Having bumped clattered across rough tracks canal towpath and other unwelcoming vistas I decided to buy a boat. I had a small work van which was empty most of the time and I thought an inflatable would be the most convenient so I set about buying one and enabling me to reach those oft items dreamt of areas that I would then be able to fish. A scan through done deal and adverts screening out the garbage and hookey blackguards that infest those mediums led me to a nice man in Co. Meath from whom I bought a nice 9 foot sib and 4 hp engine. The boat folded up easily and perfectly fitted along with the engine inside the van. When I got home I reinflated the boat and put the engine in a barrel of water to check it over . All was fine so thought turned to a day fishing. I watched the weather all week and Saturday looked a good day. I decided on Banagher as I could reach the backwaters from Shannon harbour. After having a good think about what I’d need for the trip ending up with the usual amount which is always too much. Saturday came and I set off out the N4 heading for the country. I was mid May and the roadside hawthorn was blanketed with white blossom some already tingling pink as they age. The oul van nearly threw me out the window crossing the undulating bog roads of Offaly. Before long I was clattering up the path at Shannon harbour. I pulled out the boat inflated it , screwed on the trimmed up engine and loaded up the tackle. I was below the lock so I could slip the boat straight into the river. I parked up the car and backed the boat into the water and jumped in. Two guys were fishing along the bank so I didn’t start the engine until well past them. When far enough I pulled the cord and away I went about fifty yards just as the Brosna joins the Shannon a funny noise from the engine and it stopped dead, hadn’t the balls of a rope on the front went under and wrapped around the prop. Think, right its downstream to the backwater so I’ll grow and drift having a better chance to fix it in still water. Not having a lot of experience with engine or boats I wanes’ sure if I could fix it. I have an engineering background so how hard could it be. I nosed the boat into the reeds and lifted the tilt on the engine. After realising the rope I put the prop back into the water, started it but the prop wouldn’t push the boat, the shear pin was gone lifting off the cover, a place I remember a lot of people store a spare not here though. More thinking, yes I had a pike forceps with a narrow frame that just might fit so bending it back and forward till I got a small length off one side . At this point I had the propeller off too so I put it back on and tapped home the improvised pin. On starting the engine I left it ticking over a minute then wound on the throttle. Again small movement then nothing. This time the pin was gone and so was the propeller. It was now two hours later no rods were set up and a migraine was beginning to make itself known. After several cigarettes I began to scrape away at the bottom with a landing net and ten foot pole, miraculously after an hours scraping up comes the propeller. As I was trick acting with the engine a long narrow boat containing four or five Germans and a cute hooer ghillie tracked in the cut trolling for pike. I began waving my arms and calling but being courteous they stayed on the far side just smiled and waved, unbelievable. Anyhow now not having a nut for the shaft I made one from a split nut off and old reel I had, used the other side of the forceps for a second pin. This time it held but I knew not for long so I set off for the car. I kept the revs steady and put putted my way up river and a way out . Back at the bank the light was nearly gone as I pulled the boat up the bank. As the day wasn’t really over I was sent one more trial when my back gave way leaving me knotted on the ground. Like the way a clever dog move a bit of earth I managed to get everything in the van and get he hell home.
Boats ye can keep them…..