Four and a half miles to the toilet and back. Red light on Thunderbird III, Captain. #narrowboat #England

Well, to the Elsan station, anyway, and that’s damned near the same thing.

Ingerlund has been hidden under a ridiculous heatwave of late. It hasn’t rained for thirty days and thirty nights. The Met Office tells me that there’s a fifty percent chance of a quick shower tonight and a thunderstorm promised for Friday evening. It seems that my efforts with a feather duster weren’t entirely in vain.

I don’t just dislike heat. Heat scares me. My inner Pierson’s Puppeteer comes to the fore and I feel a primal need to flee the explosion of the galactic core. This planet is eight light-minutes from the nearest star. If it were just seven light-minutes and thirty seconds we’d all be toast. Sun worshippers are insane. What thissum means, for me, is that of late I have only been crawling out from under my rock in the early morning and, sometimes, the late evening. Today was one such.

At six of the O’Good Grief I loosed the Cardinal’s ropes, remembered that I’d moored on chains and retrieved those, and cruised away. I had intended to visit the service area at Calveley, and mayhap to then moor a little farther on beyond the bridge for a few days, but when we got there it was awash with boats, and I decided to retreat the way we’d come.

One of these two doors is very important to me.

Calveley Services. What’s behind door number one? What’ sbehind door number two? Sometimes, me…

It’s where I check that no-one is watching and then run out like a loon to empty my Spode gazunder. Dish-dash, elegant tip, barely audible splash, quick flush, rinse and return.

Alright, it’s where I lug three large Elsan cassettes while wearing old clothing that is ready and ripe for a wash anyway, and I diligently keep my lips sealed and do the necessary before hosing down and checking that I’ve left the place as I found it, or better. In the world of Elsans, “splashback” during the emptying process is a powerful teacher in the matter of keeping one’s mouth tightly sealed. Been there, done that and Greek and Roman gods alone know how, avoided dysentery. The psychological scars remain though, and nothing will ever remove them.

The other door leads to toilets and showers, for the use of. Both doors are accessed by a key that the world and its dog has copies of.

Dreamy Blend Photo Effect:
Tap, hosepipe, water for the use of. Splendid stuff. I like water. I love water. Bestest drink in the whole wide world. Useful for other things too.

At the other end of the block (and at the other end of the Cardinal) is one of two taps wherefrom while here I may obtain my water for all purposes. The Cardinal’s main cold tank (there’s a separate hot-water tank) is some five hundred and forty-five litres. I think I put about four hundred litres in there this morning. This tap is also under lock and fairly useless key.

At this service point (and they are few and far between, and – possibly as a deliberate policy – becoming more so) there is room for two boats to moor. The other boats in view are on paid-for long-term moorings.

Creep in, creep out – Calveley Services, surrounded by folk on other boats, all snoring.

Being the well-trained social soul that I am, this means that at Sparrowcough o’clock the Cardinal and I were extra-quiet, extra-slow manoeuvring and mooring up.

The temperature was already something in the seventies of Fahrengezundheit, or twenty-three or twenty-four of Mr Celsius.

I like Calveley services. I can dispose of rubbish there too, and the disposal of rubbish is, surprisingly, a mighty problem when afloat and not in a  – what do they call those ‘orrible things? Oh yes – and not in a “marina“.

It took damned near an hour for the water tank to fill (my hosepipe has kinks).

All and any jokes on a postcard please.

After that was when I discovered that my target moorings were filthy with people (did I just type that out loud? Ooh ‘eck) so I carried on past them, winded (turned) at Bunbury – and doesn’t that winding hole just need a little vegetation clearing! If you didn’t know the winding hole was there you’d never spot it until well past, and, once in it, there’s no way to see if anything is coming at you while you get out of it. Then it was back the way we’d come.

The Cardinal gives a great view. On canals you get to see the “back garden” of the world. In this case, parched fields and thirsty trees.

Tick-over speed past the moored boats, enjoying the views of the parched open fields. The Cardinal is uber-brilliant in that respect, you stand high up and have a great viewpoint.

Hot hot hot…

By this time the sun was well into the “oh gosh” end of the Hutson scale, and I was looking for moorings – the nearest such being where I’d started off from!

Chin-chin, Calveley, for the moment…

Tootle-pipfor the mo, Calveley Services. Sometimes my tiller-pin stares stright ahead. sometimes he looks only to the left or to the right. When my manoeuvres are at their least elegant, he ignores me and looks to the rear.

I do feel guilty – you give me fresh water and I leave you with, well, things best not dwelt upon. Thank you!

Carefully past the poor sunken cruiser beyond the cheese factory. This sank a couple of months ago and it will be there for at least a year while paperwork and legal threats and wotnots are issued, ignored and paid for at £10,000 a minute or whatever lawyers charge these days.

I didn’t do it.

…and onward. I went a little beyond my starting point, to the junction with the Middlewich Canal, and bunged myself bungingly on the “visitor” moorings there for a couple of days. I don’t know what, but I like these moorings. They are as noisy as Hell – there’s a main road right alongside (the A51), the solar panels get filthy with road-shi… with road-cra… with stuff but they provide a great contrast to peaceful countryside moorings, somehow (briefly).

