Frozen in again again

It looks like just a skim though, rather than bolar-pear territory. Doubtless it will make some horrid noises later on today when Messrs BARGUS comes cruising past with coal. Notable Benny; the phomatograph aboveski was taken yesterday, when the canal was still almost entirely liquid (don’t ask about some of the solids that float by).

Yesterday’s ‘sweather was the full Woolworth’s Pick & Mix. At one point it snowed most deliciously but by the time I’d finished my procrastinations, laced my boots on and told Mr Camera what I wanted I stepped off the boat and the weather ceased. Cue the John Cleese shaking fist at the sky moment.

The beginnings were quite promising. Solar Panels & Co. Ltd had a minor treat.

Zooming in on the sun a-rising lent it a wholly Totoid A-a-a-fric-a motif, something most incongruous for a sun a-rise in Blingshire in Ingerlund.

We had wind. Well, the weather had wind, I declined. Look at those white-horse rollers on the canal…

Cardinal Wolsey Middlewich Branch, WIndy Alley, January 2021

Mr Stove had his work cut out for him then, as he does today. We’re still on the All-You-Can-Eat Menu.

The evening, over-painted tart that it often is, posed without shame, happy to for once not have to rely on the old “selfie” stick.

Local rattler on the Chester-Crewe line. Or possibly the train that carried David Bowie to his departure when he Fell to Earth in search of liquid water.
Angry sky over Venetian Marina, just before the Sun sank that extra inch and everything went dark.

This morning, however, we are back into chocolate-mint territory with a sky so dull and grey that I imagine we must be inside the skull of some political “world leader” (Diane Abbot perhaps).

No waves on the water this morning, just crunching, cracking, sonar-ping sounds from some bargain-basement ice.

Mr Stove will have his work cut out for him until probably half-past April.

We are fair surrounded, not by Native-American First Nation Indigenous types, nor yet by cowboys*, but by canal breaches, “serious leaks” (the latest weasel-phrase of the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd., meaning a breach), closure for “pollution incidents”, closures for scheduled winter works and the like.

*Are cowboys surely hence to be known as “Non-Native-American Second Nation Non-Indigenous Equine-Enabled Personnel Working in the Bovine Farming Industry”, in this Brave New PC-World? I’ve lost track. Don’t even get me started on Eskimos.

Please note that the change of name from the Canal & River Trust Ltd to The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd was the Trust’s choice, not mine. They’re the ones who are focussing on “wellness by water” – cyclists, ramblers, anglers – to the exclusion of boats and boaters. I’m just calling a spade a spade.

Yes, the ickle bickle red balloons are not good news, and where there is a black-circled number instead of ickle-bickle red balloons it’s because the ickle bickle red balloons are too close together to be shown separately on that scale.

Reliable word has it that there is a Luftballon missing, there ought to be another one on the Middlewich Branch (“serious leak”?). Perhaps the ice is preventing the water from abusing the hospitality of the breach and/or serious-leak?

The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd.’s own map looks like a still from Nena’s 99 Luftballons MTV Official Video.

A mate who lives on his boat and was caught up in a breach (second balloon to the top left, counting out from the epicentre…) reports that he was swiftly refloated (life at an acute angle is disconvenient) and then even more swiftly unrefloated when the temporary dam installed failed within an hour or three of the (hard-working) (real) workmen leaving. He’s back living at more than his usual peculiar angle.

I have been put under notice from the Watery Wellness Trust that I may have ‘…trouble renewing my boat licence…’ because they consider, SARS-CoV-2 and a year of restrictions on movement notwithstanding, that I haven’t move sufficiently for their tastes. I kid you not. The email arrived just before Xmouse Eve (from a “do-not-reply” address, signed by someone who does not answer their own email address). Jingle Bells eh? Cue the Slade record, Doris.

[Thus far some seventy miles over a twelve mile range between services during three National “Lockdowns” and free but compulsory membership of the Tiers Two and Tiers Three Club – in just the first six months of my twelve month licence – and with Tier Four Greater Manchester (entry verboten) to the right, and the Welsh Border (entry verboten to the English) to the left.]

“Trouble” as in they will begin the process of not letting me pay them for a licence, with seizing and removing my boat/home from the water farther down the line. Friendly bunch, aren’t they?

As the song (sung blue) says, Wales to the left of me, Greater Manchester to the right, and I’m stuck in the middle with the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd.

Hilariously, up until a couple of days ago, the Cardinal was moored facing – at a respekable two-hundred yard distance – a boat that has had a visit from Canal Rozzers advising him of similar trouble but because he has moved too much of late

Seriously, you couldn’t make this corporate merde up and get away with it as a Carry On Dribbling script.

You’ve got to laugh. The alternative involves weeping, and I never weep.

It is difficult to avoid the sensation that I am some un-loved hamster being chastised for not running in his little wheel sufficiently to amuse. At any moment I suspect that The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd may push a pencil through the bars of my cage, to poke me into more enthusiastic – and, unlike the pencil, pointless – running (cruising) around in little circles.

No but seriously, I really must stop causing such terrible problems by my habit of mooring up in all of these crowded, high-demand spots, and getting in the way of the Nice People so.

