Gareth is howling, and this boat is moving even though we’re up on blocks… #narrowboat #boating #England #canals

No photographs, of course – have you ever tried to photograph the wind?

Storm Gareth is packing a bit of a punchoid with his best gusts, slamming into the Cardinal every few seconds with all of his might. Vents are whistling, window and porthole catches are rattling and the whole boat is vibrating even though we’re on dry land, on blocks.

The interwebnets is also as weak as a kitten for some reason. I understand problems with wet trees and foliage when it rains heavily, and ditto in gathering snow, but why the problem with a MiFi signal in wind? Are the electrons being blown off-course twixt the boat’s aerial and the mobile tower?

The rain has been torrential too at times, and yesterday half of the marina – half of the half that is supposed to be dry land – was awash, with drains overwhelmed.

These images are of some of the delicious toys that oft grace the boatyard. I does like a bit of big machinery, does me. ๐Ÿ™‚


Chuffin’ Nora, as I type this Gareth’s gusts are attacking with a worrying vengeance! So far so good, though. I worry about my solar panels/stove flue/aerials/lights/canvas cratch and rear-deck covers nonetheless. The big windows are taking a battering, too. It feels as though someone is flinging the wind at the boat.

Still, if the Cardinal and I were on water then his mooring ropes and my knots would be being put sorely to the test! On hardstanding there is a fair chance that we’re going nowhere involuntarily!

Uber-luckily, my comestibles delivery from Sainsingbury’s supermarket arrived during a lull in the wind and the rain, and I was able to lob my “packed with bags please in spite of the Government fine that I have to pay” order up over head-height and onto the well-deck in relative peace. More fresh veggies, and lots of items to replenish my longer-term stores – when, at the end of this month, Germany sends its zeppelins, and France looks up disapprovingly from her cheeseboard and documents of simian surrender, I shall be able to live on tinned soup, pasta, chickpea dhal, rice, and wotnot. There will be little to no need for me to resort to cannibalism for at least ten days, possibly a fortnight, even if the EU stops keeping us alive and the world as we know it ends.

Incidentally, why does everyone say “resort” to cannibalism, as though it were a bad thing? Am I missing something?

The boatyard managed to slap on the second coat of hull blacking late this past Monday, so now we are into the drying stage for that, and the “awaiting another window in the weather within which to weld on the new anodes” period. Given the wind this waiting-for suits me just fine! What the torrential rain may be doing to the blacking-drying process I am sure that the gale-force winds are making up for, he said, ending his sentence quite grammatically inappropriately, were it not for this note noting the proposterously ill-placed preposition, thus relegating the preposition to theย middleย of the sentence and nullifying the need for this comment – but creating a grammatical paradox in the process, since were I to now remove the note nullifying the need for the note…

I am rambling.

It is the “worrying wind” equivalent of whistling in the dark.

1WP1170023 I had planned on hop-skipping across the yard to use the marina’s machines to do a load of laundry today, but given that I can’t both carry the laundry with one handย and hold my spectacles safely on my nose with the other all while leaning into the wind, I shall leave that until another day.

Besides, these machines make me weepy and nostalgic, bringing back memories as they do of working in the laundry at Wormwood Scrubs.

Happy, happy days as a “Trustee”, starching and ironing the striped uniforms of the inmates, starching and ironing the uniforms of the prison guards.

Gosh, what an exciting life I lead, now that I have my liberty and only my own laundry to see to.

It is an indication of the strength of Gareth that I haven’t seen a single bird on the wing so far today. All flights grounded, I suppose, with the sparrows having lashed themselves to tree-trunks to avoid being blown away.

One thing that I did notice at Sparrowfart O’Clock this morning was that the many and various wheelie bins of the boatyard had been dancing around in the darkness, rolling in independently from near and far, and were clustered together towards the top of the slipway. I suspect that it will take only a touch more wind and just one more “Brexit” headline (or a sudden counter-gust) to take them all down to the water’s edge, where they can drown themselves and float out (via several canals) to sea. I wish that I’d caught them dancing overnight, it must have been like a particularly peculiar episode of Dr Who, before it went all PC and silly and unwatchable on us.

The Night of the Wheelie-Bins…

Perhaps I am mistaken, and Hammer were filming another House of Horror b/w classic here?

I am certain that the weather in England has become less and less clement since they began this silly business of naming storms.

Having started naming them, it surely cannot be long now before ยฃmoneyยฃ takes over, as it always does, and we are warned of “Storm Coca-Cola” or “Storm Renault Clio”.

