There is a very different feel to the sky this morning. The past couple of days have been heavy, oppressive and cloud-laden, but this morning has some blue – and some sun. That said, in the time it’s taken me to open Word and type this a ruddy great slab of cloud has leapt up!
This is England – our weather is supplied by “Confused Maniacs Meteorological Ltd”.
The Cardinal’s antennae are twitching though, this may yet be a brighter day. I am one of those out-of-step creatures who can’t stand hot or even especially warm weather (anything above about 63F or 18 or so of Mr Celsioid’s units and I start to wear a wet flannel on my head). I am, however, strangely solar-powered. Two or three days of dull grey nonsense and I’m ready to check into the canvas jacket clinic (where all of our meteorologists come from and eventually retire to). Bright but cool is Hutson’s very narrow, very fussy, comfort-zone.
We are beginning our fourth day of “Maiden Voyage, Boldly Going, Etcetera, Etcetera” and while the Cardinal has actually (under my cunning plan) gone no farther, I have. I’ve done some terribly boring jobs such as one last, nostalgic (water-saving) visit to the old marina’s laundry facility. I’ve handed back my key and retrieved my £10 key deposit, I’ve given Thunderbird IV a breather in their Elsan Point and I’ve replenished my potable water carriers.
The next move will be one of total whim, sometime in the next week. I told you that I was slow, and canal life is surely intended to be lived at escargot mph. Our bows are currently pointing towards the main Shropshire Union line, and it might be north, towards Chester and Ellesmere Port, or it may be south, towards – well, the south and whatever is down there. Or… we might just turn about-face, temporarily, chug back down the lock behind us and refill the main water tank at the old marina, just to confuse them – and then head north or south. Whatever, we are going everywhere, at some time, whenever I feel like it.
Previously when I have looked at the canal guides and maps I’ve seen clumps of locks as the defining points, but I think I am wrong in that. What matters to a nomad on permanent holiday must surely be the service points, the facilities, the water and the wotnot. At the moment on all of the maps these are marked but they aren’t highlighted, they are discreet little blue symbols no more noticeable than “church with square bell tower” on an Ordnance Survey map. I shall have to tune my eyes in to them, find a way to make them more obvious in any planning aforethought.
I had a very lazy evening yesterday, having got my nose stuck into not one but two books, one real-world hardback and one Kindle, zipping back and forth between the two. The hardback leapt off the shelf at me as I passed, and is a collection of lesser-known short stories from the greats such as H. G. Wells and Niven et al, the Kindle is “Marine Cadet” by a Mr Tim C Taylor and is set wildly in the future. The hardback is a very stately and dignified read, the kindle is a rip-roaring sci-fi flick of splendid proportions.
Since the sky has seen fit to cloud over entirely during these few paragraphs, I may well dive back into both of them, and stuff the outside world on a Sunday. These clouds mean that I will probably have to run the engine for an hour or so later today, just to keep the batteries on the giggle side of moderately happy versus writing out their resignations.
I am getting more used to scrofulous peasants and migrating day-workers and other individuals shuffling or, occasionally, when overly well-fed, striding past on the tow-path. The one-way glass we fitted to the Cardinal’s windows and portholes is, as I might say had I been born in the Pathé News offices of a different era, an “absolute boon”.
Occasionally folk stop and peer shamelessly at the Cardinal’s exterior twiddly bits, and yesterday a chap went to great lengths to photograph the lights and aerials – and none of them have had, because I wished it so, the least idea that I am aboard and loading grape & chain into the blunderbuss.
The temptation to occasionally blast the 120db horn grows stronger by the day. I would have done so overnight, had I caught the kind soul who allowed their dog to poop but who then forgot to scoop, right outside the Cardinal’s well-deck. 120db might have hastened the dog’s bowels and chastened the owner’s social conscience. If that hadn’t worked then a belt on the boney part of the neck with a length of two by four might have been tried. I am nothing if not prepared to go the extra thump.
As some Irish writer chap once similarly alluded, I can withstand everything except temptation. Honk. Honk, honk.
More coffee and some LSD I think.
[LSD – “Long Sit Down”]
Chin-chin, Ian H.
p.s., the damned sky has completely clouded over again now. Could someone please call ahead to the Pyjamas & Window-Bars Clinic for me, and check that they have something in buckled canvas with a Mandarin collar and extra length in the sleeves? I am built like an orangutan, and the standard sleeves always look silly on me.