One point three miles and a couple of hours and I’m not even back where I started… #narrowboat #boating

Actually, shy of my starting position by about twenty metres…

The Cardinal is in the photograph above – fourth boat in, bows on (the centre two boats are quite close together). This bridge always seems to be vaguely oriental to me, how fun might it have been if They Who Must Be Obeyed had spent an extra ten shillings on a few frills, and some lucky-red paint? A touch more of an arch, a few dragons…

This morning I decided to make a mooch along back along in the name of the gazunders and the main water tank – to empty the former, and refill the latter. It was the usual case of on with the centrelines, up with the fenders, on with the tiller, untie the ropes (in a sequence to suit the breeze) and offski, in this case up to the winding hole ahead (nicely buried in the trees). Once turned back the way we came, through the railway bridge and onto the pontoon at Venetian to hook up the hosepipe and then sling some political promises down the sluice and into the eco-system.

Thanks Sue, for not one but two mugs of coffee. I arrived showing all of the symptoms of caffeine deficiency, and a touch too early for the gazunder sluice (unlocked during office hours by the marina, not by the chandlery).

A good gasbagging was enjoyed with all and sundry, there was some fine fussing of random dogs, a packet of McVities’ Digestives was purchased for the comestibles cupboard and t’were time to be off. By then though a wee spot of a breezette had sprung up (and it has sprung up even more since, with 27 – 28mph forecast for later) so there I woz freshly serviced with the boat sat sitting in the middle of the marina, facing a decision.

Go for the planned reverse and turn-about to head back from whence we had come, or mutter “sod it” and head straight on and up through the lock for a day or two? The reverse-&-turn option offered manifold opportunities to look like a total fumblewit in a marina with every grey-with-coal-dust net curtain twitching, while up through the lock would either put me right back on the restricted “visitor moorings” or take me through the double line of moored malevolence at Barbridge… in a growing breeze.

In the event the boat moored opposite buttonholed me as I prepared for lift-off and expressed a strong statistical preference to put nine out of ten of their cats, so to speak, in the space that I would vacate if I would please to vacate it, and a wild and untamed boat oiked up and plonked itself on the lock landing, combining with the first boat mentioned to take up all of the space, so reverse and turn-about it had to be.

It took a couple of shuffles to put the r-send backwards into the marina where Mr Wind could complete his work of pushing the bow around, and then we were away – with no feathers ruffled, no cause for a shore-party with barge-poles, flaming brands and shaken fists. The Cardinal managed to not attempt to make puppies with the boat (quite legitimately) moored on the towpath in the marina (but also in the ideal position for an impromptu t-boning), and no ducks were harmed or discomnobulated during the entire process. Colour me gobsmacked (and mostly quite chuffed).

think that we picked something up on the prop during all of the somewhat spirited reversing (marinas are almost contractually obliged to be relatively shallow places with more than their fair share of rubbish in the water, when compared to the relatively “busier” thoroughfares) but I think that we dumped it again. I hope we did, anyway. It feels as though we have, the prop-wobble was brief and all seems ticketty-splendid again now.

Audlem (at the far end of the “up through the lock” navigational option) has a (damned) festival in a week’s time, and Middlewich (in t’other direction) has a (damned) festival in three week’s time – and both are to be avoided like the plague. This morning’s manoeuvres suggest a visit to Middlewich while Audlem is in full swing, followed by a mooch in the direction of Audlem while Middlewich is then rocking to the beat, or something. I know how to live (and it’s nowhere near “festivals”).

The Anderton Boat Lift is looking increasingly fragile, with another stoppage notice issued yesterday. Still (or perhaps again) only working on one caisson, but now with the passage-booking system suspended while they deal with a backlog and decide whither – and whether – they all goest. I am not about to take the Cardinal down onto the River Weaver when the lift is already half-broken, because should the rest of it break – as surely it would – the only way off the Weaver and back towards civilisation is via something called “The Manchester Ship Canal”, and that carries both a serious-sounding name and a serious need for extra licences (£), inspections (£), certifications (£) and some mixing it with vessels of ocean-going size. No, ta. I’ll wait until the lift is doubly operational.


So, we’re still in Windy Alley – in a healthy breeze, with boats crabbing past at wild angles – and just shy of where we spent the previous week. We are in one of the concentric bands of mobile interwifinet signal. If I could plot the hot-spots versus not-spots over a wider range I could perhaps work out the epicentre, and thus where the mobile antenna actually is around here.

