Lunch at The Snowflake Inn, N.I.M.B.Y. N.O.B.s, and networks called ‘Cyril’ #narrowboat #boating

What a frabjous day.

Lunch at The Snowflake Inn? Well the name outside reads “Barbridge Inn” but the clientelle seem to have changed since my last visit. The Bro and I were having lunch in there t’other day and were merrily scoffing when we noticed that a table about ten to twelve feet away was engaging in some very theatrical coughing, and were repeatedly asking the staff for glasses of water…

Then one of their number piped up and shouted across ‘what are you guys eating?’

Thinking it the usual “ooh, that looks good, I’ll have whatever they’re having” enquiry the Bro answered politely. It was roast orang-utan feet on a bed of quail brains in saffron gravy, or something. Might have been Halloumi Fajitas, now that I come to think of it. I knew that fe-heet were in it somewhere.

‘Well it’s killing us over here.’ came the not-in-jest reply.

[The Bro’s dish included chilli. Admittedly not some little amount of chilli, but nonetheless, only chilli. Chilli is not – yet – classified by Global Bully-Politicians-R-Us Ltd as a fissionable weapon of mass destruction that ought never to fall into the hands of Hussein, Gaddafi, Mugabe or Corbyn.]

The Coughing Table seemed to think that we, having simply ordered an item from the menu, ought to leave the pub!

Their theatrics continued all through lunch – much to our amusement. Gosh, who would have imagined it? Food aromas in an inn. Whatever next? Won’t somebody think of the children? I have only unsupported guesses to offer as to what their reactions might have been had they found themselves in the company of one of my curries

Ambulances and oxygen, probably.

Doubtless the Bro and I are now forever fixed in their (tiny) mind’s eye as horrid bullies who ruined their day, or something (by viciously ordering and eating items on the inn’s standard menu). The lead photograph is of the table that they – eventually – vacated, having decided that they could stand us no more. A view of the Shropshire Union canal in the background twixt window and hedgerow, the inn has moorings right outside.

N.I.M.B.Y. N.O.B.s?

Not In My Back Yard, and Not Opposite my Boat…

When we strolled away from the Cardinal to seek lunch (and to seek opportunities to express our social thuggery) about fifty yards back from where the Cardinal is moored there was a minor altercation in progress.

One chap was on the towpath, looking as if in the process of immediately-post-arrival mooring, and the other was on the offside of the canal on his garden mooring.

The general gist – hmm, General Gist, a good name for a character – was that Mr offside garden mooring was of the opinion that no-one ought to moor opposite his mooring, his boat and his house. [The canal there is sufficiently wide for four boats. This is a popular stretch of towpath mooring, being the first available north of the “visitor mooring 48-hours maximum” restrictions nearer Barbridge.]

The boats – and the canal – in question.

Mr Offside Mooring apparently ‘…pays a thousand pounds a year…’ to moor there and ‘…keeps getting banged into by moving boats…’ (he has my sympathy, but don’t we all?) and ‘…well, if I get hit again I’ll be filing a claim against you…’ (as in against the towpath side moorer).

The latter would be akin to trying to claim from other parked cars in nearby spaces of a supermarket car park if your car collected a door-ding from a moving car.

I haven’t seen N.I.M.B.Y.ism on that scale since the previous time I saw N.I.M.B.Y.ism of that scale (a week or two since), and it was the Bro’s pithy suggestion that ‘N.I.M.B.Y.’ needed to be supplemented by ‘N.O.B.’ – Not Opposite my Boat.

My chuckle-glands are very pleased to report that upon our return from cough-cough-gasp-complain-filthy-looks-cough luncheon the mooring chap had in fact moored up exactly where he’d begun to moor up. Moored up where he was perfectly entitled to moor up. Moored up where he was causing no more “obstruction” than was any other boat on the canals, Cardinal – a few yards along – included.

T.B.H., I do wonder if Mr garden-mooring’s objections had a smidgen of something to do with the look of the towpath-moorer’s boat, it having the “look” of a fully-laden “liveaboard” with much stuff on the roof &etc. Jus’ sayin’, is all, tis but a personal wondrance what his reaction may have been had the moorer oiked up in some semi-vintage tug-style boat to the putt-putt beat of a historic three-cylinder over-head valve hot-bulb Fettlebonk engine saved from a molasses-boat no longer doing business on The Thames, or something…

Doubtless the householder was indoors, fuming, and looking up the number for the Canal & River Trust’s “Someone’s moored where I don’t want them to moor” Department.

