We’ve got neighbours at the moment, the Cardinal and I – and, for once in my moanfest, I’m happy with that. These are fourteen-day moorings but there’s quite a regular turnover of moored boats. I like these moorings. No idea why, they are noisy and urban. Can’t explain it any more than I can explain why I just don’t like some other, apparently more suitable places. Some I just do. Some I just don’t. There was one such v.nice mooring on the Llangollen that I moved off after just two hours, couldn’t stand that spot. Took me ages to find somewhere else that was vacant. Me is weird.
That said, I could have done without the drunk who was banging on boats at about 02:30hrs the other night (I assume not just on mine, but on the whole row moored here). For the second time in the past three years I woke up, shouted ‘THIS IS NOT A DRILL’ and made good and practical use of two of the switches within arm’s reach of my deliciously comfortable flea-pit. One switch turns on a couple of “Night Sun” LED floodlamps on the boat roof, the other sounds the 120db horn…
Actually, had I really shouted ‘THIS IS NOT A DRILL’ the way that they do in all of those military-esque Hollywooden “penny dreadfuls” then that would probably have been sufficiently terrifying on its own to make anyone run. If I wasn’t holding a drill then what the heck sort of power tool was I holding? A chainsaw? A bacon-slicer? No, I just shouted to myself in my head, as I rolled onto one elbow and reached for the big switches and flipped off the guards that prevent accidental use.
Hearing then no further disturbance I dressed – carefully, slowly, without haste – and went outside to lovingly crush the larynx of anyone still foolish enough to be within range. The drunk was something on the order of two hundred yards away, running with a most peculiar gait indeed (soggy-wet trousers?) and stopping for nothing and no-one.
Anyway, as usual, I digress. I want to tell you about this morning’s walk-ette, my route taking me from above King’s Lock up to Croxton Flash and then back almost the same way but with an excursion through Middlewich town, to check the charity shops for any more el cheapo Linkin Park CDs (and in constant hope of a complete headbangology of Rammstein CDs, although I’ve yet to see a single one in Cancer Research or St Dingleberry’s Hospice Support et al).
The walk took me past a public dustbin – Middlewich, gobsmackingly, still has them, thanks be to Middlewich – and then on past the six locks of the town (five on the T&M, one on the Wardle) and I performed a volte-face at a place called Croxton Flash, where the canal appears to widen out adventurously, but has actually just created itself a shallow puddle with which to tempt the unwary into grounding themselves.
Heaven (and passing boaters or, in extremis, CaRT and/or R.C.R.) help those who don’t spot the warning signs.
On the way I spotted – and immediately covetted – this delicious wee beastie in a dealership and behind bars.
I was a complete car-freak in my youth, but now they generally just leave me cold, or worse. The world would have been so much better a place had Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot not bunged a chuffing great steam engine on three wheels in 1769, thus inventing the car. Where once I looked for roaring engines, squealies and j-turn capabilities, these days if I look at all I look for safety, comfort and cuteness factor. This Citroen Dyane-based van has little to no safety but, wow, it has character a-plenty enough for me.
The bridges I walked under had all been decorated with the usual graffiti, although there is, I confess, more thought to the graffiti in Middlewich than there seems to be in other towns. Far out to the west of town are the ‘Repent’ and ‘Abandon hope’ bridges, in the centre of town is ‘Think outside the box’ (sprayed-painted outside a “box”. and lacking only the “of” of ‘Think outside of the box’ to satisfy the grammar-Nazi in me), while today to the north-east I walked past some sort of dancing voodoo man, and a rather disturbing message for one ‘Tyler Kerr’ whomever he or she may be. Is “Tyler” a boy’s name or a girl’s name these days? Do the Yoof of Tudday still make such distinctions?
If anyone in Interwebnetsland knows whether Tyler is alive or dead, please let me know in the comments, I do worry…
There is some sort of peculiar practice in canal-world, mayhap elsewhere too, of knitting or crotch-ett-ing things and plastering them all over the environment. I kid you not. Woollen (90% polyester) floral covers for lock-beam handles, that sort of thing. Either this little square that has been tied carefully in the towpath undergrowth is part of that trend or else the spiders around here are getting well above their station in life.
Anyone ever seen a large hedgerow spider sporting a crochet hook, spectacles, and support hose – and toting a large basket of wool ends to use up?
No, nor have I.
Praise be to the Greek and Roman gods.
The towpath paraphernalia didn’t get any more weird than that, but it did, separately, explore “incredibly sad” and “randomly motivational”.
Sad? That would be this memorial to a canal and boat-loving dog, who died – the cause is not stated, it might have been both voodoo and crochet related – while on a cruise and was taken home by his keepers on the bow of their boat, to be planted later in the garden under a tree (and thus stifling his love of boating, substituting instead proximity to his loving family). I always get incredibly soppy about dogs, I ought not to have crouched down to read the story. I’ll be putting flowers there myself before you know it.
The random motivation was found on one of a couple of sadly abandoned buildings.
Prime canalside property with vee-hick-u-lar access and parking, begging to be yuppified. Ditto this:
There is a spray-painted legend applied with not some little care to the right-most ground floor anti-vandal anti-squatter anti-intrusion steel door.
Yes, I know that I am, but I still appreciate whoever it was who took the time to tell me so again in this most enterprising manner. Thank you. 😉
The ghost, I hear you cry, the ghost? Well, take ghost to be in questioning quote marks (single for quoting speech, double for indicating doubt or casting aspersions if you speak-a-da-or-write-a-da English, the reverse is the norm, I believe, if you do the American). “Ghost”. I do not suffer from religion, I do not harbour beliefs about harp-playing in some afterlife, but, in common with my sister (although not so much my brother) I have always tended to be where whoo-whoo, chain-rattling and difficult-to-explain events take place. No idea what “ghosts” are, mayhap some sort of ripple or complication in time and space, a hiccough from dimensions as yet unexplored by the human species, I don’t know. One thing I can say is that I have experienced lots of them, although I never look for them. Today’s, unlike some which I have experienced as horridly malevolent, seemed to be a playful one.
Anyway. I was walking along this morning, bright sunshine, blue sky, birds twittering, carrying my wherewithal in my uber-trendy, uber-practical and really trés butch Troop of London classic brown canvas man-bag, when – and here’s the weird bit – the strap suddenly weighed down on me like a ton of bricks, exactly as though someone was (very-) playfully tugging at the strap from the back.
No-one in sight.
It didn’t stop tugging, very heavily.
I stopped, I fiddled about with bag (normal bag “weight”) and I fiddled with the strap – not caught anywhere, not caught on anything (in any case, I’d walked quite a few yards along).
Tug. Tug, tug tug.
Tugs from a very heavy hand.
Then after five minutes it just stopped.
I am reasonably sane, I am reasonably practical and down-to-earth, I believe wholeheartedly in the laws of nature and the laws of physics even if we don’t know more than a tiny portion of them as yet, but something was pratting around, tugging at my man-bag – and there was no-one in sight. If it was a gravitational anomaly then it was a mightily specific and localised one!
Another strangeness to file away under “Huh?” Yet another one.
I tell you, it all happens on the canals, you know.
I do wonder though why putative ghosts (“ghosts”) never do anything practical, such as whispering next week’s National Lottery winning numbers into my ear-ole or something. It’s all very well pushing books off bookshelves and making footstep noises and tugging on man-bag straps, but what is the point?
Now, about the fund-raiser to buy me that lovely yellow Citroën Dyane van…
Chin-chin for the mo, chaps, and perhaps leave yourselves a comforting little night-light burning tonight, just to chase the shadows away…
Ian H., and Cardinal W.