Signs of the times

Day One of the re-opened here’s your “freedom” back on strings hire-boat season, and the jewel in the canal crown of the top left-hand corner of England, the Llangollen canal – the one with the aqueducts Chirk & Pontcysyllte – is CLOSED.

Please be advised navigation is closed between Bridge 3, Martins Bridge and Bridge 4, Lees Bridge on the Llangollen Canal due an issue with a culvert.

Stop planks are being installed and we will be dewatering this section of canal to enable our teams to complete the necessary investigations.

An update will be provided Friday 16 April.

The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd.

To all of the manifold reasons we’ve had in this past year to stay in some sort of reasonable “locality” must be added ‘…because as sure as deaf and taxies, if you venture far you’ll only end up stuck on the wrong side of some stoppage’.

The stoppage happened not long after the sunshine had evaporated the dew on the Chairman’s backside, but I do wonder if some hire-boat or boats had already been released and made it to the wrong side. Sod’s Law is a Universal Constant. Whether aye or nay those eager stayholiday-makers on the Llangollen won’t be getting off for a week (at the very least – months if it is a culvert that’s failed) and those from the Shroppie won’t be wombling up the Llan.

There are times (these times being specified colloquially as 24x7x365) when it feels as though the National Treasure that is the canal system is falling apart under our baseplates. Miss Havisham’s dining room was better kept. We live in a peculiar era when the National Trust spends more effort (and probably more money) on hectoring primary-school age visitors about their putative “white privilege” than they spend keeping the lead on the roof of Polesden Lacey. Roads built for motor vehicles are deliberately narrowed by egg-yolk-yellow paint and acne-red traffic cones to facilitate lumpy lycra-louts on velocipedes. The National Health Service has been effectively (and comprehensively) closed so that it doesn’t come to any putative harm during what has been termed as a “pandemic”. Up is down, black is “color” [sic], white is racist and we haven’t so much forgotten history as we have rewritten it into codswallop cartoon form, the easier to repeat it. Pah! A plague on all of our houses.

We have something formed from the dying vapours of an old-style Quango and tasked with looking after the canals… that has re-branded itself into a “Wellness Charity”, loathes boats and boaters (I cite as evidence their public actions) and courts only the favour of walkers, cyclists and anglers.

I think that perhaps in serious philosphical terms Fun Boy Three said it best some forty years ago.

On a practical note, the Llangollen is the virtual entirety of the water-feed for this portion of the Shropshire Union. Once it’s planked off and having its culverts resected there will needs must be some sort of bucket-line formed.

I suspect that it is beyond time to call out the…

Because no-one else seems to be prepared to go up the pole…

…especially when the pole has been destroyed by third-party contract strimmers.

In these …interesting… times the WWT Ltd run campaigns asking us all to pledge to pick up one item of plastic rubbish per day. Not, you might notice, to pledge to not actually drop that one item of rubbish in the first place!

Logic is not wot it used to be. Even the best of the ancient Greeks, accustomed as they were to communicating in “it’s all ancient Greek to me”, would have confessed themselves confused.

Surely highly dangerous contaminated medical waste, yes? Or are we all operating on Disney-Logic these days? Oh, I see…

Wacky Races 2021 has – hereabouts at least – begun in the manner of some damp squib, with mayhap half a dozen hire boats passing (although the Constellation Class Anglo-Welsh boat was true to classic form; the helmsman chasing his own water-skier). After a year and more of house arrest is everyone too fat to get out through their own front door perhaps?

I know that it’s a damned close-run thing with me and the Cardinal’s bow doors. One more “comfort food” pie and I’ll have to open the portholes, stick my arms out and paddle to the nearest Weight-Watchers Clinic.

Some sort of magnetic effect perhaps? Do all of the Brown Trout face north, while the Pike align themselves east-west?

That said, if one does venture out then there are still some lovely old Thought-For-Today signs nailed up from the days of the Quite Cheerful Existentialists.

‘DEEP – KEEP OUT’ is fine advice these days.

Don’t think; it will only make you sad (and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb’.

The old ‘No Parking’ signs that used to fail to protect the bins that used to be at Barbridge before the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd removed all trace of binnery facilitus remain themselves in place – I had to squeeze between the railings and a parked car to take this photo.

I suppose that if I can still squeeze into that sort of gap then there’s probably room for one more pie. Although, with the bins removed, there’s nowhere to put the little foil tray afterwards.

It takes a True Nihilist to tear down a ‘No Parking’ sign, and nobody’s really what they say they are anymore, are they? Or are they? Am we? Is you? I no longer know. Perhaps I never did, although did what it is perhaps best that I not say. There’s a lot Not Said these days, and the world would be a better place if it were.

Cardinal Wolsey, having no-one to inconvenience, chooses yet another New Pope.

You see, what I really want to know is whatever happened to crop circles?

One never hears of them now.

Oh well. Chin-chin for the mo, and do please keep your items of litter crossed in re the “culvert collapse” on the Llangollen. An angler a day keeps the lock landing at bay. A cyclist is for life, not just for Christmas.


Ian H., & Cardinal W. Heading for pie for lunch, whatever the waist-line may say.



