Sometimes tis best to look up at the sky rather than at where we’re headed… #narrowboat #boating #boatsthattweet

I am a simple little squit of a hominid.

Small things catch my attention and amuse me.

Squirrels, badgers, sunrises, sunsets and cloud formations.

Some days – some weeks – you don’t get any of those on Ing-er-lund’s canals. I didn’t get any squirrels or badgers today… but I did get clouds.

You can lead a “modern” hominid to water, but you can’t often make them stop and just look up at the sky. Tis a shame, because they don’t half miss some spectacles. I couldn’t even see the sky without my spectacles.

England’s a bit on the small side as countries go. Fifty thousand three hundred and one square miles, or thereabouts. A population hilariously (tragically) officially quoted as fifty-five millions, but which is actually probably nearer to seventy millions in the real world. What isn’t London is motorway and what isn’t motorway is airport runway and what isn’t airport runway is NCP car-park and what isn’t NCP car-park will very, very soon be utterly blotted out by ticky-tacky housing and new prisons run by private corporations.

You get a lot of aeroplane condensation-trails in the sky (ruinously so, at times).

Air-Traffic Control over England would appear to be managed with the use of a chap standing on an orange-crate, waving a couple of flags…

One sometimes wonders if perhaps the Battle of Britain England isn’t still in progress, but with Easyjet and Ryanair and Aeroflot and Howthehelldoesitstayupthere Airways instead of twenty-year-old chaps in Hurricanes and Spitfires.

Stewardesses wandering up and down the aisle, re-filling champagne flutes and asking passengers to please fasten their seat belts and kiss their rear-ends goodbye because the Captain advises that there is some heavy ack-ack ahead and we might all be getting to that Big Destination In The Sky more quickly than we had thought.

Two jets converging or two jets separating – or one jet with engines departed their mountings?

The Department of Meteorological Ornamentation produced a weird-looking arrangment yesterday, with this “rip” in the layers of clouds, through which other clouds were either sneaking in or were escaping. Perhaps a little of the fabric of space-time had given way? Who knows.

A rip in the fabric of space-time over Cheshire. Question is. what came in and what went out?

It is quite usual hereabouts, as in “on this little island”, to be treated to a sky full of all manner of and every variety of clouds, all at once.

The sort of sky that ought to be home to nice, slow-moving air-ships rather than those nasty jet-engined nonsenses.

This isn’t by design or management, it’s simply because we no longer have a clue what we’re doing or how to do it.

Doubtless the Weather Control Centre (outsourced to Bombay or Poonah or somewhere) has a large instruction sheet Sellotaped up on the wall.


  1. Some sort of sunrise
  2. Things
  3. Some sort of sunset
  4. Repeat.
Swans optional.

Of course, if you look up at the sky to the exclusion of all else there is always the danger that you’ll step on a squirrel or a badger.

There was a grebe in the canal this morning. No idea where it is now, those things only surface once every fifty miles or so. Moorhens and grebes, they’re my favourite feathered water-nonsenses.

I wonder if moorhens bob about and grebes surface and expostulate to one another ‘ooh, there’s a Hutson, one of my favourite land-mammales (sic)’?

Perhaps they just bob about and surface to look at the sky?

Looks as though we’re in for another mixed day today, Cyril.

Oh well.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme meteorological silliness.


Ian H., and Cardinal W.


  1. I had never seen a grebe before I migrated to this neck of the woods and have loved them ever since but still waiting to see the famous mating ritual, strangely when i try tis only the female who shakes her head, tristement, c’est la vie.

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    1. The first time that I saw a grebe I thought that it was a duck in the process of sinking, I still panic when I don’t see them re-surface after a dive. Moorhens, grebes and robins, they’re my favourites. Ducks have no dignity or style, and as for swans, well – there are several good recipes out there for swan roasts, horrid violent and nasty creatures. 😉

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  2. Wow Ian what a sky you have access to there. Down here in the garden of England now the local airport is no more we almost forget the sky has those strange airplane type trails as the traffic to Gatwick barely leaves any.

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    1. The sky in those photographs is only about thirty miles from Manchester aerodrome, and seems to be under one of the favoured routes twixt and tween.

      I like local airports more than I like these vast inhuman, inhumane nonsenses (as in “I hate them less”!) – I remember flying back from The Abroad once into my -then- local to find the place deserted, no visible staff, no customs people. Even the lights were off in the main concourse. They had very kindly left all of the doors open though, so the other passengers and I – warily, suspecting some trick that didn’t materialise – collected our bags from a similarly untended heap and walked back into England. As far as the Passport system knows I am still in Cloud Cuckoo Land! My taxi was waiting outside. Cute. 😉


    1. Between the clouds in my mind, the fabulous array of “floaters” in my eyes, the smudges on super-strength NHS-frame spectaculars and the clouds in the sky I am surrounded at all times. I give in.

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  3. Wonderful photos, Ian. The business of aircraft trails is more sinister than one might imagine. Some years ago, when the unpronounceable volcano erupted in Iceland, all aircraft were grounded. I was staying on the Loire at the time. The weather was glorious. Not a cloud in the sky. Then came the announcement that aircraft could once more fly. Then came the trails, quickly followed by clouds. All these aircraft flying around are helping generate cloudier conditions.

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    1. Aircraft trails are an annoyance to me, it is rare, very rare to see a sky that hasn’t got air-travel graffiti splattered all over it. Finding proper, decent, untouched clouds is a treat when it happens. ;-(

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  4. Wow! What wonderful photos and thank you for sharing your sky with us. There is a need at the moment for such beautiful natural interludes during these depressing times. I foresee that a book of your photographs would be testament to just how beautiful the world was that we let go.

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    1. Happy New Year to you too!

      Keeping the Cardinal on the water is a matter of never for even a moment forgetting to concentrate – like most boats, he’s faster with no-one aboard, and taking my eye off the tiller for a second is always his opportunity to head enthusiastically for bank or towpath. 😉

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  5. You do have lots of sky right there. Where I live the sky seems to have been reduced to a mere wedge by buildings and trees and what not.
    When I was a youngun, we lived for a year in the middlest part of the US Midwest, which is NOT the middle of the country. There, the sky takes up like 90 percent of your visual range. It’s big and not apologizing about it. Even in the middle of the ocean the sky never seemed as big as it did in Illinois farm country.

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    1. I can imagine. Tis peculiar the way that our sky – as viewed – shrinks and grows according to mood and surroundings (not talking about limitations by buildings, but nice surroundings versus rotten). Having solar panels to feed makes me seek out the better views available.

      In the middlest part of the U.S. Midwest you must have been a thousand miles away from the sea I suppose – in (the dear old gruesome remains of) England we’re never more than seventy miles from a coastline!

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    1. Thank’ee kindly, sir, tis much appreciated! The clouds are here again today, but somehow while there are more of them, they are less dramatic… Whine whine whine, it’s all I ever do!


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