Two new and reciprocal collective nouns – a bow-thruster of hoorays and a hooray of bow-thrusters #narrowboat #boating

We scooted along, yesterday, at Sparrowfart O’Clock, services for the visiting of – while also endeavouring to sneak up on the Anderton Boat Lift.

Not far, just shy of a couple of miles, via some “Ulanga River” reed-constrictions. If the C and R of the T don’t do something about the reed encroachment opposite the Anderton Service area then soon there shall be no passing of boats there at all.


Someone ought really to think of the children. Um, I mean, someone ought to mention that reeds are not an endangered species. Navigation, on the other hand, is endangered.


We came then upon some very pleasant moorings. Rather like the Mohicans, these moorings are the last of the “48-hours” before the aforementioned boat lift, there being ahead only a few “one day” moorings and then the “Holding Moorings” for the lift itself.

Space being at a premium the custom is, as far as rings provided allow, to moor nose to tail. Naturally, being me, not some little hilarity ensued after I had tied up and then rung down to the Engine Room on the Chadburn: ‘Finished (for the day) with engines’.

This photograph taken BEFORE the shuffling of the Hooray Boats…

That was when I was made aware of, perhaps even coined, the terms “a bow-thruster of hoorays” and its perfect mirror, “a hooray of bow-thrusters”.

[Bow-thruster info] [The dictionary defines a Hooray Henry as an ineffectual young man, but in the real world the term is actually used to cover folk of all ages who exhibit an excess of (usually-)faux “fnarr-fnarr” about themselves, generally without good cause.]

[Oh bugger! That sounds a lot like me… 😉 Am I a “Hooray Hutson”? I mun do some navel-gazing in that regard… ]

Here’s a picture of the players on the board: A boat at the bow and a boat at the stern, being acquainted, desired to move off in concert while a boat passing from astern overshot and reversed, desirous of hot-bunking the space not yet vacated by the preparing-to-depart boat ahead of the Cardinal, and a boat approaching from the bow who wanted to pass all and sundry at not some little speed, but who then attempted to bid for the not-yet-vacated space to the Cardinal’s stern. Is that a clear picture? We lacked for nothing save perhaps six nuns in two leaky canoes, an angler in fishnet waders and a cross-Channel Hoverlloyd hovercraft in miscellaneous distress.

They all were, as some are – and all power to their elbow, let he who is without social kink throw the first caricature – of a certain type. 😉

They brayed. They cackled. They honked. They even clucked. So intent in their social bonding were they that the Cardinal came within an ace of being clonked several times when there was, in terms of the Shipping Forecast, no need. I have no problem at all with “contact sport – minor” except when it happens simply because someone is too busy comparing the size of their childrens’ trust funds with one another to bother to keep their mind on the boating-jobbery. Moreover, when the air wasn’t filled with the sound of a certain type (see earlier disclaimer) all apparently on the verge of laying square eggs it was filled with the sound of bow-thrusters in desperate and cut-throat competition as they backed and forthed, forthed and backed, juggling position.

The Cardinal was (and it’s not a problem at all, when done with decorum) stepped upon and pushed-off from with such canvas-deck-shoe shod zeal that I was moved to pop my peasant head out and, in my best cut-glass, estuarial, shove-this-in-one’s-pipe-and-incinerate-it accent (assumed for the occasion in place of my peasant drawl), to mention that I was merely positioned in their midst by default, and if there were any way that I may help by such as shuffling fore or aft, please to do let one know.

Didn’t that just add to the complications, nicely. 🙂 I regret to inform that my kind offer to adjust up and down the towpath in this game of sliding boats around like tiles in one of those puzzle games was not accepted. Sniffle.

I have no idea how many fish were diced in frothing bow-thrusters yesterday but suffice it to say that there have been sharks feeding this morning.

At the end of the game, once the turbulence had died away and I had been in touch with the British Geological Survey to quash suspicions of an underwater 9 on the Richter scale, the Cardinal had won a fresh boat behind and a fresh boat in front. The former was, sadly, of the bang-bang thump clatter school of door and hatch work, and as far as I can tell was a creature of both day and night. The latter boat was a fine example of how to fit the entire catalogue of “Shiny Brass Things for Narrowboats” to one boat, including his vintage thump-thump engine – which he proceeded to start at 21:00hrs and ran until late… This un-neighbourliness during my sleeping hours was not in fact a problem, since I found that I had much to do myself at 04:30hrs this morning in my gas locker, and that is never quiet work.


Anyway, they’ve all bogged off today, and the Cardinal and I remain – in the latter portion of our “48-hours” on these moorings – because I have made a booking.

The Anderton Boat Lift is for us, tomorrow morning (Wednesday the 17th, this is Tuesday). Weather, passing “extinction event” meteors, and the continued good workings of the Victorian (built in 1875) lift allowing, we shall see what we shall see. Tis exciting times, and once down the lift we shall be on our first river (together), the River Weaver (reputed and assured to be nice and tame, a “starter river”).




The Anderton Boat Lift. I hesitate to link to the now-scrofulous, fallen, ideology-infested “Wikipedia”, but the Canal & River Trust’s own page on the lift is shallow, risible and does little other than to push the notion of the trip boat, the cafe and the “gift” shop. Wikipedia it must be on this occasion.

I wonder what the collective noun for me would be, should there ever be proven to be more than one of me? A moan of Hutsons? A cynic of Ians?

Perhaps I’d better hope for a titter. A titter of Hutsons.

I do my best, you know, but it’s not easy being a god among men.

You really can’t expect me to exorcise, exercise, and improve the language whilst simultaneously remaining perpetually cheerful and floating my own boat, surely?

The Cardinal and I shall endeavour to photograph the boat lift from the working end for you tomorrow, and mayhap – if the Chinese substitute for a GoPro co-operates – capture some video. Wish us luck, and a bon voyage.

Chin-chin, Ian H., & Cardinal W., exploring the canals (at a glacial pace) so that you don’t have to.


  1. T’is a marvelous piece of machinery, until the sensors that determine whether it is safe to raise the gate to let you out decide to throw a wobbly!! On our last visit said sensors decided this was the day and we were held in the downward side for almost an hour and a half! This was not really a problem though as we were on our hollybobs and the boat was Anderton’s own very fine tourist craft. We did eventually emerge onto the river below and cruised down and around and back in time for coffee and cake in the cafe. All in all a wonderous machine and well worth a visit

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    1. They were indeed headed down, their party in part at least. I shall hope to avoid them but will keep the stern chasers loaded with grape, just in case…

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  2. And are you using the lift to go ‘up’ or ‘down’ Ian? Looks remarkably sturdy for such an age! Alas if it were built nowadays it would be broken and out of rider by the end of the week to lay unused for many a year.

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    1. Today’s trip will be down, then a few days mayhap on the river, and back up again to terra cognita. I hope… 😉 Tis indeed, according to the staff, the modern electrics and hydraulics that cause the problems, not the Victorian engineering!


  3. May I suggest a harrumph as a collective noun, it has a certain ring and good luck tomorrow, looking forward to some high speed action shots of this work of engineering genius in operation.

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  4. It looks a monstrous beast to behold, I do wish you well during your flight and look forward to the visuals after the morrow – take care!

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