Ooh that was fun for a moment – I forgot to be worried about the howling winds out there and reverted instead to happy, happy, viciously-cynical type instead!

Oh well, having thus comforted myself I shall click “le publish” on this and go back to listening to things clonking and rattling and straining.

Chin-chin for the mo, Muskies. Please send your heavy, well-anchored thoughts to the Cardinal, just in case Gareth finds the strength for a last fling.

Ian H.


  1. Imagine if you were still moored and wondering if anchors would hold or buffers buff! The scrunching and smashing would almost be audible in your imagination!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would indeed – if we had been out on the canals the Cardinal’s ropes and my knots would both have been sorely tested, and I would have lost even more sleep worrying about them as well as my solar panels! If ever there was a time to be up on dry land then the past week or two has been it… ๐Ÿ˜‰ At the very least I would have had to deploy our big, blue, squidgy fenders in place of the more usual rubber efforts (and I am convinced that one of those has a slow leak caused during a previous storm).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And the force the wind is able to exert on a surface like the side of a narrowboat can be quite unbelievable. Snapping ropes one would have thought would tow a lorry.


  2. Probably a good time to have the Cardinal’s bum above the waterline than below it. Hopefully by the time you read this, Gareth, bloody stupid name, will have blown himself out. ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. I do seem to have accidentally and incidentally timed this rather well, since I’d be going nowhere fast anyway with these high winds. If Gareth blows himself out by the weekend I may be free again early next week – but he he comes back for seconds, or is followed by some other dismal weather-front I may just book in here for the duration! We got our new anodes welded on today, and had some final lashings of paint around the weldings – a few more days of drying to come.

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  3. Gareth. Who thought Gareth was a good name for a storm. Gareth is the name of an utterly forgettable man you were introduced to at a party and then forgot entirely when you walked away to get a refill on appetizers. and wine, probably mid conversation with the boring Gareth, who never did a damn thing wrong in his whole life, except be boring. Also never did anything interesting. (nice run on sentence above. Not fixing it.)

    I want to be in charge of naming these damn storms. Frankly I think naming them after corporation is probably appropriate. A good metaphor for the destruction they cause. Plus governments can use the money. Probably unwisely, but still. Better the corp money than ours.

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    1. Naming these storms on first-name terms seems to me to be being rather too informal. Using surnames I could perhaps, just perhaps, allow. Better still would be to use more descriptive terms – Storm Carry-an-umbrella, or Storm Kiss-Your-Roof-Goodbye or Storm We’re All Doomed, for example… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. Does Mr Sainsbury not give you a refund when you return the plastic bags from your last delivery as Mr Ocado does? 5 pence refund for each bag.

    Resorting to cannibalism is bad because it is meat-eating, not a good thing.

    Surely you were not a Trustee, but a Trusty? (If we are to believe your story of a sojourn at Her Majesty’s pleasure?)

    I hope Gareth has finally decided to bugger off, he has been getting on everyone’s nerves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mr Sainsbury’s plastic bags are actually very useful to a boater type – they are the ideal size for the sneaking of household (boat!) refuse into rubbish bins not strictly provided for the purpose… a small enough amount to avoid drawing attention. They all live short and brutal lives with me!

      I believe that “Trusty” is the trans-Atlantic form of the same thing, a “Trustee” in Wormscrub Woods Prison for The Insane but Divine being so nameth’d by combining “trust” with “-ee”, as in absentee or employee, someone in which The Guvnor could have trust. English is a deliciously confusing language surpassed only by Klingon, Esperanto and certain dialects of The Welsh. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Gareth seems to be on his way out – the periods between his temper-tantrums are increasing in length. Fingers crossed!

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  5. I hope the Cardinal cocks a (literal) snook at Gareth and shows him just what spirit the boats have. Gareth will soon back off then.
    I hope you’ll soon be back on the water.

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  6. Pleased you are still in tact or you’d be out at sea by now. Hoping it passes over soon and you can get dry ready to return to the water and get wet again. There’s something to be said for the Cardinale’s tonnage in a high wind. Loved the idea of naming future winds, now there’s a post-Brexit money raising initiative!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …and still Gareth goes on (and on and on). I have to wonder if our nice new black bottom really is drying in this rain rain rain rain rain rain rain – and wind wind wind wind wind wind WIND! ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Damned storm is still with us, still blowing, still lashing down. I have some outdoor jobs that I really have to do today, too – I’d better make sure that I tie my flat cap on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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