Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Get Three People Across River For $5 Conundrum
This post is another 'oldie' maths problem on which I am putting a modern day slant, plus a well known older version (famous at least here in the UK). The problem is based on two incredibly stubborn characters, one of whom we met last time, the stingy Mr X with moths in his wallet and the nice one, non other than Eddie Bluelights himself! Why? - because I am writing it, of course! LOL. Three people have to get across a river to a party and Mr X has a rowing boat and insists on charging $2 each to row them across. "Extortionate", says Eddie, and he will have none of it. He says the most he will pay is $5 for the three, himself and two attractive ladies (why? because I am writing it, you silly Gumbos and it makes the problem more interesting having such nice companions). Both ladies are tall, one has long jet black hair and the other is a fiery red head. Unfortunately there is no room in this story for a blonde lady this time . . . she might step on my toe and break it, so I will leave her out. Mr X will not budge so the three have a pow wow as to the best way of solving the problem of paying just $5. "Eddie, dear!", said the brunette, that man reminds me of someone who lives in a haunted house, quick let's give him the slip. I'd rather walk than get in his rowing boat!". "And me!", said the red head. "That's it!", said Eddie, "we'll walk half way and then I'll go back for the boat. With him not doing anything and me doing the rowing I'm sure he will agree to $3. Then I'll and row myself back, pick you up, drop you off and row back and ask him to row me across for $2 - making $5 in all and not $6 he he." "You clever man, you, and hey if you manage to pull it off I'll show you my Zydeco." "And I'll show you my Jitterbug", said the red head. "How can I resist?", said Eddie, as the three started walking into the river. Half way the two ladies were completely out of sight, but Eddie knew they were alright because he was holding their hands. He floundered back to see Mr X who agreed the price of $3 since Eddie was rowing. Eddie, pulled on the oars as fast as he could back to the middle of the river and fished the ladies out. They looked like two red faced shrimps but he landed them unceremoniously into the boat and rowed them across. He indeed rowed back and Mr X rowed him across for another $2. Sorry ladies, you got a bit wet there - perhaps you should have tried swimming. "Well done, cher!"
Anyway, this story has been told before and in 1933 Marriott Edgar wrote a monologue recorded by Stanley Holloway, called "Runcorn Ferry". This time the three people wanting to get across the river Mersey in Lancashire, were Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom and their son, Albert. The two towns are Runcorn and Widnes, where I was born . . . and in the monologue nobody wants to visit LOL. Mr X's predecessor is old Ted the boatman, who used to row folks across for, "Tuppence per person per trip! . . . . or per part of per trip."
Of course both the rowing boat and the transporter bridge have long gone but I do remember the old transporter bridge and travelling across it as a boy. The river Mersey certainly does not look inviting for a walk across so I would definitely have gladly paid 6 pence for three LOL. Enjoy the monologue. Oh! and the Zydeco and Jitterbug are two types of dances . . . . just in case you wondered.
I am still very busy outside Blogsville but could not resist this one LOL. With all the work I am doing my face is as red as a shrimp as well LOL.
Oh! and there is a feature about the Royal Wedding on my other blog, Plato's Procrastinations which contains some rather dubious footage. There - that's grabbed your interest - see HERE for a laugh.