Preparations for El Lockdown II

Up and at ’em, not early as such, but at near enough first light this morning. The new House Arrest (Boat Arrest) regime begins this coming Thursday, and sods law states categorically that should I leave matters arising until Wednesday it’ll be upon my head. I wanted to mooch and pootle the few miles back to where there are kind folk who will, like as not, notice if my boat begins to smell of “essence of dead body”.

I’d gained a neighbour overevening, so a very quiet scoot past them was called for, their blinds and curtains being well and truly still closed, and the snoring within causing teeny weeny tiny whiny little ripples about their boat.

Allergic though I may be towns, I did of late venture into the nearest thing to a shop hereabouts – a small grocery emporium attached to this petrol station. Can you believe that they now stock such as veggie sausages? Amazing stuff for a grab-and-go establishment.

Prices are on the “eek” side of “ye gods” of course, but for an item or three for variety and convenience, it has its uses. To get to it from the canal you have to climb a hidden set of steps up the bank, clamber over the armco and take your life into your hands crossing the main road. It’s “only” a 40mph limit, but having become accustomed to an average velocity of 2.75mph crossing an “A” road feels to me akin to running across a de-restricted autobahn.

Remember me mentioning that the actual grunt worker workers of the Wellness Trust Ltd (formerly the Canal & River Trust Ltd., but now re-branded and nothing to do with canals or boats) were moving huge chunks of concrete edging about? Well, this is where – a few hundred yards down from where I had been moored.

Mucho da work-boat abounding…

…and then a bit of a slalom course with a double-moored ensemble tied up in the customary manner with a couple of yards of hairy string, and drifting about all over wherever they would as whatever watery whim took them.

Reet close to an overgrown shrubbery on the offside too. Bear in mind that the canal is rarely navigable towards the offside (too shallow), since no-one ever uses it there. Half of the width of water left for the purposes of passing this combination was ill-advised territory.

Happily a touch of welly (to build up a minor bow wave) followed by application of the deceleratrix gave the unhinged beastie the hint that it needed to drift out of my way – while also not hinting so strongly as to bounce the weeb’ger out again. A short visit into the foliage and we were past.

I understand that the corporate mandate for use of hairy string relates to the rapidity and regularity with which decent mooring rope disappears into the night when used on corporate vessels.

Ho et le hum.

A most pleasant cruise-ette indeed, during which I may have been chilled to the bone, but I was not rained upon.

Mrs Weather was, however, in her dressing room, warming up to something by braiding her hair and stuffing her bosom into a couple of punch-bowls, and – as we all know – the English weather for the day isn’t over until the amply-proportioned lady sings.

Light and shade, sunshine and black clouds jostled and bustled among one another, while the Cardinal and I crept quietly along below, trying to go unnoticed.

Around the old familiar junction once more, in one, and pleasantly meeting nothing on the hoof in the opposite direction. I gave the expensive new houses a couple of tastes of the boat horn that they will, doubtless, come to complain about in future months and years.

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells… when we bought a house slap bang on a canal junction we never for a moment imagined that boats would be using our stretch of scenic and historic waterway. The noise (and the smell of “peasants”) is quite dreadful. Someone ought to do something about it before property values decline.

Then it was into Moorings Alley, where the light began to improve. I was also fortunate to not meet traffic here.

Part-way along this wee beastie was moored. I felt inclined to pause and to cover it with a blanket and put out a saucer of warm milk. Do you think it’s big enough to have left its mother?

Cute little thing though, eh?

Mr Prop developed a close relationship with a leaf-ball while I put-puttered along past these moorings, but it couldn’t be cleared until past – otherwise I’d have risked side-hatches opening and fists being shaken at me. We made it through and out of the bridge on a little less headway than hoped for and a couple of hundred more revs than ought to have been required.

Two or three more bridges along and there was Time and Space (and Nathaniel) enough to select a socially-discontiguous mooring and to take a brief wander down to the lock and the marina. Mr Cover and Canvas and Co were there to say hiyahowareyah to, but there was no-one else about to play with. Back to the boat whereupon the clouds let rip with torrential rain and even hailstones. All hail Spode.

That’s me done for the day now and quite pleasant and quite sufficient it was too.

We’ll see whether tomorrow brings an increase or a decrease in boat traffic, as everyone (as most) knuckle under to the next esipode of Pantodemic. These moorings will do nicely until I see what’s what.

Time to put another pot of coffee on and to stoke up Mr Stove.

Chin chin for the mo, Muskies.

Ian H.


  1. Our dear government now thinks of doing a real lockdown….to keep everyone off the streets while it shafts us royally. It must be planning to shaft us as meetings normally televised have ceased to stream for ‘technical reasons’.

