The Sun Also Rises #narrowboat #boating #boatsthattweet

Even the occasional “short Virgin” passes by. They are now run by an Italian company called GenItalia, or something such. Dickie “Gizzabillionbucksortheairlinegetsit” Branson has given up on trains and retreated to one of his islands with just a minimum few thousand domestic staff.


There are rumblings on what passes for “news” services these days hereabouts that the trains are going to be much reduced, but I can tell you from just watching that they already have been, and those that have been running have been mostly lacking passengers.

I got a ride out in a motor car yesterday. I was like a dog going to the seaside, but without the seaside. Got to see the inside of a wholesale warehouse while a mate was making his purchases. Roads there quiet, car park paradoxically busy, people all in a certain mood, many of the shelves denuded. Some folk looked askance at the trolley piled high and destined for the shop shelves, but there was just one (supposedly) “barbed” comment, something about “a party at your place is it?” The staff at the warehouse were not braining very well, although to be fair and to be honest, I would imagine that they are probably a bit wearied by now.


Gentlemanly and generous “git gaps” are being maintained between boats (except when the occasional share-boat hoofs up for the night); we’re not shy on mooring space here at the moment (or indeed at most times).

Formal individual (personal) arrangements have been agreed with the Regional canal mandarins, and Messrs Hutson and Wolsey will be found in, around and about this area and little other for the duration of the current Interestingness of Times. The very nice Regional gentleman expressed an interest in my forwarding to him any and all notices of mooring regulation botheration for his attention.

I suppose that he’s as short of toilet roll as are the rest of us.

He didn’t ask me to but I’ll put a hole in the top right corner of any over-stay emails before I forward them, so that he doesn’t have to bother, and may hang them in his brick out-house without delay.

Spring is doing its best to force a way through, doubtless some people are panic-buying daddofils and – what is it? – hawthorne blossom? Mesnotgoodonplants.



Mr Stove is still very much required, but we’re back into that period when he’s lit, forgotten, missed, re-lit, allowed to burn out, re-lit, set in for the night, forgotten…


While I have nothing but praise for the individual, real, grunt workers of the Canal and River Trust – both salaried and the trillions of volunteers (who are tasked with some surprisingly meaty and demanding jobs to do)…

…a certain corporate gestalt, a certain shall we say “executive body” have finally, totally, conclusively and irrevocably covered themselves in something during this recent global, national and individual problem – and I’ll tell you this, what they’ve covered themselves in is not glory.

At the setting of the sun we will remember them (but in their, executive case, for all of the wrong reasons).

By way of contrast yesterday, after an email from that certain organisation reminding me of the expiry of my boat licence next month and of the recently-reduced methods of payment that they accept, and what was perhaps the most insipid, content-free, hippy-dippy email bollocks from the National Boating Officer about how they would all be working from home and wasn’t it just frabjous to be wellness by water yeah?, I received another email, this time from the National Bargee Travellers Association. An email packed with information, advice, links to resources and with details of real-world physical groups in formation to help out.

This from the national, “professionally run” body:


There’s a £grand£ I won’t see again.

This is the sum of the total on their website, in cahoots with a similarly insipid p*ss-weak page of nonsense labelled “FAQs”.


Yes, that’s cropped, but I haven’t cropped any of the “content” out. That’s the sum total.

10,000 people live full-time aboard about 6,000 boats on that certain organisation’s responsibility of canals (I am using “responsibility” here as a freshly-b’gered-about collective noun), and n’ery a word except, perhaps “do carry on as normal, don’t forget to pay your licence fee before you die, and don’t let us know how you get on because we’re not really interested”.

That was what motivated me in the total absence of any Duty of Care from National level to make my individual arrangements with Regional level.

Sometimes, when the metropolitan “skinny jeans, coconut-latté, gimme my MBE now wah wah wah” executive of an organisation digs a hole for itself there’s really no way back. They’ve had a (long, long, long) chance to shine this year, and they have chosen instead to be thoroughly lacklustre, as dull as a dead duck’s arse.

Footballers (Manchester) are opening their (retirement fund) hotels gratis to health workers for the duration, retired medics and nurses and doctors are getting out of their slightly damp high-backed recliners & slippers to go back to work in hospitals, pubs are setting up local meal delivery services for crusties, cruise companies are offering cruise ships as makeshift field hospitals, neighbours are checking on neighbours.

Meanwhile, that certain executive of a certain canal organisation (not the workers, the executive, the corporate gestalt) is just giggling inanely, thoroughly out of their intellectual depth and with something warm trickling down their little leggies. Canal Central is sending out licence reminders and exhortations in re ostrich-style denial. The utterly indecisive, totally non-committal, opposite-of-pro-active and unvaryingly vanilla line that the poor b’gers on their official social media staff have been given to peddle is cringe-making and embarrassing for all.


I do hope that wherever those supposed to be in charge of this organisation are, a grown-up finds them soon, buys them a toilet roll and gets a policeman to take them safely home.


The rest of us – and the workers of that certain organisation (I really don’t want to be unfair and tell you explicitly that I am referring to The Canal & River Trust Executive, that wouldn’t be polite) – well, if you’re anything like me you wake up of a morning (if you’re lucky), take a couple of deep breaths to listen for rattles and gurgles and are then pleased to be able to begin at least one more day of bug and riot avoidance.

