A kink in my hose (but my doublet is fine) #narrowboat #boating #England

Several kinks actually, but this morning one of them – slap bang in the middle of the length of hose – went rogue. Options – cut out the kink and be the proud owner of two half-length hoses (possible, if I used connectors and wotnot) – or purchase a new hose. I bought a new hose (thanks be to Aunty Wainwright’s Emporium a.k.a.47 Venetian Hire Boats & Chandlery). The old hose is the one that came with the Cardinal when I bought him, so it owes me nothing.

Venetian Marina is cunningly made of just a wide bit in the canal between two bridges.

The weather forecast for hereabouts for the next few days is dire, with winds up to fifty m of the p and h. Today and tomorrow look to be civilised, so this morning, when the madness came upon me, I oiked off the Cardinal’s ropes and moved. Not far, a couple of miles. I had intended to cruise until Calais, but there’s a seductive row of moorings just beyond the next marina, and they woz all vacant like, so I stopped again. There are trees, but they are far enough away that they ought not to pose a problem should the winds upset them. There’s a smidge, just a smidge, of interwebnettingonline signal. Tis enough.

Cruising speed Warp One. 42 horse power of diesel engine throbbing at roughly 1,000rpm. About a litre of fuel per hour at that rate, about 2¾ miles per hour. Something like 12 mpg or 23½ litres per 100km if you’re that way inclined. While running the engine is also producing a tank of domestic hot water and charging both engine starter and domestic battery banks.

Two miles, two locks.

Another needle, another camel. Middlewich Branch.

The second of the locks was very much a sign of our times. One boat coming up – I finished him off and bade him on his way without further ado – the Cardinal going down – we saw to ourselves – and one boat queuing to come up – no signs of life. The gentleman on that boat kept himself to himself, didn’t come up to the lock to see what was what or anything, and showed no signs of movement when the Cardinal and I slowly, very slowly left the lock… so… soooooo I pulled in behind him on the lock landing to go and close the bottom gates. If he was moored there or whatever I wasn’t going to have folk stand up in church next Sunday and accuse me of leaving a lock half-cocked. Without any communication at all what else could I do?

Well, the gentleman waited until I’d manoeuvred the Cardinal onto the lock landing behind him and then and only then came out of his boat and began motoring towards the lock. Not a word, not nuffink. Thanks ever so for the effusive communications and the avoidance of my inconvenience, sir, I’ve left you a little something in my Will (an unstable WWII hand-grenade and a small but perfectly formed vial of Chinese Hedgehog Flu).

Minshull Lock 11′ 0″ There are two ladders, ups and downs for the use of when a fellow is at the top but his boat is on a lower altitude. The Cardinal’s favourite game is to dodge back and forth so that both ladders would have an unwary soul stepping into the canal instead of upon his decks. A decent tug of the lead and he comes back to me though.
Minshull Lock 11′ 0″ – of that bit at the back, the top half is the upper gate, holding back the higher canal, halfway down is the infamous cill, whereupon if your boat do get stuck you’re sunk, and the water is at the new, lower level of the next section of canal out onto which we pootled. The lower gates are of necessity, the full 11′ plus the depth of the lower canal (or at least enough to allow a boat to cruise out thereon without grounding on the lower cill).
Smoochies. I do love folk who have no thought beyond their own well-being and ease.

We en-dieselled at Venetian and we ought to be set for a while now, with victuals, combustibles and water. As the song says, let it storm, let it storm, let it storm.

This is England. It may, or it may not, we shall only know when and if the sheep begin to become involuntarily airborne and the cows are blown over the moon.

There’s plenty of daylight yet for my inevitable band of groupies to form up and moor apex to fundament around me. I shall probably wake tomorrow – if I do wake tomorrow, nothing in life is certain except for deaf and taxies – in the midst of the usual far-eastern floating market affair. Fling open the side hatch and buy a pomelo and two durian fruit, that sort of thing.

Let me leave you with a view of the towpath that I have left behind for the moment, the path towards Barbridge. Life is apparently better by water, but better still by mud.

Mud, mud, Gloria’s mud.

Talking of which, that sluice that I mentioned a couple of blog entries ago, the one that was (is) hanging in mid-air with little to no visible means of support? The canal that way is now closed for the month of February while those nice chaps at the Canal & River Trust give it some TLH (Tender Loving Hardcore). Couldn’t cruise that way even if I wanted to.

Did I say that my doublet was fine? Not strictly so. One of my last remaining pairs of “working trousers”, locks and such for the doing of (not the new pair – I plan ahead!) suffered from structural button failure yesterday, fortunately indoors and not in the company of a crowd of snowflakes. I thought initially that I had some sewing to do, but it seems that I must also find a new button too…


Trampled doggy-poo into the Cardinal for the first time ever today. The offending pile must have been secreted (excreted) somewhere around the water point above Cholmondeston Lock. I discovered the problem of course once I’d been up and down the length of the boat inside… First time in four or more years, so mustn’t grumble (or make a blood sacrifice out of the next person I see). Scrubby-scrubby on hands and knees, Mr Mop.

All life is pain and heartache, and then we die. Soldier, have you come here to die? No, General, I got here yesterdai…

I love the aroma of hot Domestos in the mornings.

Chin-chin for the mo, Muskies.

Ian H., and Cardinal W.


  1. According to those idiotic positivity gurus, one must look at the bright side of dog poo and think – well now the deck is ship shape and shiny clean because I’ve been forced to wash it. But I fear that twere I the person facing the task of having to scrub the deck, I would not have been so positive. I would have gotten out a harpoon and started spearing any human with a dog. I feel you made a wrong turn in not taking a sacrifice for your trouble. .

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    1. I like to think that the house or boat or tent or cardboard sleeping-box of every non-poop-scooping dog walker is knee deep in the stuff, trampled in after they’ve stepped in their own dog’s offerings… somehow though I know that life just doesn’t work like that. ;-(

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  2. Phew! Was getting a bit mumsy and nearly made enquires at all local hospitals and police stations. Was getting withdrawal symptoms, so much so that I have been checking your site every day (I have you on hyperlink) to see if I’d missed you and hoped you weren’t poorly or had a chinese takeway or something! I worry about myself that I rely on my Sunday fix of tales of the river bank. BTW – I recently had my very first pomelo. Pleased you are okay, even if you are covered in mud and dog sh*t.

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    1. My apologies – while my fiction-writing block disppeared a fresh blog-writing blag created itself! Plus, other than the aliens landing there’s been nothing here to gossip about.

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