Mind you, this is ‘oliday season, so the place is – during holidaymaker “office” hours – like some sort of eastern floating market. Ruddy boats everywhere. In this photograph there are two more hidden, one had just clattered and bounced its way onto the Middlewich Branch and another had, by dint of some bargery-bangery, turned out of there and had headed downt the main Shropshire Union. This is another reason, aside from heat, why I tend to do all of my moving about in the (very) early morning…

Barbridge Junction, and a meeting of boats – some hidden, some just disappeared up and down the junction. Like a ruddy floating market. I wish ti were a floating market – then I could buy fruit and veggies and tofu and bread and things.

Of course, half an hour after I’d moored up there all, but all of the boats that had been on my intended alternative moorings cruised past…

…this being one disadvantage of doing all of my summertime moving before other folk are, generally, out and about and shouting “My right of way, I think, you spotty-pated mouldwarp” and “Call that a manoeuvre? By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I’d beat thee. Methink’st thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee.”

Still, unless you’re a Member of Parliament, it’s not possible to have everything.

Mine was actually a very pleasant bit of boating. The job is done. That which is better empty is now empty, that which ought rightly to be full is full, and we are comfortable here for a couple of nights.

Where after this? I don’t know. I lost most of my decision-making facility over ten years ago, and the remainder was psychedelically whipped away some years after that. I’ll wing it when I come to that bridge, toss a coin or something.

Meantime it is back to editing the next Hutson tome ready for presentation – Cheerio, and thanks for the apocalypse. I’ve decided on and received a new cover for it…


Cheerio, and thanks for the apocalypse, by Ian Hutson. 2018. Coming soon…

Rather splendid, what?

Yes, the stories are rather apocalytpic and serious, but they’re also – I hope – a spot of a laugh, and I wanted a cover that was terribly, terribly English. Red, white and blue and lots of London – since I destroy London in the book it seemed only fair that I should use a few icons of London on the cover.

What’s it about? Well, short stories, six or seven of them. Sex, politics and religion feature, all of the things you’re not supposed to talk or write about.

I must get the damned thing finished, and for a couple of weeks I now no longer have the excuse of “must go and fetch water and un-fetch the other stuff and dump the rubbish”!

Tally-ho for the mo.

Ian H., overly warm and wondering what to prepare for tiffin.


    1. How do, sir! Thank’ee. Waiting at the moment for the thunder, lightning and rain that the sky is promising… but I’m not convinced that it will actually deliver on the threat, sadly! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s like a traffic jam on that canal. Well, it will certainly provide some entertaining boat watching. Like going to the roller derby but with narrow boats.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I particularly loved the way that they all steamed up at full speed to within an inch of each other – too much of a hurry to hang back and wait five minutes! People drive narrowboats the same way that they drive cars… 😉 Tis very entertaining!

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  2. Looked back… and found the below….

    July 19, 2016
    “Yesterday was ridiculously, disgustingly, liver-churningly hot and humid, and today is predicted and looks likely to be even more foul.”

    Se????? You’ve had this, before.


    (running, ducking and hiding)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh we have the same stuff organised on a rota basis, it’s just that we’re never ready for it! 😉 Half of the canals are closed due to lack of water (after just a month of no rain), but do we (as a country) build reservoirs? Do we eckaslike!


  3. I have been lying down in my darkened room for what seems like a month now, I should so love to feel a breeze on my face…

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    1. There’s a spot of a cool(ish) breeze here at the moment – first one in a long, long time. Whether it will last or not I couldn’t say… I’ve got used to just being “alive” in the early morning hours and then late evening – the middle of the day has been lost to me for a month or so… 😉 Fingers crossed that you can cool off soon…

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  4. Been wondering about those “icky” excretion things. On land, there is a nice little room to go into and … excrete. Then lovely pipes, take it all “away,” and we think nothing more about it.

    But…. on water….. Mmmmmm….. What to do? What to do?

    And now I know!

    With hopes for a break in the weather….. For you…. We are back to just Summer here, now. Which can be hot, but then, we are used to this happening. 🙂 Not so, there, I fear. -sigh-

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    1. Cheers, Muskie! In England we are wholly unprepared for everything, all of the time. Winter? Commes as a shock, every year. Summer? Comes as a shock, every year. It really is most embarrassing! 😉


  5. Loving the cover, very patriotic on this very footballing day – it’s coming home! Sunstroke don’t worry and how arid are those fields? Looks like #hardsun has already done the damage. Look forward to reading when it’s out, keep scribing!

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    1. Yonder sunshine has certainly baked this part of England until it’s rock hard. Everything looked set this evening for a decent thunder and lightning storm, but it all appears to have backed off again for now… Hopefully Ingerlund are playing on better grass than we have around here (the green stuff on the ground, I mean, the _grass_ here is excellent)… 🙂


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