As the parachute-free parachutist said early on in his adventures, so far, so good…

Or, as the man who loved sitting down said, sofa so good…

Many thanks for all of the offers and for the advice offered in re the changes to the hosting of this blog. 🙂

I have bitten the bullet, compromised and pushed the buttons early – after learning that I could renew just the domain name without the WordPress £package£. My preference is to shout “Fire!” myself rather than wait for the chap in charge of the firing squad to do so.

hope that the resultant mutant arrangement will be sufficient to prevent possible problems of broken links in shared posts – I have my digits crossed.

Time will tell of course, but from the look of it the WordPress “help” advice was a bit Shakespearean (Much Ado About Nothing…), and unless they are sitting on any surprises, the old links ought to continue to work, the layout “theme” doesn’t appear to have been taken away and t’only change may be wordpress doing a spot of advertising here and there.

What a palaver.

What a damp squid (sic) (I hope).

Mr WordPress will have to stick wih his current yacht instead of buying a bigger one, although the domain renewal ought at least to afford him a tin of sail polish or whatever it is that oligarchs use on their super-yacht crews these days.

So, canals and boating, eh?

The Cardinal and I have a wonderfully depressing view of a marina at the moment. This is the view from the side-hatch.

Forget the interwebnettings, what’s been happening on the raging inland waters?

Well, a lot of things are “broken”.

The River Weaver is closed to navigation due to high water levels following the recent biblical rains. The service area at Anderton is operating in non-functional mode and repairs are eagerly awaited.

The Llangollen canal is broken in the middle following a minor land-slide, and will probably remain so for a couple of weeks. This is no disconvenience to me, since I am not on the Llangollen, the local hire boat company though – Venetian Hire Boats and Chandlery – are currently juggling their socks off to keep their customers happy and holidaying, since all of their long-term hire boats are stuck on the “wrong” side of the blockage… not the baby “day boat”, Barcarolle; he’s safe at home. Hirers are being picked up and transported (not in the Australian sense, but in the vehicular) and are making do very nicely thank you with just half of the Llangollen to explore – and indeed, who could really ask for more? Fingers crossed that it’s all sorted out with a surfeit of quickth.


In news from the Home Front, I woke up yesterday morning to discover, puzzlingly, that the canal water level had dropped about six inches, this in spite of the massive rains of late. My usual step-off-the-bow sumo-stance followed by a delicate leg extended, ballet-fashion, over the gunwale to the towpath required a stretching of more sinews than it had hitherto. I am lucky that I was still wearing my night-attire of flexible codpiece, extreme-support hose and half a jar of Ralgex.

Turns out that there was a chuffing great hole in the Shropshire Union main line canal about two miles back, and about six or seven miles of canal water to a depth of six inches had escaped into the countryside. I’ve done the arithmetic and I reckon that with yer average canal about twenty foot across, that’s at least seven or eight pints of water gone a.w.o.l. …

Given the flooded state of fields and roads around here I am surprised that anyone noticed at all until we were all sat sitting on the bottom of a dry canal.

All patched up now though (CaRT dumped a ruddy great industrial sack of gravel into the whirling vortex, plugging the hole for the moment).

Living on a boat there are things to think about that you just don’t get with bricksandmortarhomes. Everyone on a boat constantly checks the level of the boat, how the bow sits compared to the stern, any variation port to starboard, how any neighbouring boats are sitting… and only then do we believe that it is the level of the canal that has changed. It’s a kind of watery paranoia. Just because you’re still floating doesn’t mean that they’re not still out to get you.

Not knowing at the time why the level had dropped, and not particularly wanting to be stuck where I was, the Cardinal and I made the decision to mooch quickly on down the next lock to a stretch where the levels hadn’t changed (at least, not for the same reason). This was early in the day of course, but the usual nonsense prevailed. I’d no sooner untied the last rope and rung for “full steam ahead and damn the stokers” than a number of “hi-vis” jackets appeared around the lock up ahead (our target). Looking back a boat had appeared from nowhere. all in a hurry-on and steaming up merrily. My quiet move was being converted into some sort of crowd-experience, as usual.

Luckily – luxuriantly, in fact – the hi-vis turned out to be some early-morning lock volunteers that I’ve met afore, and the Cardinal and I rode down the lock in style while they did all of the work for us… thank you, chaps!

