A walk through a little bit of England on a bright and frosty Christmas morning

I don’t generally indulge in the fad for “selfies” but the light shining through the bridge behind me rather insisted on this one. They do say that the Sun always shines on the righteous. This image just proves that the Sun perhaps needs to get itself to SpecThavers… since that can be the only reason for it to shine upon me!

I amย not knock-kneed, and nor am I wearing a skirt or an over-sized tam o’shanter. It’s just that there are only so many ways in the space of a few seconds of arranging one’s limbs while taking a photographย and refraining from falling into the canal. Back a bit… back a bit more… sploosh.

The Cardinal and I moved again yesterday. This ice was forecast, and strong winds are – once again – on their way, and when I woke the madness was upon me. We serviced and we mooched. An oddly good decision.

When heading in this direction past Calveley Service Area at certain times of year it is imperative to remember to lay out the old sun-glasses. I remembered. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway. Although only a couple of miles, it was a most pleasant cruise-ette, and ticked all ofย my boxes. It was mostly just me and the Cardinal and the moorhens.

I do rather love just chugging along pleasant and familiar – and undemanding – stretches of canal.

We’re here now and here we’ll stay for a few days.

The world hereabouts was well and truly frozen this morning, and even the canal had a skim of ice in most places. The frost had the phenomenal benefit of converting the mud mud mud into something pleasant and solid to walk on, thank’ee kindly.

I got out and about for walkies at first light, which isn’t saying much at this time of year. At least I remembered a., to get dressed and b., to wake up and bank up Mr Stove, so that the Cardinal would be warm and especially welcoming on my return. The advantage of Christmas Day is that fewer folk than even usual are out and about; one jogger, one nutwit, the lovely folk from Rosie II and the lovely folk from Caramia. The demands upon my communication-gland were light and easily-managed.

Apologies in advancement excelsis for the manifold images, but this morning was very pictureskew (sic), and I had to keep my clicking finger warm by keeping it constantly on the move.

This is the Cardinal at his current moorings, third from bottom of frame.

Barbridge Junction moorings, Shropshire Union, England.

Stripes, stripes, all was stripes. Moorings Alley even managed to look serene.

Moorings Alley, Barbridge Junction, Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch, England.

The ground was crunchy and cold underfoot. This is much better than being crunchy and cold overhead. Ground ought always to be underfoot and, if it’s not, then you’ve done something wrong with the process of walkies.

You can’t beat a good tree or two.

The image below is of the (full of) eastern (promise) or “Turkish Delight” end of Moorings Alley, and you can see that the canal water has gone crinkled and hard overnight. Do fish under ice suffer from claustrophobia, I wonder? Fish in rivers and canals, I mean, not fish under the crushed ice on fishmongers’ slabs of course.

Have I mentioned that when the clouds are performing well you just can’t have enough trees to go with them?

The light was amazing on this morning’s walkies, different at every turn. I turn a lot during walkies. Most people think that I have lost my balance, but actually the Derling Whirvish act is simply to stop people from bothering me. It works a treat, unless you are unfortunate enough to encounter someone who has similarly lost their grip on reality.

It seemed to take Mr Sun quite a while to drag himself from his pit this morning. Perhaps he was hung-over, or perhaps Father Christmas had asked for a delay because his deliveries had gone into extra time? Who knows?

Smoke filled the air at the main Barbridge “visitor” moorings. Fortunately, it was all quite intentional. I call it the “Take this, annoying little Miss ReGretable Thunderburg” effect.

Barbridge, Shropshire Union canal, England.

A wander down towards Hurleston was called for, and so I done did just that.

Mr Sun continued to raise himself from his pit, and some of the bridges co-operated nicely.

This one looking quite different depending upon from which side one viewed it. I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow it’s life’s illusions I recall – I really don’t know life at all. Nor bridges neither. Not even the Madisons of Bridge County. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Which pithy introspection brings me to my second and – of the day – final “selfie”.

I am a shadow of my former self.

As, sadly, is the day now that it’s turned to the more usual dull and grey, damn it.