    Try that and the example of the man clearing away riot police with a bulldozer will be replicated all over the country…the video tickled the national fancy tremendously.

    I hope you find a suitable spot in which to lurk, not too far from supplies of coffee and other essentials.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Technical reasons”. Yes, that reason being that, technically, being open and above board would interfere with their plans.

      England has truly taken the final steps into fully-fledged membership of the “Curved Yellow Fruit” countries (as a banana republic, but without the republic). I’ve been researching the award of contracts under the “emergency measures” and the scale and brazen nature of the corruption here is staggering. Billions awarded, generally in amounts of ten to a few hundred million at a time, to private companies hurriedly set up, run by relatives and friends of politicians.

      I shall have to look for the bulldozer incident! I have high hope for today, the 5th of November – better known as Guy Fawkes Day / Bonfire Night… a small nuke under Westminster would be delightful (provided that the whole of government and all of the Whitehall Civil Service were in residence at the time)! 😉


    1. Thank’ee kindly. I feel rather as though I am entering this “lockdown” running on empty… mentally. It’s been a long and silly year. Time to turn the little tap on the Reserve Tank!

      Stay frosty (‘Alien’ reference…).


      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember going to an advance screening of that very movie, in an elderly building. For some long-forgotten reason we came in through the back via a long, narrow, badly-lit hallway, wherein all manner of ducting innards were exposed … this was not an issue going in but returning that way afterwards? Lots of nervous laughter and much relief occurred upon egress. : )

        Liked by 1 person

  2. People think they have it badly having to shut their doors to the world! Hoping it all goes well and there are folk around to help out the ‘liveaborads’ during this lunacy! Keep Mr Stove alight and the curry pot simmering.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The local chandlery plans on remaining open – as an essential service. The fuel boats will be patrolling as best they may, also an essential service. My part in this is to find a mooring that is consistently off the radar, and yet close enough to services for ease… and stealth. 😉


  3. You’ve turned me into a narrow boat fan and I now obsessively watch youtube narrowboaters. Water seemed to be the biggest issue during lockdown. It’s essential and the only way to get it if you are a continuous cruiser is to cruise. I think being alone on your boat gives you a very slight advantage on water conservation, but you cannot help but use it. I don’t suppose Mr and Mrs Wellness Cart can reasonably complain about it. But of course they will. Probably turn off the water points as an enforcement measure.

    You have my sympathy on the issue – pandemics are stressful, lockdowns more stressful and the addition of water anxiety unseals the pandoras box of panic, it seems to me. I hope you have plenty of books and plenty of alcohol. It’s not supposed to be a substitute for water, but I find it does quite well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have the most delicious stack of books awaiting my attention, it’ll be a luxury to be able to dive into them. My hind-brain tells me that this El Lockdown is going to be even less fun than the rest of 2020 – Hell in a hand-cart seems to be the collective destination. My intent is to do my very best (dib dib dib) to flit around the canals and hedgerows, avoiding as much of the world as possible while clinging to the nicer parts. I shall doubtless be shot by Government Sniper from a Police Heckilopter for not wearing a mask while dangling from the local trees and singing Traffic’s “Hole in my shoe”…

      One can but hope. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  4. And after all that no photographic record of your final resting place? I am amazed how blooming chocka these watery highways, lowways and byways are. Full of pretend Capt. Pugwash and crew no doubt? I always thought you were a recluse of the reclusive exclusive kind.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. The next blog post will be making up for the lack of a photo of the current moorings…

      I am indeed an exclusive reclusive of the inclusively non-exclusionary inclusive varety.

      What ever happened to the Variety Shows? Chuffin’ ‘eck, they were awful! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Showing your age here lad! The Good Old Days from the City Varieties Music Hall Leeds is it? Leonard Sachs no less. Mater told me all about it when rocking me to sleep in my crib. Is it any wonder I am disturbed? Careful!


        Liked by 1 person

  5. It is getting like a pantodemic, isn’t it, Chris. When do we all shout, to Boris’s comment that the virus is increasing/decreasing, ‘Oh yes it is’ or ‘Oh no it isn’t.’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The final nail in the porridge for me over the weekend was the totally contradictory statements issued by PM and Ministers – on the same day… This government (of all political bents) is a shambles.

      Actually, that’s an insult to Shambles everywhere! 😉

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I suspect that this El Lockdown II will be going on for longer than is advertised, so I’ll take all of the preparation that I can get at the moment!

      Hope all is well with you and yours, Mr Ape, and that you are comfortable and safe. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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