Frozen in again

According to Her Majesty’s Weather-Soothsayers it was a balmy -5° Metric Celsinghams last night, but I reckon that there were fewer Warm-Particles about than even that. The ice hereabouts is mayhap 1/2″ thick (when measured from top surface to bottom, not from side to side, natch). Yonder frost has provided a comprehensive white-out of the countryside. Better yetski, the deep-freeze effect had changed the mud-baths of the towpath to mere ankle-breakers, so walking about was mucho easier than of late.

Someone in Whitehall rubber-stamped the wrong form and blessed us here in Blingshire of the North with a couple of hours of sunshine-surely-by-mistake.

Not a fox or a badger’s nadgers in sight, sadly.

Today is Day Two of Lockdown Three in this, the Year of Our Masters, Twenty-Twenty-One and we’re all back under strict house-arrest, but I think that perhaps the chill had more to do with my having the walk mostly to myself, rather than any diktat or proclamation of a toga-clad Boris or of any “scientific” or “psy-ops” “advisor” of mono-testicular, dubious haircut and dodgy-moustachio motif. I’m not complaining (about the quietth of the towpath).

Not tree, not even two, but just the one. Rather spendid though, eh?

The Cardinal and I are in old pastures fresh, having taken our cue and moved yesterday. The canal was frozen then, too, but another narrowboat – thank’ee kindly! – had been and gone and done the necessary ice-breaking, so I took the opportunity and used the channel that they had cut to allow us to move without too much discombobulation of the other moored boats hereabouts. We scooted through the junction and around the corner, to where there are more of those “services” things available for the duration of this The Current Confinement.

Taking advantage of someone else’s ice-breaking efforts to move without public disconvenience. Keep it in the channel, Hutson…

Another reason for move-etting was that we have arranged clandestine appointments with both Messrs Grocers and with Messrs Fuel Boat.

There wasn’t much evidence of life this morning on the other boats moored.  Not so much as a chimning smokey.

Slow Down Moorings; fast asleep.

In factum factorum it must be said that there weren’t even many hedgerow birds about. Either they were all still a-bed in their semi-detached “affordable starter home” nests, or else Matrix Ops had simply forgotten to load them this morning. It happens, occasionally.

Quite around the bend on a winter’s day. Most pleasant, even with no pheasant.

Given the gobsmacking near-universal ugliness of the (human occupied) world at the moment, it is a relief to see that Father Nature can still deliver the occasional quiet “wow” moment, and at that without license, fee, or expectation of quid pro quo.

The original Wordsworth cloud, roaming about again in search of daddofils and wotnot. He’ll find the borders of Wales closed, and Messrs Heddlu eager to prosecute the most minor infraction.

I couldn’t countenance a landscape without trees (and clouds), and I have little to no doubt that the trees, while they have expressed no explicit opinion on the matter to me, feel much the same. I’ve shouted to the clouds but they never answer my enquiries; they remain quietly aloof, aloft.

Trees and clouds and fields on the Middlewich Branch canal, 2021.

There were horses about although, much like Father Nature, they were saying nothing.

Lips frozen together, probably.

I asked them if this was the problem, and they didn’t say ‘neigh’.

Horse, or – to use the full latin nomenclature – Big Horsey.

I shall have to teach them how to light their farts, so that they can at least keep one another warm overnight, if they take it in turns.

Big Brown Horsey, Big Brown Beastie. Or something. Horsus Brownicus.

The solar panels are well and truly covered in frost, but I’m no longer as daft as I am cabbage-looking. I have discovered – by dint of painstaking scientific experiment – that when the sun is this low in the sky a thick layer of clean frost gains me about two or three solar amps… presumably by defraction. There are more tests to do, but for today, the frost stays on. Whodathunkit?

Thanks to a species of latin name Mateus-Mateikus I have (a hefty portion still remaining of) a very large and highly evil loaf of fresh bread, so today began with hot toast and Marmite. Is there any better way? No idea what to prepare for tiffin, nothing appeals as of yet. I’ll wait until something suggests itself. Maybe a repeat of Christmas Tiffin (Heinz Beanz on lashings of toast). I do have a bottle of HP, even if it is Dutch these days. ;-(

Mr Stove is – with my blessings – chewing his way through sack after sack of coal in these times. I think – I hope – that I have sufficent stash to see us through to our meeting with Messrs Fuel Boat. If not then I’ll have to hack down a tree and burn that. Needs must, and blah blah blah. This is no season to be mean with the combustibles.

The Hot-Air Snake was much in evidence last eve; a construction of pipework with a fan at either end, designed to and succeeding in forcing warm-air from the cabin past the ablutions and to my sleepering quarters. Without it the warm air simply doesn’t circulate well down there. Most nights that is fine, since I prefer to keep a cool head while operating in the Land of Nod, but when England freezes he freezes well, and a touch of warmth mun be added.

I’ll end with today’s View From The Side-Hatch and, as is my wont, simply caption it ‘It’s Not Hackney’

Hell’s bells it’s not. 🙂

Mr Sun was a tad reluctant to make an appearance this morning (below), dancing as he rose the Dance of the Seven Veils & a Swish of Cloud. No idea why, he certainly can’t cite the excuse of having had a late night, disappearing as he does at three or four of the afternoon day in this season.

