Well there you go – 28/8/2018 – my first visit of the season from fuel boat Halsall #narrowboat #england

They’ve been buzzing up and down the system all year of course, and we have done deals for various things, but today was the first visit of the season in which I boat firelighters, kindling and coal…


Shouldn’t need coal &etc for a month or two, now that I have it!

Thank’ee kindly! 🙂

That’s my cunning plan, anyway, Baldric.

Started the day off by checking over the Cardinal’s engine – oil, water, drive belts, mounts. Dipped and checked the batteries. Added some conduit to some wiring that I noticed might benefit from it. Gave the whole engine bay a good brush out. Cleared out the deck rain-gutters and broggled the hidden ones with a proverbial bent coat-hanger. Now there’s a lovely job, removing mud and tree-droppings and crawly-creepies from the rain-gutters. There was a respectably-sized spider in there, one with an elaborate pattern on his back (white markings) – he had the presence of mind to shout “wheeeeeeee!” as he left the Cardinal for pastures new. It was probably the fastest that he’s ever flown.

Even refilled the stern-gland greaser, and that is a messy task.

The ground hereabouts is getting soggy now after our monsoon rains, and we’re moored on pins, hammered into the towpath with my forehead.


Pins are the devices in the middle of the photograph above, the thingies to the top of frame are “nappy pins” and the thingies to the bottom of frame are handcuff chains.

After a couple of days here of the loving attentions of passing speed merchants considerate boaters the extra weight of eleventy-twelve tons of Halsall mooring alongside was too much, so I’ve just been out to re-site them and bang ’em in afresh.

My head hurts.

I need to invent The Lump Hammer.

A human forehead on the end of a hickory handle. That ought to do it.

I am for my armchair now, and then, once a decent interval has passed, the shower with an industrial loofah and a bottle of White Spirit.

Then I may visit the Land of Morpheus.

Yes, send for my sedan-chair, I shall visit the Land of Morpheus.

That, and some work on Project X, was my day.

How was yours?



  1. You ask how was my day, apart from the destruction of my touring caravan after a 400 yard drive it went very well thank you for asking. Love to hear your, “tales of the riverbank,” given poetic license as canal-bank didn’t sound the same..

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    1. Yikes and gadzooks – what happened to the caravan? Four hundred yards is hardly enough to get up to warp speeds. Are you alright, not injured (other than psychologically and financially)? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So how does the Halsall Boat announce it’s coming around. I don’t suppose you are in constant vigilant lookout for it’s potential arrival? Does it have a musical announcement ala ice cream trucks or is there some modern ping on one’s phone? Or do you make an appointment?
    I’ll be honest. I want it to be ice cream truck music.

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    1. I confess, tis neither mouldy, sackcloth-wearing peasant with a bell, nor the over-amped modern equivalent of the trumpets of Jericho. It’s all done on that black magic that is the interwebnetsonline and phobile mones… and by the routine of an orderly procession around a set route. ;-( They do hoot, where and when possible, and respond to a frantically-waved flag on on the fore-deck, but they also deliver to order. Whatever did we do before the interwebnetsonline?

      Actually, the most magical part is paying by card while bouncing around on the canal! It just seems so peculiar to be ouut in the middle of a literal nowhere, trading boat to boat, and tapping in a PIN to pay… 🙂

      How I remember ice-cream vans! Part of the magic of childhood. Part of the magic of adulthood too, provided that you pretend that you’re buying three cornets with chocolate flakes, two Mivvies and a Choc-Mint Sundae for some (mythical) kids indoors…

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      1. Its too bad the aren’t a completely stocked grocery floating up and down – with appropriate musical announcements. That would solve a cumbersome task for you. It seems like someone could make a decent living being a grocery delivery boat. Even if all they did was take your order, pick it up at the grocers and deliver it boatside. Although I suppose the cost would be excessive. The local grocery chain here has started to deliver as yours does. I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to order. Just based on the horrors that happen when I let the pimply teenagers pack my groceries I think the delivery can only be worse. But I’m a cynic.

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        1. I have to say that the supermarket I shop from in this area is … unpredictable. Sometimes it is very, very obvious that whoever chose and packed my shopping has no idea and has never really shopped for themselves! Once had soaps and household cleaners bunged in with fresh salads… Generally though, they are very good and they even choose long-dated produce rather than trying to fob me off with nearly-out-of-date stuff. Just once in a while though, well. 🙂


  3. This answers my query re the torture equipment, now I understand what they’re for (thought they were used to chain up the cabin boy when not in use – they look awfully clean for sticky in the found thingies. I’m dying to know what Project x is, my imagination has run riot with speculating on the genre and all this BDSM gear Halsall sells along the canals.

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    1. I do confess that these are the spares, unused and tucked away for that occasion when… The “nappy pins” hook quickly around the armco that sometimes lines the edge of the towpath – great for leaping off with a rope and securing the boat swiftly before doing a proper job. The chains do the same job, but do it properly (and they don’t squeak overnight the way that nappy pins can do)! The pins are for mud, mud, glorious mud and are oft pulled out by passing boats making the moored boats dance around (the seventeen or eighteen-ton dance, that is…)!

      Project X is two things, one a (narrow)boaty book, the other a series of books the like of which I have never written before, a very definite change of genre… 🙂


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