Hairy Porter waits for a dog to poop, paddle-boarders, hotel boats and my winter-warmer snake…

… oh, and a mention for the chap who wanted me to skip over his mooring rope (with my two bags of shopping) because he was too lazy to tie up properly [notable benny – you’ll be surprised to learn that he removed his rope from across the towpath].

It’s all go you know, on Ingerlund’s canals.

Hairy Porter? Well, I didn’t know that he was Hairy Porter, not until he’d finished waiting for one of his many, many dogs to squeeze another one out, not until he popped his hat on and motored them all away from the scene of Shatalot*.

*Shatalot is a bit like Camelot, but without the Arthurian legend charm, and it is much easier to step into, quite ruining one’s Jimmy Choo walking boots.

Polaroid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/photo-paper
To be entirely fair and even, I did see this chap bag up one lot of doggy poop – and then promptly “dispose” of the bag by throwing it into the hedgerow. He seemed to have a lot of dogs, and they all seemed to have bowel problems. Maybe he wasn’t exactly having the time of his life afloat?

I ought to have guessed that celeryebrittee was in the air from the way that their heads self-blurred.

England is, en ce moment, experiencing some vile weather with blazing sunshine and temperatures in the high eighties of the Fahrengezundheitings (for the wee ones among you that is on the order of thirty and more of the Celsiuses). The air is humid, and when I say “humid” I mean humid in the way that the nylon crotch of a ginger roofer’s week-old budgie-smugglers gets humid while working on a dark-tile roof in high summer sans breeze. Any more humid and I shall have to fashion some sort of rudimentary 20,000 metre snorkel and change to breathing from the stratosphere or perhaps the mesosphere instead.

The day is just – and only just – civilised at perhaps five o’bugger of the early clock, but by six bells of the morning watch it is already too uncomfortable for any unnecessary movement.

This morning, sadly, I had some necessary movement to make – comestibles, the seeking of. There are, about a mile or so away from these moorings, a couple of locations where a chap in a domestic “well that will just have to do for the moment situation” may purchase – at a rip-off premium – bread, orange and apple juices, razor blades and a few tins and packets of les mangeables to tide himself over until the next proper shopping. I set off at ten minutelings past 0800hrs (that’s Indian Army terminology), raided the farthest one a mile and something away at their opening (0830 BC in modern notation), called at the other one on the return and then commenced trudging back to the Cardinal with my two bags of nonsense.

There was a gentleman in the process of tying up his cruiser – using a line strung at waist-height right across the towpath, a line that he intended knotting to the nearest fencepost… I met him at the moment when he was trying to remember how to tie a double-grannie boy scout with cloven half-hoof reefer, all in blue nylon cord.

I asked the gentleman whether I did indeed look like an overheated old grouch with two heavy bags who seemed keen and eager to launch into some sort of Double-Dutch skipping arrangement to the tune of Malcolm McLaren. He looked into my eye, and he concluded that, no, I didn’t, and he lowered his rope for me to pass. As I trudged on through the shimmering heat I could hear the sound of him deciding to take the sixty seconds to do it properly, and hammering in a mooring pin…

More confirmation, as if I needed such, that I am a grumpy old Hector and that this is why the human species dislikes me so.

[Note to self: change your ways, if you can be arsed, or don’t, it’s not as though you’re missing a lot in the species.]

Anyway, comestibles and I made it safely back to the boat before temperatures become wholly “kill me now – oh, you are doing”, and we made it without skipping or hurdles or being hanged by the waist until dead, dead, dead. Items have been flung into the coolbox, breakfast items have been flung down my throat and a cooling litre of coffee has been consumed. I shan’t venture out again today unless it is to exercise Mr Biggenthwacker in the dispatching of some oik who cheerily remarks that we are having “lovely” or “glorious” weather.

No, we are not. It is vile.

It is, though, weather that brings out the Games People to play the games that Games People play now, every night and every day, now, la-da da da da da da da, la da da da da da de. Paddle-boarders for one. What is the collective noun for “paddle boarders”? Answers in the comments please. For my part, having seen the canal water close-up, I think that the collective noun ought to be a “brave” of paddle boarders, or perhaps a “nexus of Weil’s disease”. Cheerful, happy, happy souls (for the most part, madam you know who you are), and with lovely hats. Never seen piddle boarders in hats such as these before, sunshine is as sunshine does, I suppose, if you will excuse me speaking twaddle.

