle is trying to follow knot tying instructions whether they are written or pictorial. Hitches, half hitches and the like mean nothing to me no matter how much I have tried to understand them. Securing Phoenix III to a mooring has never presented too much of a problem to me, I tie her front and back in exactly the same manner in a way that is quick and easy and one that is just as easy to release in the morning. Don’t ask me to name or describe my knots, I really wouldn’t have a clue but I’m sure that any boy scout would readily identify the knots or their component parts. I was neither a cub or a scout so perhaps that explains my difficulty in translating a two dimensional drawing into a three dimensional knot.

My biggest challenge was finding a way to secure the boat temporarily whilst waiting for a lock. This hadn’t been a problem in our early boating days because we moored on the Ashby canal which not only boasts that it has twenty two miles that are lock free, it is connected to the Coventry canal and then the Oxford at Hawkesbury meaning that if you ignore Suttons stop lock you can go to Atherstone, Coventry and Hillmorton before you need to do any locking. Our move to Braunston had meant that locks were more commonplace and although I had perfected the technique of floating in the pounds as well as toning my triceps and biceps by clinging on to the centre rope from the bank I knew that I needed to learn how to tie a quick and easy securing knot. I had heard about something called a lazy boatman’s hitch but I knew that there was no point in trying to research it, I had to work it out for myself. Well I practised and practised every time that Sue was preparing a lock. I discovered that I could do something that ticked all of the boxes, it was secure, easy to do and easy to release. I won’t even try to describe how I do it because as I said, I am useless at such things. I expect that if I encounter someone that knows about such things, they will tell me exactly what it is called unless of course I have invented some new knot.

The only problem that I have with my new knot is that if I think about it when I am trying to do it, I can’t do it. For any HGG fans it’s a bit like Arthur Dent discovering that he can fly (If you don’t know about Arthur and his flying, google it or ignore it).

Anyway, I reached a point where I felt confident enough with my new knot to show Sue how to do it since she was doing more driving and I was doing more lockwheeling. As soon as I tried to explain what I was doing, I was thinking about what I was doing with the result that I could not for the life of me make the knot! Ten attempts at one lock and still I could not do what I had done ten times already the same day. I stopped explaining, cleared my mind, thought of something completely different and just made the knot. My jubilation was short lived when Sue said, “Oh, it’s just a blanket stitch.”

I didn’t feel deflated for too long, actually I did and realised that it wasn’t being a cub or scout that I had missed out on, I should have joined the Guides and done my needlework badge.