The Cardinal is well and truly frozen in today, the canal having frozen over during last night, purportedly the coldest night of the winter so far here in Ingerlund – although, modestly, nothing like the polar vortex nonsenses being enjoyed in the trans-Atlantic colonies…
It has been a bright day though, with some sunshine slipping like greased Mexicans through the thin cloud barrier. The sunshine has improved both my mood and, I think, the mood of Cardinal W’s battery bank.
I was out there at the first possible moment, scraping the ice off the solar panels. Sometimes, when they freeze over, the ice (and in this case snow) can be persuaded to slide away in one large and solid sheet. Not so today though, as clearing them required a couple of attempts and some prodding and poking with my patent panel-squeegee.
Yesterday, the day being too everything to even attempt to cruise, I walked ahead. It is indeed a case of ten locks in one gulp, there being nowhere now to moor until immediately after the tenth lock, just before the services in the village of Wheelock.
The village of Wheelock is… well, let’s just say that Wheelock would benefit greatly from a hug and a squeeze (from a JCB and a bulldozer). Picturesque and packed with great places to visit it is not. I must say something positive about Wheelock though, so I shall remark with gratitude upon how it is solid enough to form the edges of the Trent & Mersey canal that runs through (and past) it.
The ducks have all lost their gruntle. The ducks are disgruntled.
Dear Her Majesty’s Meteorological Office, please supply at your earliest opportunity weather sufficient unto melting that which hath frozen, and then a day in which Cardinal and Captain may swoosh themselves through the coming set of locks… yours sincerely, &etc &etc.
It is a tad disconcerting when the canal freezes over so. Whenever I move on the boat, from swinging my twelve small but perfectly formed toes out of my bunk and into my slippers to staggering into the galley to make coffee and to stumbling into the saloon to feed Mr Stove (every two to three hours in these temperatures) I can hear the ice scraping as the boat gently moves.
Belay that “scraping as the boat gently moves”, for something thick do approach. Replace it with “banging and rocking as a pair of selfish idiots force their boat through the ice with not a care for anyone else’s boat…”
Here they are on approach, either trying to crash their way through close to the offside, or else thinking what a clever tactic it is if we first break the ice over there and then charge through past moored boats:
The gentleman at the helm was working the tiller and giving it revs back and forth as the ice sent them at all angles. No idea what madam’s function was. She’s surely facing the wrong way to be the boat’s figurehead, unless… well, there must be an isolated tribe out there somewhere that worships the polyester-covered buttock.
Here they are with a more unpleasant tangent, and lucky both of us that the large plate of 1″ ice decided to move away from my boat.
Lucky him that pure chance allowed him to miss ramming the Cardinal – through no lack of enthusiasm or endeavour on his part – by about 18″.
I learned over the previous two winters that there is no point whatsoever in engaging these folk in conversation. Their needs are paramount, their actions always beyond reproach, they’ve been boating for a million years, they know all that there is to know about everything worth knowing, and I’m just a miserable sod. Everyone else is just a miserable sod, and everyone else knows nothing.
So I went out and engaged them in non-conversation.
Their comment? ‘It’s tough going today…’
No shit, Sherlock.
One or two of the folk on the line of moored boats ahead were less restrained than I in their comments upon their navigation. Some Solace may be had from their missing the stern of that blue and red boat, even if only by maybe a foot or so, and at that purely due to the whim of chance, not any putative “skill” on the part of the arse&^$£%*hole at the tiller.
There’s the gentleman using his boat (his boat? an assumption… and we all know what assumptions are the mother of all of…) to clear the ice from the lock entrance so that Ms Figurehead can open the gate. What jolly japes in his hi-vis jacket, aren’t they just having a splendid adventure. I’m sure that they will reach their “must-reach” destination on time today and wondering, as they always wonder at the end of every day, why they’ve been surrounded by miserable people all of their lives.
The Cardinal is made of steel. This cruiser that they rammed their way past is made of fibreglass.
The ice is about an inch thick hereabouts.
May they always live in interesting times (old Chinese curse).
May their always not actually be very long at all (old Hutson curse).
Oh well, back to being peacefully frozen in…
I love humans, really I do. Honestly, I love them. Love them to bits. Lots of little bits, preferably, in this case.
Oh it’s no good, I’m not even fooling myself, am I?
Would just one of you sky-fairy gods who are supposed to be out there please take a moment to clean the filter on the gene pool?
Takes a deep, calming breath and reaches for a jar of soothing Vindaloo paste.
Counts backwards in Klingon from ten million.
With luck, by the time the Cardinal and I get moving, this pair will be safely tucked up in some hidden corner of a marina. Probably downing a pint of dry sherry each and wondering whether next to take the motorhome up to Scotland (barging smaller motorhomes out of the middle lane of the motorway as they do, because “it’s tough going” up there) or whether to splurge fifteen quid on a Ryanair flight to their villa in Spain (where they can throw peanuts at the Spanish staff on the golf course and bray about their Brexit-proof investments).