The fresh enmoorings, for a day or three, while the Met Office makes some of the urgent adjustments to its behaviour that I have suggested. A slightly deceptive daguerreotype, since the free space at our bow is the whole of the free space at our bow before there is a mess of “other persons’ boats”, and the sun shone only briefly at the close of day, just to tantalise and discomnobulate the human mind-gland. The towpath is Mud City. Mud, mud, Gloria’s mud, there’s nothing quite like it after a murder for pooling the blood. Ah what memories what memories from nineteen hundred and sixty-three while later that same year… sorry, I was waxing lyrical there. Remembering Nanny’s nursery rhymes always does that to me.
Enjoyed a minor cruise-ette yesterday. Yonder whether and wither the weather foreforeforecast (Get yer cloth, Granville) for the next week reads much like the staff rota in the sluice room of a vegan health farm (depressingly), so the Cardinal and I upped anchor and fled. We’re now in the Land of Mud, which is a territory within the Land of Confusion. Four and a half of your Earth miles, a swift half-service and a Maggie Thatcher at Bunbury (this gentleman is for turning). Lord Luck had left us a generous space on the end of the (mooring ring bedecked) “visitor” moorings near the bridge. Most splendid.
Shown below is the Cardinal leaving our previous moorings and cruising, Captain Cook style, over the far horizon and into the blue. The grey. Into the grey.
Through the first bridge hole we come to SLOW DOWN MOORINGS (I do wish that they’d be more adventurous in naming these arrangements), and a good long stretch of ticketty tick-over.
Through the bridge shown above is a lovely section where a chap may floor the acceleratrix of his vessel and cruise at a heady 3mph – or even 4mph if reckless and under the influence of hormones and season. I was not under the influence of either hormones or season.
A mile and a half or so into our epic venture we came then upon what I refer to as Moorings Alley – boats, an awful lot of them in delicate shades of GRP, both towpath and offside, right up to the junction at Barbridge. The Cardinal is shown here banking, Cigarette-boat style, to make the turn.
Farther along the way just past NEF (North East Fuels or North East Farmers or Nagging Egregious Felons or whatever that enormous industrial complex is that has NEF plastered all over it) we almost grounded, mid-channel. Just a hesitation and a shrug from the Cardinal, so me guesseth that whatever it is it is soft. A new mudbank formed perhaps, or a(nother) freshly-dumped body. One rarely ever finds out. Thankfully.
Hopefully I didn’t graze some pod of migrating Minke.
Just a little later we met the [real, physical, grunt] workers of the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd (formerly C&RT), who are replacing a stretch of soggy sunken towpath – sadly with hardcore, but hey ho. It’s so narrow there that the lycra-clad cads and speed-crazed nutwits don’t oft favour the place (there isn’t room for two or more of them to pass themselves at 45mph).
The W.W.T. working boat was playing home to a medium-sized digger. As I approached, slowly, warily, the pan whereinfrom the gravel hardcore for the new towpath surface was being scooped drifted out and across the Cardinal’s bow. The gentleman in the endiggeratrix used the bucket to pull the beast back in, leaving us (just) enough space to squeeze between them and the offside.
Not two English hours after tying up, twisting the stern gland-greaser (or more properly the stern-gland greaser, Let’s eat Grandma…) and bunging the covers back on did a Canal Rozzer hove by, noting the Cardinal’s name, number and position. Unholy haste notwithstanding this is to the good. The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd.’s B.D.T.H.B. (Big Database of Those Horrid Boats) is thin gruel at the best of times, and yet they rely on it so to satisfy their corporate obsessions and psychoses in re chasing “horrible live-aboards”, or “gits”.
Notable Benny: I quite enjoy the possibility of being termed a spalpeen, a dastard, a bounder, a blackguard, even a rapscallion, but those are terms for me to choose to use in re myelf, and definitely not for someone in a paid and putatively authoritarian position.
[Rather like the disparaging and wholly unfriendly term “bridge hopper”.]
The Cardinal and I in this “Year of Our Lockdowns &etc” needs must oik ourselves south a bit and then perhaps we’ll go west, young man, sometime soon(ish), the better to fatten up the W.W.T. Ltd.’s risible caricature of the Cardinal’s peregrinations.
The gum dichromate image above is a more honest representation of our current moorings. The Cardinal is there, right on the end, so to speak, of the VMs, with a couple of brave souls moored on pins-in-soggy-nonsense a bit further up.
There is a mobile interwebnettings mast just beyond the field to the right of frame, and running alongside that the Crewe to Chester railway line. I do quite like to hear a good railway line, even though it’s been years since I tied anyone to the rails, in my (then-)official capacity or otherwise, for fun.
One thing that I have spotted (other than trains) here is that the local canal bridge is being sorely abused.
I’ve never seen a more nervously-driven lorry. The driver either forgot that he was driving and damned near coasted to a halt before risking his front wheels on the arch, or else – and which is more likely – he was most tentative about rolling his loaded machine over a bridge with some centuries behind it.
The bridge still stands, although I am certain that it was not designed for this traffic.
I shall let you know if I hear a rumble followed by a loud splash.
Right, I must away to the galley. There are sprouts to trim and carrots to peel alive and broccoli to prepare for steaming.
Who knows, we may even achieve proper daylight at some point during the day, and where would I be if I were to be found without a few choice spuds bubbling away on the stove?
My god, Hutson, you’re obsessed with your guts and food. Find another hobby!
Yes, Mr Brain-Gland.
But not today.
What did you do during the “Pandemic”, Uncle Ian?
What? Oh, I ate broccoli… and I hibernated. Blethered, too – I did a lot of blethering. Bed, broccoli & blethering.
I thought it best.
Chin-chin, Ian H., & etc. E&OE.