One of the (many) compensations of living on a boat #narrowboat #boating

One of the major advantages of living on a boat is to be oft under a John Constable sky.

Another advantage is that when the neighbours are “less than optimal”, as they sometimes are, I can change my neighbours.

Doubtless many folk are thankful that they enjoy the same facility whenever I oik up somewhere near them.

Yesterday was one such occasion. There I was, moored merrily, when the boat behind me moved off …and two different boats moved in, cuddling up like eighteen-tonne meerkats.

The first to appear moored up with their stern just inside the paint on my bow – and after seeing to their ropes promptly restarted their engine and then proceeded to dump all of their domestic rubbish onto the towpath. There is nowhere near those moorings to dispose of rubbish, so doubtless it was to be a pretty towpath landscape feature for our entire time together. Certainly the rats in their various runs locally were poking little whiskered noses out to see what the delicious aroma was all about.

The second boat to arrive – ignoring the other two-thousand miles of space available on England’s canals – decided on an overdose of stern to stern and an underdose of Doilooklikeigivashit*…

*Proprietary brand name, other drugs for the same affliction are available.

He then promptly started up a petrol generator on the stern of his boat before heading off to the bow where it was quieter (quieter for him). He looked like he and his rinky dinky generator had settled in for the day. And evening. And night. Probably the week.

Oh, what larks!

Gosh oh golly, I thought, what a popular chap I must be!

The Common People do love me after all!

So, anyway.

I killed them all and have buried the bodies in unmarked graves in this remote little dingly dell that I know of. I’ll sell their boats at auction.

Mr Biggenthwacker.

Alright, I just huffed like a Grumpy Old Hector, untied my ropes and the Cardinal and I moved. My solicitor says that this is much more “legal”, whatever that is, than going “The Full Thor”.

I’ll go back later to kill them all and bury the bodies in unmarked, shallow graves. The place is almost full, but I think that with some deft spadework and another barrel of quicklime I can probably squeeze two or three dozen more folk in. I calculate that I’ll have to start looking for somewhere else to put the bodies towards the end of the month.

I swapped nb “Let’s Create A Rat-Fest” and nb “Generators-R-Me” for the relative peace and quiet of moorings a mile and a half away, alongside a nice A-Road and a building site.

The Cardinal, freshly moored in splendid and grumpy isolation. This is a busy stretch of canal with the junction just behind us, but – strangely – since the building site moved into town the actual moorings have become about as popular as a Le Pétomane tribute act in a multi-occupancy gaol cell.

No, but seriously, no, seriously, but – at least the noise here is easy to tune out!

We’re nicely around the corner and away from the junction and so out of the “parp-parp” fray of my fellow Hoomans all desperate to exercise their inalienable natural right to make unhindered progress on The Queen’s Watery Drag-Strip.

No idea why they’re all in such a bad-tempered rush. I am supposed to be the bad-tempered one (when actually I am a real puddy-tat, if truth be told).

One (of the many) thing(s) that my late mother went out of her way to teach me was how to sabotage a railway line with just two sticks of Dynamite, an inch of fuse and just the one match. No, hang on – wrong memory (happy days though, we were never short of things to do during the long Summer holidays). No, one of the (other) things that my late mother taught me was that sometimes, when it’s just not worth it, it is better to simply give a facial expression that approximates a “smile” (humans are apparently quite fond of this expression, and are comforted by it) – while thinking whatever you want to think about them, on the inside.

You can smile, but you don’t have to mean it.


I’m a horrid person, aren’t I?

It’s alright, you can tell me. Most of you are “abroad” and out of reach, the (now very fertile, overgrown) dingly dell is not for you.

When the neighbourhood gets to be lower than a politician’s belly-button, subject only to suitable cruising weather and sufficient personal “can-be-botheredness”, on a narrowboat you can just disappear over the horizon.

Gosh, I must sound as though I am permanently foaming at the mouth.

In fact, if anyone around here foams at the mouth on a regular basis, it’s the Cardinal.

Cardinal Wolsey foaming at the mouth.

