The week that was – in non block-editor style, mehopes.

On Monday Tuesday the Canal Rozzers’ spotter “spotted” me (as in logged the Cardinal’s number and location – a questionable intrusion upon my privacy if ever there was one; this being my home), so I logged him under Spotters Spotted. I generally catch something on the order of two-thirds to three-quarters of their stalking activities. Stalking me must be especially boring this year, given “El Lockdown” and such wotsits. I do wonder what would happen should I ever take to following Canal & River Trust Ltd staff, directors and trustees home and about their private business, keeping a large database of all of their home and vehicular movements.

We’ve had a few days of extra-special heckilopter surveillance, with – of all beasts – a Chinook repeatedly circling over Nantwich, a nearby town. Word has it that they are on training exercises, although what flying in tight circles over Nantwich might train them for is perhaps best not thought about until more sufficiently caffeinated. Counting gatherings of more than six as seen from one-thousand feet, perhaps? Is it me, or does that Chinook not have a barrel of beer suspended below?

The weather’s been everything. Still, windy, cool nights, warm days, wet, dry and on one weekday the wind blew in from every point of the compass in turn.

The Cardinal and I scooted up to Venetian for El Services during the week. As is usual the moment I released the last rope Hell disgorged a flotilla of narrowboats hither, thither and whence without aforethought. Just as I was reversing away from the diesel pontoon some kind (lost-)soul opened the paddles to empty the lock, and the [********] who wanted the pontoon after me decided to move before I’d got out of his way. I had a larger audience than any of Lardy Lord Lloyd Webber’s theatres have seen of late.

Even once I’d performed a reverse turn into the marina ready to go back under the railway bridge and out of everyone’s way a spatially-discomnobulated gentleman left the towpath and cruised across my bow. That’s the Cardinal (long blue thing with blue windows, me hidden behind the Old Nation’s flag) waiting, hovering, for him to pass. Pass in the sense of moving his boat out of my way that is, not pass as in… although…

There’s blustering winds again today, although Her Majesty’s outdoor temperature is forecast to be some seventy of the Fahrengezundheitings and there’s a spot of blue sky and sun, so I suspect that the crabbing masses will be passing again. I can only presume that, this being Sunday, they are boating from home to church and back again.

We have wrinkly waves.

Perhaps the water is as old as I feel?

Mr Heron has taken to fishing on the offside bank alongside the Cardinal. He’s caught three fish to my knowledge in the past ten minutes, juggled briefly with them and swallowed them head-first, whole and alive. What an interesting sensation that must be for a fish. I hazard to guess that the fish involved shrug their shoulders and express no surprise, writing off their demise to it simply being ‘2020 Anno Domini, an annus horribilis if ever there was one’. I like to imagine that at least if Mr Heron breaks wind while eating, the fish will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Manufacturers, having stumbled across my earlier blog on the matter, advise me that I am using their Fire Basket / Coal Cage upside down, and yes I am – but with good reason. Upside down my kindling will just bridge the gap in the bars and provide a platform upon which to enheapinate my coal briquettes, and I may then lift the whole device into Mr Stove. I am using the beast to assist with lighting the fire, as well as keeping it under control. There’s not a lot of wiggle room in a boat stove. I shall try it downside up as recommended, and later publish the results (awaiting only the arrival of cooler, stove-necessitating weather).

There was a damned-near sinking a couple of days ago at the lock, a share-boat finding itself caught on the cill. Gentleman Phil was present and saved the day, before even those on the boat had really realised the potentially lethal trouble that they were in. It only takes a moment’s disconcentration, and wallop, the cloakroom attendant is handing you your wooden overcoat and you can barely remember what play it was that you’ve just seen, and whether you had a stiff drink in the interval.

Aha – here cometh the first narrowboat of the day, much later than I had expected, tacking heavily into the breeze.

If you will please to excuse me, now is the time for me to take two tablets from my prescription box of Tranquillax Maxibode-Notcareikins, otherwise I shan’t see out the apoplexy of the day. Egads, gadzooks and other expostulations.