[0800 “SERIOUS SNOWFLAKE CRISIS” will get you there.]

Tis purely by The Grace of Zeus that the Cardinal and I did not moor in that spot when we oiked up a few days ago, similarly looking for somewhere nice to moor.

I tell you, it all happens on the canals.

The network is a microcosm of all of the ill-feeling, angst and pure methane of society’s Buttocks at Large.

Talking of networks, my gizmos arrived and have duly been installed (albeit causing more knock-on modifications to be required). The domestic battery bank – as in both of them 😉 – now “Bluetooth” their temperature and exact voltage to the solar charger. The solar charger now “Bluetooths” (?) all manner of data to my “smart phone” (ugh). They are all connected in some unholy local network, a network that I had to name during its creation.

I named it ‘Cyril’.

In short, to wit, and not to put too fine a point on it, the batteries ought to be happier (better charged) and I can now summon up the State of Affairs on my “the smart phone” (ugh – hate those things) while sitting at my desk in my study.

…and, no, the telephone case is not aminal skin (“leather”, as the industry terms it, misleadingly). It took me a long time to find a semi-decent one of ratty scratty oil-product plastic! 😉

The reason for installing this gizmo now is the continuously-falling temperatures of autumn. The colder the batteries are the more they need coddling. They may now consider themselves to be thoroughly coddled.

During the course of the installation it was très amusant to note that the Bro’s car – parked perhaps some half mile distant from the Cardinal – was still in communication with his smart phone. Scary stuff, really. The car did not, though, respond to a request to “start yourself and come and fetch us”. Skynet is not yet sufficiently self-aware.

So yes, “frabjous” is quite the only word to describe the day that was, as was.

Callooh! and Callay! ought to be somewhere in there too.

Now, if you’ll please to excuse me it is a very overcast morning this morning, and I must away to interrogate Cyril.

Cyril? How are my liddle badderies doink? Well, I hope?


Ian H.


  1. Ah, the righteously indignant rage of the privileged (at least in their own minds) when they fear their prerogatives are being trodden upon by the hoi polloi.


  2. LOL! I once had the misfortune to go to an Italian restaurant where someone caused a ruck sending their food back because it contained garlic! Imagine garlic, in an Italian restaurant! When it came back they’d cook the new meal in a pan obviously well seasoned with – yep, garlic. Just out of curiosity does Mr gardenside have to pay to moor his boat or does he own that piece of water? Don’t you just love a good ruck?

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    1. I shall miss Italian food after Brexit. No more pasta, no more risotto, no more pizza-variations. Mind you – no more sauerkraut or moules mariniere en sauce du sheep’s armpit will be a positive benefit. So many changes – no more French cars, no more German power tools, no more Slovenian… um, er… things. Yes, there’s lots I shall miss. At least we won’t have to teach French and German in schools anymore, so there’s an immediate saving.

      Yep, Mr N.I.M.B.Y. N.O.B. will pay his usual licence fee (about a grand) and also pay CaRT for the benefit of using their (“OUR” – public, owned by the Nation) water at the end of his garden – which he reckoned during the tirade to also be about a thousand.

      Physical fights usually leave me standing about a mile distant and not knowing how I got there or why getting there took only nought point one of a nano-second (“being elsewhere when there’s trouble” is not under my conscious control!), but verbal altercations? I love listening. Having said air hair lair to this chap on his previous moorings and having enjoyed thirty seconds of friendly conversation as I cruised past I was quite prepared to wade in – verbally – on his “side” of things. I’m English…

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  3. Now I’m wishing I named my wifi Cyril. My previous regret was that I didn’t name it Hal. I contemplated it but then had a last minuted overwhelming superstition and decided to stick to the random letter-number configuration it came with.

    Snowflake crisis is a magnificent description of your dining neighbors and your canal NOB. I might be borrowing that soon for several work persons who… well it doesn’t matter. The point is the phrase is rather spot on.

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    1. Up until the latest MiFi gizmo change mine broadcast its name as ‘CaRT Enforcement Mobile 3’ (CaRT being the canal rozzers – the Canal & River Trust). Before that it told all and sundry that I was ‘Drug Squad Tactical Raid Team B’. I have no doubt that both caused not some little melting snow among my various and ever-changing neighbours.

      When I was born they slapped me on the rear end and announced to my parents that I was “a little git”, and I’ve done my best ever since. 🙂

      I must say that we were amazed that the Coughing Table were unable to handle – in terms of nostril control – anything that came out of pub chain kitchen! They were probably offended by my beer, too…

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