Damn! The damned dam’s damned. …and the spiders from Mars have found me again. #narrowboat #boating #boatsthattweet

Oh my goodness gosh and wotnot – another dirty-great chunk of canal and canal-related infrastructure is on the endangered list… Toddbrook Reservoir, somehow intelligently sited in elevated juxtaposition with the 6,500-resident town of Whaley Bridge, owned by the Nation and administered by the Canal & River Trust, is busy washing away its emergency spillway. Much ta very much indeed from me to the Greek and Roman gods that I am not in the area. [One of the many] news reports here. The photograph below is theirs.


Messrs Royal Air Force, using what is probably our last serviceable helicopter, a Chinook, are busily dropping 1,000kg bags of goodness me on the growing breach, hoping to stop it in its tracks. Whaley Bridge has been evacuated. Boats on the canal in the area – the reservoir’s purpose, among others, is to feed water to keep the canal wet – have been moved and, if unoccupied, towed, to a nearby marina where they may be safer if the 1,300,000 tonnes of water get loose all of a sudden like.

We’ve had a spot of rain in England of late, and you can see the local build-up in the video below.

Never a dull moment, during the exciting (disastrous) moments on the canals.

Fingers crossed that the dam doesn’t give way. As it is at the very minimum, long and expensive repairs await once the water subsides.

CaRT Toddbrook Reservoir update page.

Peak Forest & Macclesfield Canal closure notices.

My opinion? This is just the sort of thing that happens when you contract-out all functions. Contractors don’t – excuse my French – really give a merde. They follow at best only the exact letter of the contract requirements. Sending up a drone every six months so that someone in Bangalore can review the video doth not an inspection make. Old-fashioned local people employed the old-fashioned local way, and employed the old-fashioned long-term way would have spotted this when it could still have been averted or at the least repaired without the Royal Air Force and without Prime Minister Boris Johnson having to convene a COBRa meeting in re same.

Quelle embarrassmente pour les professionales. Quelle work ahead pour les workers.

But that’s just my opinion, and tis based on my opinion that if the whole world contracted-out all functions then everything would be (sub-)done on the cheap by aliens who know nothing.

Oh, hang on though… I wonder…

Anyway. The spiders from Mars… (a Nestlé company).

Woke up this morning, pulled on my shoes and spectacles and went out to squeegee down my solar panels – only to discover that the poor Cardinal had been wrapped from stem to stern in cobwebs overnight… Cobwebs everywhere, on everything. Ugh.


spiderprint Is this the work of just one sweet little arachnid who has been running all over my boat pulling spider-rope out of his arse all night, or is this the work of hundreds of the little buggers in some sort of competition?

Is it in fact the work, collective or individual, of something small? Perhaps one double-decker bus-sized spider who specialises in very detailed and intricate work…

I shall have to check the towpath, hedgerow and fields for spider-tracks…


I admit, I do have an uncomfortable very much in common with Miss Havisham, both emotionally and historically, but must the Cardinal really be made to resemble her dining room?




Once I’d cleaned off the solar panels (water & white vinegar, sponge and rubber-blade long-handled squeegee) I took a long-handled broom and removed the one-thousand webs.

I was a tad nervous while doing so, just in case Shelob should heave herself from the water or the hedgerow and remonstrate. One never quite knows with these things.

Tis amazing what goes on while one (tries to) sleep. As well as Shelob’s arachnid army I am of late enjoying the attentions of a parade of nocturnal moths – unfortunately some variety that is very large (two or three inch wing span), very black and very much against being caught in my humane-catching-and-oiking-overboard-glass-&-card.

think, as in my best theory is, that they see or follow infra-red, and the warmed-by-the-day air inside the Cardinal, escaping in the cool of the late evening through gaps around the rear hatch, attracts them to investigate.

It’s just a theory though, albeit the best that I have. I (finally) bunged up the gaps around the hatch (gaps that are ordinarily very useful, being generally proof against all but the worst weather and allowing much of the good ventilations) and was not further bothered by moth. It’s hardly conclusive, but I can only work with what I can see to work with when I see it.

Advice on defence against huge moth and armies of spiders welcome.

At least it’s not been persissssssting down with rain today, and my laundry is getting a chance to dry. I shall have to bring it all in long before it can be cocooned though.

Buy yourself a narrowboat and go and live on the canals they said (my brain cells said, both of them), it’ll be tranquil and relaxing and care-free.

Remind me please never to listen to either of my brain cells ever again.

Chin-chin for the mo, from Messrs Ian H and Cardinal W., fortunately not anywhere on nor near nor by the Peak Forest Canal, in canal-distance terms.



    1. Is there much call these days for spider meat? I could start some sort of commercial enterprise, I suppose – organic, grass-fed spider steaks, roll up, roll up, get ’em here… 😉

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  1. Well, kudos to that Chinook pilot. That was impressive to watch.
    The flooding was terrifying and reminded me yet again that the human vanity of infrastructure will always be struck down by the whims of nature. I don’t believe I would have stood on that bridge. 😧😲

    Also, the spider webs are gorgeous. It’s too bad that they were ON the Cardinal and not somewhere they could flourish. 🕸🕷


  2. I assume with the recent down-pouring of angels’ tears, the water level is raised to eighteen inches above the banks, thereby making the Cardinal a floating penthouse

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    1. This whole blog is a sham, really – the Cardinal and I are in the Gulf, doing service as a Royal Navy aircraft carrier… After that nonsense is over I plan on a few years in the Carry-Be-an, smuggling tobacco and molasses and wooden legs and parrots. It’s a lousy rotten job but the Judge told me that someone had to do it – and, according to the birth certificate, “Someone” was my father’s name…

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  3. Goodness me! The force of that water and thankful you aren’t anywhere near it. We certainly could do with a few billion of those wasted pounds for survival in the ‘great’ country of ours. You do seem to be having the plague of locusts where you are – can’t imagine having to deal with anything fluttering about that size!

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    1. I am not terribly pleased about dealing with flappy things, but needs must when the Devil has an extensive supply of radio-controlled moths… 😉

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