The temperature has been sufficient to freeze the mud of the towpath, which is wot is lovely for walkery aboutery. However, this morning, I did provide the half-dead local hedgerow sparrows with a cartoon flailing about moment when I slipped. Glad I am that I stick to the away-from-the-water’s-edge parts of the towpath as much as possible, thus giving myself more room for flailing about!

You just can’t buy a licence for this kind of fun.

Well, apparently I won’t be able to, unless I move the Cardinal about more in his little SARS-CoV-2 and wintery planned and unplanned stoppage cage.

Titter ye not.

Right. You’ll never guess what I am going to sling together in the galley for lunch to-day.


With extra chilli and garlic, and colonial white rice too.

I wonder when the Messrs Fuel Boat will arrive? Four sacks of Excel and a large swap-bottle of Blue, please.


Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H.


    1. Potentially very serious, they begin with only allowing me to buy a short-term licence of three or six months (at higher cost) and – without any third-party oversight or recourse to real-world third-party “appeal” they could continue to be R Souls and refuse my licence altogether. They really are an over-blown corporate windbag that’s out of control and has no moral or social compass.

      That said, my Formal Complaint is in the works (whoop de doo), and I have many tactics to hand. Poking the local Membrum Parliament with a sharp stick for one, setting the local Police on them for another (the WWT Ltd appear to be forcing me to break the “lockdown” laws) and – my favourite – a few articles dropped to the local and whatever press, describing their actions. 🙂

      There is an absolutely brilliant organisation of which I am a member, that specifically support Traveller and Bargee boaters. I’ve already been in touch with them…

      My philosophy with tiddlywonks such as the WWT Ltd is polite and understated initially, and if that doesn’t work (as it doesn’t seem to have worked here, given their obdurate, obscurantic and otiose silence to date) – both barrels of the blunderbuss up the nostrils from Day One. I won’t be messed about by idiots. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a bizarre read, today. Not only do I learn that canals can leave their contents high and dry – or probably low and muddy? – but that being subjected to thus is not a right but an arbitrary privilege! Vexing for you. Too many questions from me, so I shan’t even start … But the painted lady sunsets are very pretty and I’m on firmer ground there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The bulk of the disconvenience of experiencing an “unplanned dis-watering” is that most canals are sort of “V” or “U” shaped in profile, and mooring at the edges rather leaves one of a disastrous tilt for the duration. The Cardinal and I have been on the bottom, if you’ll pardon the expression, but we were lucky to be in a marina at the time and were spared the up-hill down-hill delights by the sheer acreage of the establishment. We bottomed out flat (and were fortunate enought to float again without fuss once the water returned, although this – the “suction of the mud” – can be a seriously discomnobulating problem sometimes).

      The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd use circular non-logic to rule. They have few powers in law, having been granted none by the 1995 Waterways Act, so instead they have sought, and still seek, to legislate via the back door – adding “terms and conditions” to the Boat Licence, thus circumventing scutiny and – not to put too fine a point on it – dog-squatting on all notions of accountability. Perhaps the most serious of these items of non-squared alt-logic is that we need to buy a licence to be on the water – from WWT Ltd. If they don’t like us (or hate us, in the case of live-aboards!) they refuse to allow us to pay for a licence, and then use the fact that we don’t have a licence – because they refused to let us pay for one – to remove people and boats from the water, flogging off the boat to “defray” (!!!) “costs” (!!!). They’d flog off the boaters too if they could. How would I best describe the corporate “leadership” of the WWT Ltd? As dreadful little scrotes whose chief charm lies in their value as farm fertiliser.

      Aside from this I have no strong opinions on the matter!

      Windy Alley usually does provide a good sunset. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As I understand it, according to those owning the hamster wheel, some of you hamsters are not moving enough while others are doing enough to emulate female Russian tractlor throwers on speed.

    Here is the solution to your problems.

    You model the movements.of those you can enroll in the project…say 10. Project the findings by goodness only knows how much into hundreds – or even thousands – and produce a result which shows that, overall, the canals are in a state of overuse thanks to the perpetual motion of their users.
    Do not be afraid that anyone will call your bluff…suggest you are not qualified.
    Neither is Neil Ferguson and look where not being qualified has got him.
    If you could link ypur study to how the hamster wheel owners’ emphasis on movement is hampering the distribution of vaccines to canal boat users you might attract a grant from the Gates Foundation which would give you automatic rights to be called Professor and head a department at Imperial College which would enable you to model the necessary demise of those currently owning the hamster wheel.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Come The Revolution, when I am Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed), I have a soft spot all prepared for the corporate dingbats of the WWT Ltd – it’s a deep bog on Dartmoor. I shall order a long and curving slide constructed, and we’ll splash them into it during a televised extravaganze. I know my Bread & Circuses!

      We do indeed live in the Era of Mediocrity, an era when we’re all too embarrassed and socially awkward to tell the Idiots “in charge” that they are in fact idiots. This does make me wonder if our facilitation of their idiocy is, in fact, the more serious of the two afflictions-of-the-species…


      Liked by 2 people

  3. Haven’t ‘The Trust’ pillocks heard of the Guv’ment Edict, stating in various ambiguous terms, DO NOT MAKE ANY UNNECESSARY JOURNEYS – DO NOT LEAVE HOME, except for food, medications or health/safety reasons…


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