Oh but wait – it gets better…

To the north of me lies Calveley Services (run by C&RT) – no hot water (they can’t mend an ordinary household boiler) and, we are told, the “control panel” on the (boat waste tank) pump-out “doesn’t meet gas regulations” [???] and so the machine is out of action. Beyond Calveley lies the Beeston stoppage, still stopped, canal closed.

To the west of me lies the Llangollen canal, jewel in the hire-boat crown… closed for the long foreseeable due to a failed culvert right at the start (or end, depending on your p.o.v.) of the canal not far above Hurleston locks. There’s no putting so much as a toe onto the canal; you’d only have to reverse off.

To the east of me, the Middlewich Branch, lies Stanthorne Lock – closed for a fortnight from Monday for paddle repairs. It’s been duff for years. Canal closed beyond the winding hole near Bridge 16. They announce this after more than a year of much-reduced boat traffic, and just when everything has been “Re-Opened By Boris”. Superb timing, or what? What.

To the south of me lies Mel Gibson. I mean Braveheart. Freedom. Mind you… Audlem Services (run by C&RT – as they all ought to be) is closed (blocked drains). Next services that way thus some sixteen miles and twenty-two locks away if we include the Audlem flight of fifteen in one Grand Oik, with half and more of those having no usable lock landing for the Single Hander At large. My average cruising speed is just over two and a half miles per Earth hour, and – if left to my own devices on a (rare) lock with all paddles working and usable lock landings – a lock takes fifteen to sometime twenty minutes. Facilities much, not.

Jus’ sayin’ is all, to use the common trans-Atlantic parlance. Do we Humans still do arithmetic? It sounds so much like arthritic to me, and that I know we still do.

I am moored between the (2) and the (3) below and to the left of where it reads ‘Cholmondeston’, very close to where C&RT have removed the rubbish facility (the water point here was removed long, long ago because of a broken office rubber stamp, or some such).

The revised Licence Terms & Conditions, while bunging manifold obligations on boaters, now formally enshrine C&RT’s view that they have absolutely no obligation or responsibility to maintain a navigable waterway, anywhere, anywhen, anyhow.

Talking of which, may I ask you please to help by SHARING this fund-raiser anywhere that you can, on The Twitter, The FaceBook or wherever the hip and trendy young people such as yourselves meet online these days… a worthy gaggle of us are raising legal fees to challenge the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd’s outwith-legal new Boat Licence “terms & conditions”, and seriously; the more the merrier.


Not touting for contributions as such – just by sharing the fundraiser you’d be helping mightily and I thank’ee. The more the page is seen and by a wider audience the more it will come to the attentions of folk unlike you and I – the ones who have spare dosh! πŸ˜‰

The link is kosher, won’t bombard you with spam (at least from my experience), and will open in a separate window so that you won’t lose your place here. The lawyers in question are a bunch that perform good works and usually for less than the usual legal-profession level of moolah. The battle is very much one of Goliath versus David, but one where Goliath gets not only all of David’s Licence Fee money but also a few hundred million from Her Majesty’s Taxpayer with which to hit David.

Boater underdogs, much. The “charity’s” published accounts show that they spend a fortune of our money each year on legal punch-ups and kickings. In this case ‘Goliath’ is a psychopathic corporate gestalt run by lattΓ©-drenched metropolitan professional-professional types, and David is me. Others too of course, although sometimes, of late, it feels as though…

Thank’ee kindly. πŸ™‚

So. Anyway.

There are four holiday hire-boat companies hereabouts, and a hack slandful of share-boats. Tell me children, how busy do you think that the Shropshire Union towards Audlem and the stump of the Available Middlewich will be? Answers in green crayon on a sheet of C&RT’s Izal toilet-roll please.

Ho et le hum. Onwards and sideways.

I made progress yesterday. Given that the global, national, and local news is a bit akin to a slot machine with all of the wheels spinning at the moment – id est; utter confusion and even more contradiction than is usual – and given that there was a mystery slot available, I reinforced the Cardinal’s Apocalypse Supplies. From a careful study of what passes for the “news” these days I have no idea what will happen next in the drear pantomime that is Human Society. A bit of everything, perhaps, an outbreak of hippies wearing flowers in their hair, elephants being curious in bubblegum trees, or an even more Draconian imposition of this flurry of totalitarian regimes, England’s numpties included. Who knows? So I’ll keep the cargo holds topped up, Justin Case.

Not long after sparrowfart (0600hrs) the engine room answered my call and I besneaked us away from our moorings, to the junction, turned us around and reversed onto the ‘No Services At All Here Now’ “Services” mooring and bollards. It’s as close as I can or probably ever will get the Cardinal to a roadway.

