I’ve had a swimming pool installed on the Cardinal.
Usually the rear tonneau cover copes splendidly, but the rain of late (overnight) has been solid and unrelenting. I was awake thrice in the night and thrice cleared the water from this cover – that’s about two hours’ worth. Oh – and I haven’t counted anything, the headline is just an estimation! Proper English “billions”, of course, none of yer new-fangled foreign “thousand million” muck.
England, dear old England, is doggedly chewing its way through a bucket of left-over slops of weather. Two days ago we roasted, had winds for all occasions, enjoyed thunder and lightning – and humidity of a most improper level. Then we had – I kid you not – a tornado. This tornado did 11/- 6d ½p worth of damage to Manchester (i.e., levelled half of the city) Earlier this morning it was time for my fingerless gloves, and at least a hundred Imperial gallons* of rain-water must have fallen over the country during the hours of darkness. It hasn’t stopped raining for two days. We now enjoy a very confused and blustery breeze, very steady rain and temperatures well into the Imperial 70°s of the Fahrenthingummies. No idea what that is in new money, don’t care.
*Another estimation. I am very good at estimations.
There are no roads around these moorings, it is just over a mile along the towpath to the nearest one – so for once, I can enjoy countryside sounds* and not an endless stream of motor traffic.
*Countryside sounds – kingfishers sitting on the Cardinal’s bow, squeaking about “the bloody rain”; foxes wailing in the night (because they’re wearing their best coat and have just fallen into a muddy puddle); farmers shooting their carefully arranged fields of silage with Grandfather’s favourite Purdey Pump-Action because, instead of drying out, it is sinking back into the mud from whence it came. That sort of thing.
Very few boats are moving. Those that are moving are hire boats – folk who have paid on the order of £1,250 to £2,000 for their week on a narrowboat and are damned determined to get from Anderton to London and back in the six actual available days allotted – or are those who are just plain insane. Bramble Cuttings, those luvverly moorings just a girlie stone’s throw back from where we are, are deserted.
The Cardinal looks slightly grumpy to me. We had a decent cruise to these moorings (some nine miles plus a smidge), so by the time I spotted this spiffing spot he’d properly got the bit between his teeth and was loathe to let me tie up. That, and I think that he much prefers his water under his baseplate rather than dropped liberally on top.
The surface of the canal has that peculiar patchwork of different textures, quite apart from the rain. The towpath is beginning to get very soggy indeed.
There were ducks banging on the hull at about two or three in the morning. Possibly they were demanding admittance, possibly because one or more of them, in this surfeit of H2O, had discovered that they had a leaky Arsenal Villa are doing awfully well this season, are they not? I told them to be on their way, emptied the swimming pool from the rear cover and went back to Dreamworld (wherein it was not raining).
Mr Heron spent yesterday evening prowling up and down the shallows of the offside of the canal – knee-deep to him – and that would have been a most pleasant natural aspect, were I not aware that he was merely hunting for duck-chicks, Ratty and Mole upon which to feast. I do like herons, but they do eat anything.
In this matter I can’t claim the moral high ground. In the Roman tradition of two meals a day I’ve just stuffed “brunch” down my face – mostly t’was new potatoes and lots of steamed, dark, dark, dark green broccoli mixed with a little bit of mild onion. Yum yum pig’s bum. I didn’t eat any pig’s bum.
The solar panels are working their socks off, but able to bring in barely enough to run my little electric chair more than once every couple of hours.
It’s a hobby, I like to capture small furry animals, strap them into my little electric chair and watch them smoke as I throw the switch. When you live on the canals you take your fun wherever you can find it. Mother bought me the ‘Super-Splendid Small Wildlife Interrogator’s Kit’ one Christmas when I was about six or seven years old, and the lustre has never left the game, although the cardboard box is beginning to look tatty now. I haven’t been able to wear the white laboratory coat since bulking out during puberty, but the sinister monocle still fits nicely.
Three more boats have cruised past as I typed this. On the back of each one was something that looked like a refugee who had lost their boarding pass and been turned away from the Ark.
I blame solar cycles, long-term climate cycles and mysterious deep-planet preparations for the long-overdue flip of the magnetic poles, but it does seem to be all extremes at the moment. Too much of everything, too often and for too long. Not at all like a decent English summer.
Or perhaps it is?
Does Mrs Beeton give instructions on how to hold a picnic for forty persons in heavy rain?
Wanders off to the Cardinal’s library, on a complete mental tangent*.
*A complete mental tangent is at least more dignified, generally, than a unicycle.
I have always been relieved that rain falls in small droplets, and not all at once in some giant slab dropped from the clouds. That would be most inconvenient. Eight inches of rain is expected, so put on your tin helmet, Doris, and brace yourself.
Chin-chin from a green and pleasant land.
Ian H., & Cardinal W.