The saga continues. I know that every single reader of the alternative blog will have been struggling with the wait since we last left the paddles fighting temptation in Serbia. And so, Mum and Jimmy's Mum, I'm going to finally put you out of your misery.
The paddles did survive that Serbian night with all the stoicism you would expect from two pieces of wood. Pepi arose in the morning and let his jealousy wash away like water under the 'friendship' bridge between Bulgaria and Romania.
And so the paddles continued their grand tour of Europe. They splashed for 150 strokes on each side and switched. They acted as chopping boards and then held sandwiches of cheese and tomato, ham and cucumber. They leaned against walls and guarded rucksacks while their masters drank gritty Serbian coffees.
Then the wind picked up. The waves were tearing at the canoe. But while Master Wilkins' voice broke and Master Warner wept, Thierry and Pepi simply got wet a little higher up the handle than they were used to. While their masters thrashed and fretted between pointed cliff faces and towering waves, Pepi and Thierry wondered what the fuss was all about.
Then the Masters decided to make a quick exit from the bubbling waters. Master Warner perched knee deep in the waves by the canoe while Master Wilkins leant down from higher rocks - Thierry appreciated his own Master's subtle attempt at self-preservation here.
First the bags were passed up and thrown to the rocks. Then the barrels were passed up and thrown to the rocks. Then the phone holder was passed up and lovingly placed in a safe crevice.
Then Master Warner noticed Thierry. Thierry was having a nice and foamy, if a little chilly, mid-morning bath. But Master Warner noticed Thierry floating and panicked. Master Warner respected Thierry as a cherished paddle. Master Warner saw replacing Thierry with Lyrita as unthinkable. Master Warner groped for Thierry, passed him to Master Wilkins, who duly threw him onto the rocks.
And, at that moment, in a similar way to how other main characters manage to have moments of crystallization midway through a second sequel; time stood still for Pepi.
Pepi was floating and scared. Pepi had never learnt how to swim- he is a paddle after all. A water bottle had already drifted off. It seemed that Master Warner had forgotten his faithful servant. Pepi realised that he would never be loved in the way that Master Wilkins loved Thierry or Master Warner loved the replacement iPhone he had to fork out €200 for after the first one got water damage on a rainy day in Frankfurt. At that moment, as the water rose, Pepi was ready to float away.
But then Master Wilkins, acting with the skills of observation habitually demonstrated by bloggers talking about themselves, noticed Pepi's suicidal stance. He shouted to Master Warner. Master Warner threw Pepi directly onto the rocks.
And so Pepi was saved. The great journey continued: more strokes were switched, more stale sandwiches were assembled, not very many more coffees were watched over.
But a change had come over Pepi. Since his cliched moment of crystallization he had become melancholy. He liked leaning on trees in his spare time. He felt no more lust towards Lyrita. He kept trying to discuss the meaning of life with Thierry. He always wanted to be 'at one with nature'. While Thierry thought that a slight change in perspective was understandable as the paddles made their way through the beautifully unspoiled lands of north-eastern Bulgaria, he worried for his brother.
And so the saga potentially continues. Like a film that did surprisingly well initially but might now be being over-stretched, its not clear whether Pepi has reached a new equilibrium. Is there more of this tale to tell? Has Pepi settled for the quiet life? Does Thierry still get headaches? Has the author forgotten Lyrita?
You'll just have to wait and see.