Dawn Manoeuvres – Hail Caesar!

I woke up the sparrows this morning – and probably one or two boaters too.

The Cardinal and I upped sticks and mooched on, back down through Hack Green locks and away from the Secret Nuclear Bunker, through Nantwich – calling at Messrs Services – past the nesting swan on the north side of town and back to the north of this patch, where we all have rickets, keep whippets and wear tweed flat caps. Six and one half of your Earth miles, watered, gazundered, rubbish dumped, recycling put neatly in t’recycling bins and tied up again before most other boaters had sucked the last out of their first fag of the day and left the tab-end in the saucer of their second cup of tea.

Most splendid a cruise-ette it was too. A touch on the penguin side of cold, with some mist, but very ooh-aah on occasions when Mr Sun came out.

Leaving Hack Green Lock 2 – and its rather enthusiastic by-wash.

I stretched, I breathed in something like 1.28 molecules of Caesar’s last breath with each of my own [Read the science here] and I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and gawped at some delicious scenery.

Cardinal Wolsey blasting up the Shropshire Union towards Nantwich

England may be (in relative terms) a tiny place, but every county has a distinct feel and flavour to it. The rural parts of (North) Lincolnshire have an even “softer” feel to them than do those of Cheshire. Wiltshire always feels ancient to me, Norfolk feels like one over-sized farm, and Lancashire – well, you can get an idea about Lancashire by watching (and perhaps subscribing to) these Youtube videos – Lancashire Footnotes.

The ambient light is all a tad muted at the sort of times of day that the Cardinal and I prefer for “the mooching about”, but that’s sometimes no bad thing.

We went back – not backwards – through the slightly mis-matched railway & road bridges…

Bridge 89 on t’Shropshire Union Main Line – a slightly mis-matched combination of road and rail bridge – mind the kink, madam.

I got moaned at just as I began to cruise through Nantwich proper. Some chap on the start of the permanent moorings opened his cratch flap and said something discouragingly displeasant to me that I didn’t actually hear. When folk shake a fist and angrily show you their tooth as you glide past it’s usually about speed, about not going past moored boats slowly enough (in their estimation). I don’t exactly have a reputation as a speed-merchant (when on a boat) so I think that he was just an inveterate moaner not helped by the fact that he evidently couldn’t moor up properly if someone offered him a toffee as reward (two very loose ropes, both at ninety-degrees to boat and towpath). I smiled, looked at my wrist and replied ‘Yes, isn’t it! About half six I think.’

I add, although I need not, that I was indeed doing a “warm engine” tickover and could in fact go no more slowly… had no need to go more slowly… was in fact passing at a perfectly polite velocity…

Hey ho. You can please some of the people some of the time but, really, why bother at all?

In Nantwich itself, once we’d serviced and chugged through the next bridge – after saying air hair lair to a dog on the towpath (and forgetting to greet the dog’s walker – oops, my ‘canineophilia majoris in conjunction with misanthropy minor’ was showing) – and despite the still-early hour it was obviously “Bung ‘Em All Back In The Water” day at the Nantwich Boat Club Marina. A very red, very chunky mobile crane was hoofing in reverse into place, and many folk were about looking as though they were getting manifold cruisers ready to get their bottoms wet for the summer.

Chuck ’em all back in the water day at Nantwich Boat Club Marina, 1st of May 2021

There was naturally much excitement. I hope that it all went well.

I think from then – having met none on the move up to that point – I saw three boats on the hoof, two with pleasant folk on the stern, one with a couple who were what I refer to as ‘Raw Soylent Green’ (and good for little else).

One magnificent treat of the cruise – for me, at least, with my skewed values – was lapwings. Lapwings in the field next to the services, lapwings in several fields thereafter.


I LOVE the sound (and sight) of lapwings. They sound to me like American Police car sirens, and I don’t know why I love the sound but I do.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds (or something such) has a mugshot of a lapwing AND an easily-played audio file of what they reckon a lapwing’s call sounds like, although theirs is a bit insipid somehow when compared to the ones I heard this morning.

What can I say except that it put a big grin on my face. I’m easily pleased!

The weather did what it usually does at some point over a Bank Holiday Weekend – went black and threw hailstones at everyone. Mr Stove is lit and will be tended tonight – down to freezing is expected again, again. Happy were I to have been well-mooched and well-re-tied by then. Other, later boaters were not so lucky.


