Sitting down on the job. The life of a paperback writer… #narrowboat #england

I am affectionately known by all and sundry at the Cleethorpes Sanatorium for the Clinically Confused as “Peanut Head, Ward 3, Bed 7”.

Do horses really sit down like that, rear end only? I suppose that they must, this one certainly was.

How peculiar.

I may have been sat sitting still, much in the manner of this horse, but I have not been entirely idle.

Nor, you might notice, has Father Nature been entirely idle. As well as this unseemly orgy of nest-building and mating taking place in every tree and hedgerow, do you notice the buds on the trees?

There aren’t yet many, and they are in dire peril for the moment (lashings of cold weather and ginger beer are forecast to descend upon us once again in the next couple of weeks), but signs of life are returning to the countryside.

I, for my part, am hibernating less than I have of late. In spite of the Cardinal’s blackout blinds being eleventy-nine point nine nine percent effective, something in that squidgy blancmange between my ears notices the increasingly early appearances of daylight and wakes me from my slumbers.

In the past couple of weeks I have waded through offset gutters and alternating headers and footers and page numbering and cover-blurb production, and I have given birth to the paperback version of The Dog With The Bakelite Nose (Not About Dogs)…


My grateful thanks go to my faithful, tireless, slightly disturbed beta-readers, Aaron and Pat, for highlighting some corrections and typos – these were put in place before the print version went to bed, so to speak.

Task “top of the list” now is to make the same corrections and release a fresh version of the eBook upon the world…

Task “also top of the list” is to continue with writing all of the ideas that have accumulated while I’ve been in gaol flummoxed by life afloat and working hard on Bakelite Nose.

Seven thousand words in the past week have seen off a short story currently labouring under the title of “Three Wishes”, and this morning’s work has been to begin another under the moniker of “Ye Gods”. This one will like as not see me arrested for blasphemy and every “ism” on the (heavily-laden) English Statute Book.

On the desk for my attention are the bones of a “boaty” book – something along the lines of “The Cardinal and I” – “Me and My Boat” – “Two Years Afloat”, that sort of thing. Some of the adventures that you haven’t read about on the blog… One Man And His Boat? I don’t know, I’ve got to write it first, then I’ll think of the title.

The wind is picking up again for the next couple of days and winter full is rumoured to be making yet another return in the coming week. Someone likened this winter to an angry person in an argument – it keeps coming back into the room, waggling a finger and saying “…and another thing…” It has certainly seemed to be a long winter this year.

Comestibles arrived this morning, a deal was done with a hijacked Sainsbury’s van in the local marina car park and fresh orange juice and cupboard groceries were forked over in exchange for filthy moolah. That just leaves a spot of five-star leaded diesel to procure and – if winter is on the way back to visit – a sack or three more of coal-substitute from somewhere.

With summer somewhere over the horizon and hopefully heading this way the Bro and I have begun to think of some jobs that need doing and some that may be done just for the yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum of it. A spot of paintwork around the gunwales, some secondary double-glazing units for the windows and portholes (ready for next winter). Now that I’ve used the solar and battery set-up for a year and more without ever plugging into land I have a better idea of what I need – mayhap another couple of solar panels, another battery or two, some table-lamps converting to work on the twelve-volt supply, a couple of extra sockets…

Once the weather stops being quite so “freeze your fingers off” I must also get back into the Cardinal’s engine bay with an oily rag, two paintbrushes and a small but perfectly-formed mop, and give that a spring clean, wipe away the muck of a (hard) winter’s (hard) use. The engine needs servicing asap too, or sooner – filters, oil, flux capacitor, space-time convovulatrix and fresh thrumble-nodes in all of the flintlocks.

By ‘eck, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs, it never stops, does it?

Let’s put on some sail, Mr Hornblower, I wish to be within sight of Cadiz by morning.

The lead if you please, Mr Calamy.

Idlers and wasters below, rig life-lines, fore and aft, Mr Pullings.

Yikes, I think I lost it for a moment there. Aye, well, it’s all good fun though. Now, I must away back to my endeavours.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H., Admiral.


    1. If nothing else I wish to leave tangible evidence for future generations of my family that they hail from some decidedly dodgy genetic material, with overtones of insanitary. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! This one has been a long time coming, I’ve been… otherwise occupied, and then decided to ditch about two thirds of it and write it again… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I need crew. I shall advertise. Must be prepared to work under the lash and to be paid in rum. No pension, no prospects, every sixteenth Sunday afternoon off. Apply within. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. With the wondifferousness of the photographer one would be forgiven for thinking that was an oil painting of the horse reclining; although an artist would have to get the horse to pose like that in the first place. Why do I imagine a cupboard (maybe the size of a bathroom cabinet) in the galley neatly stacked full of jars of marmite? Or is that one on the list of ‘jobs to do’?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a cupboard full of Marmite, another full of coffee beans… but I’m not worried because I haven’t felt the need to arrange them in ascending order of “Use by” date! 🙂


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