One grass-snake and a damned Bank Holiday full of creatures with whom I share some minor DNA #narrowboat #england #canal

One reptile, one sunset, a bit of a back and forth along the canal and, unfortunately, a Bank Holiday.

The exciting news first – I saw a grass snake yesterday (at least, I hope that’s what I saw).

I was kneeling down at the side of the canal, looking in the overgrowth for a handy bit of ironwork at water-level at the edge of the towpath to moor the Cardinal to, when this olive-green snake swam up at a rate of knots, oiked itself half out of the water onto the aforementioned ironwork for a better look at me, and then went on its merry way.

We’re not used to snakes in England, even absolute tiddlers such as this one (perhaps 50cms in length). Most of our snakes come in human form, and inhabit the restricted territory of Westminster, and The City financial district. There is only one venomous snake snake in England, and that is the Adder. Sudden and unexpected interaction by the English with snakes causes effects of mutual distaste, recoil and what is known in the Chinese Laundry trade as “Special Boil Wash Cycle Number 23”.

I was a just that little bit more careful then on, furtling around in the overgrowth and nettles for a secure mooring…

This is, sadly, the first of two Bank Holiday long-weekends in England, so my fellow baggy-trousered, baggy-brained, soggy-arsed humans are all over the place.

The more humans that I come into contact with the more I love dogs.

I have it on very good authority and not some little continuing empirical evidence that my fellow humans hold a similarly low opinion of me.

The species Dog has, thus far, given me indications of a possible absence of outright disapproval. This is encouraging.

The moorings – before they were filled with sights that, once seen, cannot be unseen, and with “bar-be-cues” and “boom-boxes” full of “Kylie”.

Still, the sunset was quite fun.

The garden.

This morning’s dawn wasn’t bad.

Four flying-machines, all heading pell-mell for the sun.
Creatures with whom I share some DNA, at their repose at this hour of a Sunday morning.

Today, and indeed tomorrow, I plan to work on my love for my fellow humanoid, and to finish the current collection of short stories.

I may, occasionally, scurry onto the towpath in order to re-seat our mooring pins (repeatedly pulled out yesterday by passing steam-turbine launches answering medical emergencies, and by naval destroyers on important missions).

Who knows, today I may spot Mr Grass-Snake again.

The blunderbuss is loaded with grape and chain.


Ian H.



  1. With your fondness for the dog species, any chance you will decide to share the Cardinal with one? If so what kind / size would you favor. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A dog is indeed in the plan, but I needs must be sure that I can afford self, boat and dog before taking on the responsibility (and taking on all of the fun too)! Yonder dog, when dog it may be, will be a general mutt of a rescue hound, something of middling to medium size (not small, not big, but just the right size)… 🙂

      In two years I’ve only seen two unhappy dogs on the canal. One had fallen in at a lock while the lock was in use (full of boat) and was thus a-tremble, understandably, at every lock, and the other had something of trauma and water in his past and held a strong preference for land. All of the other dogs though have been uber-happy, in their element. New places, new smells, wildlife to track, water to play with. I just need, when the time comes, to find a reasonably sane dog…

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  2. We always say ‘if a boat is moored in the middle of nowhere, it’s there for a reason.’ Unfortunately other humanoids only see safety in numbers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that it may quieten down a little once Bank Holiday Monday is over, maybe… The stretch that I am on has gone from two boats (myself and one other) earlier today to full from horizon to horizon. The unaccustomed “good” weather (it’s really not to my taste – far too warm!) has produced crowds all desperate to get out here and “do the boating”. Me? I’m just trying to keep myself moored securely and to stay out of the sun! 🙂

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    1. The description certainly fits, this one was olive green with markings and a very good swimmer. Thankfully I didn’t get a chance to test for venom! 🙂

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  3. You have again picked a lovely spot to moor. I wonder if it is possible to request the appropriate authorities to shift all the other boats to a different canal. It feels like they ruin the tranquility. One assumes they talk, chatter and shout. There are probably even children on those boats. I’m sure children are right and necessary for the survival of the species, but we can all agree that they don’t mix well in a tranquil setting.

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    1. It is indeed a lovely spot. No a (not many…) problems with children, conversation and suchlike, but I am not fond of the music (speakers on the towpath) and the ‘I’M ON THE MOBILE – CAN YOU HEAR ME? NO, THE MOBILE…’ conversations outside my portholes! It will quieten down a little once the Bank Holiday is over and this unfamiliar “good” weather reverts to our normal type – and then again, when winter returns…

      I love humans, really I do, it’s just that I don’t know how to cook them properly. 🙂

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  4. Are you very sure yon snakeoid was a grass snake? There are some folk who import the more exotic of any species to nurture and lose sight of. Haven’t they found crocodiles in sewers? Or maybe I’ve read too much Stephen King, I have a fear of what might come up out of toilets. I did think of you when I realised it was May and wondered if you were near enough to any pull in hidden shelter thingy to moor up in. At least feel relieved you won’t get any caravans passing being towed by another barbecue set, swaying and wobbling as they go by at whoosh factor one! Another series of short stories you say, yipee!

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    1. I remain to be convinced, it was definitely an olive-ish shade of green, but I didn’t realise that the wee beasties had black diamond markings along their sides! It gave me quite a … surprise, especially since I was already kneeling down at the water’s edge, and bending over, scuffling through the grass and nettles!

      ‘Cheerio, and thanks for the apocalypse’ is the next collection. Religion, deep thought, politics, money – all of the things we Englishpersons never, ever discuss…

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