Messing about in boats, with added cormorant #narrowboat #boating #England

From there to here. That’s where I’ve moved. Today dawned frosty but bright, and with little wind, so I bunged on the old tiller bar and bade g’bye to Malvern (the workboat that the Cardinal’s been snogging for the past ten days).

There were just a few final laughs before we left.

A Canal & River Trust spotter came by and logged my boat number and position. It’s all very well, but I do wonder what would happen to me if I were to reciprocate, and log the registration number and position of all private vehicles of local CaRT staff on a regular basis and keep a database thereof. Or perhaps check regularly that they are still living at the same address, and tick them off on my little ruggedised iPad. No beef with the spotter, they’re just doing a job, but the habits of this CaRT institution are… questionable at best. Somehow, were the boot to be on the other foot, I think I’d find myself arrested on charges of stalking and similar, and up before the Beak.

Talking of beaks…

My grebes have been replaced – Iย think – by cormorants, (also) fishing up and down alongside the boat. Not easy to photograph, they are wary and fast and can see right through my one-way glass – so my apple bogies for the quality of these shots. Fantastic to watch with my (second or fifth) (pint of) morning coffee.



Splendid birds, even if they are reputed to eat an elephant’s sufficiency of fish each day, thus spoiling the endeavours of the anglers. Um, actually… no, no, that’s evil of me. ๐Ÿ™‚

What happens when a canal company catamaran lash-up meets two charitable-organisation boats of some description from the Wirral, at a bridge? This happens.


Lots of waving about, a bit of hooting, and the poor chap moored (quite legitimately) out of frame, just, to the right of that green catamaran affair gets a right “oh my good gravy” and a very close shave.

Oh how we laughed. Guffaw, guffaw, guff… aw, bless!

Somehow I managed to drag myself away from the entertainments provided, and untied the Cardinal’s ropes and pootled off. Iย did notice that there was no reluctance on the part of the Cardinal – as soon as the ropes were off he untangledย himself from the nose-buttons touching arangement and waited for me with bow out in the middle of the cut. I had expected there to be some back and forthing and suchlike but no, he was eager to be off and away.

Four and one of Her Majesty’s thirds of a mile of a cruise-ette today, via the Services at Calveley and then overshooting our new moorings, winding in Syke’s Hollow and coming back – turning so that I can face the railway line and watch the many and varied choo-choos chugging up and down what is a respectably busy line.

I’m simple, and so are my tastes.



The one lock encountered en route had, of course, one boat about to go down and also something strange happening below the lock. I helped the boat to go down, checked that there was no queue below waiting to come up, re-set the lock for myself and began to go down…

…haberashery, sportswear and garden tools…

and then met Narrowboat Glass Inc., most splendidly – thank’ee kindly for the assist! Seen here clambering over the beams.


By the time I got down through the lock the “something strange” below had turned out to be one of those boats that is, for some reason, allergic to actually using the lock landings, and he was then hovering about mid-stream – eager and anxious to nose into the lock long, long before I’d left it.


Pulling in and oiking a slack rope around one of the nice white bollards provided isn’t really rocket science, is it? No idea why so many folk just won’t do it, preferring instead to cause manifold confusion and messing about.

Iย can intone the necessary calculations to fold space and time, but I’m not about to do so just because someone won’t follow established etiquette… ๐Ÿ˜‰ The gentleman dodged back and forth and got out of the Cardinal’s way.

Locks are similar to car-parking spaces. It’s no good hanging back like a raw prawn and hoping that everyone will read your mind. You really do need to be approaching with intent, or on the lock landings – at least in the vicinity thereof – and make yourself known. Mr Eager did none of these things.

A cruise past the marina, waving at some of the inmates, and then out into Windy Alley, I got moored up again, all full that ought to be full, all empty that ought to be empty, just as the day began to spoil itself, and the clouds changed from fluffy and cotton-wool to grey and mildly foreboding.

We’re in a favourite middle of nowhere, away from over-hanging trees so that the solar may feed on anything at all presented, and facing the railway line so that I can keep a weather eye out for interesting bits of large machinery plodding up and down.


Iย did contrive to let Mr Stove go out while I was cruising and servicing and locking, but he’s currently chewing on some dry kindling and a few choice nuggets of coal-substitute. It’s set to be freezing again overnight, and I’ll be happy when Mr Stove is back to being happy. I really ought to be more careful.

As Ming The Merciless once remarked ‘Life on the canals of England is a joyful thing. Believe me my young fiend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.’

At the risk of tempting fate, how pleasant it is after three named storms in a row, to simply be floating about, not being lashed at by gales, or monsoon rains or hailstorms.

I’d forgotten what this sort of weather was like.

Now, also at the risk of unsettling the (Greek and Roman) gods, to settle in for some (more) anti-COVID-19 isolation.

Except for the fuel boat, I think that I need the attentions of the fuel boat.

Come on, Mr Stove, let’s get that kettle steaming please, asap or sooner.

I have a coarse-ground Peruvian blend that I’m looking forward to trying.


Ian H.



    1. Filthy beast! If I’d known that I’d have taken a photograph of a vase of flowers instead!

      The good news is that there seems to be a pair in these new moorings too, so more watching them diving and surfacing while here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I must admit that i do have a certain response to anyone trying to rush me out of their way without good cause or explanation… Rushed I will not be. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Excellent wildlife pictures (and I don’t just mean the birds, the boating fraternity looks a little fraught also) you point and press so well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It can be a tad defenestrating if there’s traffic, it’s akin to driving sixty-foot long cars that steer, sort of, from the rear. My favoured tactic if things get too medieval is to remember that I can stop, pull over and wait for it all to pass. I have no desire to race anyone away from the traffic lights!


  2. Stalking by authorities is OK – so doubly annoying.
    Love your stops in isolated places – but all that traffic to manage and the lock’s wall do look a bit intimidating., Everything considered, nothing is better than a boat

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My mind recoils in distaste at the very concept of “authority”, it always boils down to just someone telling everyone else what to do – Establishment bullying, benign, benevolent or (more usually) otherwise. As a species we do seem to acquiesce to near-universal and constant control so easily. I wonder what we would be if the notion of one person controlling another had never arisen – would voluntary co-operation have filled the gap, a gap that I doubtless only perceive because of human history rather than any need in reality? We might have out-Bonobo’d the Bonobo monkeys…

      Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.