An(other) Early(ish) Morning Walk up to ‘Canal Closed’

By ‘eck it were reet misty this morning, and wi’ a touch o’frost, too. Mist doesn’t actually photograph terribly well unless the horizons are vast, so most of these photeegraphs were taken on t’return trip, when t’weren’t so misty. πŸ˜‰

Splendid stuff. Six miles and I only had to grunt at one jogger and one angler.

It wasn’t exactly properly early, either, so I was (happily) surprised to find that not even the dog-emptiers were about – would be happy to meet the dogs, not so the dog-poop-bag-droppers and hedgerow tossers.

It was quiet – except for the birds beginning to wake up and sing – and I had my thoughts all to myself. Even the ducks were unshaven and still in their pyjamas, reluctant to be bothered enough to fly away on my approach.

Early-morning quack-heads.

Part-way along the walk Austria is just visible on the horizon…

This is the picturesque little town of Slappenlederhosen bad Gezundheit, population three thousand, all expert in the Alpenhorn.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the alpenhorn is a labrophone, consisting of a straight several-meter-long wooden natural horn of conical bore, with a wooden cup-shaped mouthpiece. It is used by mountain dwellers in the Swiss Alps, Austrian Alps, Bavarian Alps in Germany, French Alps – and in Slappenlederhosen bad Gezundheit in Cheshire.

Yes, I lost the plot while I was walking, too. Once lost I never bother to look for it. Rather like bad pennies (another small, picturesque town) it usually comes home to roost all by itself eventually.

Rain is forecast for tonight, but for the past week or whatever it has been non-precipitative enough to dry out the mud of the towpath. Most splendid indeed. There were a slightly worrying number of cow hoof prints on the towpath – something or some things bovine in nature escaped and stampeded this way or that way, methinks. So long as they’re not still about… the tracks are a tad fresh… meeting cows on a narrow towpath can be interesting.

There were a selection of locks on my route (I think that these have always been in place, they weren’t placed there especially for this morning’s walk).

Bunbury Staircase, which is followed immediately by the spectacularly numbnutty roadblock that is the loveliness of Anglo-Welsh Hireboats…

Anglo-Welsh own the canal. In 1066 King Cnut, who was Mr God of the time, gave them the right in perpetuity to ‘…and sod ye all other canal users, take thee whatever space thy wantesth and use it to parken thine own vessels howsoever thee liketh…’ and Anglo-Welsh have taken him at his word ever since. They quite often moor up in the Bunbury Winding Hole, if it will save them an erg of botheration (photographs available on request). You’d think that they owned the towpath here as well as the canal and ‘…any passinge peaysant thee carest to take to thineself as an slave…’. They certainly seem to think so. I’ve known their hire fleet to be triple moored thereabouts and care they gave not a one. It makes approaching the lock from below a bit of a guess-a-minute undertaking.

The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd don’t do a thing about it, but were a “civilian” to moor in any similar manner they’d be up in arms and ranting about ‘Licence terms and conditions’ – money changes hands, I believe, which is why A-W Ltd get a free pass from WWT Ltd to behave like inconsiderate twerpoids.

This lock – this ‘ere lock farther on – is amusing in that it has an eternal case of the belchies – the overflow bubbles and blows below the lock; always has, always will.

The hour of the day, the mist and the low sun even contrived to make the ugliest of bridges look splendid (a structure carrying the towpath over a weir that flows into the local brook).

In real life tis akin to walking across something slung up by builders while they dig out the foundations for a new city-centre McNasties. It works, but that’s all that may be said. It won’t last, it’s not built to last.

Mind you, neither am I.

The day was beginning to warm up a little towards the end of my return leg.*

*It should be noted that I do not have a separate “return leg”, I only have the usual two; one left, one right, with a foot at the end of each.

I can’t imagine how a return leg would work. Like an ordinary leg but in reverse?

Back aboard the Cardinal I am caffeined and breakfasted. I’m going to bake some bread later, because I feel like raging indigestion for dinner. The towpath is awash now with Sunday walkers. Sunday Walkers are like the Walkers in The Walking Dead, but with less life and vitality, less elegance and less social appeal than zombies. Most of them never look up, always tapping out something absolutely vital about “having a nice walk” on their “smart” portable telephones. This is truly The Wrong Apocalypse, I’ve had to take down my neck-height fishing-lines and even fill in my elephant traps.

Stoves were being re-awakened, or in some cases, lit afresh.

I’ve got an onion left over from the previous AhSDA dewiverwy. I think I’ll make it onion bread and then if it turns out to be like a house-brick I can blame it on being adventurous. If it works then I’ll have onion bread to dunk in my soup. I make the soup from people that I am not allowed to catch on the towpath.

The water level is dropping around here. The manifold stoppages and disastrous structural disconveniences mean that it must be managed more than is usual, the nearest source for this long long long pound being Hurleston. It’s down by two or three inches, any more and the trip from these far northern wastes back south could be… problematic.

We shall see.

If there’s a decent sunset tonight I might see if I feel like doing that walk all over again.

Especially since yes, I met no cows.

Cows? We don’t even have any bananas.


Chin-chin for the moment, chaps,

Ian H., & Cardinal W., Rotten Bounders, Spoiling The Canals & Interfering With Small Sheep.


    1. There are very few recipes in Mother’s old hand-written cookery book that don’t require cows or bananas, or both.

      ‘…take two dozen fresh cows, remove the bananas, discard the cows…’

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I rarely eat my muesli near the sandal production line at the factory. Apparently the milk always splashed over the conveyor belt. These days I wear braces rather than a conveyor belt. It reminds me of sex When getting dressed in the morning I shout ‘Brace yourself!’ to my reflection in the mirror and do you know, to this day it’s worked. My trousers have never fallen down for want of a brace.


  1. Aha but I bet you’re not blocked by everyone’s favourite green boated hire company on Twittering though !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those photographs were stunning, absolutely stunning.
    It might be wise to confine the interference to small sheep. A Lincoln Longwool might make short work of you.
    Cattle are no problem, You advance, extending the hand of friendship, and they all panic and bugger off. Unless there is a Jersey bull, of course…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Cattle and I get on like the proverbial munitions dump on fire. I’ve always been unsettled by the way that they fix a chap with a constant stare when he’s boating or motoring past a field. There’s a lot of unspecified, unspoken emotion in those stares. Horses I can deal with, but cattle? It’s something to do with the cloven hoof thing – brings back memories of my own origins and loyalties… πŸ˜‰

      I wonder if “bear spray” would work with cattle? Would it work with anglers? Might it work on the Watery Wellness wallahs? Hmm…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Perhaps it might be wise to bring bribe materials for the potential cattle on your next walk. What do cows consider to be a treat, I wonder? Sugar? Carrots? Small Dogs?

    You could bring a blunderbuss and take one down as a warning to the rest, but is it like poop scooping? Are you then required to shovel the remains into a bag and drag it to a public rubbish point? Seems disgusting hard work.

    All in all, I think its cheaper and less troublesome to just bribe the beasts. Hmmmm. I see now why there’s so much bribery and so little assasination of government officials.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. On my next walk I shall carry a few colouring books and some crayons and use those to distract the cows… talking of which, I suspect that the same might work for “our” politicians. Has anyone tried opening the door of Parliament and throwing in Plasticene, lots of tennis balls, some tricycles and a few toy trumpets? We might be able to get them tired enough to need a “nap time”, and that’s when we send in the steamrollers… It just might work, I can’t see any current politician passing up a shiny new Etch-A-Sketch or an Action Person*.

      *Action Persons are like Action Men used to be, but now without the offensive gonads.


      Liked by 3 people

Comments are closed.