The boat behind while, I think, more than just a little dischuffed at being pipped to the early-morning post (the lock!) by the Cardinal didn’t actually express any opinions that would require a pugilistic response from me, and they waited their turn, so all was well there in the end, too.

It’s still raining occasionally, but the rain is no longer biblical in nature. Once or twice we’ve even see a fleeting glimpse of the sun. Today is indeed warm enough that the only reason Mr Stove is lit is to help to dry yesterday’s laundry.

It’s all go, here, I can tell you. I know how to live.

We’re moored now in a bit of a high-traffic area, but there’s not some little madness to my method (I’ll explain later). Boats are back and forth, around and about, up and down from the lock, although I have managed to moor just out of the “eek zone” for boats turning in the marina. This is towpath, Jim, but it’s not quite towpath as we know it…

I am spending a couple of days and nights here, undertaking research into how my nerves, and the Cardinal’s nerves, stand up to this proximity to the madding crowds (and, doubtless, they to me).

Sofa so good.

The Canada geese in the marina are flying circuits of take-off, around Pontoon A or Pontoon B, then landing and paddling back to the start point for another turn. The ducks are spending half of their days finding empty pontoons upon which to sleep and defecate (sometimes at one and the same time). There’s a late hatching’s worth of tiny ducklings being led back and forth by their parents, rushing frantically between “cute” and “aw – bless!” I count eight at the moment, fingers crossed that it stays that way. Mother ducks in their first year of breeding often lose their entire brood to the appetites of carp and heron and weasel and badger and water-buffalo.

My next task is to publish this post and see how the “new” “old” freebie-with-domain-name arrangement works, or doesn’t work. Then it’ll be time to think of something interesting for tiffin and/or dinner.

Duckling on toast, perhaps.

Thank you for your persistence in reading this blog, I can only hope that the fresh arrangement doesn’t all collapse the moment I take my eye off it.

[Exits stage left to fend off a manoeuvring boater (and boat) with the barge-pole, muttering in threatening tones about “too damned close for comfort” and “get away from me, Claude”. Considers lighting a flaming brand and jumping up and down on deck, beating chest and yelling ‘Ug!’ and ‘Yabba dabba doo’ at all and sundry.]

Oh well.

Chin-chin for the mo, and cheers, chaps.

Ian H.


  1. You still shows in my RSS feeder. I think it’s working a charm.
    I’m wondering if you should encase the canal-marina facing side of the Cardinal with fenders. I know they are usually tied to the dock side, but… It feels like maybe you should have a bit of protection on the outer side.


  2. I was interested to hear about the River Weaver. I grew up near Northwich and knew the river well. The Anderton Lift was considered quite the thing.
    You might be interested to know that there was a massive flood in the 1940s, I think. (I wasn’t t around at the time, so the date is not very accurate, of course.) This was commemorated by a large mural in the foyer of the local cinema, The Regal.. It depicted the cinema with water up to around a third of the front, and boats sailing past. That’s from my memory of many long years ago.
    I do know that my uncle, who had a shop in the Bullring, which lies at the confluence of the rivers Dane and Weaver, had to get up in the night and go and try to save what goods he and his father and brothers could. (Don’t ask me how they were communicated with at that time. Did they have telephones? I know they existed then, but how many people had them?)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yikes – local knowledge! I will be going up and down on the Anderton Boat LIft as soon as – um, with boat of course, not just paddling or swimming by myself – but it keeps getting closed on me or reduced to operating on just one caisson. The floods here in the past week were extensive – even the raised railway line somehow managed to get so flooded that they cancelled all trains for a day.

      Tis indeed difficult to remember how we used to communicate before the interweb5Gnets. One of the minor disconveniences of living on a boat is that all institutions expect to be able to talk to me (shout at me) on a mobile telephone. I do have one, but it is rarely switched on, and I can’t remember the number – and the signal in most rural areas is poor to non-existent. I feel myself rejecting the phone more and more as “modern” life demands that I attach myself to it surgically! 🙂

      Frexample – just took me three attempts to post this comment on my own blog!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. With luck and a following wind the URL should now stay the same, I’ve compromised and forked out to renew the domain name, paid the ransom in effect! Fingers crossed.


  3. Excellent! That seemed to work out well for sharing. You had us all worried for a bit. Stay dry and don’t let the pirates come aboard!

    Liked by 1 person

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