It’s NOT Hackney. Praise be to the gods (Greek and Roman).

Chin-chin, chaps. Do keep warm and wotnot, wherever you may be, unless you’re somewhere hot, in which case keep cool. Or do whatever you want or prefer.

Does anyone know how to say “…and then you apply a lit match.’ in Horse-speak?

Ian H., &etc.


    1. I had wondered about being buried at sea, but the canals are so much more convenient…

      Do still wonder though if cremation wouldn’t perhaps be best, and to then have my ashes blown through the letter-box at Number Ten from a Dyson Ball set to “blow”. Perhaps the Co-op would oblige?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a beautiful idea. I wonder how hard it is to arrange. I believe I want mine blown around the congess. But its sadly unlikely to hit any of them. They mostly don’t attend the meetings. They consider getting elected the actual job. No need to clutter their lives with legislation.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Glorious photography, sir, glorious. 😀 I have one of your ‘through-the-fog’ trees as wallpaper on my computer. May I also add ‘Frosty-toes, the Tree’ to my collection?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad that you like ’em, you’re totally welcome to any and all. 🙂

      Have you ever noticed how, if you stand on your head and view them downside up, bare trees in winter look like the prolapsed lungs of the planet?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, wotevah, I have to say that Father Nature conjured up some wonnerful pictures for you. Or you have a jolly good camera. Or are exceptionally talented. Or all three.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank’ee! I do often wonder what it would be like to be able to wander about the planet in other time periods with my camera – with some degree of impunity, needs must, and some security of safe return! Four hundred years ago, a thousand years ago, sixty million years ago, two hundred million years ago – and more interestingly perhaps, a thousand, a million and a hundred million years into the future. Scenes there (“then”) that I would love to set lens to. 😉


  3. I live in a cold place and snow is common, but because it’s a relatively dry climate, we don’t get the frost lighting up the trees as happens in more humid places. Your first two photos have a striking perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That I think is the nail on the head of English weather; whatever it does, it usually involved damp air… Roll about in proper snow and you get covered in snow – roll about in English snow and you get soaked to the skin! I don’t often roll about in snow. My rolling about in the snow days are long since over. 😉

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  4. Here, in the tropical regions, we are ( after some dithering) having our monsoon. Horses for courses, I suppose, though I do hope you don’t teach them to use matches. Le Petomane on the stage was one thing, flaming horses is taking things a tad too far…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t remember authorising any monsoon. Do you have the paperwork?


      I can’t help giggling at the thought of a field of horses lighting their farts in the darkness of night-time. Can you imagine the reports of aliens and wotnots? Strange lights, odd sounds…

      You’re quite correct though. If I gave them a box of matches they’d probably just end up smoking cigarettes, and I’d be responsible for a field full of coughing, wheezing horses.

      There’s little to no fun left in life these days.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Well, however chilly and inconvenient the Bureau has made things for you at the moment, they’ve certainly pulled out all stops on the beautification scheme! Not that it means I’m wishing I was there, of course. Precisely 4 English winters to my name was enough for one lifetime 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For every day that England looks wonderful in winter there are ten or fifteen days when it looks messy and half-finished… We are having a sort of bits and bobs day today. It snowed a little overnight, thawed a little, and now it has no idea what it’s about to do, if anything. It’s all very umbrella-worthy. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I suspect all your missing hedgerow birds were in our garden this morning. Michelle’s taken to feeding them, so now (like cats) they turn up in droves. By the time they finished their meal, it looked as though it had been snowing again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remain eternally grateful to Mr Darwin for his diktat in re the size of sparrows (otherwise they might have been elephant-sized, and bird-poop more of a problem… INCOMING!!!!)… The hedgerow in our current moorings is eerily devoid of bird-life, I can’t helop but wonder if they all fled to the Caribbean for Xmouse and Gnu-Year and have forgotten to return on the Politicians’ Charter Flight?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I hope you have a hot water bottle for bedtime Ian. Beautiful pictures, Happy New year xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Hot-Air Snake is in operation again this evening, then I’ll just think warm thoughts (and trust to a massive duvet and two extra blankets!

      Have – if you possibly can, against the odds – a brilliant New Year. My very best to one and all (and sundry) there. Leep warm and keep keeping on.

      😉 Ian H.


  8. We had a light frost here in the deep,south of Ingerland last night, but nothing as lovely as where you are. Although, I prefer to look at it from behind a window.
    Keep warm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The metal surrounds of the Cardinal’s windows and portholes had a frosty covering this morning, a sure and certain sign that it had been cold beyond care. I wish wish wish that I had been able to sort out the secondary double-glazing this year! Tis on – or at least towards – the top of this year’s jobs list. 😉

      I am lucky with the stove in that the colder the weather gets the more eager the stove is to burn and stay happy. All I have to do is feed him at increasingly frequent intervals!

      Keep happy yourself, keep warm and keep on keeping on (it annnoys so many people if we do, I find).

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