Been cruising far and wide like a lockdown loon, just to amuse the Canal & River Trust Ltd. The corporate they have this pathological hatred of boats and boaters, and would love nothing more than to paint double-yellow lines along the towpath everywhere. Filthy beasts, boaters, they have no stamina at all and, far from cruising continuously day and night all year long (which was why the term “continuous cruisers” was coined) they often give up after just three or four hours, stop somewhere and tie ropes onto… sheeps and other nice things.
I saw a sheep! Oooh, where? No, just the ordinary sort.
Anyway, we did a spot of time travel and moored for a while in The Land That Time Forgot, on the canal that the Watery Wellness (by Water) Trust Ltd forgot.
Messrs ASDA, being intrepid souls and not scared of a few pterodactyls, velociducks and tyrannosparrows oiked up on Monday and brought the Cardinal and I many fine and exotic comestibles, such as Andrex and – forgive my awful italian accent – Pasta Penne and some of King Edward’s spuds (King Edward and I are on vegetable-swapping terms, socially).
Pasta peh-ne’ and poh-tay-toes. I love being multi-lingual. The one language that I regret not learning at an early age is Idiot. That would help me so much with (self-appointed) officialdom and bureaucracy. An expression of ‘I see your lips moving but you’re really not making any sense’ only goes so far. Still, mustn’t grumble.
Don’t have time to grumble for one thing; there’s pterodactyl poop to scrape off the solar panels.
I began the week – once ASDA had been and gone and gone – with a quick cruise of some seven thousand nine hundred and sixteen miles (one way) to what we salty old sea-dogs refer to as The Peters (The Falk Lands). CanalPlan shows the route via the Amazonian Yungle, but what with him being a boat I took the Cardinal around the coast instead. I really must cruise the Amazon sometime soon.
The penguins there are delicious at this time of year. The penguins in the Falklands, that is. The nearest they get to penguins in the Amazon are Parrots, and you’re not supposed to eat them.
The Falkland Islands also being upside down, like Australium and Gnu Zealand, it is Summer there and the solar panels fed well.
We came back through the Chanel Tunnel (sic), via The Continent (I wanted to buy 200 ciggies and six half-bottles of Chateau Chatupon Royally from Duty Free), and the photograph below is proof positive of our trip, shown here approaching Customs at the Dover End while Charity Ltd personnel patrol above, noting down boat names, numbers and positions.
I’ve skipped over one of the most exciting parts of the afternoon though; the trip back.
As often happens even in England these days, creatures quite alien in nature attack as one is going about one’s peaceful, lawful and “I move quite enough, thank you” business. As we passed the Thirteen Colonies they were having some sort of “Independence Day” affair, and a giant mothership full of aliens chased the Cardinal and I ashore.
It was a close-run thing, but we made it.
Ahoy vey, so whaddoyou know from invading a planet already?
Some sort of virus was uploaded to the alien mothership and that sorted everything out nicely. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme script, eh?
Well, it was all very exhausting, although quite useful from a “clocking up mileage for mileage’s sake alone” point of view. Yesterday, when all my tribbles were so far away, I decided on a rest and cruised in Constable territory.
There’s only one thing to beat the smell of oil paint in the mornings, and that’s the smell of napalm. I love it.
Of course, no cruise is ever truly without incident, and on the return trip from Constable Country – along the (currently largely closed) Llangollen (most of it being in bang-shut-tight Wales) we were, as one orften is, buzzed by yet more aliens.
These aliens, lacking imagination, were demanding to be taken to our leaders.
I had to explain gently that from Waterways company to Number 10 Downing Street and all bureaucratic detritus in-between, we have no leaders, just bums* on seats.
*Bums in the Anglo sense of hairy gluteus maximii and bums in the trans-Atlantic sense of ne’er-do-wells.
It took a few chirrups from the Raytheon Phallanx installations on the Cardinal’s deck to persuade them of the veracity of my information.
So, that’s been my week so far, with lots and lots and lots of photographic evidence of my travels – oh, if only I had till receipts for Coconut Lattés, comics and ACME Acne Cream to help me convince you of where we’ve been.
Don’t despair, folks – normal service will now be resumed, I am through with extracting fluids from a certain august body. Heck, if the stretch of canal betwixt Barbridge and Hurleston opens again (with official blessings) then I may even find my way onto the first few English miles of the Llangollen for a while.
At least since Messrs ASDA found me (here on the Middlewich, oddly, at the address that they hold for me – you don’t think that this may be a factor in They Who only ever spotting me here, do you?) I have live vegetablearyans to skin and steam alive. Hmm… broccoli… sprouts…
Time to bung the steamer on top of Mr Stove.
Chin-chin for the moment chaps, and I do do do promise that normal service will be resumed asap or sooner!
Well, as “normal” as life gets, at the moment in these Interesting Times.
Ian H., for the mo.