Choice of mooring in these uber-crowded, inner-city times and places was dictated not so much by the beautiful display of wild (savage) daddofils, but by the bush in view above to the top right on the offside of the canal – experience speaks of a puddle of WiFi signal if one bungs one’s bow (and booster aerial) in line with aforesaid shrubbery. WiFi in Windy Alley propagates in wide waves and troughs, from “nil” to “really quite alright”. The daddofils are a total bonus, peering in through all portholes and windows port side (not Port Said – sadly it’s been damned near sixty years since I last passed through there, and I wasn’t “Kapitän” of my own vessel then, not even “in loco Commanding”). ‘Loco’ is a good word, I find that I’ve used it many times in this past damned-near half-year (you know who you are sir).
The Cardinal and I are ruining Windy Alley on the Middlewich with our presence once again today and shall be for a few days more, at my discretion. We had to make a swift descent through the Cholmondeston Lock day afore yesterday because the water was fast disappearing where we had been moored, just above t’lock. Down by five inches – and given that the pound stretches from Cholmondeston all the way north Bunbury and south to Hack Green, that’s one heck of a lot of water for someone to not know the whereabouts of, Your Honour, on my oaf as an Hydrologist’s Assistant’s Trainee Sluice-Opener. Having just spent the morning doing laundry it were much discomnobulatory that I considered escape from a possible “life on a tilt” to be more important than “an hour on the water point, refilling”. We scooted on empty and were happy to do so since not having 1,201.5 lbs or some 19,224 oz of water in the bow was probably a good thing, given the canal’s sudden shallownessnous.
The Cardinal was the third of three boats scooting through the lock, and it was a tad worrying a., moving to the lock and b., moving into the lock – having once been cilled at Grisly Grindley Brook (through the attentions of an over-eager hire boater…) I did not want to repeat the experience and most especially so solo. So low, solo. The levels are a couple of inches off recovery today, but explanation be there none. Perhaps it all drained into the Centre of the Earff. innit? Yeah.
Maybe twas that twas Farmer Giles extracting the
canal water in order to wash his cows?
Given that we, His Eminence and I, woz where we woz for several reasons, one of these being the meeting of Messrs ASDA for a bulky order, I called a halt to the swift but alternatively-distance-enabled (WOKE-Speak…) cruise opposite the Venetian Marina. Arrangingments having been also made with the folk at Venetian Hire Boats & Raymond Chandlery to refill on their pontoon I re-scooted yesterfore morning, this time just across the canal, to combine comestibles with H2uh-oh. As it happened we done timed it perfickly, exchanging mooring spots with three boats from the marina who wanted out in order to do some boaty-works.
Messrs ASDA contrived to arrive something like 40-45 minutes early. My many thank’ees to Zoe of the Marina (why does that sound like the title of a Doug McClure film about dinosaurs and folk in animal-skins?) for directing and bringing them to me. I usually allow 20-25 minutes of “earlyth” but they defeated even me this time. From the paperwork the gennelmen showed me the ASDA computer is having a melt-down at the moment, and all local delivery drivers are simply winging it.
However, my bulkies – pillows and duvets and apocalypse stores for the cellar, all arrived most nicely indeed, and were even handed to me as I stood on the back of my boat – sheer luxury!
Was then merely a matter of scooting on – minimal movement for essential services only, you gits – [official quotation] – through the railway bridge. After a few minutes of flying the Cardinal like a kite in the minor cross-wind (I leap off with nappy-pin in the same hand as the centre-line), the planet was re-attached and a late lunch commenced.
The view from my desk – when I can see it through the maddening throngs of “El Lockdown” boats jostling for position – is farmland to one side…
…and railway embankment to the other…
Tis peaceful at the mooment, but I have little doubt that some official from the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd will be cruising up and down soon enough in his company-provided steam-launch, barking metropolitan policy through a megaphone. Shift along a little Number Six, your time is up. I want to see you winded and locked up before the end of the day Numbers Seven, Nine and Ten, you’re looking far too peaceful and happy. That sort of thing.
Although this is where I had my wonderful badger-encounter (in the middle of one night, nose to nose on the towpath) the larger “wild”-life is generally seen above and nearer the lock.
Arnie, the resident Guard Goose, oversaw operations from the Chandlery Wharf as I bunkered.
Does anyone know the life-span of a goose? Local residents have a theory that he is entering his goosely dotage (as indeed are we all, some faster than others).
The dobbins in the fields above the lock were both enjoying and envying the fresh blossom on the trees. Some can reach it…
The dobbin to the right of frame above was reduced to tears, the other merely sullen and questioning.
I was sullen and questioning once, but now I take fertiliser from no-one.
That’s about it for the past few days. I must away, once more unto the fray with the Little Peaked-Caps of Darkness.
Pasta for lunch, I think – Pasta del Use-By Date.
It’s a recipe of my own invention, and it may be served with or without shrunken heads.
Someone else will have to use up the current glut of those.
Hopefully the water will remain at Order and Attention in this shorter pound.
Chin-chin for the mo, chaps and chapesses.
Ian H., &etc.