The scene is set. The boys boat was a pigsty. I remember cowering on my bunk to keep away from the mess in the galley. Granny sensibly refused to come on board. Trevor cunningly volunteered himself as boat cook so he didn't have to do any washing up, which was never done anyway. Canal cruises are quite boring. You proceed at a slow walking pace thrugh an endless vista of fields and trees. What could six boys do for fun? Water skiing seemed like a good idea. But there were no skis. The nexxt best thing was towing somebody behind the boat in the life saving ring. We tied a rope to it and elected Tom, as the youngest, to test it. We gathered at the back of the boat an Tom bravely jumped off in the life saving ring. I remember the rope unravelling on the water surface. Suddenly it became taut and Tom was dragged through the water with a terrific wake. His legs dragged back, the life ring tilted down and aqua planed underwater. Tom had disappeared. We could only see the taut rope disappearing into the water. Presumably he was being dragged along the bottom ot the canal.
Gulp. Gulp. Not a good look.
I dived into the water to try to recover Tom from the bottom. The barge and Tom (still submerged) rapidly passed me and I was left floundering. Luckily Simon had more sense. He calmly walked to the front of the barge and turned the engine off. Tom bobbed to the surface. Undamaged.
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