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A quite terrifying stampede of paddleboarders

Whatever the hats, they – fortunately – missed meeting the hotel boat chugging in das opposite direction a few minutes later. Around the corner behind these folk is a blind bridge under a roadway roundabout – blind as in it forms part of a neat “s-bend”. The canal under the bridge is just wide enough, only just, for two boats lashed together – you wouldn’t get two boats passing one another. It would have been… an opportunity for lots of cool-headed thinking and avoidery action… had this lot met this lot:

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Yonder hotel boats, lashed together and steaming with intent.

That is about forty tons of boat lashed together with one engine and one rudder, approaching the blindeth bendeth under the bridgeth.

The hotel boat was, I think, being chased by these chaps – doubtless someone who is more hip and down with the ways of the active younglings than am I will tell me what these watery vehicles are known as. They look like half-canoes to me, all bow and no stern. Odd, stubby-looking things.

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Deliverance, anyone? I can hear banjo music…

I wonder who would have been the victors had these two met the poddle boarders? The chap in the lead looked as though he was enjoying life to the full even though his “hat” was on back to front; the younger chap following on looked rather as though he wanted some waste ground upon which to introduce his half-canoe thingy and paddle to a gallon of five-star petrol and a box of matches…

The morning hire-boat rush has been and gone. Boats every which way but loose, some rushing because they are late returning the hire-boats, others rushing because they’ve just begun their holiday. The chap who offered me the skipping opportunity has been past, but I didn’t enquire whether he’d had success in his own mission to visit the rip-offery shops.

It is quite exhausting watching other people scurrying about, I do wish that they would be more discreet about it.

My winter-warmer snake? ‘What’s that?’ I hear your left-neuron fire off as an urgent query across the echoing cerebral wastelands to your right-neuron. Well, it’s a spot of DIY from the Chief Engineer, and it is ready for winter. The Cardinal is, for the most part, open-plan. The only separation of church from state lies in the shower & wotsit room. This results in there being two distinct weather systems within the boat, one fore and one aft – the air just doesn’t (easily) move either way along the corridor past the shower room.

The vinter-varmer-viper is a lovely tube with 12v fans at either end that draws air from the stove end of the boat to the non-stove sleeping cabin down the far end. In winter an hour or two of such gentle suckery-blowery will force a spot more warmth down to my dreaming-pit. Doesn’t need a lot, just enough to take the extra chill off. I like my sleeping pit to be cool at the best of times, this device will prevent it from being ice-cool during the depths of Ingerlund’s winters.

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My winter-warmer snake, to force air past the shower room…

It is, you’ll notice (if you have the right specs upon your nose), quite out in the open and obvious. This is just as I like my technology. All of the many upgrades to the Cardinal have been fitted in this style – the gun-metal cable tray to the left of frame holds most of the new wiring (easy access, easier to fit tidily and properly). The vinter-varmer-viper is indeed plumbing pipe bolted on, with the ends turned out on the Chief Engineer’s lathe to fit a couple of “computer” fans. It works splendidly.

That is about the sum of my intended activity until this damnable heat dissipates and we get back to something civilised, such as monsoon rain. Inactivity’s not a choice; I simply cease to function at anything much over 63°F, and we are at the moment so very, very far over 63° of the F.

I have moved the Cardinal a couple of times in the past week, both times in the company of early-morning night-owls, in the fives, sixes and sevens of the ante meridian clock, when it is just un-warm enough to do so without medical damage (to me).

The Saddleworth Moor fire is apparently now so large that NASA has been photographing it from orbit. The Army has been called in to assist Her Maj’s Fire Brigade. Water restrictions are beginning to pop up, some flights of locks now have time restrictions on them in order to conserve water in the canals. I am still saving the cost of diesel to run my diesel boiler by willingly, gratefully, gleefully and positively joyfully taking cold showers. Who would have thought that the advice of all of those prison psychiatrists all of those years ago would finally hit the mark, eh? After a day at 90°F there is nought so wonderful as twenty-five litres of cold water lashing upon one’s person.

In two or three short months I shall, once again, be regaling you, dear reader singular, with tales of ice and sleet and snow and frozen mooring ropes. Gloves and hats and coats and boots and roaring stoves and curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Fewer paddle boarders, half-canoeists and hire-boater, non-poop-scoopers about in winter. Fewer moorland fires, too.

Time, methinks, for a spot of LSD.

[Long-term Sitting Down]

Chin-chin for the mo, &etc.,

Ian H. in the company of nb Cardinal Wolsey. Phew!

