It’s not Hackney, but it is too windy to move, so I’m staying put #narrowboat #England

Ever since staying in a hotel in Hackney (London) last year, and discovering a visceral dislike for the place (and all of its ilk) I have a tendency to fling open the Cardinal’s side-hatch doors (after dressing, usually) and proclaiming ‘It’s not Hackney!’

It’s NOT Hackney!

Yesterday I watched a territorial dispute between a very large heron and an equally well-fed grebe. Mr Heron was standing on the towpath at the Cardinal’s bow, and I heard a few splashes and clonks – a grebe had swum under the boat and surfaced slap bang right in front of Mr Heron. Mr H stepped up onto the piling lip of the towpath (for more height) and stretched himself in all directions. Mr G gave him the eyeball but didn’t feel that honour would be served by scooting immediately, and so swam around in small circles, making lots of splash and trying to look as grebe-casual as he could while he did so. They spent a few more minutes a couple of yards apart, eyeball to eyeball, and then Mr G felt that he could remember an appointment elsewhere and fly off without loss of status.

These moorings are very hectic.

Picnic tables with little “barbecue” arrangements alongside each for the grilling of small animals in their entirety, or for the grilling of pieces of the flesh of larger domestic animals. It’s all very civilised.

Officially they are called “Coole Pilate” and it seems, from the signs abounding, that they are not moorings but a “Leisure Area”. Whodathunkit?

Well, at least it’s not a velodrome (yet). The smaller slanty sign gave details of some of the more exotic wildlife that might be encountered here (including three varieties of bat), but it didn’t give any recipes or cooking times.

They take up almost the full stretch here, leaving booger-all in the way of options for the more surefooted Waterways Act of 1995 “14 days” type of mooring, mayhap just a hundred yards or so and at that too close to the bridge for my sensibilities. If you leave me nowhere to mooch on to then I can’t mooch, can I?

Well, 48 hours or not, I am stuck on them for at least another day. The wind is gusting very ambitiously and I didn’t get where I am today, Reggie, by flying my boat like a kite. Plenty of other boats are cruising past, all of them multi-crewed, crabbing wildly and generally proving my point in their directional waywardacity (new word, just invented).

Cardinal Wolsey, at rest.

We’re not in anyone’s way here, there are millions and millions of miles of space to moor here if folk are so minded, and we’ll move when I decide that we are good and ready and, which is more important, safe. Tomorrow is looking good according to Her Maj’s Met Office.

The Hooray-OAPs made another appearance, although this time they were civilised, giving the Cardinal some room and passing at a nice velocity. There can be little worse than coming down from a TCP/Deep-Heat/Radox high and finding yourself back in the real world. Remind me to blur out the boat name sometime when I learn how to.

I have given them suitable music…

The new pillows that I treated myself to while moored in Nantwich are working well, too well in fact. I do so wish that sleeping were an Olympic event, I could bring back gold for the nation once every four years, without fail.

Maybe, once I’ve got the pillows run in nicely, I ought to try out that new mop that I bought there too… still, mustn’t rush things, what?

Oh dear, there’s someone coming in to land at the Cardinal’s bow (supermarket car park syndrome gets everywhere). I do hope that they like the aroma of music and the sound of a loud curry.

Note to self: remember to get dressed before going out tomorrow morning to squeegee off the solar panels.

I’m with the sparrows on their opinion of this one.

“48 hr max” eh? My name is not “Max”, and the question surely is, have I even arrived yet? I am on “canal time” and my watch no longer displays seconds, minutes or even hours, just days and months.

Ooh the heron’s back – he must be fishing for grebe…

Fingers crossed if you would please, for tomorrow to herald both a minimalist breeze and sufficient energy in my gluteus to mooch on.

There’s a song in there somewhere. Mooch on, mooch on… with hope in your heart… and you’ll ne-e-e-ever… &etc &etc.

Time for some more work on “Miss Giving’s Narrowboat Brothel” before tiffin, I think.

Then feet up in front of the stove for a spot of a read of something.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H.


    1. I was using hand-gestures to try to encourage the Big Daddy Hell’s OAP to play air-guitar, but I think that he may have misunderstood me. 😉

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  1. New Pillows! I always longly look at pillows and then remind myself that I have 3 Nearly Sufficient Pillows. But not one damn Good Pillow.

    I hope the NB police don’t catch you so blatantly overstaying your spot. Do they fine you if they do? Although, how would they even KNOW. Unless someone is walking the entire towpath every night and making meticulous records, it seems like an unlikely occurrence to be caught.

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    1. Tis but funny that you should mention that – the Canal Rozzers do indeed employ narks, usually young chaps on minimum wage (and all with a haunted, persecuted, beaten look about them), to log the position of boats. I doubt that they do so on a more than once a week basis, twice in busy areas and maybe daily in festering pus-filled hot-spots such as London and Birmingham and Bath and Bristol and Reading and and and… 🙂 Seriously, they do log us – on a section of my “ship’s log” (link in the menu at the top here) I play at spotting the spotters! Saw one only this morning and with a smile and a doff of my cap managed to elicit a very rare, albeit nervous, “hello” from him.

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  2. I found this one somehow quite becalming, not even the pensioners scooting across the screen could upset it. Probably because there are no people in any of the other shots, just green grass, sparkly water and a tranquil-looking Cardinal Wolsey. Brilliant as usual!

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    1. The moorings were indeed most pleasant, with ne’ery a roadway nearby, just the distant drone of a farmer in his twelve-litre tractor, tending to his subsidised emoluments… 🙂


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