This is mild compared to what may happen sometimes in locks. I think that it is what results when there has been a lot of run-off from the fields – lots of chemical fertilisers or even perhaps just farmyard poo getting into the canal water. There had certainly been a lot of rain before this photograph.

You notice that not only is the Cardinal foaming like a loon but he’s doing his usual trick of headbutting the top gate. Grr, let me at ’em, I want out of here, let’s go…

The Cardinal’s preference is for springing from the trap like a whippet on a promise, whereas mine is for cruising like an old biddy with consideration for the integrity of banks, and for nesting wildlife.

We really ought to be supervised, full-time. Probably by big, burly chaps in white coats who can buckle up a jacket at the back within twelve seconds.

Mind you, this being summer in England, it is warm, cool, dry, raining torrentially and blowing a (relatively) mild galeworth of wind, so I’ll have a problem now if (when) more meerkats-with-rubbish-and-generators move in around us. Tis above my elective manoeuvring threshold.

There’s always the old trick of a spud up the exhaust, I suppose, if needs be.

The boat exhaust, I mean, not the … although, thinking about it…

Ho hum.

Chin-chin for the mo. Reports to follow, when sufficiently caffeinated, of two more canal-based businesses; “Narrowboat Glass” (stained, leaded glass), and the pizza boat “Baked On Board”.

Talking of which, if you like the lead image, it (and many others) are available as prints, cards, underwear and wotnot, from the Cardinal and me, simply by clicking on the cards/etc link at the top of this (and every other) page, or. if you don’t know how to scroll back or don’t have the necessary safety-harness, just by clicking HERE.

Ian H., and Cardinal W.


  1. Love the blog and totally understand the annoyances of neighbours. The fellow next door was reported missing two weeks ago. Last Sunday morning someone set his house on fire. We were woken by furious knocking at 5am and told to evacuate…it was quite frightening.
    As well when we go to the wilderness to enjoy nature, we are frequently annoyed by folks who scream and cackle until the wee house, have huge bonfires at the risk of the dry forests and run noisy generators to run dubious noise machines so we are forced to listen to their terrible taste in music all day. Most times we pack up and go.
    Barb from Canada

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Barb – and thank you! I am glad that you enjoy my ramb-er-lings! A lot of people seem to feel the need to completely dominate the landscape wherever and whenever they go, walking and leaving few or better yet no footprints is a dying art, it seems. 🙂


  2. I like that you fill your dinglydell with people you find. I just have a list. When people say What would you do if you only had a year to live…. I tell them I have a list of people I think need to die before me. Your plan is more efficient in ridding the world of people who don’t deserve more time in the universe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A proportion of the population is indeed “worth their weight in fertiliser”… and a finer use for them you will not discover. 😉 Eugenics has always had such a bad name…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. … and there I was thinking not in terms of technology but perhaps of a pet Orc… I could call him “Hubert”, and train him so that I could just point at people that I want squished! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. WHAT?
    The little Bugrits were FLY TIPPING beside the canal?
    Where are the hidden cameras, or CARTwhallas, when you want someone nabbed, red-handed, bang-to-rights, evenin’ all, etc, etc,
    The lickspittles…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A surprising number of boaters believe with all of their hearts in the existence of “The Rubbish Fairy”, and leave a lot where’er it falls. I’ve never understood how they can just dump stuff – but then, presumably, expect the moorings to be lovely and pristine when next they themselves want to moor there! I suppose that between the mysterious workings of the grass/hedgerow contractors’ machines, CaRT picking some up and individuals and volunteers doing the rest, the folk who dump have never come across their own problem.

      Personally, I’d get a bit biblical with their punishment… 😉 It’s a good job I’m not a magistrate!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if somehow all of those around and about could be organised to dump their rubbish on the fly-tipper’s boat… what a thought. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this – really funny. Definitely something to exercise the smile muscles with I’m with your mother on that (as well as the dynamite one!) Breathe……

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dynamite can be fun for children of all ages. Mother used to be certain to have a crate or two in the house at the beginning of all school holidays.

      Liked by 1 person

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