I think I have already said how much I dislike lift bridges as, if you are a lone boater, you have to secure the boat on the same side as the lifting mechanism and almost always on this trip, there has been nowhere to easily do that. That means clambering down the gunwales to attach the bow rope wherever I can so that, when I have lifted the bridge, I can get the boat through, tie it by the stern and then drop the bridge again.
Well, yesterday the sun was almost shining, I seemed to be the only boat on the water and all was well. I intended to reach Grindley Brook Locks but only reached the Morris Lift Bridge at Whixhall Moss. I’m not really sure what went wrong. I had got the boat through and had dropped the bridge. As I undid the rope and got on at the stern, my feet went from under me and I fell in the water, bum first and went right under. As I fell, my left calf hit the bridge or the concrete side, I’m not sure which. Either way, it was stunningly painful.
As I came to the surface my first thought was ‘I hope nobody saw that!’ There were a couple of fishermen further up but there was no reaction from them. As usual in canals, when I stood up, I was only chest deep in water so it was reasonably easy to clamber out. Poor Bonny was whining on the roof and peering anxiously over – it’s nice to know she cares! I then had to move the boat to an appropriate place to moor, whilst my clothes hung off me, streaming water everywhere.
My main concern was to get into the shower as fast as possible. It is possible to catch a particularly nasty illness called Weils disease from the water, caused by rat’s urine and it can be fatal. That’s why we should really keep any cuts covered whilst boating and try to keep out of the water!! I have lived on my boat for three and a half years and this is the first time I have broken this rule! After a shower I inspected my injuries and was relieved to find nothing serious. I have a huge bruise on my calf and grazes and little bruises to both elbows. This morning my leg muscles were very stiff and sore. I have moved to Grindley Locks (via 4 lift bridges!) but couldn’t face all those locks, so have tied up above the flight and am watching the Wimbledon Final while I write this. Yes!!! Andy just took the first set.
Here is the lift bridge in question and, for those of you with a strong constitution, a picture of my poor sore leg. However, it could have been so much worse!