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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
…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…
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…
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.