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.