Iย was going to have Heinz Baked Beanz on masses of hot toast for Christmas lunch, but I forgot what I was doing in the galley and prepared some festive pasta instead. Once I’ve published this I shall dive into a Borg-a-Shmorg (I know my foriegn languages!) of Hendrick’s gin (thanks Bro), chocolate from Fortnum & Mason (thanks Sis), a chunk of rather pleasant iced Christmas Cake (thanks ASDA) and my favourite DVDs (thanks Master & Commander &etc). Then I am going to check the roof for loose-ables, put an extra bungee on the rear cover, zip up my cratch (ooh er missus!) and see if I can sleep through Boxing Day until the gales arrive – and depart.

Don’t be judgemental – it’s a plan.

Merry Christmas and Happy Wotnots to all of my reader


The Cardinal and I hope that you have had and are having a splendid time, wherever you may be.

Now, I must throw another peasant on the stove, wash up the pots from the pasta, and lay out my afternoon.

Chin-chin, Ian H., & Cardinal W. of The Fleet.


  1. What very wonderful images, Ian! Hope you had and have a nice time, enjoying the silence, and the festivity. You are having the real freedom, even Jesus was not born in a boat. ,-) Be well, stay save, and keep the UK’s economy running. As i had heard last week, the new greeting in the UK could become “Full Fish”. :-)) (According to the new contract between the EU and the UK ๐Ÿ˜‰ Michael

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    1. Thank’ee kindly! Have a VERY happy New Year – and a darned great year after day one, too!

      Despite the best (worst) intentionals of the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd (who run the things) a narrowboat on a canal is still one of the best places to be. There’s life in the old system yet for a handful of years!

      I have no idea what sort of bargain has been struck betwixt the throbbing brains of our glorious leaders (!!!), about the only thing I can be certain of is that lots of civil servants and lots of politicians (here and abroad) will have much fatter hidden and private offshore accounts now – as it ever was. I still think that we should hang the lot from lampposts and begin again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  2. My goodness the universe gave you quite a gift with that sunrise. But, if I may enquire, how tall was your former self? Because the shadow is quite the giant.

    Your xmas day sounds quite lovely to recluse like me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 4′ 8″ (in standard Cuban heels).

      The Sun, as it circled the Earth, was hiding playfully towards one edge. It was probably lighting up as much of the underside of our big square of flat mud as it was the top.


      Iin re Christmas; I do the very best that I can with the sprouts available.

      Have a very happy New Year and wotnot.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I do rather love the sun (the light, not the heat – I can’t stand the heat!). I imagine myself as a tiny bug in the lavatory when someone lifts the seat, and I am in awe of the bathroom fluorescent tube. It sort of puts me in context. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ooh – shiny!

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  3. Re. your original selfie – for some reason I’m reminded of John Wayne’s silhouette at the end of Franco Zeffirelli’s ‘Jesus Harold O’Christus’ film: “Surely that man must be the son of God.”

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    1. My name is Legion, for I am many, but “Mr Godson” is not one of my names. I prefer Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed). Not at all certain that it WAS the glow of the sun coming through the bridge hole behind me yesterday; it may have just been the usual Fires of Hell…


    1. Thank’ee! There was colour and light and interest wherever I pointed the camera yesterday. Someone must have given us the wrong day, I’m sure we don’t pay for ones as good as that one was… ๐Ÿ˜‰


  4. Good Tidings, Ian! Your pics are a delight – I do understand the theories of the beauteousness of early morning skies and all that, and your documentary evidence seems to prove it thus, but I’m a typical stranger to such natural wonders, so thank you for the showings – and your selfies so expressive. Oppositional Seasonal Greetings from Sydney where the Boxing Day has already arriveth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Sydney! I’ve never really understood Boxing Day, when it ought surely to be termed Wrestling Day – wrestling with the after-effects of Christmas Day…

      You have some fairly incredible skies in Australia too, although I haven’t seen them since the nineteen-eighties (drove then from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs etc in a campervan) – never seen such vistas before, or heard such silence as pertains in the far outback once the van’s engine has stopped ticking as it cools. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Happy New Year to one and all of the anti-podes. That’s something else, too – why so anti podes, what have the podes ever done to us, eh?


