Fifty shades of dull green – and grey and red and yellow and purple and brown and sky-blue-beige #narrowboat #boating #England

It’s late autumn here in England. Yes, yes, I know that the month is Augustus, but according to reality – id est, the weather – tis late autumn, tis very late autumn.

Solid wind, solid rain and I solidly refuse to light the stove in August no matter that the temperature is in the mid-fifties Fahrengezundheitings (that’s about twelve or thirteen Centripods if you’ve been converted to natural gas).

An English summer sky. Someone please put 50p in the meter and turn on a light.

There are boaters boatering past, one or two, but they all look about as happy as a queue of dogs waiting in a veterinary surgery on “Half-price Neuter Your Dog Day”.

My solar panels are doing a grand job, but there’s really very little light-of-nukular-fission out there to work with.

I’ll do my crying in the rain, thank you very much.

In summation, England is about as cheerful and welcoming today as is the inside of a Swedish wrestling-camel’s jockstrap.

Every scrap of vegetation on or about the towpath is canted over at an angle of at least forty-five degrees thanks be to the breeze. A goodly portion of it is drowned and yellowed and dying a death.

Ethiopian leaf-rot on an already sub-prime wild Forgustium Esmerata.

You know how to thistle don’t you shweetheart? You just put your petals close together and blow. Thweeee… Thweeee (or possibly four). Thistle-esque things…

Aristophontes Quintilius, but only the one in bloom.

Even thistle-like things have “bad hair” days. Who doesn’t in this damnable wind?

Aristophontes Quintilius in the acroteleutium stage, just before final perescrinalia, after which the seeds are available for wind-dispersal.

What do trees have in common with elephants?

Why trunks of course, they both wear swimming trunks.

Watching a very damp tree watching me watching a tree. The real surprise was when the tree blinked.

Well-hidden in the greenery is the very occasional splash of yellow.

Miniature wild Philocomasium Pusinnus – the eleven-petal sub-variety introduced by Queen Victoria to London parks on the occasion of her accession to the throne. The species escaped, of course, and may now be found all over England.

Purple is thinking about making a reappearance, but a lot of the purple is feeling too blue to campaign. It’s hard to wave a flag for the cause when you’re soaked to the root and have lost the will to live.

Some sad and sorry examples of violet Antamonides Laetinius, with some healthier-looking semi-aromatic non-flowering Panegyris Canisius in the background (the darker green).

There are one or two aliens lurking in the shrubbery of the towpath.

These ‘orrible-looking growths for example.

Uninviting, but edible Menaechmus Magnus Berriatum, popular among urban gardeners in the nineteen-twenties and nineteen-thirties, but replaced now on almost every allotment with the better-cropping Giddenis Furius Popularis which also grows in the more recognisable evenly-rounded shape we know today..

They look like something you might stumble across on the rear end of a cat that doesn’t eat sufficient roughage.


This wee beastie, while a most excellent rusty-red colour, reminds me of nothing more than what a pomegranate might look like if it exploded onto a hairy twig.

A mature Alcesimarchus Dio Pyrgopolynices Columbanus, but suffering from over-watering, as are we all in this rain.

I have no idea what I reminded the plant of.

Possibly of a human, only uglier.

I have given the towpath a decent wander up and down today, but it’s just not been satisfying. Most of the rain is falling downwards of course, but roughly one in every hundred drops is flying sideways. These sideways raindrops have an unerring ability to home in on my ear ‘oles, flying in one and out of the other. It’s most disconcerting.

Today is a day for mostly staying indoors and for drinking coffee.

Narrowboatius Gloomius Maximus, Pistoffathavingnoproper Summertospeakof Sofar. I don’t count as “summer” those few days we’ve had of ridiculous temperatures, when the Met Office lost England in the “Sahara” file. Summer is supposed to be warm but not hot, dry but not arid, with light breezes but not gales, &etc.

I have that awful nagging suspicion that I may also go to bed quite early today.

Two or perhaps three pm.

I will try to stay up until at least four.

It’s difficult to nod off into a relaxing sleep though, when the Hoi and the Polloi are manoeuvring outside on the cut.

‘Steer into the wind a bit more, Margot.’

‘I am steering into the wind, Todd, it’s just not answering the helm the way they said that it would.’

Hire-Boat Panickorata in full flower, with a nice crop of Iwantadivorce developing on the stern. the hodilaymakers had spent the night half-loose, across the cut, and are pictured here having just retrieved themselves, dis-moored with some deliberation, visited the offiside bank and being deep into the process of trying to navigate in a straight line. Photo perspective foreshortened by long lens. There’s a reason why I don’t move on windy days – but hire-boaterers HAVE to move, poor b’gers, having set themselves targets to meet (such as getting the boat back on time).

‘Oh Margot, everyone will think that we’ve got crabs.’

Crabbing, Todd, the term you’re groping for is crabbing. Not “got crabs”. We’re crabbing. Do try to be at least a little bit nautical.’

‘Margot, darling, you might be crabbing it, but I’m bricking it. Please straighten out before we hit that nice boat. Remember that we have to be in Birmingham by three, to hand the boat back.’


‘Yes, Margot?’

‘Next year we’re having two weeks volunteering on an archaeological dig in Prestatyn. I’ve had enough boatering to last me.’

‘Yes, Margot.’


Chin-chin for the moment,

Ian H., &etc.


  1. What Margot neglected to tell Todd was that there are two Prestatyn’s, a rather lovely one in Wales and one, significantly lesser known just to the north of Oymyakon, Russia, where the temperature often falls to a balmy minus 60 Celsius.
    Sadly Todd never made it past the front door of the airport and can still be seen there today, frozen solid.
    Margot, meanwhile, has settled into domestic bliss with Bernice, the Head Archivist, at the Prestatyn Museum-and-Gift-Shoppe, and has vowed never to set foot on a narrowboat ever again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You really could get a side gig naming new species. All of your names are very believable. 🙂
    You seem to have found the towpath of paradise. So many wild flowers.
    Hopefully the weather reverts to something more friendly to life, happiness and a lack of mold.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, these fair weather sailors, whingeing about a wee drop of moisture and icy blasts around the nethers was just not tolerated among me and my other barnacle encrusted cronies. Oh, those were the days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. But at least the canals are fuller! If it makes you feel any better, it’s blooming cold in Kent, but not raining at the moment.
    I said to my mum in law (her what is in her late 70’s) it’s cold and she replied well it is August! Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Woken up this morning to a (mostly) blue sky – someone at the Met Office has obviously made a mistake and we have the weather intended for delivery to someone else (a country with more money). 🙂


  5. It looked a bit like someone went watering with a high concentrate poison down the hedgerow – I should know my neighbour is a serial offender. I have an abundance of those very (should I say berry) Hemorrhoidial rectumus, although they seem to be faring better than those in your picture – they look a bit mutant to me. I sometimes wonder if I ought to advertise to draw the amateur wine makers. But I agree this year is a bumper crop due to current watering cycles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not entirely certain that those berries are edible by man or beast, they look to me as though some shape-shifting alien hasn’t quite perfected his disguise. 😉


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