When I say ‘…and bollards’ it does sound rather as though I’m swearing, doesn’t it?


Instant confusion reigned.

An orange Arsebury’s van arrived and parked next to the Cardinal (on the road, not the water).

Great, except that I was waiting for Her Majesty’s Bright Green Opposition – ASDA.

0600hrs is far, far too early for something bright orange to park next to something lime green – in a very bright, low morning sunshine.

Arsebury’s had come to service what used, doubtless, to be a canal property; the big house behind those hedgerows to the left of frame.

A tussle over a parking space at ten past sparrowcough. At least there were no fisticuffs. Baguettes at dawn, that sort of thing.

The Cardinal, under the attentions of a medium frost a-thawing and a low, low sun a-rising, took on a most peculiar look indeed.

For my part, ee by’eck it were reet luxury to not have to use Mr Trolley to enbunginate the comestibles aboard. This order was heavy on items such as tubes of irradiated chillis and wotnots, with which to improve the flavours of pastas and curries and mud-baked hedgehoggery. An order with two of the biodegradable Eucalyptus & Mint bathroom sprays and several of the Flash-mit-Bleach for the tastier jobs. Plus enough tins, cartons, bottles and packets to give the Ever Green’s Ever Given a Plimsoll Line problem.

In the Substitutions Line I had only to send back Stanley Matthews and a 1.5l bottle of something that they’d sent instead of my Ecover Laundry Liquid – ‘Apple Blossom & Almond Fabric Softener’. I explained to the driver that I was not really a fabric-softener sort of chap, and he reviewed the sartorial evidence and agreed.

Twas then a mere matter of mooching the Cardinal back to where we had been but a few days ago (and with 42 hours on the clock thus off the 48-hours maximum “visitor moorings” that the WWT Ltd are so fussy about). Back to the stretch where no hire-boat ever moors up because it doesn’t look as though it’s anywhere really.

While we’re on the subject of the WWT Ltd and the Walking Dead; old Phil the Greek’s funeral arrangements. They’ve apparently just announced ‘The Guest List’.


When did we change from having mourners at funerals to having guests? Am I the only one to think that actual words, you know – nuances – are important?

One has guests at “happy” occasions, at funerals one has mourners and men with either shovels or with kindling & matches – and with my family at least, those chaps from the Vatican, the ones who when everyone else has gone away for sherry and ham buns come out of the tombstone shadows and do that thing with the salt and the sins and the rosemary beads.

‘…sherry and ham buns…’? Soggy, methinks, but there is no appropriate place that I can see for a comma in there, not unless you move the Piccalilli and have a very light touch with the Barbadillo Versos 1891 Amontillado. ‘…the sherry and the ham buns…’ would be the only way out of that tortuous mess.

Guests indeed.

It really is time that we climbed back up into the trees and re-commenced flinging excrement at one another.

Once I’ve eaten my way through the Cardinal’s Apockyclips Supplies I shall lead by example.

If I can still waddle up a tree that is.

Block & tackle please for the gentleman who is de-evolving… went the cry.

Or I may just go back into hibernation. It’s certainly cold enough this morning to encourage a grumpy old Hector back under the duvet.

This has been a post apropos of very little methinks, except for blockages, comestibles and nuance a-lacking. Oh – and the mental image of me being hoist into a tree, the better to return to my hairy cave-man roots. Two-six HEAVE! Two-six HEAVE!

Chin-chin, chaps.



  1. 2020 really unhinged so many things, didn’t it? 😦 … things that were in the process of becoming unhinged anyway, now all it” all aboard the express train to idiocy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When centuries-old universities declare in writing that literacy and numeracy are no longer to be encouraged because of their colonial roots, well… the species is quite obviously on the trampoline in the waiting area outside Mr Lobotomy’s Travelling Surgical Theatre, already masked and as good as self-anaesthetised…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that without some unexpected cataclysm under their ar*ses they will indeed in a few yers achieve their goal of turning the canals into a series of disconnected corporation park ponds for paddleboarders and anglers, walked around by dog-emptiers and ramblers, jogged around by latte-spilling telephone-call-making gym-bunnies – with the only canals with boats will be stretches long enough to satisfy (the reduced ambitions of) holiday hire boat customers and marina pop-out-for-the-weekenders.

      The property is just about sold off already. The Head Dwarf will, I suspect, be deep into begging/negotiation for the reservoirs to be put under someone else’s wing (too much trouble). A combination of structural neglect and C&RT’s diabolical attitude and behaviour towards live-aboard boaters will do the rest.


