Oh my darling Inclementine… did I ever misjudge the weather yesterday! #narrowboat #england

Moving (for a “single-hander”) at this time of year – most of the English year, in fact – is a case of hopping about between windy spells. Yesterday morning dawned dull, overflowing with dullth in fact, but avec no le wind. I decided that since the dictats of TWMBO (Canal and River Trust – They Who Must be Obeyed) suggested a maximummy of 48 hours on our moorings that we, the Cardinal and moi, would shuffle on a little.

Notable Bennie – These dictats are licence Ts and Cs, not real law, so are law-by-blackmail in effect – you can’t cruise National publicly-owned waterways without a licence, you can’t get a licence without complying with these non-lawful restrictions imposed by an un-elected, unaccountable body. It’s a bit like the local estate heavies telling you that you can walk on “their” patch to and fro the SPAR shop, but only if you pay them protection money… and H.M. Police telling you that it’s just the local gang’s Ts and Cs and that you have a “choice” of some kind in that you need not walk on “their” patch.

So, the breeze being favourable by not existing, I untied our strings and began to move. The next available mooring looked dreary in extremis, and was overlooked by the upper windows of a row of soul-free ticky-tacky houses, presumably occupied by soul-fre ticky-tacky people. They just didn’t feel “right”, so I decided to mooch on some more. Once out of Nantwich you are somewhat constrained by the strange design and build of the canal itself, there being in most places the “Shropshire Shelf” – a ledge jutting out under water from the sides, meaning that mooring is either impossible or requires floating wheels to be used as fenders to keep the boat’s distance. We mooched on, we got committed and the next moorings were at a place called Hack Green, no big deal, just a couple of miles on (or about forty minutes cruise at my canal speed), and a couple of locks hence.

Mistake – I had prepared for only a minor mooch, not a minor cruise. Coat not within reach. Windlass still in locker. Stove flue chimney still in place.

It must be said that part of the reason for mooching on was to get away from some drunken or drugged-up OAPs who had cruised in the evening before. This boatload of elderly hoorays, up to their nipples in entitlement and, for all I know, TCP™ and Deep Heat™, took delight in cruising the length of the moorings entirely on the wrong side of the canal, at unsuitable velocity and giving each moored boat no more than three or four inches clearance. Given that narrowboats (especially), indeed most boats, steer from the rear like the love-child of a fork-lift truck and that supermarket trolley with the wonky wheel… this is a problem in the awaiting, let alone a vast show of disrespect for the property of others.

When confronted by a row of pi*ssed off moored boaters their reply was “well, we didn’t actually hit you so what’s the problem?” Foolhardy numpties, they then proceeded to moor up a couple of boats back from the Cardinal, whereupon they were the recipients of a smidge more opprobrium and not some little censure. I didn’t need to do a thing, the boat immediately behind the Cardinal was a faux-tug “Brasso-palace” (as in uber-shiny), and they were, quite rightly, quite vocal enough for all of us. I just stood and watched…

Photograph of unrelated boat coincidentally smelling of TCP and Deep Heat, and with loud snoring noises coming from inside. I walked past at high speed, giving them no more than three or four inches clearance, even though I too steer from the rear.

Possibly this Hooray-OAP incident weighed disproportionately in my decision that the available moorings were “not nice”, and contributed to my ill-considered decision to “mooch on, mooch on”.

Well, once committed to two or three more miles of cruising, the heavens opened and half a gale blew up. With no chance to even duck inside for a coat we crabbed, we dodged and we most certainly did not want to end up grounded on the Shroppie Shelf. I got soaked, I got somewhat less than comfortably warm… and it served me a-right for not preparing properly!

There was one bridge where I might have wedged the Cardinal while I nipped down below for a coat and guess what? We had a boat up our Arsenal Villa, so that put paid to that option.

It was actually quite fun, and the two locks at Hack Green are nice, tame locks no more than six or seven feet deep – meaning that I can ignore the slip-slidery lock ladders and just step off the Cardinal’s roof to work the lock. I moored us up just above the locks, on yet more “visitor” moorings with the dodgy, ill-thought-out time restriction, and they are pleasant enough. The wind and rain, as you would expect, stopped the moment I got through the second lock…

Today the solar panels are feeding, and I am doing sweet naff all. I’ll move on again when next the wind looks as though it is resting, and hope that it makes fun of someone else instead of me, somewhere else.

