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Malcolm Hardee’s Wibbley Wobbley boat has re-appeared somewhere else

Malcolm and his girlfriend Andree Jenni standing by the Wibbley Wobbley in 2002

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog in which Malcolm Hardee Award winner Becky Fury and I went to Malcolm’s old floating pub/comedy venue The Wibbley Wobbley.

It was moored in Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, by the River Thames in London.

There were some very amiable squatters living in the boat, putting on monthly performances. They had been there for several months.

Suitably anarchic slogans adorned the sides of the boat.

Today’s Pantomime Horse Race in Greenwich was interrupted

Today, while watching the annual Pantomime Horse Race in Greenwich, I got a message from Evening Standard comedy critic Bruce Dessau telling me that the squatters had been evicted; the Wibbley Wobbley had been towed away from its berth and would be broken up.

Two sad gangways (left) lead to where the Wibbley floated

Bruce asked me for a quote which he could add to the news item he had written on his Beyond The Joke website. I gave him a quote but suggested he should just make up a much better one and claim that I had said it – something of which I think Malcolm would have approved.

Alas, he just quoted the load of old cobblers I had thought of:

The Wibbley Wobbley (orange marker) in its old berth in Greenland Dock. Malcolm Hardee drowned there in 2005.

“I thought 2016 was bad enough with Bowie, Prince and Manuel from Fawlty Towers dying, but this has really pissed me off.”

It’s not a great quote, is it?

The moral to this part of the story is:

If someone or something snuffs it, don’t ask me for a quote.

After the Pantomime Horse Race finished in Greenwich, I went to Greenland Dock in Rotherhithe, where the Wibbley Wobbley had been moored and where Malcolm had drowned in 2005.

The boat was, indeed, not there.

But I spotted it in the adjacent South Dock Marina.

Wibbley Wobbley tonight, in a new berth: South Dock Marina

Coincidentally, before he bought the Wibbley Wobbley, Malcolm had lived in another boat in South Dock Marina and, ironically, I had fallen in the water there and almost drowned, myself, while carrying Malcolm’s vacuum cleaner onto the boat.

As always, it is better not to ask for too many details.

The banners which had been adorning the Wibbley Wobbley two weeks ago had, tonight, been removed.

Now under more secure lock and key in South Dock Marina

But the boat itself looked perfectly OK; not ready to be scrapped.

As I left, I heard two people connected with the dock talking about the Wibbley Wobbley.

“The thing is,” one said, “if you get rid of squatters, they’ll just find somewhere else.”

A bit like memories, in that respect.

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Malcolm Hardee’s Wibbley Wobbley boat has re-appeared somewhere else


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