Frost on my cratch… 14/09/2019. #narrowboat #boating

Not a heavy frost, I’ll grant you, but a frost this morning nonetheless.

So that’s it then. Polar bears at twenty paces.

Mind you, frost on the cratch is better than pterodactyl poop, which is what the rear cover is now splattered with. Not your average bird-poop, this is two long streaks of chalky-white liquid nonsense all topped off with a party-sausage that I won’t be tasting any time soon. So much for my efforts to scrub the cover and re-proof it. Nature’s havin’ a larf again.

The betterer news (sic) is that the Cardinal’s other gunwale is now largely wire-brushed, treated and painted, requiring just another coat of blue on the final bits. He’s got bright blue measles for the moment, and will have until next Spring, when I’ll do a more all-over paint job.


The new gizmo in the engine bay, the thingy that measures and then transmits via the electrickeral magic of radio the temperature and exact voltages (id est, voltage unencumbered by a wired-in sensor’s cable’s voltage-drop effect), is what are working the well, I think. The bulk, absorption and float charging voltages have all increased, presumably to account for the batteries being colder.

JacobsLadderGawds alone (Greek and Roman only) know what these figures will become if and when another “yonder The Beast from the East” visits England this winter.

I probably won’t be able to get near to the Cardinal’s stern for all of the buzzing, pulsating electricity being zapped hither and thither.

Come up to the lab, and see what’s on the slab… I see you shiver with antici…   pation.

I’ll be keeping der records as well as my anecdotal opinion to try to ascertain whether the batteries are healthier this winter than last.

These moorings are indeed …annoying, in that I have to re-pin the Cardinal at least once a day – and yes, yes, yes, yes, I do know how to moor up correctly. There is though just no way around the physics and the properties of materials (soggy earth) in combination with boats all passing at “car-slow” instead of “narrowboat-slow”.

I swear, I’m going to have myself a “super-hero” suit made up, perhaps some sort of badger-onesie, and I am going to spend every night next spring, summer and autumn rolling up and down the towpath, cutting the ropes of (all but two, the only two reputable*) hire company boats and quietly pushing them out into the current where they can drift over Niagara Falls or whatever’s handy hereabouts.

*Venetian, and Cheshire Cat. The good ones! The only good ones from my experience in this corner of Ing-ger-lund (N.W.)!

I shall be known as The Phantom Avenger.

Or possibly The Idiot in the Badger Onesie Doing Silly Things at Three in the Morning.

Oh f…f…fudge, here comes another one. A “Chas Hard-on Hire Boat” or some such, freshly released from base and eager to make it to Dover and back in a relaxing week.


VoicesInMyHeadSighs, and spends a few therapeutic minutes sharpening his axe and taking sandpaper to his finger-tips to remove his fingerprints in preparation for this evening’s bloodbath.

You can “run” on the canals but you can’t hide – they go that way or this, there are no little side-roads to hide in and only certain places where you can turn around. Unless you’re going to drop anchor mid-canal you have to come in to one side or the other, where I can get to you.

Ready or not, I’m a-coming…

In a difficult-to-explain sort of way I am mightily glad to see the chap who moored just up ahead of me only half an hour ago have to leap out and re-moor himself after the ‘Shadowfax’ effect passed by. It really isn’t just me. There’s solidarity in our pissedoffedness.

Oh well, I’ve done my outdoor labours for the day – all but the evening re-pinning. More to do tomorrow.

There’s wittering and whining to be planned, and I have yet to fling open my side-hatch and beam my “I simply adore you all” smile into the cosmos (once a day, twice on Holy Days of all denominations). A Hector’s work is never done.

Now though tis time for to begin to slowly re-heat the last of the current curry-on-t’stove, and then watch a mindless DVD and then sink into a decent book before beddy-byes. All of this moaning takes it out of a chap, you know. Beddy-byes gets earlier and earlier and earlier.

Besides, it’s about four in the afternoon on a Saturday – Angloid-Welshist PLC and Chas Hard-on Ltd et al will be releasing them like bats out of hell as we speak.


Ian H.


    1. A mis-spent youth, a mis-spent adulthood – and I’m working on old age. …and crawling on the planet’s face, some insects called the human race. Lost in time, and lost in space… and meaning. …

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  1. ‘What is this life if full of care
    We have no time to stand and stare.’

    I’m with you on not rushing around. Standing (or sitting, even) and looking at stuff around you is much more sensible and enjoyable than thinking you have to fulfill a schedule. Something interesting? Stop and look. Planned to be 5, 10, 50? miles farther on? So what?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My theory is that society (“modern” society – which is anything but i.m.h.o.!) urges us to £consume£ by training us to always be looking for something “better” than what’s already around us (not talking about innovation and scientific progress here; just consumption of “things”). Zero growth and a culture that encourages us to stop and look at what’s already about that’s fantastic would be a good start, I reckon. 😉


  2. I wonder why the human brain thinks a longer (oe more miles) trek is a better one. Especially on a holiday in a boat. The point is to enjoy the boat, not to beat the limit of space/time allotted by the disinterested universe.
    I wonder because I have noted the tendency in myself. I go on a trip with no particular needed schedule and I set one up that is based on distance. As though that has ANY DAMN ENJOYMENT factor. Crazy.

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    1. Tis odd. Lots of canal folk “do” a particular canal – as in they hoof up and down it as quickly as they can to tick it off their list. To my mind that just means they aren’t enjoying anywhere that they are. Permission from the Universe is not required to sit still and look around a bit (although it may be required from the canal rozzers who like everyone constantly on the move). 🙂 Hire boaters grabbing all of the distance that they can is weird because they miss out on enjoying going slowly, on wandering around off the canal and on just spending the evenings afloat and watching the ducks go by.

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