Rain, sunshine, wind, calm, overnight ice, begging ducks, expert swans and twin-tub laundry #narrowboat #boating #canal

Middle of bloody May and I’m still clearing ice from the solar panels in the morning – while the canal water boils. Mr Stove did his thing overnight, but I’ll let him go back to sleep during the day since the forecast is for “ice-cream” day-time temperatures.

A spot of precipi… …tation yesterday.
The view from my galley window. Same day as the rain shown above.
…and this, children, is how you abandon all dignity as a wild animal and go from boat to boat, begging…
Looks as though you’re trying to do some laundry. May I be of any assistance?
The Laundry Swan, with a bit of a nasal drip.
The sun gradually waking up and beginning to take responsibility for melting the ice on my solar panels (see top photograph).

You can lead a swan to the twin-tub, but you’re really not allowed to put it in the spinner.

All five seasons again yesterday. Wind in combination with the local boaters’ tribute to Donald Campbell during his “I’m on acid” phase such that I put out a couple of extra mooring lines to take the blustering, bouncing strain off the single ropes at either end. One boat in particular made a hyper-spectacular cock-up right opposite us (and this is a long, totally straight stretch of canal), getting jammed by the wind against the offside. It happens to the best of us, but I do enjoy a dish of cold schadenfreude once in a while.

Sunshine and calm today, so more drying there will be of yesterday’s laundry, and more laundry there will be in general. Seat covers, I think. I’m sure that they use to be blue, not coal-dust black. We shall investigate. The labels on fabrics aren’t half amusing, Doris. ‘Dry clean only’ and ‘wipe down with a damp fairy’ being the funniest. Whatever it is, it goes in the machine, and it survives or it doesn’t. So far my “sprinkle with champagne and dry off under the nostrils of a unicorn” tweed cap has survived about sixty cycles through washer and spinner. I plonk it on my head immediately it’s done, to regain its shape. The canvas “man bag” came through nicely too, yesterday, and ought to finish drying today.

I’ll take the cover off and bung the clothes horse on the rear deck, it’s reasonably out of view there but just in view enough to indicate “yes, there is someone on board, so please to not piss me off too much” with the ramming, passing at thirty-knots or screeched conversations on the “I’m on the mobile – can you hear me, mother?” device.

The rubbish will need walking to the nearest accessible-to-boaters bins soon, about a three-mile round trip. I am seriously, seriously not in the mood for my species, so I’ll probably leave that until tomorrow and take my morning stroll at five o’unsociable when they’re all still in their beds, dreaming of getting up early.

When the mood – and madness – re-takes me in a few days I will like as not re-visit the nearest services for waters and wotnots, and then mayhap oik us in the direction of a town, cheap bulk comestibles for the procurement of.

The first lock up ahead has a shallow pound and a lock-landing that resembles a flooded bomb-site, virtually unusable for the single-hander, so that ought to prove amusing. It’s also (relatively) deep, dark and dank, so I’ll be wearing my auto-inflating emergency bikini-top, or “life jacket thingy”.

Tis just gone eight of the Sunday o’morning as I dictate this to my secretary (one of my multiple dreary, dysfunctional personalities), and we’ve already had a slack handful of boats come past, taking advantage of the blue sky and fluffy white clouds.

The nutters will be out in force later.

The biggest nutter of them all will be indoors.

Here endeth today’s sermon, read by the Very Reverend Killemall AndletMrGod-Sortemout.

The Reverend is another of my dreary, dysfunctional personalities, and one of my favourites.



  1. Ah, I remember my mother’s twin tub, a relatively new invention then and much easier than the Parnell (upright with a mangle!); but then I also remember the gas-fired tub and mangle with the dolly-blue in the rinse! Nothing like these days, pop in the clothes and set to slow roast until done. My first automatic was purchased by earning Ā£1.50 per set for three complete football kits a week, washed in a second hand Parnell with mangle. I got it the week after my second daughter stopped wearing terry nappies (in those days they weren’t disposable) – yep those were the days!

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    1. I remember my mother using a (much meatier, much larger) twin-tub. It lived and was used in the old cow byre – and I am fairly sure that a mangle was involved in some operations too. Getting a week’s worth of laundry through this one takes about two hours of work, but it is a magnificent machine – it means that I don’t have to move and find somewhere with a (now scarce) laundrette whenever I want to rinse through my onesies and cat-suits… šŸ˜‰


  2. How do you manage to keep enough water to run that machine? I have a Panda like that it seems to run on more water than seems possible when I’m filling it. Or do you fill it and just don’t drain it too often. I’ve been tempted with a few times but haven’t tried it.

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    1. One of the best thingies about this machine is that it is entirely manual, I decide how much water, how long each wash and spin lasts. A session uses roughly forty litres of water, and the Cardinal’s main tank is five hundred litres – but that said, I usually time laundry day to be when I am about to refill the tank and am near a handy tap! šŸ˜‰ The machine is just large enough to take my largest item, which is the double duvet-cover.

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