  2. I suppose you should be glad the canal liners haven’t torn (I mean, how long do these things last?), ‘cos at least you’re still afloat. As for funerals, these days – as with much else – they are televised. Sadly, we shall miss it – but obviously looking forward to seeing the highlights later on ‘Funeral of the Day’. More seriously – a tough day for HM and we will be thinking of her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funerals are rarely much fun these days. I remember the funeral of an uncle who was a wag and practical joker all of his life. It was an “old style” interment and as we were all gathered around the open grave one side gave way and crumbled, half a dozen of us damned nearly went in there with him. I can still hear the muffled laughter that came from the coffin…

      H.M. Lizzie and Phil the Greek are/were the only two royals I’ve ever had any respect for; they were given a job description and they’ve performed their task to the letter. The monarchy dies with them in my view, and it’s a shame that we can’t bury the screeching minor “royals” right now (or at least give them to Elon Musk as ballast for his next rocket expedition). JMHO.

      The puddling clay of the canals is rare stuff and does its job well, but half of the problem is that the embankments and suchlike haven’t been tended for decades, trees grow where they ought not, essential trees die and aren’t replaced. There are so many trees at perilous angles over the canals that a cruise is venture into a world of arboreal Russian Roulette…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder if they have always done funeral invitations for royalty, or if this is a new twist? I remember that they had invitations for Michael Jackson’s funeral. I had a similar feeling of sea sickness when I heard that. But perhaps it’s just a practical measure necessary for famous people? I mean you don’t want the church to be filled up with the riff raff, instead of A list celebrities. How gauche would that be?! Do you suppose the invites include a preference for beef or fish in the funeral meal?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The “guest” invitations probably include a footnote along the lines of ‘dress code: smart casual (no sandals, no tracksuits)’. The incorrect terminology is just a sign of the educational times – churn out the words, it doesn’t matter which words, folk will know wot u meen enywey…

      Arithmetic is already much further down the road to being an ancient and lost art, no-one performs a reality check these days even at a supermarket till, they just accept whatever the komputah display tells them.

      In similar fashion to accepting the “news” verbatim…

      I think that the menu options at the wake may depend on which generation of “civil servant” has been allowed free hand while H.M. Lizzie, understandably, sniffles into her handkerchief. The options are likely to be ‘A Bag of Doritos’ or a ‘Big Mac Un-Happy Meal’.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Seems like a bright idea to close so many canals and branches at the same time! I suspect there are many of us (well not actually US as in you, me and your intelligent readers) who have metaphorically climbed back into the trees.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It does seem to be rather fashionable to avoid use of the brain-gland these days, folk as proud as Punch of much sought-after ignorance. The truly terrifying thing for me over the past year has been the exposing of near-universal unthinking, unquestioning compliance; the eager acceptance of authority and dominance – anything that would abrogate the need for personal responsibility. Most of the species obviously returned to the nursery long, long ago, and this past year has simply lifted the veil. 😦

      The stoppages at the moment are up by something on the order of 250% when compared to previous years – the effect of a year of absolute neglect, perhaps. The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd couldn’t plan a child’s birthday party, not even if you baked a cake, inflated the balloons and gift-wrapped the pony for them. Each culvert collapse and breach comes as a complete surprise to them, and they react by slowly re-inventing the wheel; nothing’s in place, nothing is planned, no basic generic response prepared. Tis dismal. ;-(

      I am scouting around for the tree that I shall live in.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, compliance seems to be the thing. What happened to those rebellious students of earlier years? (60s and 70s comes to mind, not to mention 20s and 30s.) Students today seem to think they’ve gone to university (I refuse to give in to the Americans and call it ‘uni’) to WORK!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. From a far-flung corner of (former) Empire, I wish you luck.
    And please do continue your canalised entertainment. I am in great need of entertainment in this far-flung…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank’ee – I shall indeed continue with my domestic chronicles; much farther afield if They Who Must Be Obeyed ever Extractum Digitus and physically allow it… πŸ˜‰

      How I miss the Empire – I used to love wearing feathers on my ceremonial pith helmet. Haven’t had a decent game of elephant water-polo for a long, long time. Just can’t get the elephants these days, and the canals certainly are no longer deep enough.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s brilliant, not that it’s my place to thank you but – THANK YOU! We need to use ouur numbers against the corporate gestalt and their plans for boat-free disconnected linear park ponds. The Trust needs its collar feeling by the All-Party Waterways Committee.

      Liked by 1 person

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