Many thankees to those who responded to yesterday’s frustrations, with work-arounds to avoid the WordPress “Block Editor” nonsense, I am and shall be trying all.

Chin-chin for the moment, chaps & chapesses.

Ian H., &etc.


  1. Even though I’ve now sold my narrowboat, I noticed the other day that one of the clockers had followed me home and had now taken up residence in my garden. The CaRT have been in touch and informed me that I have to move my tiny cottage into the next parish by Wednesday. In the meantime, I’m feeding the clocker on leftover scraps courtesy of the weevils. His confidence is growing daily and his spots are clearing up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quite right too, you damnable brick-dwellers! Um… why not just change all of the local street names temporarily, they’ll never realise what’s going on.

      I’d love to try it actually, walking past Dickie Parry’s country pile and his metropolitan pied a terre, taking down the registration numbers of any cars in the driveway. I wonder how long I’d remain a (relatively-)free man?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One knows when one has achieved a modicum of fame when the manufacturers of products one uses and writes about on one’s blog contact one and instruct one on its proper usage … one hopes that one counter-instructed them as to why one used their product the way one did?
    Do you think that as Winter approaches all the idiot-boaters will take themselves back to the whence from which they came?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am hoping that the great unwashed will find themselves disconvenienced enough by the onset of proper autumn and winter conditions to send them back to the leather recliner and the 90″ television near the mcrowave and fridge… At the moment though they are still out in the most undignified numbers, all holidaying desperately and at maximum intensity.

      It must be frustrating for the manufacturers to find that Her Majesty’s public are finding new and strange ways to use their product! Using it inside out as I do helps me with the first of my stove-related problems, which is lighting the thing in the first place. I don’t care if I have to use it sideways while chanting Chaucer and eating a banana; whatever gets the job done. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Ian,
    I just wanted to say how very much I enjoy your blog.
    You always make me smile and lift my spirits.
    I am British now living in Texas USA.
    Your blog is a welcome taste of home.
    Thank you, please keep writing.
    Pam in Texas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank’ee most kindly, Pam – I very much appreciate your comment. The work-around seems to have allowed me to write this post without tipping me over the edge into insanity, and I have my fingers crossed. Maybe by the time WordPress remove these work-arounds the “block editor evil” will have been tempered with some friendlier and more adult ergonomics? Stranger thiings have happened. 🙂


  4. I shall keep this one hyperlinked and show my Ian Hutson fan club this one tomorrow, I like to give a full day pinned and the one from yesterday might still recieve some informational comments you might find useful. Incidentally the shots of the marina are like one scene in my book and it being from my imagination of the same I was pleased to have this visual and despite believing I had invented a double pontoon (a word I think for the concrete walkways between boats) I hadn’t used this and shall insert appropriately during edit. The firebasket manufacturers have probably never heard of a problem solver and resourseful person before and are probably updating their labelling to include ‘This way up!’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect that the fire basket / coal-cage makers perhaps didn’t have lighting a grumpy stove in mind! With the basket orientated as any civilian would assume that it should be (narrows to the bottom) I can build my fire on the hearth. light a couple of fire-lighters in the stove and then place the whole construction on top.

      It works very nicely indeed on the evidence so far. A few modifications to accommodate pre-building a fire this way (bigger slots on the bottom “rungs” to accommodate the wildly-varying size of kindling perhaps, and a half-height “spacer” row below that – to give room for fire-lighters under the kindling) and it would likely be perfick. 🙂


  5. Well impressed by the gravity-defying rocket in photo number 6, is NASA embarking on a cost-cutting spree using wood as a cheap substitute for the usual high octane stuff?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thrust is insufficient at the moment, but we’re working on it. I hope to replace the phrase ‘Engineering, engage warp-drive’ with the phrase ‘Scottie – put a match to the fire-lighters and throw on a few lumps of premium coal’…


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