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Unspeakably dreary. That was yesterday. It was dark, it was cold, it was grey and it was windy and it was raining fit to rival the monsoons in Poonah of ’43 or ’44.
I sat on my gluteus in the morning, thinking about how miserable the weather was being. Little did it occur to me that just through the bridge ahead yonder fuel boat, BARGUS, was at the wharf re-loading with some thirteen tonnes of supplies – in the monsoon rains. The level of the boat in the water is an indication of how laden BARGUS is.
The first clue for me of their call yesterday was the awoogah-woogah of the horn. Panic ensued. Washing up of lunch dish-pottery suspended, shoes and coat on, cratch covers open, the three baggies of coal remaining on the well-deck re-arranged, room made on the t-post for another rope to be slung (as they moored temporarily alongside). In the event I need not have rushed because two of the four boats moored betwixt Cardinal and bridge’ole made themselves customers.
The green boat was just passing, asked me if BARGUS entertained casual customers and, upon my reply of ‘yes, just hove alongside’, promptly hoved alongside and gave me even more time to prepare. Having served the moored grey boat the crew just volte faced and served the green one, then moving on down the line.
I laboured my addled brain-gland to try to come up with a snackette or thank’ee kindly to mark the season (something else I hadn’t given sufficient timeous thought to), the best that I could come up with being Mice Pies. I had two varieties in Ship’s Stores; ASDA’s Finest (not impressive) and a packet purloined from the local Wotsit Shop, a product of some local bakery (much, much nicer). I settled on the Wotsit Shop variety and that natural feeling of guilt that goes with knowing that the crew of BARGUS were doubtless already sick to the back teeth of bloody Mice Pies. Sorry guys, it’s all that I had in as a token thank’ee. You have the good ones, I’ll have the soggy pastry of the supermarket ones! 😉
To ingrain the guilt even further, I was presented with a gift by them – and I doubtless got the better of the bargain, thank you!
Six bags of the nuggetty dinosaur remains were, as ever, most conveniently delivered to me as I knelt on the well-deck (kneeling to receive coal, not to pray or conduct a blessing), and a bag of “please wake up, Mr Stove, it’s morning time and I need you at full tilt” kindling. Payment will go via BACS, bank account to bank account.
The Cardinal and I now have an elephant’s sufficiency to see us through perhaps being in the wrong place at the wrong time for their next call; we can last well past Spendmas and the Silly Season. Probably last right into the next National “El Lockdown”.
The Living on a Narrowboat Formula is manifold and multifarious, and one of the elements for simultaneous solvery is that while the Fuel Boat is constantly on the move, so, occasionally, am I, and yet we must meet to do business. It is sometimes akin to arranging for the arrival of your post, when while your address remains the same your house keeps moving.
The photograph above looks very much like the previous ‘I have coal’ photograph, but I assure you that the bags, while similar, have changed.
Coal is a most peculiar item on the domestic supplies list. What else do we buy and then deliberately burn? Tis fortunate that there is a warming side-effect to this madness.
One side-effect was the cooking of the last of my fresh vegetables (from last week’s dewiverwy), and their subsequent conversion into curried form, fortified with half a dozen (vegetablearyan) sausages. There’s a day or two left in the pot yet. I must remember to bung some (white) rice on Mr Stove to cook, otherwise I’ll be annoyed at myself for not having remembered to cook any rice.
The last of the fresh veggies eh?
Scurvy now awaits me in the scuppers, and there’s little worse than scurvy in your scuppers.
Dry stores and I shall doubtless do a Gloria Gaynor.
Quite what this morning’s sky is promising I do not know.
Time, as it usually does, will tell. Why Time can’t keep a secret I do not know.
Tis mightily soggy in the field alongside, but I ventured in for a better view.
Not far in, admittedly, just up to my knees in squelch.
I’ve squeegeed the solaring panels, in the hopes of some sunshinery.
I mun also get out and about more today, there are some outdoor jobbies to be done, and if I don’t do them then I sore doubt that the Job Fairies will do them in my stead.
Mr Sun has just poked his head above the horizon as I type. This time of year though he’s averse to heights, and will barely rise above the scrubbery and treelings before sinking back from whence he came.
We shall see.
Chin-chin, Ian H., & Cardinal Wolsey of The Fleet.