Once the healthy breeze abates – and once I have poked my mojo with a soup spoon – we’ll mooch on again and do our level best to be noticed by the Canal Rozzers elsewhere.

‘Elsewhere’ is a good place to be logged once in a while, by Her Majesty’s spotters.

On a domestic note, I have been performing a few housework (boatwork?) miracles while moored here. Par example, the “office” seat covers (the seats that also convert into an extra bed) have little labels sewn into them in re a strict laundry process that must be followed. Apparently they may only be “rinsed gently in the tears of lost kittens” and then “dried off in the draught created by a well-played Stradivarius viola”.

Oh, absolutely. Fnarr-fnarr (other giggles and snorts are available).

They survived the wash and spin in the twin-tub quite nicely, and dried on the clothes horse on the rear deck over the engine… that was as near as I was prepared to get to kitten tears and the gentle air disturbances of a Stradivarius.

If I had more mojo I’d do more jobs, but one does the best with whatever “can be bothered” one has available. I’m on rations. I am also on the lookout for all of those crabbing boats, wondering when the next one is going to collide with us…

What an exhausting day it has been, achieving so very little. 🙂


Ian H.



  1. I absolutely love your laundry label descriptions of this post and the previous laundry mentioning post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank’ee – I was scarred decades ago by all of this talk of “separating fabrics and colours” in the wash… with the exception perhaps of new items that are red, everything mucks in together and gets on just fine! I am the god of laundry! Actually, it’s a really, really boring job, and I must force myself to do it… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One question has sprung (not really a leap more a seap) to mind – what are the rules related to distrance when leaving one mooring to go to another? Is it stipulated and what is the return time to go back into one you have once vacated? Not sure that makes much sense! Weather apart, and lock or lift closures apart that is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Now that is a darned good question! Yer achtual _law_, the 1995 Waterways Act, simply stipulates “bona fide cruising” and “no more than fourteen days in any one place” – which I take to mean “having no ties, mooching about wherever I want at the pace that _I_ want… The Canal Rozzers though, being a sledgehammer to crack a non-existent nut in the provinces, but too scared to deal with a genuine overcrowding problem in London (and other cities) (mustn’t offend, must one), make a twelve-course meal of it. Their expertly-written “guidance”, which they have made part of the boat licence terms and conditions somehow, is “no more than fourteen days in any one place”… BUT they don’t, and _won’t_, define “place”, even though they refer to “place” in their warnings and court cases. Movement must be at least A place to B place to C place and not A to B and back to A again – but they don’t and won’t define a timescale of any sort! This in my view has little to do with what may potentially still be bona fide cruising (up and down an area you like, for a while). In London &etc a mile changes your entire borough, in the rural real world, a mile takes me either side of a marina… They’ve made the whole issue woollier than a llama’s backside…

      On the basis of their wholly non-explanatory explanation in the Ts&Cs they issue warnings and do quite often remove boats from the canals and sell or crush them, suing the (then-ex, by default) homeowners for the cost of the process. Because the “senior” “management” (all metropolitan “connected” I-can-run-anything types) are (politically, ideologically) in bed with H.M. Government, the legality of refusing someone a boat licence and then “confiscating” and destroying or selling-on their boat solely on the “legal” basis that they then have no licence remains a tragic irony that has never been allowed to be properly tested… Nor, either, has the legality of attempting to over-ride the terms of an Act of Parliament with the terms of a private contract (a big “no no” in real, old-fashioned law).

      It’s all very silly. I just move where and when I want, taking account of their time limitations on the better (“visitor”) moorings, and chuck in a few longer trips hither and thither. If they’re not happy with that then, quite frankly, they can kiss my stern end. 😉 This is why I have to “Ship’s Log” section of the website, with a record of each move and a photograph at each mooring. If CaRT won’t define things then I will, and if I want a period of mooching around a smaller area, I’ll have it, although by the end of the licence year I’ll have moved a couple of hundred miles or whatever.

      England’s canal system has perhaps five, maybe a few more, years left in it before it is gentrified, privatised and out-sourced into something wholly unusable by the boating hoi polloi such as me.

      Aside from that, the outlook is rosy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for that, most interesting. Just goes to show they have you every which way!


Comments are closed.