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Insurance companies are normally willing to insure anything. Insuring public or private property is a standard practicw in most countries in the world. If, however, you were holding an open air garden party or a fŠte it would be equally possible to insure yourself in the event of bad weather. Needless to say, the bigger the risk the insurance company takes, the higher the premium you will have to pay. It is not uncommon to hear that a shipping company has made a claim for the cost of salvaging a sunken ship. But the claim made by a local authority to recover the cost of salvaging a sunken pie dish must surely be unique.
Admittedly it was an unusual pie dish, for it was eighteen feet long and six feet wide. It had been purchased by a local authority so that an enormous pie could be baked for an annual fair. The pie committee decided that the best way to transport the dish would be by canal, so they insured it for the trip. Shortly after it was launched, the pie committee went into a local inn to celebrate. At the same time, a number of teenagers climbed onto the dish and held a little party of their own. Modern dances proved to be more than the dish could bear, for during the party it capsized and sank in seven feet of water.
The pie committee telephoned a local garage owner who arrived in a recovery truck to salvage the pie dish. Shivering in their wet clothes, the teenagers looked on while three men dived repeatedly into the water to locate the dish. They had little difficulty in finding it, but hauling it out of the water proved to be a serious problem. The sides of the dish were so smooth that it was almost impossible to attach bawses and chains to the rim without damaging it. Eventually chains were fixed to one end of the dish and a powerful winch was put into operation. The dish rose to the surface and was gently drawn towards the canal bank. For one agonizing moment, the dish was perched precariously on the bank of the canal, but it suddenly overbalanced and slid back into the water. The men were now obliged to try once more. This time they fixed heavy metal clamps on both sides of the dish so that they could fasten the chains. The dish now had to be lifted vertically because one edge was resting against the side of the canal. The winch was again put into operation and one of the men started up the truck. Several minutes later, the dish was successfully hauled above the surface of the water. Water streamed in torrents over its sides with such force that it set up a huge wave in the canal. There was danger that the wave would rebound off the other side of the bank and send the dish plunging into the water again. By working at tremendous speed, the men managed to get the dish on to dry land before the wave returned.