The best-laid mice of plans and men – and of Ciara and Dennis #narrowboat #boating #England

Featured photograph © courtesy of Sir Erasmus Kinkenrotten of nb Snow Goose.

Cardinal Wolsey at the best chandlery within twenty-four thousand miles of this spot, Venetian Hire Boats & Chandlery.

had planned to be in – ugh – a town! – this week (Middlewich) near icky shops and things, but Storm Ciara had other plans for me. In the brief lull (that is today, only) between the hairy r’send of Storm Ciara leaving and of Storm Dennis arriving I was thinking about continuing my puttering in that direction – when I suddenly remembered that next week hereabouts is school half-term.

I don’t like towns. I especially don’t do towns at all when the hordes of little part-formed potential humans are on the loose. The Cardinal and I oiked up to the next winding hole and performed a slightly breezy volte face. No point in staying where we had been – if Storm Dennis lasts his full term we’ll be over-staying our official welcome there – so we’re back now where we were three or four weeks ago, in a nice place near a very busy road but with mooring rings (good in high winds) and with only five trees in the neighbourhood, all of which withstood Ciara and look quite nice and established.

We’re much farther away from them than this telephotoid shot would suggest. The projected windoids are supposed to be set to tackle us by blowing on our stern, again, sort of “up” the canal shown here. The reason that I didn’t moor closer to the junction (towards the bottom of this photo) is because of the old barn across the road – which is replete with very large and very loose Welsh slate roof-tiles…


That boat there isn’t the Cardinal, we’re a little farther along nearer the bridge to the top of the photo, and you can only just see our roofline above the hedgerow.

The winds with Dennis are only supposed to be about fifty mph, much less than with Ciara. Oh that’s alright then, no worries.

The canal to the south of the junction is closed while that floating-in-mid-air sluice control is given the TLH (Tender Loving Hardcore) that it desperately needs.

There’s a strong orange net across the canal to catch and stop any twenty-tonne narrowboats that accidentally do turn the wrong way through the junction.


If anyone did run the blockade they’d hit thirty tonnes of workboat, probably put a rip in the tarpaulin of the temporary dam around the work-site and cause one helly-heck of a breach, discomnobulating many for miles around.


Anyway, grand plans foiled or not, we’re here now and here we’ll stay while the Met Office plays with some silly, silly weather. I am a tad fed up with wind and rain and mud, mud, Gloria’s mud, if truth be told.

Today’s cruise-ette, with the up-to-the-turning-point-and-return included, some eight miles, two locks and one visit to the services at Venetian, was most pleasant indeed, if a little brutal on the nose. I ought to have worn my balaclava. The rain generally didn’t have the heart to do much, really, the wind only developed the gustoids at the worst possible spot – while I was negotiating the moorings-on-both-sides joy that is Barbridge approach, and the one tree that was down across the cut was only half-way across, and hardly a tree at all, being more of a shrubbery with ambitions.

The ropes were untied at 0800hrs and with a leisurely stop at the Chandlery, finally re-tied at 1330hrs, just to give you an idea of the timescale involved with a slow boat to China, eight and a quarter miles, one slightly problematic turn, two locks and a servicing. 😉

We’re watered, emptied,  and comestibles replenished courtesy of Aunty Wainwright – a.k.a. Sue – of Venetian Chandlery. We have juices, biscuits and the makings of two large pots of curry… and… cue the fanfare… tins of Brussels Sprouts!

I never imagined that such a thing existed. An experimental tinful will be added at the end of the (long and complicated) process of curry-making. Brussels Sprout curry – what could possibly go wrong?


Also procured a short and stubby but very well-formed 12″ chim-er-knee pot at the Chandlery. Mr Stove seems to like a 24″ one generally, but that has to be removed for travelling – to get under bridges and wotnots – and after two years’ in service it’s beginning to get crusty at the edges, so this new one will be both “spare, j.i.c.” and the chim-er-knee of choice while on the move.

I spoil this boat rotten, really I do.


Maybe once the Met Office stops pillocking about with the weather the Cardinal and I will resume our quest to visit the wild, long-lost, almost-off-the-map suburbs of Middlewich. Mind you, by then those repairs to the sluice will like as not be complete, and we could head back to the bright lights (and bargain shops) of Nantwich.

Who knows?

Who cares?

[I do, but don’t let anyone else know, will you?]

I’ve moored us up with extra ropes, put bungees on the covers again, and given the stern-gland greaser a twist and I should really drag in a sack of coal from the well deck – but somehow my back tells me that I can’t be bothered with doing that today, and that I ought to get busy doing sodski all for a while instead.

I shall listen to my inner whinge, get some food and proceed to do sodski all.

Chin-chin for the mo.

Ian H., and Cardinal W.


    1. I’ve been out and checked and all that may be tied down is tied, all that may be removed has been removed, ropes are out, hatches are battened. Fingers crossed. Again. It’s very weedy stuff compared to some that other parts of the world experience but, well – it’s our weather and we’ll damned well enjoy it! 😉

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    1. Hmm… the sproutings were indeed a touch on the cooked side of Alley Dental, but they were delicious! Awaiting the ministrations of Storm Dennis as I type… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nope, never seen tinned brussels before, I wonder how cooked they are, but then I don’t suppose it matters in a curry, do it? Tether up well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Word from the wise is that they are on the over side of cooked but remain very tasty indeed – I’ll bung them in at the end, just to warm through and perform their little green miracle magic. 😉

      It is nice to be moored up again, today did seem to be a lot of trolling about.


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