12 Comments

    1. Many thanks, sir – and my sincere apologies for landing you with a “lead” photograph of a dog pooping! I shall arrange things better in future, just in case… 🙂 The day here has became even hotter, and my mooring on a nice, quiet stretch seems to have caused the “supermarket car park” effect to play – from being out of everyone’s way, as I like to be, I have been surrounded now by late moorers. Damn it! I do hope that they like Pink Floyd and Boston and ZZ Top and Demis Roussos.

      Did I just type “Demis Roussos” out loud? Oh heck, now that’s out of the bag, too… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Did “Harry” pick up his dog’s pooooooooo????? It’s a law, in my city. As well as no un-leashed dogs, except in dog parks. (The no unleashed part, is thanks to me.) ——- You answered this, farther on. No!!!! He did not pick it up.

    ‘Tis not grumpy, to not want to jump over a rope!!!!!

    A heat wave in “my neck of the woods” too. But we get hot spells, most every summer, so it isn’t such a surprise. And we know we will need some wall a/c units. Because my older self, can not stand it. But we only use them, when necessary! We enjoy any night cooling, and early morning cooling. So far, we are getting them.

    I’ll report back, later in the week, when the humidity may simply come and stay, and stay, and stay.

    Keep up the sitting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You want to be here, to report on the ice, snow, winds, cold of winter!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are laws about picking up poop here too, there are laws about everything – but they’re never enforced unless there’s zero to no effort involved. A once-proud police service has now been reduced to chasing people who send “offensive” tweets or who hold opinions that jibe with the prevailing (albeit minority-held) zeitgeist. Tis a sad thing to have seen over the years.

      Good luck with your heatwave – I hope that you are better prepared than are we here. It is a standing joke in England that everything comes as a surprise, we prepare for nothing. Winter catches us unawares, summer catches us unawares – being caught unawares catches us unawares! Tis a good job that we can laugh at ourselves (although that, too, will probably soon be illegal…). 😉

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  2. Holy Chaos. There ought to be a law. Heath regs or something to keep people from siting and/or standing on random pieces of plastic and paddling down the canal. It strikes me that the reg would be money saving idea for the NHS. Fewer bacterial infections for one thing.

    Also, if there could be some basic Decency Tests given to anyone who wants to pootle
    about in a boat, lives could be saved. Specifically those who can’t pass the tests would be less likely to be murdered by people who could. And also of course from being stuck inside bridges.

    Just brainstorming.

    PS. Apparently the wizard hat is a new trend in hats. Like it’s a thing people are buying and wearing outside of costume events. If my tumblr feed is to be trusted anyway. Which honestly, it probably isn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t realised about the “wizard” hats being in vogue – I think that I am on the risque side of Carnaby Street when wearing my cloth cap! The traffic presented even more fun and frolics this afternoon – heard an engine roaring,looked out and there’s two narrowboats heading towards mine, one racing desperately to overtake the other… Wacky Races abounding. The idiot managed his manoeuvre, just, and swerved at the last moment to avoid the Cardinal (I think that he may have seen me taking my favourite lump-hammer out of his sleeping-wrappings… Some folk just don’t understand that if they want speed they should head for the A666 or the M25 (tongue in cheek), but the canals are for pootling and relaxing on… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The warmth doth tickle your humour muscles despite the heat and one excellent titter it is. I offer without hesitation the collective noun rummaged during my own research into collective nouns for a group of clowns (a theme of coulrophobia – extreme fear of clowns – suffered by my anti-hero Benjamin) that is ‘Pratfall’, a lesser known one that fits your paddleboarders if I may say so? What intrigues me about your way of life is the cross section of life’s idiots that seem to be drawn to the waterways (your company excepted) and the range of frustrations you encounter; I can only suppose it is because of your proximity to the outside world (less places to hide) and your needs to attend to so many daily survival activities. Even so there seems to be such a collection of types to apply Pratfall to – ah, but the wonders of the Nature around you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t help but wonder how a chap gets on and off one of those paddleboards. They were all dressed in dry civilian clothing, no concessions to being on water, but surely if you just stepped on or off the thing would scoot from under you and drop you in the drink? They must have a technique worked out – perhaps some sort of winch or crane, possible a dangle from a helicopter…

      There are indeed many and varied souls on the canals, and quite a lot of them are… odd. I probably fit in well by now, which is sad. ;-(

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