  5. Well the selfie sure made me laugh. The second one, with legs that long you should be on the Grand Union Canal catwalk… alright walking the plank, but still…

    Seasons greetings old fruit.


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    1. By the time I took that second “selfie” the sun was almost directly overhead. This is why I have to have all of my trousers specially tailored by the Army & Navy Stores, it’s something to do with parachutes and the sewing of long seams.

      Are you quite safe and well? I did hear talk on the news of late of there being shortages of Lettuce, and other miscellaneous saladings. I made enquiries at the Ministry for Halved Tomatoes and Thinly-Slice Ham, but pull strings as I might, no-one would tell me anything.

      Merry yes indeed and a very happy goodness me. ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Merry Christmas, Ian. Stupendous photos. It was gloriously sunny here in Sussex this morning so we went for perambulations. But it was cold. Few people about, which was good.

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    1. I always think that when the sun shines on England that there is no finer country this side of Hadrian’s Wall, Offa’s Dyke or the English Channel*.

      *Note to self: check if it is still called that after this “Le Brexit Agreement”.

      When I am Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed) – after the Glorious Revolution – I shall encourage fewer people. The countryside is much nicer with lots more fewer people. I shall have a small plaque raised, noting that it was your suggestion.

      Merry Wotsit and Happy etc., etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Merry Christmas to you, the Cardinal and Mr. Stove. Throw a few Greta whatsisnames on the latter…..
    While i thought those photographs were stunning they made me remember why we left Europe…well, one of the reasons…the winter.

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    1. Winter indeed, yes. It would be much easier to do battle with were it to be in any way consistent but no, warm and dry one moment, blasting and monsoon rains or deep snows the next – and all without a hint of what is to come in the afternoon.

      I love the way that our northern european cousins laugh at us in winter and shout rude things across the Skagerrak, such as ‘fit winter tyres to your little vehicles, you dolts!’ Little do they realise that we would forever be stopping in lay-bys and car parks to change from winter to summer rubber and back again.

      It is indeed fortunate (for me) that Mr Stove, while apt on occasion to be grumpy, likes to pile in and roar away more convincingly with each degree of drop in the old Fahrengezundheitings. Were it not so then I’d be well stuffed. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. Merry Crimbolicity and a Happoid New Year to you all. I would never have guessed from the name that you were in fact Oregano. We have no spices at all in my family.



  8. And greetings of the seasonal variety to you, too.
    So different from last year…Father Christmas brought us some rain. Generous old bloke, he’s back again with some more of the stuff.
    Stay well-cratched!

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    1. A fair portion of Ing-ger-lund had some snow, I believe, although they must have made private arrangements for it. All of my tomorrows call for dull and rain and the sort of winds that make sheep fly across the horizon, bleating woefully about ‘no parachute’.

      Unthinkingly I have kept Mr Stove blasting away in the corner, I fear that I made have inadvertently done Father Christmas a severe discourtesy with hot coals. My name will doubtless make the top of next year’s Naughty List. As it ever was, plus ca change, plus c’est la meme discouragement. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  9. Happy Christmas to you Ian, very best wishes from Texas, where it is sunny and just about at freezing point.
    I so enjoy your posts and thank you for writing them they are always entertaining and fun.
    Pam in Texas.x

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    1. Thank’ee kindly Pam, I do enjoy scribbling them and I remain amazed that anyne reads the things but they do (my readership is sometimes in the high twos).

      Are the skies in texas truly larger than elsewhere?


    1. The country does take on a most agreeable air of dignity and gravitas, when most of the population are either in a food coma and/or as drunk as lords. I wish it could be Christmas every day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. …and a most seasonal felicitation to you and yours – may your sprouts be al dente and your Yorkshires crisper than a crisp thing. ๐Ÿ™‚


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