The Work-Boats are a-Moving

through the (light, ish) ice, even if I’m not.

I hasten to add that the gentleman on the boat shown above is one of the workmen or volunteers of the Trust, most decidely not an example of the dismal “senior” corporate gestalt. The two are totally different beasts. One actually works while the other, the directors and trustees species, thinks that riding up in the lift to their desk without spilling their soy-latté is an achievement worthy of an increased annual bonus.

I have hogh hipes that this (current spell of) ice will be a gone thing tomorrow or the day afterwards. Thereupon I shall move for gazundering, watering and to be the better placed for comestibles. Ing. Comestiblesing.

Light snow on light-ish ice. At least, thus far, we have water in this stretch of the canal. Others nearby haven’t been quite so spoilt…

I can’t help but wonder if, were there many examples of small wildlife around (and there are not), would they look upon a frozen canal with glee and oik back and forth across the ice to visit long-lost relatives on the other side?

Unlike the River Thames and its famous freezings (most recent one being the winter of 1962-3) the local wildlife hasn’t organised a single “frost fair” that I’ve seen. No young hedgehogs playing football, no royal foxes shooting at marks, no enterprising rats roasting chestnuts, gert yer luvvly chestnuts ‘ere, half a groat for a bucketful.

Cardinal Wolsey Middlewich Branch January 2021 Lockdown Year Two.

Cardinal Wolsey, a.k.a. The Royal Barge Narrowboat, well-frozzed.

Once Messrs Work-Boat had gone through (travelling from front of frame to rear, Barbridge towards Middle-de-wich) the Cardinal was still surrounded by ice, but with the added option of crunching out to a (temporary) pre-cleared path. No fanks.

Cardinal Wolsey Middlewich Branch January 2021

Inger-Lish weather being what it is (something that happens to a little island in the North Atlantic with only what – in my day – was called The North-Atlantic Drift to warm its cockles) the sunrises still surprise. Here’s the day afore yesterday’s:

They don’t last long. Full of Eastern Promise but rather like our politics, they give way in moments to dullth and grey and shabby and mediocre without end.

Even the ice on the canal has its moods.

Middlewich Branch January 2021

…and peculiar patterns.

The ice was most decidely still ice even though it looks odd. When I persuaded the ice off the Cardinal’s rear tonneau cover and flingingly flung the frozen flat puddles into the canal they just shattered on top. The dark patches are, oddly, as solidly frozen as is the rest.

It was really most satisfying. Lob – smash. Like tennis but with frozen, oddly-shaped balls and very little to do with tennis at all. Wheeeee… smash. I wonder if I woke up the fish below? Perhaps the dark patches are where the ice is a degree or two warmer – less cold – due to fish-farts accumulating below? Well it’s a theory, clever clogs. What’s yours?

Here’s a purely gratuitous photomagraph of a passing train on the embankment.

So what of today? Well, so far dull and grey, as predicted. Messrs BARGUS is due back sometime, probably tomorrow would be my guess. He called but was running late, low on stock and in a rush to get to someone in combustible dire straits. We agreed, in the pitch-dark, to meet again at Philippi* on his return. BARGUS is dodging about between canal blockages and stoppages at the moment, restricted as much (see the previous post’s maps) as anyone else.

*Philippi is nothing whatsoever to do with 3.141592653589793238462643 or even a chap called Philip.

It’s all go here on t’canals, you know. The ash bucket’s about three-quarters full, so I mun remember to bung its contents into the ecosystem soon, before I add fresh ashes to it and have to wait for them to cool down. I shall have to walk up top a couple of times today, once with a couple of containers for potable water, once with a gazunder, j.i.c. &etc. There’s the last of the curry to finish up and decisions to be made, always with the decisions already. Rice or Naans?

The canal’s half water, half cocktail-ice now, it’s all looking very messy indeed.

Right, I’d best get on, otherwise there won’t be a child in the house fed and washed before bed-time, and then where will we be, eh?

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H.


    1. The theories are many and varied and coming thick and fast – the landing spots of seagull dropings… bubbles of methane from the deep… a perforation and shrinking of the white cling-film used to simulate frozen water with a covering of snow…

      Personally, I prefer your explanation and that is the one that I shall present to my fellow members at the Royal Society dinner when giving my speech on “Canal Phenomenamenons”..

      Liked by 1 person

    1. He is indeed that. and each sackful seems to last a progressibly shorter period – barely getting three days from a sack now. Still, mustn’t grumble. No idea why, it just seems to be discouraged. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I saw a swan crash land on the ice once. (Presumably it hadn’t realised that the canal was frozen over.) It came in with a fair old ‘thwump’ which shook the trees, and then it bounced several times, reminiscent of Barnes Wallis’s bomb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Swans are not fond of ice, are they? The ones in one of the marinas hereabouts have been swimming around in a small puddle, flapping at and biting at the ice in their usual ill-tempered swan way. I do confess that seeing a swan lan in the manner of Wallis & Gromet’s bouncing bermbe would make my day, once I got over the semi-hysterical laughter of epicaricacy…

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  2. Have you started on the pathway to hell known as advertising on your weekly word fest, seem to be a lot of subliminal mentions of Money supermaaaarket grannies if you ask me, perhaps a new way of staying calm in trying times

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope, not me. This blog is on the “free” version of WordPress, so any advertisements are placed and run by Wordypress without any involvement from me. Apologies, but there’s no other way of running the beast. 🙂


  3. I hope Mr Stove is keeping up with the challenge, that looks mighty cold. Curry, rice and naan I reckon!

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