A mooch, a pootle, and my kind of moorings #narrowboat #boating

Well, mostly so. We’re moored on pins in soggy ground, not my favourite method of preventing the planet from wandering away overnight, but the Cardinal insisted on going walkies after I’d stepped off with centreline, lump-hammer and pin in hand. He chose the spot, not me, and we aren’t near any of the (few, very few) handy hole-ettes in the towpath ironmongery here.

We shall have to see what the passing traffic is like, I would rather not spend the week flinging myself ashore to re-pin the lines every time an Anglo-Welsh speedboat comes past sans – and sometimes not so sans – water-skier.

Yes, that is the ugly yellow-green handle of a domestic implement that you can see stood standing on the well-deck, for I have just ensqueegeed my solar panels. In this mooring they won’t collect quite so much road-filth as they did previously, near the main road.

I do love a short pootle along a stretch of canal that I know, and yesterday’s was one such. Father Nature sent me a ‘Good morning’ bleat in the form of this pouting mass of mutton, surprising me with same just as I steered through Bridge 102 which is wot are a distinct “s-bend” in the canal under a road-bridge – with my back to the offside. Jump, skin, out of, yes indeed!

It has been a long, long time since a friendly stray sheep has crept up behind me and whispered sweet nothings. I damned-near rammed the bank in shock.

Give us a kiss, gorgeous!

The sheep was a lot more vocal than were the (putative) humans on the services.

Calveley Services, now with added “Zombie”.

The Cardinal and I shared the service area with a boat crewed by deaf mute zombies. They stared – oh boy, did they stare, v.uncomfortably so – but they had no response, not an iota of manners, in re a cheery “Good morning” (mine) or a smile (mine) or a wave (mine). Some folk are just strange, ruddy strange. That lot certainly were so. I don’t half meet ’em,

They also seemed to be taking breakfast and serial (long) showers in the CaRT facilities, and were still there when a short queue of boats formed. Having arrived after they had arrived it was the Cardinal who moved off first to allow others to en-service. I rather gained the impression that this was a boat load of people who didn’t exactly tread lightly upon the Earth, and who didn’t spread poetry and good vibrations wherever they went.

Offisde over-growth covering more than half of the canal in delicious juxtaposition with a semi-flooded CaRT workboat moored on the “Visitor” moorings doth an interesting passage make above Bridge 104, Calveley, Shropshire Union canal. Much hornering and then a flailing about to prepare for the blind bridge-on-a-bend-into-permanent-moorings-territory.

The offside overgrowth just beyond Bridge 104, the over-growth right opposite the half-flooded workboat on the “Visitor – 48-Hour Maximum” moorings, makes for a few shenaniboaterings, restricting passage to just one, rather narrow, boat-width if you don’t want to scrape your solar panels. So close to the bridge – which is itself on a kinky bend – it has doubtless caused one or two “ramming speed” moments in times of heavier traffic.

We, the Cardinal and I, managed to time our moochings between the early-morning heavy rain and the afternoon heavy rain. We just got drizzled upon.

What is it with England and rain this year. Last month Cheshire enjoyed 175% of its more usual rain. Green and pleasant, yes, but green, pleasant and soggy is a step too far.

A slack handful of boats cruised past, all of them for some unfathomable reason, zig-zagging along this stretch as though following slalom markers invisible to me.

The lady steering this boat had, shall we say, a voice that, had she been stationed on some craggy cliff-top in fog, might have saved a thousand ships from running aground.

Tis but a shame that she had so very little to say and yet said so much of it. Doubtless, having been born with a mouth that apparently won’t close, she has caught her fair share of flies over the years.

A woman with a voice that, had she been stationed atop some craggy cliff-top on the Atlantic coast in thick fog, might have saved a thousand ships from grounding…

This boat shown below passed with all aboard firmly buttoned up under their canvas cratch cover and quite oblivious to the vast amounts of rather dubious steam that their inboard-outboard motor was coughing up. I do wonder if they were at all familiar with the phrase “over-heating”.

Look, I’m only an amateur in these matters, but “more steam than propulsion” does rather mean that you have a problem. The crew seemed oblivious but at least I empathised with the wee inboard-outboard of this struggling craft.

Note the angle of both boats, caught in the same leg of the invisible slalom course.

[Please do excuse me while I hold onto the Royal Crown Derby dinner service – as I type this an Anglo-Welsh hire-boat has just “crept” by, heading back to base. I’ll be with you again once the interestingly energetic  demonstration of “fluid dynamics in the wild” is over.]

Yestereve then settled itself into some sort of gentle sogginess and, yes, my bow line has already gone a little bit slack, which bodeth not well for the future.

As the sun sets slowly in the north (huh?) the birds retire to their nests and pull tartan rugs over their knobbly knees. Time to sleep.

I was able though to capture an amazingly rare Coronal Mass Ejection (“Solar Flare”) before Mr Sunshine climbed to the wooden stairs to Bedfordshire.

A very rare capture of a Coronal Mass Ejection (“solar flare”) over the Shropshire Union canal at Calveley, Cheshire, England, Earth, Galaxy 2741am &etc.

