The Frozen Things #narrowboat #boating #England

From seeming weeks of near-Nordic daytime darkness England has now entered a phase of bright but frosty rigidity. Down to -3°C (circa 26° of the Fahrengezundheits) last night, and this evening is supposed to be on the order of -6°C (that’s about 21° of Effings). Later on in the week, just to suggest that you change your fancy winter tyres back to the summer ones, the nights are supposed to climb back to 10°C (50°F). The extra blankets will be on and off faster and more often than you can say ‘make your mind up, per-lease!’

The absolutes of our weather here are, of course, mild in all respects when compared to that of those of you out there thinking that’s not hot/cold/windy/rainy/snowing/whatever, but the point is, in Ing-ger-lund, there is absolutely little to no telling what we’ll get next. By “next” I mean hour to hour, morning to afternoon, day to day or even week to month. The best of the “summer of 2019” happened in February. There is a reason why you see English chaps out and about in t-shirt and jeans all year round, putting up with whatever is thrown at them by the Met Office, and that reason is because the alternative is to carry an entire wardrobe at all times to cover all eventualities.

Here is a little diagram, courtesy of something called “Buzzfeed”, that shows England’s latitude, and what else lies on a similar latitude – plus, as a bonus, where England would appear were it flipped to the southern hemisphere. The original article is here, and it’s a fascinating read from start to finish.

England’s true latiitude – and where we would be were we to be transposed to the southern hemisphere. Revealing eh? Image from Buzzfeed and the original fascinating article is here.

Of course, those of you who come from countries – alright, a country – that doesn’t “do” anything other than domestic geography (and barely that) you’ll have to look up the position of England to understand the diagram!

Were it not for the North Atlantic Drift I’d be an ill-tempered polar bear and England would be a public loo for igs.

I do (much) prefer winter to summer, but my goodness me, Doris, I am feeling the dark and the cold this year like no other. If I had to nail it down I’d say that I began to fall apart in 2018. Perhaps I am (now) “just out of guarantee”?

England is frozen. The Müller cows are, I assume, all huddled indoors in front of the farmer’s fireplace and television set until springtime.

I’ve moved a couple of times since the previous post. Once just to take advantage of a splendid day and to turn us around, and today – after waiting for my hosepipe to un-freeze – via the services and down to a favoured haunt to meet a chap about some groceries and, later, mayhap, a chap about a Boat Safety Inspection.

The usual nonsense at Angloid-Welsh at Bunbury, blocking two-thirds of the canal from one bridge to another.

I confess that today was – once I’d come to terms with the frosticles – too nice a day to not have a little cruisette. I met four other boats in the space of two miles and a stop at the services, so other folk* obviously were of a like mind.

*When I am Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed), absolute ruler of this and the Kingdom of Mongo, previously held by Ming The Merciless, I shall abolish “other folk”.

Surprisingly, what little frist and mog there was today formed during the day, while I was underway, on the way.

An awful lot of narrowboats (and cruisers) that one passes now are uninhabited and will remain so until next April or thereabouts, their owners too sparrow-livered to love them in winter.


In a recent blog post I mentioned that a sack (20kgs – 44lbs, if you’re non-un-de-reconstructed in re weights and measures) of “coal” briquettes lasted me four days and nights. Well, it used to. I’ve timed the consumption of a couple of sacks this year and I’m barely getting three days and nights out of a sack. I’d love to see the formula used in Eastern Europe to manufacture these “coal” briquettes, and to cop a sly glance at the change record in the factory office. 😉

I wonder if moles feel the cold?


I suspect that the answer is both yes and no.

Right, I must away into the galley and thrash Cook until he comes up with something warm and stodgy and comforting for din-dins. If all else fails I’ll eat Cook.

Keep warm, keep on keeping on and don’t let the bar stewards grind you down.


Ian H. &etc.


  1. I have a lovely little globe on a stand that I gaze at every now and then just to see if all the land-y bits are still in the same places as when I last gazed … sometimes they are, and sometimes they ain’t. 🙂

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    1. I that that is exactly what the Greek and Roman gods do. Every once in a while someone in a toga on Mount Olympus picks up the snow-globe and shakes it about…

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  2. I once heard it said that the UK doesn’t have a climate–just weather!
    on my wedding day we had rain, snow, hail, thunder and lightning and finally sun. Just a typical English spring day.
    It’s quite fascinating when you actually follow lines of latitude across the globe. New York is at a similar latitude to Madrid, when I always thought it was more like London.

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    1. Tis true, methinks. When the weather is good in England tis glorious – but when tis bad tis horrid. When we get things such as snow and ice it’s almost always on a now you see it now you don’t basis, with no chance of dealing with it properly. I love it. Chaos. 😉

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  3. I may copy a picture of Mr Stove burning cheerily and use it as my screen savour background so I can flick on a bit of visual warmth despite my beanie, scarf, fingerless gloves, woollies and wraped in a blanket, I’m still cold! I worry you might get icicles on that long beard of yours!

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    1. I too have begun delving into my (deep, deep) bag of hats, gloves and thick socks – I don’t give two hoots what I look like, just so long as I am warm! 🙂

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    1. We’ve been there before (although my memories of it are sketchy, I was quite young then). Approximately eight and a half thousand years ago – a geological and meteorological moment – England was physically part of Europe, there was no English Channel. That only appeared, tis thought, after a tsunami flooded the link which was a pleasant and populated land by all accounts and called ‘Doggerland’. I kid you not. it’s only been eleven thousand years or so since the last major ice-age, and we’ve had a few official mini ice-ages since, including one in QE1’s reign, when the Thames froze solid and famine took an interest in the population.

      I think that the climate and the weather are deciding of themselves to be… more interesting!

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  4. It’s an interesting map. I always knew you all were too far north for such mild weather, but I don’t think I quite understood HOW far north.

    I suppose coal is really the only option for the stove. I was going to suggest collecting wood in your daily walk, but where would you keep it? Maybe you could build a dingy barge to hold your woodpile! 🤣

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    1. Wood is indeed lovely to burn, it burns hotter than coal (although that which burns twice as bright burns half as long) but there is as you say a storage problem. The volume needed is much much more than coal.

      A lot of boats do trundle around with every available space laden with scavenged wood, but I’ve yet to see it under cover on those boats, to season properly – wet or even damp wood is a horrid thing and an abomination unto any stove! 😉

      England (and the rest, until we may divest ourselves) is indeed a tiny island bobbing about in the North Atlantic at the whim of every passing influence. It’s fun!

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  5. That map is so intriguing – we’re right at the bottom of South America and well below New Zealand! Back in our own hemisphere well inside Canada and above France, I tend to think of the north of France being parallel -just bcause we can look across…

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    1. The usual map projections are misleading, aren’t they? I was surprised to see us above all of China and most of Mongolia – if it weren’t for the warm current slopping about we’d be well and truly done for! Mind you, this winter does seem to be starting rather early… 😉


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