We’re here where we are for a night or two and then we’ll mooch on again, although I plan not far, since there are winds a-forecast for the Bank Holiday Monday and a touch thereafter. Being me and liking a Plan A, Plan B and a Plan C in my back pocket I wanteth to be off restricted moorings, Justin Case the weather-runes were cast inefficiently and the winds hang around inconveniently. No biggy.

There’s rain forecast too. Soggy wet rain.

I wish that there was a forecast of widespread lapwings (and dogs).

I won a “mine’s bigger than yours” contest this afternoon. A boat cruised past repeatedly blowing his boat horn, shouting to the others aboard about how loud it was.

Well, rather like Oscar, I can resist everything except temptation, so I leaned over from my desk and flicked the Cardinal’s (internal) horn switch. The gentleman agreed that a horn rated at 120db when fed 12v but that is actually being fed something like 13.9 volts at the time of the contest (solar panels and splendid wiring) far exceeded the oomph of his own device.

I then assisted him in the matter of retrieving some of his passengers from the water (wherein they had jumped to escape the Trumpet of Jericho) and we shook hands and went our separate boating ways.

It’s all go, you know.

My goodness me, we narrowboaters know how to make our own fun and how to live life on the edge.

Chin-chin &etc.

Ian H., and Cardinal W., Very Loud, Velocity Mad and Vell-Known For It.


  1. I’ve watched those Lancashire Footnotes films, and they’re rubbish. Fortunately the male presenter is unbelievably good looking, which more than makes up for the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t noticed that but you’re quite correct; he looks absolutely stunned. I mean stunning. Damn it, I always get my tenses mixed up. It is ‘stunning’ isn’t it, and not ‘stunned’? I think I’ve seen him before on the television. Panorama or Crime Watch or something. Might have been Tales of the Riverbank, now I come to think on it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. When Life says ‘jump’ then my body and I don’t ask ‘how high?’, we just strap on the old safety harness and pop in the snorkel mouthpiece. I didn’t get where I am today by not climbing Everest dressed only in a Cornish kilt, and by riding a unicycle across the Antarctic. No, ‘Grasp life by the cojones’ is my middle name. Actually, it’s a bloody silly middle name. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.


  2. That was a box of delights…from the joys of Lancashire to lapwings, with horn competitions and a crazed cratch flap opener.thrown in…well, he should have been.
    Do you think he thought, not that you were speeding, but that you were indulging in voyeurism, seeing how the other half say they live?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was no town crier and all that I had to go on was his general demeanour, so he might have been telling me that I had exceptionally fine ankles for all I really know or could testify to under oath (affirmation!). You’re quite correct though – the need to not look through uncurtained/unblinded windows and port-holes is particularly strong at that time of morning… once or twice in cruising I’ve accidentally seen that which, once seen, cannot be unseen. Folk often shield themselves from the towpath side but forget that boats pass by the other side!

      I did once see a bright face beaming and smiling at me from a boat window so I grinned and wavd cheerily back, as is t’custom – only to then realise that I was smiling and waving at a “news” “presenter” on someone’s large-screen television. Steering was difficult for the next mile or two; too busy laughing at myself. Doh.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You may not know, but a uniquely Australian insult is to call someone a “drongo” As in a stupid person. Paying a lot of (someone else’s) money for new decor would certainly earn the title of ‘”drongo.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even in England the Drongoid Nation rises, and still we’re not allowed to use the Gatling-Trebuchet to defend ourselves agin them. We are truly living in a most peculiar apocalypse indeed. Mr Mad Maxwell had it (relatively) easy by comparison. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lapwings are probably to be preferred above lap dogs. We have one of the little beasts living over t’ fence. Encouraged, as a puppy, to chase the nordy birdy (ie, prevent it from perching on a verandah rail and poo-ing on the deck), it continues to yap at anything that moves. 14 years is a damn’ long time to be yapped at…
    But our resident Spangled Drongo is out-doing the dogs and children right now. You can some of his vocal range here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLOiq3Pwt6o.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spangled Drongo is a wonderful name for any bird to live up to (or down to)! Were such a bird to be suddenly imported to these shores it would like as not be officially named ‘Bird Species 232a’ or something. We lack spangled drongo in these times. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.