Today I will be, as advised, mostly inside the boat, but I needs must also mayhap venture out – nicely distanced – for potable water (coffee and cooking), possibly a gazunder and – depending upon the evidence of the stick – diesel.

I hope that you’re all doing well. Keep safe, keep happy, keep cantankerous, stubborn and grumbling (a bit of self-awareness creeping in there), and do, whatever else you do, not let the bastards nail your coffin lid down just yet, please.


Messrs Ian H. and Cardinal W. of the High (Inland) Seas.


  1. The blossom is definitely Blackthorn which will give you Sloes in Autum for making Slow Gin with. Hawthorn bears its leaves first not the blossom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank’ee! It is almost strange to watch the world waking up in springtime, while we humans all retreat into caves and holes and hunker down, out of the sun. If we live through this it will be a harsh but “good” lesson for us. Keep well, keep safe. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you bypassed those futher-mucking dendrite-denuded deadbeats and sought our someone who could actually make decisions about your situation … also glad you are your usual spitfire-y self. 😀 Carry on, good sir, carry on! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you and yours, ma’am. Keep on keeping on, please.

      Most of the societies of the world are finding out right now how they have been totally predicated on facilitating the making of money rather than the making of a strong human (and humane) society. We all ought to have been drilled – have drilled our collective selves – in procedures for emergencies of any kind (from asteroids to the local zoo leaving a bear compound unlocked). If we had grown a people-society instead of a money-market then it would now be second nature to just switch into be safe and help out mode (with an official “or else” to back it up for the good of all), but no. All of the weight of the world has been hinged on the invented money system instead of the real people system. Tis tragically sad (and silly).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always thought that everyone has the right to be as thick as pig effluent, but oh boy, CaRT HQ Central abuse the privilege. They are, to be quite candid, an embarrassment.

      No National statements or guidance of any content/value/substance, no changes to their ordinary (pettifogginng) bureaucracy, just an exhortation – to some, not even all – to “contact” them “if” we have a “medical problem” (plague? death?) that might require an overstay, and they’ll see what they can do! Gobsmackingly dismal, and this is how they will now be remembered for all time, they have no way back.

      The workers, most of the individuals? Great, hard working and real. The “executive team”? I wouldn’t pay them in dried-up cow-pats. Aside from this my recent hand-on real-world experience has led me to no strong conclusions in re their “managerial” fitness for the task… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. it’s starting to get very real here. We had 6 cases in our state a week ago. Yesterday we had 159 and one dead. Today we have 279 and 3 dead. The exponential part is here. Of course, some of that is just getting the tests and then having the results of the goddamn tests. My boss was tested Monday and told 3-r 4 days to get results. He called Thursday and was told it’s now 7-10 days. Happily he’s past the worst of it symptomatically, but what is the purpose of this test again?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. In England only those requiring hospitalisation are being tested, all others thought to have the beastie but not requiring hospitalisation are sent home without… I do wonder how they are collecting those damnable statistics – the ones that the weaselly little people have to use to base our approach to National logistics on…

          This thing is horrible. With 80% going to be infected (as far as we can tell at the moment) it’s akin to waiting in line for a firing squad that’s playing Russian Roulette with live/dummy ammo. Which will I get? Which will you get? The waiting is foul. At least with an asteroid – wheeee bang job done, get on and die or get on and deal with it. This though… ugh.


  3. The blossom is probably blackthorn. Hawthorn comes out later – hence its alternative name of ‘May’. Slightly envy you your away-from-all-the-buggers situation, although I’m sure there are downsides.

    Keep washing those hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was about to say the same thing. Hawthorne used to be eaten when the first shoots appeared. they were the first greens that medieval people had had for a long time and they were proably beginning to develop scurvy, so it was a boon.
      We used to eat them, too when we were children. We called it Bread and Cheese for some inexplicable reason.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. It would be a really great place to be… if only the p*ss-poor intellectual minnows at Canal HQ Central weren’t encouraging everyone who has no pub/gym/football-match/and or asylum to go to to come and enjoy life and “wellness” on the canal towpaths! Every day more and more cyclists, joggers, and dog-walkers (dogs that have obviously never seen grass before, walkers that can barely walk)… A bloke just stopped eighteen inches off my study window to give his nose a good long emptying blow into a cotton handkerchief that had seen better days!

      Meanwhile, those in Canal HQ Central are all holed up in their Chelsea flats “working” via video-conference!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The licence fee demand reminded me of my Council demanding payment for my green bins £65 for the privilege of getting rid of green waste; it came just before the annual community charge statement which has risen by £8 a month – I’m still trying to work out what I get for that given the state of the roads (which I hardly ever travel upon now), err, nope must be the other two bins and they can’t even manage to put them back on my drive! Now look what you did, cantankerous? Moi? stuff the lot of them, stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t abide pettifogging bureaucrats at the best of times. In these, some of the worst of times, CaRT HQ Central are proving themselves to be summer-puddle deep.

      As I’ve intimated before, the “Executive” couldn’t organise a wine-tasting in a vineyard, not even if folk all brought their own corkscrews.


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