The View from my Port’ole to-day

Steam trains…

and the Red Arrows…

…but sadly couldn’t get them both in the same image.

Even sadderer still, there’s no way on this planet that I could get a narrowboat under the railway bridge with the steam train crossing and the Red Arrows flying overhead.

I got on the radio (channel 16) and asked them all to come back, but both train and Red Arrows said something about how they’d love to but get off the airwaves or they’d call the Police.

It’s very hectic on t’canals, you know.

Actually on one canal – the Suez – it’s all stopped. When your 220,000 ton, 437.4453 yards long, 64.52318 yards wide container ship decides to get all straddly-en-canal there’s not much point in tugging at the centre-line.

This is not the view from my port’ole.

We’ve (almost) all been there though. Across a canal, that is, not necessarily the Suez. It’s been about fifty-five years or more since I was on the Suez (so you really can’t blame me for this one). I was in a much, much, much nicer looking ship, too.

The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd have, however, as is their wont, already issued a stoppage notice citing ‘boater vandalism’, ‘Act of Mrs God’ and ‘It wasn’t us, some big boys did it and then ran away’ as the cause of the blockage. Details have been passed to the local team and an update will be provided as soon as their contractors have built a temporary access road across Egypt and nailed up the Elfin O’Saferty signs.

Or something.

Yestereve’s sunset clouds were quite soothing and soft.

This morning, however, spoke of possible weather abounding…

and tbh tis a touch windy for moving – well over the Hutson Movement Index, anyway. The Met Office reckon it will be so for some days yet. Ho et le hum.

Mr Grebe is back in the area but hasn’t called in for tea yet.

The Swan-Vestas – foul and horrid beasts – cruise up and down on a regular basis, snorting at me and mine.

There’s a noisy little coterie of five or six male ducks in the area, sailing up and down in a huff. I assume – although one ought never to assume, really – that these are the ducks that couldn’t get laid during the duck orgies of the past couple of weeks. In lieu of girlfriends they’ll have to make do this season with ton-up motorbikes, fist fights on the foreshore, and/or one another. If only they realised how it’s almost certainly for the best.

Something that sounded vaguely duck-shaped woke me at 0500hrs this morning, using the Cardinal’s rear tonneau cover as a trampoline. Boing quack, boing quack, boing EEEEK! (as I gave a couple of tiny parp-parps on the boat horn). I thoroughly expected there to be a reactionary pile of duck poop on my black canvas when I went out later, but the trampolinist’s sphincter seems to have held.

Made of stern stuff you know, duck sphincters. They have to be if the wee beasties are going to stay seaworthy. There are laws against twisting the greaser of the stern-gland on a wild duck.

One more steam train image for the day?

Very well, if you insist.

If the steam train keeps to schedule I may dress up as Jenny Agutter tomorrow and wave my red knickers at the driver. Everyone needs a hobby, and we all need to try something new once in a while.

That’s about the it of the news, really.

I must away now and rattle some pots and pans. It will be the remains of the fresh veggies for din-dins. Spuds and carrots, mashed and then run through with the last of the green cabbage – all served up with a dusting of black pepper and a runcibode spoon.

That’s the plan, anyway.

I may even raddle Mr Stove back into life for the evening, that way I’ll have something to point my toes at as I sit and mentally make the necessary calculations to fold space and time.

Talking of which, the clocks here all leap forward an hour this coming Sunday. I shall be jet-lagged for a week, although at least my rinky-dinkoid nineteen-seventies Casio digital watch will be showing the correct time again until the clocks all shuffle backwards in Autumn. There’s a positive side to everything. In 13-amp plugs there’s also an Earth.

Chin-chin chaps,

Ian H., Dastardly Scourge of The Canal System, Rotter, Bounder, and Cad.


    1. I know – I’ve seen the photographs that were syndicated.

      Did I say syndicated? Slip of the tongue. I meant, of course, circulated. I made no money from them at all and “Kinky Canal” is a magazine out of print now anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Trains planes and aumotobiles. How many of those poor sods on the container ship woke that day for their shift, ate breakfast, perhaps whistled as they made their way to their station… tis perhaps as well that sometimes we cannot know what is just around the bulkhead. Now there’s an interesting thought and/or for a plot – what if the great flow of time fixed only the major events and arrangements, and the crew – with foreknowledge abounding – could swim agin the flow and simply not turn up to meet the event?

      Inquiry: ‘You say that you were in your cabin when the vessel grounded.’

      ‘Yes. I was lying on my bunk, reading the Holly Bibble – King James Edition.’

      ‘But – you’re the Captain!’

      ‘Yes, I didn’t want to be on the Bridge when my vessel grounded and blocked one of the world’s most money-grubbing waterways.’

      ‘I see. That seems reasonable. Who WAS on the Bridge then?’

      ‘No-one.’ …

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  1. I find it hard to comprehend that both the Titfield Thunderbolt AND Captain Bigglesworth declined to obey you.
    I saw one of the experts on the Suez Canal thingummy being interviewed. “One upon a time I couldn’t spell ‘engineeer’, ” he said proudly. “Now I are one.”

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    1. I are Spartacus! I are Grammaticus! Call me cynical but I rather suspect that most “engineering” and “engineeringish” qualifications these days are more about the shameful history of colonial engineering and the Imperial roots of the steam flange than actually about buts and nolts or building bridges wot don’t fall down too often.

      In re the failed radio request, I am beginning to wonder whether I had remembered to switch my set on and allowed it the necessary warming-up time. No matter though; I shall catch them next time!

