Un-supermarket un-syndrome, with proper Bank Holiday weather #narrowboat #boating #England

Yep, that’s me, moored in splendid isolation.


Just to prove that Supermarket Car-Park Syndrome does sometimes work in reverse, there were boats abounding, fore and aft, when I moored the Cardinal the other day. Now, slap bang in the middle of Spring Bank Holiday weekend, we’ve been deserted.

What do they know that I don’t?

The past week has been warm (too hot for me) and sunny and wotnot. Now, on this long-weekend, it is persisting down (Datsun cogs, stair-rods, nice weather for ducks, &etc), there’s a very healthy breeze and the sky is a leaden grey, ranging in shades from “battleship” to “ashen” to “Dippy Ineffectual Embarrassingly Incompetent Ex-Prime Minister’s Arse”.

I am moored up in no-man’s land, in the midst of a confluence of pylons, power lines and main-line railway tracks. All of the other moorings nearby are time-limited (by They Who Must Be Obeyed), so I had to move somewhere or risk incurring the incandescent ire of the Canal Rozzers. A prime patch here too is under restriction, but the Cardinal is nestled at one end of that, his bow some six inches into “14 days” territory. It’s a bit shallow at the edges of course, and we clonk bottom occasionally, but it’s just mud and gravel and doing no harm to us.



As for the electro-magnetic thingies from all of these power cables and from the eleventy-zillion volts used by the railway line, well, the bolt through my neck always did get warm occasionally when near current affairs. The fields generated may even as I type be lining up all of the many soldered connections in my brain, and if I am lucky may even stop all of my electrons from spinning backwards or anti-clockwise or whatever it is that they do in defiance of the Laws of Nature, ensuring thus that I am constantly at odds with The Universe.

Somehow the Cardinal’s hedgehog of aerials up top is finding us five bars of “4G” interwebnetting signal, so the EM confusion can’t be all that bad.

I got my perambulation in at first light today, before the rain set in. Had a posturing contest with a swan who was under the impression that he and his family owned the (rather narrow, unavoidable) tow-path. This is the young gentleman coming in to land, preparatory to his clambering ashore with the posturing and the offers of violence.


Beak to nose, he hissed, he flapped, he danced about and he decided that, of the two of us, I was the creature least likely to stick to Marquess of Queensberry rules should he escalate our exchange to fisticuffs.

I drop-kicked a couple of his cygnets into the reeds on the other side of the canal, just to confirm my status as Homo Sapiens-Civilisedicus.

Perhaps Mr Swan is why all of the other boats have left the area?

The railway bridge gave me a(nother) chuckle.

‘Steve Mc loves Mandy Burrus, 2015, Always’ apparently.


I do hope that his undying love is requited, poor ba*stard.

There is though no graffiti within five miles in either direction suggesting that Mandy Burrus loves Steve Mc., not so much as a heart carved into a tree-trunk let alone a Magic Marker declaration posted high on a busy, main-line railway bridge.

2015? If the (usual) gods have been with these star-crossed lovers there’s been time enough for Mandy to now be a lone parent-of-at-least-four, pushing a double-decker pram along the High Street towards Her Majesty’s Benefit Office, and then on towards Her Majesty’s GP for her repeat prescription for Prozac, Methodone and Athlete’s Foot Cream. Steve will be in one of Her Majesty’s now-privatised prisons, wandering disconsolately between his cell (shared with eight others) and the prison’s Ping-Pong facility, telling anyone who will listen about how he just wanted the neighbour’s 50″ Samsung flat-screen to impress and show his love for Mandy and how he knows now that he ought to have filed off the serial number.

There have been three boats past this morning, so far. One, a hire boat – and they have no choice, having set out to cruise a thousand miles in a week and being fiscally obligated to return the boat on time to the docks at Narrowboating Is Fun Ltd. The second boat was piloted by a couple who looked as though they “boat” in any and all weathers, and not even Hitler had managed to stop them boating during the war. The third boat sported one gentleman on the stern, clad in an ankle-length blue plastic poncho, and looking about as happy as Steve Mc. Doubtless everyone else on Boat Number Three was inside, quaffing tea and toast, while Dad was at the tiller.

It is a tad “monsoon-esque” out there, but the water won’t do England any harm. It’s just a shame that none of our reservoirs are (we are told) in the right places to catch the rain-water, so there will soon be the customary drought restrictions on everything from boat movements to garden hosepipes.

Oh good grief, the swans have just sailed through the railway bridge, heading in this direction. At a guess I would say that Mrs Swan has been giving it lip, berating Mr Swan for not beating me to a pulp, and she’s fetching him by the earlobe to my boat for round two, so that he can prove that he’s not a wuss and re-gain the modicum of respek as she hitherto held for him.

Actually, they have four cygnets with them (Jaydee, Jodee, Jordannee and J’Waynee).

You don’t suppose that Mummy and Daddy swan are called Mandy and Steve, do you?

I suppose I’d better get the knuckle-dusters out.

Does anyone know where the vitals are on a swan?

I am almost beginning to wish that I had some boaty neighbours, now.

Ye gods – two dozen “joggers” have just thundered past on the (cyclist-friendly) tow-path. Jogging for their health. The heavy pounding of their soggy feets and ankles on the hardcore sounds not dissimilar to a hurried migration of wildebeest through an urban area. They didn’t look like wildebeest though, since no self-respecting wildebeest would be seen migrating in club lycra, wearing acid-pink sweat-bands and all carrying regulation bottles of water because Homo Modernicus can’t survive more than five minutes without spring-water hydration. Nor will you ever see an earnest migration of bovidæ in which half of the herd is engaged in a mobile telephone call to the other half of the herd, comparing Smart-iWatch readings on heart-rate, blood-pressure and gusset-sweatiness index.

I feel quite exhausted. I shall have to have another cup of coffee to prepare myself for when they all thunder back in the direction from whence they appeared.

Look out, Middlewich – they’re heading towards you!

Now, where did I put down my customary cheerfulness and love of my fellow man? It must be somewhere about. Perhaps it’s in the biscuit barrel…

Ah yes, there it is, under a packet of Ginger Nuts.


Chin-chin &etc.

Ian H.


  1. I have never ever, even in my hedonistic youth, understood the passion for jogging. Did no-one ever tell them about the deleterious effect the increased gravitational pull did to one’s dangly bits, of both sexes, which no amount of lycra could ever fully support?


  2. Droll. Very droll.
    You remind me about an ancient postcard featuring a kilted Scotsman up a ladder in a shop with a woman below peering up and saying, ‘Ah,Mr MacTavish, I see you have Ginger Nuts.’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve cracked the bank holiday mooring conundrum then? Overhead pylons, telephone lines and adjacent to train electrical lines – now there’s a combination to generate the know-alls debate on cancer inducing phenomenon! At least it might deterr any low flying space craft from landing nearby. 4G you say? Watch the Kimmi Koreans they haven’t even got 1G and have to hook into China’s main line until we get another 20,000 satelites up there that is. If you see any zig-zag lightning bolts, just duck.


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