My timing was spot-on yesterday #narrowboat #boating #boatsthattweet

As in I moved, met no boat traffic until it was to help me through the locks, got through the aforesaid locks before they were closed, and found a mooring space exactly where I had been intending to moor… Veni, vedi, cor-blimey.

Monday morning, the Cardinal and I decided on a bit of a mooch. As soon as it was light enough, off we cruised. The homunculus in my head kept rocking back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, tunelessly singing ‘Hack Green – Hack Green – HACK GREEN’ to me. Being open to suggestion, I set that as my target. For one thing, that’s where the ‘Secret Nukular Bunker’ is, and we are getting rather close to Le Brexeet, one way or another. No harm in being quite near a building made of twenty-foot thick reinforced concrete during the transition…

Only one country on the planet would put up tourists signs indicating the location of a ‘Secret Nuclear Bunker’.

To be brutally realistic, the location of some (semi-)(ex-)government institution* is not that much of a secret, just follow the chuffing great mast until you come to the 6″ thick steel doors… and the “Radiation” emblem stickers on the wire chain-link fence.

*There are several lower floors that Her Maj’s unwashed Public is not allowed into, so I remain unconvinced that the facility is entirely without current official purpose.

No, Dave, you can hardly see it at all. The Russians will have no idea.

Or you might just ask the neighbours…

Where were-sheep may safely graze. At least, they will be were-sheep once the fall-out settles.

… Oh I say – hair lair? Yes, thank you – is that a nukular bunker at the bottom of your garden? What a splendidly avant-garde très bon idée pour votre jardin. So much nicer than a set of gnomes fishing, or a swing-seat or something.

The most part of the morning’s cruise was delicious – not another moving boat in sight. No rain, very little breeze, and just enough coolth to make me wish that I’d put another layer on while dressing that morning – and perhaps taken a scarf out of storage.

Six and a half very pleasant miles, the long, long line of moored boats through Nantwich to creep past, and two locks; three hours of gentle pootling. There were one or two of Professor Frank Enstein’s more spectacular failures about on the towpath, and a few dogs more human than their humans, but nothing too apocalyptic or worrying.

Such boat traffic as I did meet I met as they were coming down Hack Green locks… so not only were the locks being set in my favour as they descended, but they were very nice people and they gave me a choice between a punch on the schnoz or staying aboard my boat while they locked me through. Ooh, let me think about that, I said…

A boat in the second of the locks left the lower gates open for me as they exited and Robert was my Father’s brother, as they say. No idea who “they” are, but I am assured that this is what they say, when they say anything at all.

Once through the locks there were just two narrowboats and a CaRT work-bargey-thing on the “visitor” moorings and loadsa space for a Cardinal. Not being so green as I am cabbage-looking I know how well CaRT workboats are generally moored (with blue string, very loosely, if at all) and so gave this one a complete mooring ring of space to bounce around in, mooring up one ring down.

Treace and Panquility at last.

Well, not quite.

No sooner had I moored up and begun to breathe in the sheep & cow fumes than there was a rush of boats, and three moored up behind, filling the moorings very nicely indeed, Mr Sardine.

Nothing to see here, move along, these moorings are full – and, no, I’m not getting closer to that work-boat-thingy because I have no wish to have it slapping into the Cardinal’s bow every time another boat comes past. The blue boat to the foreground thought much the same, you’ll notice.

If all of the world’s politicians were laid end to end I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised, but even at the end of October it seems that England’s narrowboats must also be bow to stern, and there was me thinking that it might have gone a bit quiet at last.

Then I noticed a flurry of CaRT hi-vis and workmen arriving, toting wheelbarrows filled with not-insignificant canal mysteries, and carrying strange ladders and with some of the world’s largest spanner-like mechanical devices shouldered.

The locks were being closed, and the pound between them drained.


But only for the afternoon, while a dodgy paddle was mended.


Then – oh happy day – (other hippie songs are available, mention here does not imply endorsement of “Jesus”) – a nice CaRT spotter walked past, iPod sloped, spotting me. Was there to be no rest at all for the wicked?

I have been so very, very wicked, so perhaps not.

13:28 hours, I heard him say into the cunningly-concealed cuff-microphone of his electric radio, while simultaneously pressing an invisible ear-piece more firmly into his best listening-ear. Yes, Hutson’s here… advise all departments, stand down the Army, and let the PM know we’ve found him again… I estimate no more than an hour or two since he moored here.


Even the weather was congealed this morning. Um, I mean congenial, the weather was congenial, and remained so all afternoon, if a little overcast and grey.

Get out into the countryside they said, feed your soul on solitude and quietnessnous. That’s me, fourth sardine along, then the work-boat, then another moored narrowboat. If any of this lot so much as whips out a disposable barbecue I swear I’m going “postal” on them all.

The Cardinal’s batteries have been fed – and fed with a variety of electrickery other than the solar-chargers, which is good, much in the same way as we humans and our “five a day” malarkey – and I have been fed (broccoli… and spuds and carrots and cabbage and onions…) and Mr Stove is lit, so all is well with the world. For the moment.

Yesterday evening I mostly put my feet up in front of the indoor controlled-conflagration device, and watched a DVD.

This boating lark’s not too bad, really, is it?

Chin-chin for the moment, Muskies.

Ian H., &etc.


  1. Will you be chased by closures again this winter? It sounds like they are getting pretty close. It certainly makes the canal adventures more adventuresome. I hope your strategy and ongoing tactics keep you wet and moving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a tad more confined this year than previously, since to avoid the closures I would have to cruise in areas that I just don’t like one iota – so I’ll be bouncing around like a terrier in a small garden – more so than usual – for the first part of next year. The powers that be didn’t involve me in the planning of the stoppages, so they can lump it! 😉

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    1. It even points in the correct direction, damn it. The sign is on a par with information I saw once (year before last, I think) at a museum housing a nuclear bomb – the sign next to the exhibit informed us that this example was one that “had never been used”. Gnosh it, Sherlock!

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  2. You do seem to attract an awful lot of attention, both hooman and animal life, is it the aftershave? The insects might be trying to tell you something also. Still it’s days like this one that must make the boating all the more worthwhile? I just killed my first dishwasher – ah, well I was never very good with electrical devices! I may resort to chips later….and bread, chip butties are always good depressive eating!

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        1. In the days when I had such devices my dishwasher once simply ceased performing its duties. I did some research and the consensus was to lift it up, tilt it over backwards at an angle of greater than forty-five degrees and that would re-set it. Gobsmackingly, it did, and the damned thing worked happily for years after being tilted! No idea what was wrong or what the tilt did… other than make it happy again. 😉

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