Today’s task, since we now have what was the other side of the Cardinal abreast the towpath and accessible is to begin to tackle that gunwale in re measles patches. Rinky-dinky electric drill, wire brush and bottle of Hydrate-80 at the ready. The week ahead is predicted by the rune-readers of Her Maj’s Meteorological Office to be “mixed”, so it will be a quick patch here and a quick patch there, I suppose.

Oh dear, nb ‘Bermondsey Lad’, a name that, curiously, is not listed on CaRT’s database – I do wonder why… – has just cruised past, answering some sort of medical emergency, or possibly with the crew’s arses a-flame and looking for a water-point with which to douse themselves.

These are going to be interesting moorings, aren’t they?

Right, talking of arses, the towpath ought to be dried-off enough for me to plonk mine down upon it and to begin some of this “doing the gunwales” on my ‘Jobs to do’ list.

I shall leave you with this image, an Anglo-Welsh hire-boat of yesterday, or possibly the day before (I am slowly losing my mind, the memory is always the first to what was I talking about? Oh yes… apropos of nothing that anybody gives a sh*t about…)

Given that even Grandma was on the gunwales of this Anglo-Welsh hire boat I am going to have to assume that there was a mouse in the cabin, a mouse that they were rushing to a veterinarian for emergency treatment.

My best theory is that, given that even Grandma was on the gunwales, there was a mouse inside the boat. What possible alternative explanation could there be for the hirers to ignore the extensive safety and canal-etiquette advice given by Anglo-Welsh to all of their hirers upon commencement?

[Extracts tongue from (face-)cheek and cancels “Sarcasm” mode.]

Yes, yes – a mouse. Another mouse with its arse a-flame.

[Double-clicks “cancel Sarcasm mode”, and this time it takes effect.]

No wonder that the world is in such a rush.

Right, Mr Paintbrush, you’re going to enjoy this. Not a lot, I grant you, but there will be some giggling.

Chin-chin for the mo, Muskies, there is much miserable moaning to be done, and my goodness me, I know just how to do it.

Let’s face it – it’s me being so cheerful that keeps you going, eh?


Ian H., &etc.


    1. These moorings have seriously gone downhill since time of writing – now surrounded, nose to tail. It can only be a matter of time until my neighbours break out the barbecues and begin singing folk songs in the fatty, acrid smoke. I do wish that the English canal system were a thousand times bigger than it is, extending all over the planet – and beyond. A canal to Mars would be fun, if only I could moor away from my species… 😉 Or Pluto perhaps (the minor-planet, not the big dog)… even Europa, if I could have an ice-breaker bow fitted… A canal out of the system entirely, just going on and on and on (like me!)…


      1. Yes; how often peaceful moorings revisited have been converted into a major city scene. Of course, some people like being crowded. Why they bother with narrowboats or caravan parks heaven alone knows.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I spent four months pootling up and down the Llangollen a couple of years ago – most pleasant indeed. I tend these days to stick to sugar-highs and caffeine addiction for my bio-fun. Even alcohol’s too expensive! 😉


  1. I believe the smoking boat folk KNEW their boat was smoking. That’s why they are buttoned down. No one wants to breath that. 🙂

    Do you honestly have skiers? I would have thought there would be a speed limit on the canals. A speed limit that might perhaps be higher than you consider civilized but not high enough to keep a human on top of skis.

    If such does not exist, one again wonders what useful purpose the CaRT serves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a 4mph limit on the canals (and 4mph is going some), with civilised parts rivers being 6mph and 8mph in places, and the big, grown-up waterways no limit at all except for someone’s nerve and insurance policy.

      Trouble on the canals is – t’trouble with hire boats on t’canals is – that they pootle along at “car-slow”, not “boat-slow”, and there’s about a 10mph difference in those, at least! Because the hire boaters all do long days, trying to cram in as much cruising as possible and whatever time they are moored for in the evening is spent in a pub they never ever understand (or experience) the problem of speeding boats (being pulled off mooring pins, banged against armco while cooking or pouring from a kettle and wotnot). Mind you, what the excuse is for the non-hire speeders I do not know – people being people, I suppose. 😉

      That said, CaRT couldn’t give a fig and no-one’s ever been sanctioned in any way for speeding. It does help destroy canal banks and it does eject water-birds on the nest and drown their young. No idea why folk think it’s fine. If you’re in a rush on the canals then, these days, you’re in the wrong place!

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  2. Do these boats sleep all these folk? It’s a bit difficult to tell from certain angles. It doesn’t look very safe seeing them all hanging off a ledge is it a balast thing like on the yacht racing circuit?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They do, sometimes eight and more. It makes me shudder when I see them aim seventeen tonnes of boat towards the towpath and then sky-walk along that gunwale – if they slip they’re only going to end up squished rib-crackingly (at best) between towpath and boat. Watching them is a sort of sport, I suppose.

      I have worm-danglers moored up ahead now. They “landed” and within thirty seconds had all of their gear out, worms impaled.

      It’s not really that I don’t like people as such, it’s just that so very few of them seem to add anything positive to my environment! 😉

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