Cool, dull, grey, overcast, breezy – and photobombed by one of Father Nature’s thugs #boating #narrowboat

Before I say anything else I will say that the photobombed image here is not photoshopped, it is as it came out of my pocket-rocket camera, merely reduced in size for the interwebnettings. Taken by yours truly this morning, the 27th of May in the Year of our Rampant Wildlife 2019.

If I thought that yesterday was typical Bank Holiday weekend weather then today has been the very distillation of a Michael Fish bouillabaisse. I have been sorely tempted to bung on the central heating (yes, the boat does have it – diesel-fired, four radiators). A spot of inclemency though is no excuse for not perambulating. I’ve already been up and down the towpath here in both directions, repeatedly, so this o’morning I opted for a spot of side to side instead. There’s a public footpath over the nearby bridge and it leads in both directions through farmed land.

The Cardinal is hunkered down on his moorings, on three ropes and the big, squidgy, blue fenders, the better to help him ignore the many, many speeding boaters passing on their way in answer to 999 calls, or whatever their excuses for their rudeness may be…

Cardinal Wolsey on the Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union Canal, May 2019.

Once the hidden routes are rooted out the walking hereabouts isn’t bad, considering, and tottering through the lanes and fields does have the advantage of allowing me to avoid the swans…

Bridge 23 – Cartwright Bridge – Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union Canal.

A couple of miles back from these moorings the Mr Farmer (doubtless Incorporated) has been hard at work muck-spreading, not with the usual stuff sporting a “countryside aroma” but with something evil, something that stinks of old and unhealthy urea and burns the human nasal passages. I’ve stopped walking in that direction. I am mightily glad that I am not still moored down there.

Hereabouts though there is no such “problem”, the air is as fresh as it gets on this overcrowded little island – “North Atlantic with a hint of armpit blowing in from Upper and Lower Suburbia”.


Very occasionally a tiny gap or a thinning of the clouds drifted overhead, and the light changed from “thoroughly dull” to “a bit of sparkle” about things.


In the matter of savage wildlife I confess to being rather fond of trees, buttercups, daisies, dandelions and purple clover.

The hedgerows are a delicious rag-tag jumble of species, which suggests that they may be older than their configuration suggests – or, possibly, just planted with more variety by someone thoughtful.


I got rained on only a smidge this morning, not enough to warrant wringing-out the old flat cap, just enough to keep me nicely wet behind the ears in all senses of the phrase.

It was on the return leg of my walk that I decided on taking one final lane-hedge-field-tree-wildflower photograph, and promptly found myself on the blunt end of a beating-up by this fine example of a yellow and grey “Bird Thingy”. The wings brushed my fingers as I held the camera to my eye…

Identification suggestabalodes invited.

The dark eye-stripe and collar with yellow undersides and a topsides which – in the overcast ambient light – the camera may have mistaken blue-grey for just-grey might suggest a Blue Tit – were it not for the oddly orange beak… There’s nothing else in my Ladybird Book of Birds that has the roughly 10cms size with the bandit eye-stripe and clerical collar combination.

I have no idea, it could be a Fudruttocks Knock-Kneed Tupfumbler for all that I know. It was a bird, a small bird, and along with its partner it wasn’t happy about my being – presumably – too near its nest.

After last year’s nonsense and visit to A&E I’m just glad that it wasn’t another hungry and bad-tempered Aegypius monachu, over here on an exchange visit. It is disconcerting enough to have the seagulls and crows circling overhead whenever I go out to walk, without the vultures joining in.

Ian Hutson – photobombed.

I tell you, it’s all go here on the canals.

I shall need another spot of sitting down after this.

Is it cold and damp and dismal enough today for a curry for lunch, I wonder?


Chin-chin, Ian H., and Cardinal W.


  1. We’ve had to put up with the fermented rotting corpses pong wafting across the lake from the oodles of farms on the other side of late … it’s an annual thing as the farmers force their land to produce yet another bumper crop of the same things they planted the year before and the year before that and so on. The earth doesn’t even have a chance to breathe before they’re at it again.

    Anyway … love the perambulating photos and the bombed one. You captured that shot on purpose, didn’t you? Of course you did. 😀


  2. I used to have that problem, only mine were the ducks up at Braemar, they always followed me.


    1. Do chaffinches have the eye-band? The best guess that I could come up with was the (surprisingly) yellow Blue Tit. Ornithologicalistics has never been my strong-point… I can tell hen from gull from blackbird from emu, but that’s about it. 😉

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  3. Action photo of a blue tit, well-caught sir, loved to read this as I am as far from a canal as you can imagine being up up on the Exmoor coast for a few days, great reminder of the canalside tranquility.

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    1. The Exmoor coast sounds like a fantastic place to be – were I ever to win some mega-lottery one of the top items on my “oh go on then, spoil yourself, Hutson” list would be a remote house on a wild and windy coast… preferably one where I could stumble about on the cliff tops, striking dramatic and love-lorn poses! Until then though, the canals are I. 😉


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