From horizon to horizon, Bank Holiday boats nose to tail around the Cardinal.
A week is a long time in showbusiness, and a few days is even longer still on t’canals.
The Cardinal and I moored, of course, in splendid isolation – and then the “supermarket effect” kicked in a couple of days ago, and two boats ignored the other mile of open moorings and settled in right in front. Then the “Easter Weekend” happened and now the world and his hamster is moored here. The old Hector Magic still works though; I notice that the gaps fore and aft of the Cardinal are the largest (large is a relative term) of the whole line of boats – I must be exuding those “ugh, get away from me, Claud” vibes through the aerials on the roof, and everyone’s done their best to answer the call!
It is 08:30hrs as I begin to write this post, and there’s not a soul about, not a sound, not a cough, not a fart. I saw, briefly, a single dog-emptier in the distance just before 06:00hrs while I was outside doing outside things and squeegeeing the overnight dew (and muck therein) off the solar panels. Bank Holiday folk are generally not what you might call “early risers”. They’ll be out soon enough (when the day has lost its early-morning magic and become just overly-warm and bright) and they’ll be poking one another with sticks and holding competitions to see who can disrobe the most unsuitable body to the most stomach-churning degree.
I say this with full and frank awareness that I look like Frankenstein’s early efforts to cross a gorilla suffering from alopecia with a bulldog determined to live on a diet of lemons dipped in vinegar, but it must still be said. It’s never the “beautiful people”, is it?
Self-knowledge and a certain reluctance to encourage reverse-peristalsis in others is why I keep my clothes on whatever the weather. Some folk are born “gym bunnies”, I am and always will be more of a “cake-shop rat”.
Still, as Queen Victoria was oft heard to mutter while scratching the rump-end of her empire and smoking her first spliff of the day on the balcony of Buckingham Palatial; mustn’t grumble.
If Baywatch ever did transplant itself from the beaches of Kalifornia to the canals of Ingerlund it would probably be a fatal shock to the National psyche and system, so we must be grateful for small Murphys. I do wish though that schools would teach that a knotted handkerchief on the head is only the beginning of being dressed for the occasion in summer, and that shorts are what is worn underneath, at the very least, t-shirt and jeans.
The side-views of my [current] garden are still there, with a couple of my favourite tree-friends. Hello
lamp post Mr Tree, whatcha knowing? I’ve come to watch your flowers growing… feeling groovy*
[*Other dwarves are available, one ought not to forget to feel Dumpy, Gropey, Grotty, Sniffy and Sid, too. Mention of Groovy does not imply endorsement.]
In moments of insanity I have ventured outdoors.
The staircase locks a short wander up ahead have provided an hour or two of mid-perambulation entertainment, busy as they have been with a lumpy procession of boat traffic, all arriving in the manner of the proverbial “London buses”.
The Bro came to visit yesterday and brought with him some post and a parcel – thanks be to the Sis for forwarding the mail (it was indeed useful stuff, relating to the stupendously-generous rise in my pension from H.M. Government). We gongoozled a while, and then the Bro expressed a visceral yearning for fish-&-chips, so we took advantage of his Bugatti and fought our way through the traffic and crowds (no, seriously) into the local village. I abused the privilege by calling as briefly as possible into the local Co-operative Emporium for cash, comestibles and saladings. Then we went back to gongoozling but this time while consuming the open-air food-of-the-gods (I settled happily for chips with mushy peas – ideal for a hot day).
It may very well be that ‘…there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats…’ but I am of the opinion that there is also a lot to be said for sitting in the shade and snorting down a tray of properly-cooked chips &etc while watching other people mess about in boats. It was all most pleasant.
A very big THANK YOU to the volunteer lock keep, whose name I forgot to learn, for the provision of a couple of chairs for our use for the occasion – they were very much appreciated.
My walkings hereabouts sometimes take me past the next lock along from the staircase locks, and this one appears to be a fine example of a self-emptying lock. These photographs were taken not more than four or five minutes after a boat went up through the lock, leaving it full.
The leakage from the bottom gates is impressive, and water flows out at – I estimated – two or perhaps three times the leakage in through the top gates, shown below.
You can see that the lock chamber is already half-empty. These unwittingly semi-automated locks are what is known by folk such as me as “a bit of a bugger”, since you can’t take things properly slowly because if you do then either the leakage in or out will get you before anything you might gently do with the paddles.
Sometimes this effect is caused by a twig or branch being jammed in the gates but here, with both sets of gates leaking, it’s more likely to be a “wear and tear design feature”.
I did spot a most delicious-looking vintage coach on my perambles. I named him “Stumpy”. He is in superb condition, and I covet him.
Other than this what have I been doing? Well, the more eagle-eyed of you may have spotted a new link in the menu towards the top of the page – ‘Cards/Prints/&etc‘. I have been setting up an online emporium to offer exactly that, cards, prints and etceteras using the photographs from this blog.
Roll up, roll up, for all of your needs in re greetings cards, photographic prints, canvas prints, acrylic block prints and suchlike.
Please do form an orderly queue.
In fact, should you have a herd mind and a need for some canal & countryside & stuff artwork in your lives – and I hope that you do – you might line up like sardines waiting to be put into the tin.
Global delivery, all cards accepted, and I will expand the selection available as quickly as I can.