Not frozen in

Opportunity taken.

The Cardinal and I mooched up to the junction this morning, entertained two “anglers” with a three-point turn, visited the Calveley service area, entertained two different worm-danglers with a four-point turn (there was a breeze) and then came back to moor mayhap one mooring ring along from where we’d begun the day.

Ye gods (Greek and Roman), it was cold but the canal wasn’t frozen over, so needs must. I did wear layers, but not enough, and somewhere along the cruise-ette I lost my face, neck and fingers to Messrs Frost & Co.

I was happily composted Mentos enough to remember while at the service area to bung Mr Stove a wodge of fresh coal, and to slap the pan with yetserday’s curry on top – so by the time I’d got back to from whence we’d begun not only was the cabin uber-warm but my early lunch was (re-)cooked too. I just had to make coffee and the nosh was upon me.

The Bunbury winding hole was blissfully free of dumped Angloid-Welch hire-boats and were it not for the mild breeze I’d have made it around without the extra shuffle.

Sadly, it wasn’t a Wall Street Shuffle, da da doo da dah dah dunt dunt dah.

There were manifold small birds abounding, a couple of grebes, and a slack handful of pterodactyls. The ducks I encountered were in decidely grim mood for some reason (feeling the cold, perhaps?) but I did at least meet lots of no swans at all, which is what are a good thing (can’t stand the creatures).

Lots of folk quibble with my classification of pterodactyls, trying to persuade me that what I have seen was merely a heron. I decline to acquiesce in the matter. Pterodactyls I saw and pterodactyls they are. Lovely critters, although they will eat anything from small dogs to ducklings, and sometimes that’s not a pretty sight.

The Hobbit Holes up by Bunbury were still in evidence, laid relatively bare by the winter lack of greenery.

In truth they are old brickworks or coke-smelterings or kennels for bats out of hell, or some such industrial thingummy, but I much prefer the hobbit explanation.

The return half of the cruise was as pleasant as was the outward leg. Just some five miles in total, for water, wotnots and rubbish-dumping. I timed the move properly and had the service area to myself, although it must be said that whoever it was used the Elsan sluice room previously was not the most sanitary of souls – and a curse upon them unto seven generations. May they forever find themselves lathered up just the way that they left the sluice…

The next Busyness Domesticus is diesel, for which I shall be calling at Aunty Wainwrights at Venetian, and then coal, for which I shall contrive to be somewhere that the Fuel Boat BARGUS is passing, in a week or so’s time, ish, sometime, sort of, whenever.

Who knows when The Ice Man will cometh again? We had snow yesterday. Half-hearted, huge-flaked, languid, can’t really be bothered snow – the usual stuff.

Between the Cardinal’s engine running and the sunshinery that we’ve enjoyed this afternoon the boat batteries have had a treat, feasting upon erg after erg. Tomorrow is, sadly, forecast to be dull dull dull, so it will be back to starvation rations for them in the morning. Poor devils. When in the service of the Queen one must choose the lesser of two weevils.

When the Cardinal and I returned to base and I leapt off, gazelle-like, centre-line in my teeth, one of the worm-danglers that I’d disturbed earlier was walking by, having lost all hope of bagging Moby Dick and having just packed himself up to leave.

He looked colder than I was, but then I’d been doing things, whereas he’d been standing at the canal’s edge holding a piece of hairy string in the water. Quelle surpreese.

The Sun is going down as I type, it will soon be time to draw the blinds on the last of it and retain such heat as may be before darkness blankets this portion of the world. The blinds are of some insulating material, and it’s a darned sight easier to keep the boat warm if I draw them in good time.

I watched (as in “lived in the world of”) Master & Commander yesterday, which means that it will probably have to be Blade Runner (the original, natch) this evening.

I may not have seen c-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate (although a sunset on crinkly canal ice sometimes comes close), or seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion (although hire boats do their best at times), but I have seen pterodactyls and grebes hunting prey in the near-frozen dihydrogen-monoxide shallows of the Shropshire Union Canal.

Just this morning as a matter of fact.

That’ll do for the mo.

It’s all a matter of perspex. Tive. Perspextive. Just a matter of tilting your brain to one side.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H., & Cardinal W., of The Fleet.


    1. The only law applying is the 1995 Waterways Act which states that a boat that does not have (or,as in my case, does not WANT!) a marina mooring must ‘…be on a genuine cruise…’ and ‘…must not remain in any one place for more than fourteen days…’ without reason.

      The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd have added all sorts of flouncy nonsense to the Boat License terms and conditions, trying to legislate by private contract, but none of it is actually legally enforceable – the key word there being “legally”, the Trust Ltd are just a bunch of bullies who have massively more funds and personnel than the average private boater, so they get away with all manner of illegal things.

      The 1995 Act does not detail what either ‘place’ or ‘genuine cruise’ means, and the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd cannot define it – again, they don’t have the legal power to do so. This is partly why they try to legislate via the back door, with “terms and conditions”. They really are a most dismal corporation, run by metropolitian snowflake dullards.

      Some folk like to rush around the entire system and move every day. I love living on my boat, cruising is just a bonus. A few miles, two or three hours, a service point, a half dozen locks – any combination of the above constitutes a cruise to me. Similarly with place. I make a point – in peacetime years, not this year, 2020, for obvious reasons – of cruising at least a couple of hundred miles a year, over a range of thirty or forty miles. I’ve no wish or desire to rush around or explore yucky urban areas, I stick to the canals that I enjoy!

      I suspect that come license renewal time though the WWT Ltd will be huffing and puffing this year (sixty-five miles and a range of about fifteen miles so far in this first “locked down” half of my license). They’ll never take me alive. 😉

      It’s all very silly.

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