Echuca – The Pride of the Murray Paddleboat

You need a piece of paper to do just about anything these days. Our teachers in the 80’s might have thought they were taking the piss when they presented us with great ceremony our Pen Licence and let us give up our grey lead pencils. But now how many workplaces have a designated person with their Ladder Licence? The only one allowed to climb the ladder to put up the Christmas decorations. Who knows what a certificate in asset maintenance will allow you to do?
Well I now am the proud holder of a piece of paper that says that I can adeptly steer a paddlesteamer. So how did I come to be the holder of a certificate that states that I am a ‘competent helmsman’?   
I’ve already written about my love of Echuca’s ye olde town with its Clydesdales slowly clopping along the dirt road, stylishly decrepit shop fronts and fudge sellers.  On this lazy Sunday morning we decided to take a trip on a paddleboat.  I’m pretty sure they don’t let you leave the town if you haven’t. The next one leaving was The Pride of the Murray.  I purchased a fetching captain’s hat with a picture of The Pride on the front to wear while cruising the Murray. 
Awesome hat Bianca!
Over the loud speaker came the announcement, “If anyone would like their photo taken steering the paddleboat please come up to the front now”.  We launched forward towards the captain’s bridge and were at the front of the line.  Then I looked behind to see children politely lining up behind us with their parents, digital cameras, every parent’s fashion accessory when on holidays, swinging from their wrists. Slightly embarrassed we stepped aside and waited until the kids had their turn. I didn’t want to be rushing my photos anyway.
That captain’s hat came in very handy for humorous photos while steering the boast. I’m astonished that they gave us our certificates considering how flippant we were about the whole training experience. They will just give a piece of paper to anyone these days.
And in case you didn’t know asset maintenance is code for cleaning. That’s right there’s a piece of paper for cleaning!

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