One of the reasons why I express this mild disparagement of the “Licence Agreement” imposition of time restrictions on moorings is that the Canal and River Trust, CaRT, never obey their own rules. Tis one rule for “us” and no rules at all for them. There is, as there is in most places, a CaRT work pontoon/barge/boat/wotsit moored – “moored” – slap bang in the middle of these restricted “visitor” moorings. Doubtless it has been there a while and will be so for a while still. The longest “do as we say, not as we do” CaRT mooring that I have personally seen is TWO YEARS on restricted “48-hour” “visitor” moorings, at Calveley (and they’re still moored there to this day).

You can’t expect diners to use the escargot forks provided, CaRT, if you insist on slurping the soup course and throwing quail bones over your shoulder yourself.

Abide by your own rules and you may then find that other folk begin to respect them a little more…


Yes, that is as well moored as it looks, and yes, it does swing out into the cut every time a boat tries to pass. No, it’s not moored like that because it’s too deep a draught to get in to the side, I’ve watched it swing in at both ends. No, I’m not going to touch it to attempt to improve things, I not so green as I am cabbage-looking. Been there, tried that, it’s not appreciated so never again.

So, this morning, instead of being rained on, frozen solid and blown at all while wearing a no-coat (my own daft fault) I am enjoying the sunshine, watching the boats pootle past and quaffing toast and sipping chicory coffee.

I really ought to be moving again, but yesterday was quite enough for the mo. I claim today as a day of other activities.

What is in store for our next move, I wonder. Snow? It can only be a matter of time.



  1. Sadly rules are always reckoned to be made to be broken, strange how it appears to be the rule-makers who are often the culprits. Another enjoyable story but with a worrying message.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I seem to be oozing the “supermarket car park vibe” at the moment – there are 2,000 miles of canal, and now I have a boat moored right on my stern and one right on my bow. What it is to be popular. ;-( Nobody here has ever heard of “personal space”!

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        1. My goodness moi, if the great man is expected to put in an appearance I’ll go out there myself, camera and autograph book in hand! 🙂 Just who are we talking about here though? Jon Bon Jovi? Boris Johnson? Spike Milligan or – dare I say it out loud – surely not… Eccles? 🙂

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  2. Sorry, Ian. I knew we shouldn’t have had that last complan and lucozade and you know I can’t tell left from right, never mind about starboard and port. We’ll try to keep the noise down next time.xxx

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    1. p.s. I hate word-press, it keeps messing about with my identity and turning me into this merrymumbles person – and she doesn’t exist… this is worrying.

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  3. So funny, and a well needed chuckle by me, although I’m apt to get my huff puffing at the injustices of paramilitary self appointed jobsworth groups who grab hold of officialdom as if it were life-support oxygen bottles! It’s soul destroying for honest folk! Breathe! Now don’t get me on pensioners who think they have earnt the right to……well opt out and be disgraceful to the clan! And you can’t even let their tyres down! I nearly choked on: “….like the love-child of a fork-lift truck and that supermarket trolley with the wonky wheel…” Wonderful! Keep ’em coming!

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    1. In the nineteen-thirties it was the tall peaked cap and the neat brown shirt that ruined the world, these days the world is being ruined by lycra and by the “hi-vis” coat and vest, jackboots optional. Never ceases to amaze me how every single “authoritative” group, with the possible exception of the Quakers, always ends up ignoring its members/customers/victims and becoming dictatorial. Truly, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I can’t see a solution in the direction that society is heading, we perhaps need to re-wind right back to the cave-man era and begin with something a little less reliant on domination and a bit more of the interplay of consent, co-operation and common sense. Yes, yes, I know that with humans it will never happen – but dogs might learn a lesson from us and end up ruling the earth… 😉

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  4. How miserable. Nothing quite like being wet and cold and KNOWING that just a few feet away is the solution but being unable to do much of anything about it.

    What is the purpose of that ugly barge boat that never moves? If it was doing some proper work it might feel more like a reasonable concession but it looks like it’s been abandoned for years.

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    1. It looks to be part-filled with material from dredging, which is a welcome activity (I just wish that they’d take the workboats away with them when they’re done)! At the moment it is just collecting more and more rainwater… It is just so odd, I’ve never seen a decently-moored workboat, and they never moor on the regular towpath (where I am generally confined) but always on what they themselves have designated as time-limited moorings. The rank-and-file of the Trust generally work their socks off and mostly have some interest in the canals, so it can only be some order from “on high”. Weird. I know that they can’t use decent rope to moor up because it always gets stolen, but I can’t fathom why they always moor so poorly…

      Lesson learned (again) in re moving without full preparation – coat will always be within reach from now on! 🙂

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    1. Many thanks, sir! I do appreciate it. In re the button I’ve not consciously made any changes, so I wonder if WordPress is messing around again – I will check, thanks for flagging it up. 🙂

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