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  2. I see Egypt has upped the ante…apparently “someone” applied the emergency stopping lever and they’ve got a couple of broken trains as well as a stuck ship…
    Nice pictures here to entertain me. I used to pop into a lovely pub at little Rissington, local watering hole of the RAF in those parts. Never invited to take a spin with the Arrows though.

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    1. Few folk hitherto knew that 220,000 ton (tonne? I don’t know and the MSM use them interchangeably!) container ships have a hand-brake. One tug on that and they come to a dead stop. πŸ˜‰ When first I saw the headline I could only think of the blame game that must be going on, the insurance claims and refusals, the desperate shuffling of ticked-box paperwork and the screams, the terrible, soul-rending screams of ‘It wasn’t me!’

      The Red Arrows are simply amazing.

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  3. My first thought on hearing of the freighter stuck in the Suez canal was…well, the tyre drowners must have a franchise there….
    A Black Five and the Red Arrows….even if so undisciplined as to not perform in the same arc of your viewfinder…what a marvellous sight! How long before the flowerpot men and Boris the Weed declare that the steam might carry molecules of the current bug and ban steam trains from pubs….
    Here, the ancient rolling stock which serves the capital and some of the suburbs…the lines running in the roads….has been replaced by spanking new stock from China. The railway now has to employ men to lift up the elecricity wires which run across the lines at almost every road junction to let the trains pass under…and one unit has fallen off the rails because they didn’t take much thought to the tightness of the curves…almost worthy of the tyre drowners.

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    1. Sadly if they continue along the political lines of late I suspect that the railway lines will be needed to transport people from camp to camp. ‘I say – bad news chaps; you’re all being taken to a Correction Centre to have your thinking realigned. Good news is that you’re going by steam train…’! πŸ˜‰

      I can picture the scene with your local trains and men with poles, I think that England did something similar with cars in the 19th century – something about chaps with red flags walking in front of horseless carriages.

      With rolling stock the favourite trick here is for London to get the new stock and for the old and worn-out stock that is being replaced to be sent out to the provinces, to replace our even older and more worn out rolling stock. By the time a train reaches the northern shires its usually part made of wood, named ‘Rocket’ and has a gentleman with a tall hat at the controls.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Right! If I am ever allowed back into the U.K. – by pretending to be a rich so and so inspecting my fictitious holiday home and passing a bung to the Tory party – I shall be booking a seat on the Rocket with a view to advising Costa Rican railways how it should be done…


  4. Oh yes, steam trains and narrow boats and a fly past, what more could you ask for? Saw a group of (dare I call them engineers?) official looking types looking at the freight boat stuck in the Suez they said ‘trying to work out why’!! When you consider how much one of those crates weigh they’ve got stacked up on it, made me think ‘now let me see if I can guess’. Or rather how many!!! Good job it’s not our British canal system, wouldn’t stand a chance. Brilliant photography, great piece!

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    1. Given the £££ that is stacked up in the queue I do think that I might have called in a few Chinooks or similar and begun removing the upper layers of containers while other things were also being tried. This try one thing then try another approach is a bit of a time-waster. Why not see what may be done concurrently and do them all? The only cost that really matters is the cost of the delay… Silly me though, eh? πŸ˜‰

      Perhaps they ought to leave the vessel where it is for the moment, and concentrate on diverting the canal around it!

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  5. The steam engine you beheld was a ‘Black Five’ Stannier 4-6-0 named Sherwood Forester. Could be Robin and his Merry Men are in the area. Watch out for sudden slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

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    1. The Stannier 4-6-0 was generally competent and reliable beastie, but the thrimble flanges did require regular greasing if the longitudinal steam-disclagulatrix nodes were not to be placed under undue strain when hot. Or when cold. Actually, TBH, most longitudinal steam-disclagulatrix nodes broke during manufacture, or in storage awaiting shipping. The Mk.II with direct fuel-injection by live wombat was a much-improved machine.

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  6. The train is a peach! Well, a peach that could say tra-la to creating a bit of noise and grime where ever it went. How do you do that painterly image? I noticed on previous and recent post there was some visual trickery going on with your pics. Is this some computer magic or are you a Gentleman Hobbyist with the brushes and canvas?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank’ee! I confess that the oil-painting effect is computer wizardry – but the good news is that it is freely available to all (paid for by advertising on their website) – at . Hie thee hence to upload an image, then on the top bar menu find “ART” and from the drop-down select “Landscape”. πŸ˜‰

      My siblings are both uber-artists with all manner of media from oils to silks to whatever. I however have three or four left thumbs on both hands (which is why I stick to the camera)!

      The sheer (and marvellous) “presence” of a steam train is indeed something to behold, while they last.

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        1. That beastie – The Scotsman, at least – has been past here on the self-same embankment. As you say, tis a most impressive sight indeed – much nicer than these anodyne modern nonsenses. πŸ™‚

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  7. Lovely sunset, Ian. But it looks like you’re gong to have some weather from this morning’s clouds.
    Jolly miserable of the steam train and red arrows not to comply and come back for another photoshoot together. That would have been something, especially if you could get the Cardinal in, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The weather has indeed beem a tad… squallish overnight, with some interesting gusts here in Windy Alley.

      Yonder Red Arrows display team has been grounded overnight following a Royal Navy incident with a similar aircraft (a bail-out and crash in Corwall, I believe, fortunately with pilots reported safe). You just never know, do you?

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