English weather. Yesterday versus today. #England #narrowboat #canal

A tad chilly ashore. I rolled up the sides of the cratch cover (the canvas cover over the bow deck) to present less of a sail area to the gale-force winds… It worked, the cover is still present and intact. 🙂




Bright blue sky, a blazing sun and temperatures well above the freezing. Snow, rather like the caribou on the lawn, all gorn.
While the winds were keeping the water dancing the bright sun did that sparkle-sparkle thing that seems to appeal to me at some primitive, ancient-memory level…

There’s a reason why we don’t prepare too well for weather in Blighty. That’s because we have to be prepared at all times for all seasons – and for everything to change twice or thrice in a day at the drop of a bowler hat.

Yesterday was Arctic, everything was frozen and I remained sewn into my earmuffs, favourite faux-fur codpiece and whale-blubber-lined boots. Snow and ice lay on my deck, the wind was howling fit to burst eardrums and our mooring lines were creaking very theatrically.

Today, I wore no jacket as I squeegeed off my solar panels at seven of the morning o’clock. It was still windy, but with none of the bite. The snow has gone, the ice has gone, because Mr Stove was still roaring I had to open bow doors and side-hatch to prevent myself passing out with a fit of the over-warm vapours.

Tomorrow it might be either, or it may be something different.

Today, while the Cardinal’s solar panels fed and I soaked up the rays of the sun, Infracombe in Devon – a couple of hundred miles distant and to the south on this tiny North-Atlantic island – is cut off by deep snow-drifts, wholly inaccessible. Folk in other, closer, northern towns and cities are sliding apex over fundament on ice covering every mild incline.

We can’t even rely on the moment, change just ten or twenty miles distant and the weather here might be an entirely different season. If you went to work on a snowmobile you’d look like a right plonker by lunchtime when the snow had all disappeared. Forget to take a coat with you though – at any time of the year – and there’s a high probability that you’ll be a hypothermia case by tiffin-time, with an NHS nurse doing unspeakable things to your core-temperature with hot, sweet tea, a funnel and a rectal hosepipe from B&Q. There’s just no predicting it.

Other countries have the luxury of fitting their Saabs and Volvos with snow-tyres in October and then relying upon them until March or April. In England you’d need to change wheels and tyres three times before getting to the bottom of the average household driveway.

No wonder folk laugh at us. I mean, laugh with us, yes, yes, that’s it, the world is laughing with us, aren’t you?

It would be mean to laugh at us.

Fluffy cottonwool in the sky

Gilet, jacket, coat, hat (selection), umbrella, survival poncho, gloves, mittens, scarf, earmuffs, boots, wellingtons, flip-flops, Edwardian bathers, lip-balm and sunscreen – we need to pack it all, all of the time.

It’s lovely.

Even if the weather today did turn the blackbirds and sparrows and starlings and ducks all as randy as hell. It was most unseemly. I had to issue several warnings. One or two of the robins are going to need to take the “morning after” pill tomorrow, latest.

The canal breach is still being assessed. The low-down in the marina club-houses is that “the they” are going to try for some sort of temporary fix using a steel trough to span the breach and then repair it in earnest next winter. That would be dandy, I have my fingers crossed.

The boats stranded aground in Middlewich are to be rescued by using a temporary dam between them and the breach and then pumping water up from the Trent & Mersey to briefly re-water that section so that they can be moved to safety.

No news of the chap who was rescued from his boat. He’s probably still gibbering somewhere, I know that I would be.

No news either of the hand-gun that was found. Some silly sod doubtless used it to bump off the Vicar or Colonel Mustard and then dumped it in the canal thinking that it wouldn’t be found for centuries. Watson and Sherlock Holmes are poring over it in the study of 221b Baker Street even as I type, and an arrest is expected before the next commercial break.

While clement, it was still a tad windy today for a single-hander chap to move his boat, and looks to be so for a couple of days more, so the Cardinal and I will bob about here for a while yet.

I do have to wonder what tomorrow will bring. Will Ilfracombe reconnect with the world? Will the daffodils appear? Shall I drag out the cauldron and stir up another nuclear curry, or should I bake bread and go with the soup option? Will I be woken again by squirrels mating on the rear deck?

Who knows? Certainly not I.


Ian H., Admiral (Retired).


  1. Squirrels mating on the rear deck??? You need to put signs. Stern Signs!

    I hope they put up a temporary fix so you can escape the area. It strikes me as both unseemly and dangerous. What with the animal sex and the random canal breeches. Exit Left. Or Right. It matters not. The place is beneath you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I needs must be on the move again soon, if only to out-run the squirrels. It’s not so much the sex that bothers me as it is the alcohol and the music – you haven’t known misery until you’ve been kept awake by an all-squirrel jazz band on the rear deck… 🙂

      Really do have my fingers crossed for some quick and dirty fix to the breach, but all the same, I won’t hold my breath. If it does come off then I’ll let a few dozen other saps test it thoroughly first and then trundle the Cardinal across with video cameras rolling!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An interesting proposition from the Civil Engineers to breech to divide and flood the burial ground (glad I didn’t leave my short handled shovel behind); a gun you say? I wondered what I did with that! The long range weather forecast isn’t good for the remake – Beastie 3 coming to freeze your Easter eggs or Malteezer bunnies (I keep on advertising these for them and not received my free sample yet!) so stock up on Madras or deathshead chillies or whatever you use to blow up canal banks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll believe the temporary fix when I boat across it! It’s one heck of a gap to span, and the foundations on both ends are dodgy – still, I can but hope with fingers crossed… 🙂 There are a number of boat hire companies that will be seriously affected by this closure, so maybe the incentive, for once, is there this time? I’d also like to be able to meander that way myself… and crossing such a Heath-Robinson patch-up would, at the least, require (nerves of steel and) the video cameras setting up…


  3. A bit of sunshine and every squirrel and wren are out there ..,. ahem … feather-nesting … it just ain’t seemly. It just ain’t natchural. it just ain’t British! 😀

    … what’s a ‘gilet’, my precioussss? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought this morning that we may be in for another glorious solar-feed day, the sky was blue and the sun shining nicely… and immediately after I gave the solar panels their early-morning wash-down a dirty-great layer of cloud appeared on the horizon and the sun winked out! The Met Office is having a larf.

      A gilet – doubtless called many other things elsewhere, a sleeveless bit of warm in the form of a “waistcoat” style thing. I have some quilted, and I have some (faux)-furry. 🙂


Comments are closed.