  1. So the tyre drowners are only likely to take any action when anglers, dog emptiers and lycra louts opmplain that’ their’ footpath has fallen down a steep slope followed by quite a lot of water?
    Box ticking takes place here too….
    The local council have installed level pavements with the yellow paving slabs deemed proper to guide the partially sighted and have installed wheelchair ramps at the junctions. Fine. Except that you would have to be Eddie the Eagle to attempt to descend and need a rocket booster to ascend any one of them. Witness husband whose electric propelled chair lacked the necessary rocket to launch him and turned over backwards. Council rsponse? Well, why did he try it?
    In the capital, where even the main roads are narrow and often shared with train tracks, the council has introduced cycle lanes. Nobody uses them…except people desperate to park their cars, but the P.C. box has been ticked. Even better, one of the main pedestrian boulevards has a cycle lane running through it, giving rise to regular stand offs between the lycra louts and the vendors of fruit, veg, stolen telephones and old shoes who have decided that as it is hardly used it is a better site for selling their wares than the busy boulevard itself, full of ladies with large shopping bags.who like a clear path before them.
    Personally I think he aliens did land, started with crop circles, found that they attracted some strange people and so decided to take over local government, quangos, trusts, etc instead where nobody would notice that they were green and boasted three heads as long as they were politically correct

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is indeed thoroughly depressing news, I had hoped that there might remain some corner of this blue marble largely untouched by The Nonsense. Will They Who Must Be Obeyed never learn that you can’t build a worthwhile society on mere froth? In my lifetime so much has been made so much better than hitherto, but we either have thrown that out or are in the process of throwing it all out with the bath-water.

      The latest official announcement here is from mainstream universities – to the effect that command of language, spelling and punctuation is “colonial” and thus “racist” and to be not just not encouraged, but discouraged… I imagine that numeracy is similarly derided. They have thus officially declared that we, as a species, might as well retreat to the trees and recommence flinging excrement at one another.

      Good luck, Humans, with getting off the planet once this current (and last) crop of literate and numerate people die (doubtless all from starvation once they are fired for some heinous crime such as misgendering a marigold or calling a digging implement a spade). You can’t build a Saturn V rocket from “feelings”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have seen so many advances….good education, a good health service, proper housing…only to see it all thrown away by persuading people that they are rich by turning a penny while allowing those who are rich to make pounds out of them.
        Time for rope and lamp posts…but modern education has ensured that those emerging from its clutches know nothing of such means of persuasion. Probably colonialist and racist as somewhere, some time, a black person has been hanged…


  2. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a round peg looking for a round hole but unable to find one because the brainless, authoritarian herd of square pegs have occupied them all.

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    1. It does seem that where once upon a time you had to sell your soul in order to find a place in the world, in these times it is necessary to prove that you have never actually _had_ a soul at all in order to be “approved”. The minds, intellects and even the personalities of Those That Be are akin tothe little dot on the screen of an old cathode ray tube television once switched off. Ping – gone, nothing but static left behind.

      I remain under threat for not moving sufficiently to please my masters. As I type this, to my stern the canal is blocked by a landslide (months) at Beeston, the Services at Calveley sport no hot water, long-term broken pump-out. To the west the Llangollen is blocked by a failed culvert. To the south, while Bridge 80’s failed culvert has now been repaired after many weeks, Audlem Services are completely closed and “update expected in a week”. To the east, having had a quiet year in which to do stuff, C&RT have decided that now is the time (this coing Monday) in which to close Stanthorne lock and thus the whole Middlewich Branch and all access to and from the Trent & Mersey. I am, of course, moored quite close to the remains of the compound where Barbridge rubbish bins used to be until C&RT closed them last year.

      Jewel in the Crown? More like the winnet on the Chairman’s arse if you ask me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So the moment everything opens up, these clowns start to close down and empty bits of the canal to restrict movement? It’s like living in a town with three bridges over the river running through it and the Councils starting work on all three at the same time – thought it was just Nottingham! I remember a time when officialdom required brains – ah well, you can’t have everything.

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    1. Basically yes – the WWT Ltd don’t do any pro-active maintenance and damned near no inspection, they rely instead on boaters (those folk that they loathe) to report problems when they happen. There used to be lengthsmen – blokes who were responsible for a section of canal, and inspected it weekly for developing problems – but some bright corporate spark earned his bonus by firing all of those… Now if something such as a culvert collapses the first they know of it is when the locals report being up to their necks in canal-water. It’s a dismal approach. 😉

      I met something similar when I lived in Lancashire and the local area was being “cabled” for interwebnets. Driving home one evening I and two other cars were stopped by blokes who had dug a trench right across the road… before we could even turn around they’d dug one behind us as well. Had to sit there for an hour while they finished.

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  4. Crop circles? Well they were postulated at one time to be the work of aliens, until that was debunked. But perhaps they actually were and said aliens, having looked at us and what we’re doing to our planet, have decided not to bother with us any more but to leave us to destroy ourselves.
    I’d forgotten about the Fun Boy Three and their Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum. They were well ahead of their times, weren’t they? They should re-release it now!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Perhaps crop circles were the crops trying to communicate?

      I’ve given up on aliens. If the Borg were to land tomorrow and assimilate human political distinctiveness they’d be extinct themselves within a year. As you say, aliens have visited, discovered that we don’t even barbecue well, and gone away again. I bet that Earth has some really bad reviews on GalacticTrustPilot dot com.

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