April 01, 2007

Captain, there’s a fox in my toilet…

Some days begin like this… with the promise of a slow Sunday cafĂ©-au-lait morning.
Gray spring skies, wall-to-wall clouds.

Still barge floating on a deep green canal.
Young pup playing on the canal bank and barking at frogs,

tall grass dripping night rains, anything that looks new or suspicious.

"Silly dog."
Some days don’t keep their promise.

Weekends are about barge chores, garden projects, long-distance phone calls via Skype to friends in need of a good long chin wag. But what’s with the toilets today? Captains hate problems with toilets. It makes us grumpy before we’ve had our morning tea, coffee, whatever. This morning the forward cabin’s head seems blocked. I jump to the second cabin to pee and the marine WC is filled to the rim with incoming canal water. Yikes! Pump away. I never read about real pirates having to fix the toilets.

Pump and flush; clean filters, shake, rattle, listen. Head number 2 seems ok now. Jump in the shower, get soapy then realize you have to stop to clean the pump filter because the last person to take a shower had long white fur and lots of muddy grit from the frog pond.

Arret! Quit barking Bacon!” At five months he barks at his shadow, chases his tail and is surprised by bikes and passing boats. “Quiet!”

The day goes. Garden cleaned up, recycle bin filled, wine bottles emptied, light bulbs changed. Friends drop by and help. We gossip. We eat goose rillettes on pain de pruneaux. Small glasses of white wine- Cotes de Gascogne, get refilled. Little pleasures. Hang laundry between showers. Move firewood inside to dry.

Bacon chases two bicycles too far down the towpath.

Big trouble for that little dog!
Get the lead, hook him on the lines.
“Bad dog! Very bad dog!”
“Now stay and be quiet.” I am too old to be mother to a puppy...

Damn toilet. Sometimes I hate being the only Captain in earshot. What’s with this toilet anyway? Something blocking the intake. Something stinks. So I go outside, grab the boat hook and lean over next to the through-hulls.


“Gross. Very gross.” It’s a dead critter. Bloated, floating and blocking the inlet holes. I use the 10-foot barge pole like a broom to sweep it way and out into the canal center to slowly drift toward Bordeaux- 100 kilometers away. Its fat red fur floats around like seaweed. It’s long bushy tale leaves a trail of decay.

“Lady, there’s a fox in your soup.”

Sometimes, being a pirate queen isn't what its cracked up to be.