What may I say in re the putative touch of the sun except that my ancestors obviously walked southwards to help populate England, not northwards. I can get sunburnt under a hundred-watt bulb. Ten minutes under a sodium streetlight leaves me dizzy.
They – Her Maj’s Met Office wallahs – forecast rain for overnight last night, and for daytime today. It rained. Oh boy, did it rain. It RAINED. We had a spot of thunder and lightning too which, while as weak as a kitten and hardly impressive, was nonetheless a pleasing thing.
The rain was, I think, sent by Mr Universe (not that one) to test my efforts with the latest jobbie ticked off my list – ungrunging the mounts for the plank and the poles. It’s all very exciting.
There are two of those brass (monstrosities) and, it transpired, eight bolts each, someone having drilled and tapped thready-thready holes for them in the steel of the boat. Why they fitted such things and in such a manner, I do not know. Probably because “it’s always been done that way” or some other, pathetic, excuse. Still, the holes are there so unless I fabricate and fit blanking plates I may as well use them. Brass and I have a well-balanced hate-hate relationship. Can’t stand the stuff and, if you ever see me holding a tin of Brasso in my hand, it will only be because I am drinking it.
Sometimes on the canals of Ing-ger-lund Chilled Brasso, ice and a slice, hold the umbrella and the salad, in a straight glass please recommends itself as the ideal cocktail.
Yonder sunstroke diagnosis arises from the evidence of my feeling like a large pile of poodle poo this morning, this in spite of a splendid night’s sleep in the most comfortable place on the planet (my cabin, my bed). I have consulted with Asclepius at the Temple of Medicine, he cast the runes for me and prescribed a day of intensive “naff all”.
This I shall do.
If there is one thing that I am ruddy good at doing, tis “naff all”.
Were “I don’t know – poke him with a stick and see if he’s still breathing” an Olympic event then I could bring home Gold for England once every four years.
Yes, there was that much sunshine here yesterday, and I was unwise enough to allow my jobs to keep me out in the evil rays. At least my Vitamin D tank is brimmed, I suppose.
The mounts are now back in place, wire brush-ed and treat-ed and top-coat-ed, with sealant abounding and each bolt nestling in dollops of the thickest of thick grease. I had a slight discomnobulation in re-fitting the second of these
brass monstrosities pole-rack stand thingies because it transpires that they have been made to Victorian or Edwardian “Canal Heyday” standards, not churned out by machine, so the bolt-holes only line up correctly with the stands in one particular orientation… and by this time a chap and his tools were liberally covered in sealant and grease, adding to the degree of difficulty that the judges had to consider in awarding their 5.9 5.9 5.8 5.7 1.2 (French Judge) 2.3 (German Judge) 5.9 5.9 5.9 marks.
Raindrops keep falling on my
head fresh paintwork. Damn it.
There were enough hints that yesterday was to be of the “knotted handkerchief on head required” variety, but yesterday, as today, I was below par in my ability to brain and I missed the signs.
There was a little bit of f*rting and f*ddling about, some fun furtling, with wiring for the new “Bluetooth” gizmo. The “old” controller display now works full-time for the engine starter battery instead of the domestic batteries, waste not want not, and it is definitely my long-felt wont to want not. The new little R.K.O. radio aerial has been nailed to the wall – um, I mean, screwed in place, with its wiring all neatly routed and tied back. As neatly as may be, anyway. So far tis working very well. It’s quite fun – and useful – to be able to interrogate my solar panels and batteries via the magic of the airwaves. Wonderful wireless.
Yes indeed, my dongle does have its earrings in slightly askew – but the unit itself is as horizontal as it gets on a narrowboat, bouncing around on the ocean waves, and mounting him thus allowed me to use to pre-existing screw holes. No idea what was there afore. A device for getting Boy Scouts out of bargee horse shoes, probably.
If you really need a definitive answer you’ll have to ask Harry H. Corbett.
Well, tis Sunday morning and the rain has stopped. Country parsons are flitting up and down the lanes and the hedgerows like black-clad wraiths desperately searching for a church, or possibly for missing choirboys. The bells will be calling the faithful to Mr God’s ego-fest events soon enough.
The Hoi and the Polloi have awoken and there are boats scooting back and forth. In accordance with Standard Procedure though on such a soggy, cool morning, the “have you met the missus?” is hiding inside, eschewing her usual place as some sort of monumental (dis-)figurehead on the well deck, and Mr “Well you wanted the bloody boat, not me” is generally standing in sombre, equally gargoyle-esque isolation at the tiller. The dogs are probably quite sensibly still in their baskets, or in the engine bay re-racking their screwdrivers and spanners after “morning checks boy, go do morning checks for me – here’s an old rag for when you dip the oil. Good boy! There’s a Bonio in it for you.”
[Aforementioned dog offering a two-paw bras d’honneur and muttering, lifting the engine cover and disappearing reluctantly down the Black Hole of Calcutta once again, the Haynes Manual of Basic Narrowboat Maintenance betwixt his teeth…]
There is some argument about what Mankind’s greatest invention or inventions may be, but from the evidence cruising past me on the canals I would venture that somewhere up near the top of the list – with the wheel, antibiotics and Marmite – is the steel bulkhead. What else would allow these happily married couples to so effectively separate themselves for a cooling-off period, and thus prevent, or at least discourage, bitchicide or bastardicide?
The steel bulkhead, in all of its variations including the bricks & mortar version: indoors and the flip-side of indoors; out in the garden shed, I think, but who cares?, has, in my opinion, never been given the recognition that it deserves.
But what would I know about anything, eh?
The spirit of risky adventure may still be found even on these soggy Sunday mornings.
Why use the winding hole three or four hundred yards up the cut when you can instead simply jam your boat between towpath and reed-covered offside bank?
So near and yet so far. After much poling (poleing? use of the barge-pole…) defeat was admitted and the official winding hole given a go.
The grey boat with the fancy scroll-work on the bow moored up ahead (photo above) managed, by dint of unreasonable static physical existence, to find itself banged and scraped by an Anglo Welsh hire-boat being towed by chaps from Anglo-Welsh with another Anglo-Welsh boat. A quarter of a mile of straight canal; thunk, clonk, bang, clatter. So much for “perfessionals” eh?
At least they missed the Cardinal.
The grey boat is, it must be said, to be awarded Seven De-Merit Points because they have moored up leaving the centre-line in place – and, which is wot are worserer – taut… tsk tsk and tsk. 😉
I think I’ll mooch us on again tomorrow. Services are called for (boat services, not Sunday services – no country parsons involved), and tis that I want to be elsewhere in order to have more comestibles delivered.
Until then I plan on taking my cue from the day itself, limp and insipid and half-hearted as it (so far) is; daylight but without gusto, neither cold nor warm, neither wet nor dry.
There must be a book on the Cardinal’s shelves somewhere that I have yet to read.
[Reaches for The Bonobo and the Atheist…]
Mayhap back in bed although – much agin the rules of the old-fashioned NHS Matron – upon the covers rather than within. In bed, Mr Hutson, or in your chair, but never on your bed. How are your bowels today? &etc.
Skippedee do dah, skip a whole day, what a wonderful feeling, I do hope that my now soggy-again mooring pins are in to stay.
Hopefully wherever you are, whomsoever you may be, you have your feet up on a teapot, a rug over your knees and something interesting with three-hundred pages in your hand.
Keep on keeping on, and give ’em all Hell whenever you may.
Ian H., and Cardinal W. &etc.