[The view from the side-hatch.]
Yes, of course there could.
But it must be said that with Father Nature being a complete t*t with the weather, The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd publishing its latest steps in driving live-aboards off the canals, the global pharmaceutical industry still merrily pulling off the biggest heist in human history (&etc), and the human species still bleating (in-between “soap-operas”) that someone’s cr*pped in their grass, well – this era is up there (down there!) among the notables.
If the gas oven on the boat worked then I’d be sore tempted. It’s a quarter to six in the morning, Mr Stove really can’t be ar*sed (too “end of season” for his tastes), the rain is lashing down and there’s half a gale blowing up my Arsenal Villa have done well this season have they not.
If this is really the last week of May then I’m a dutchman.
We zijn allemaal volslagen idioten en de menselijke samenleving is dus gedoemd. Vaarwel.
This is most definitely not the apocalypse that I was promised.
I always knew that the (human) world wouldn’t end with a bang, but who would have thought that it would end with it being both illegal and too much effort to raise so much as a whimper?
Anyway, to business. Swans.
Sometimes swans absolutely insist on joining boats in locks – and then they’re royally stuffed. Swans can’t take off (or land) without a hundred yardlings or so of runway, and they can’t even climb lock ladders.
As I approached the lock (on foot) yesterday I noted that the Senior Team of Lock Volunteers were on duty, and that the paddles had for some reason only been opened a dribble. This was why. A spatially-challenged swan taking a nervous ride down the lock with a hire-boat.
Certain only that it was first in the queue the horrid critter sailed around, explored the corners, tried to squeeze through alongside the boat and just waited for something to happen as the water level was slowly reduced.
Then, when the lower gates could be opened (taking care to not squish Mr Sunday Lunch, as I termed him, behind the apparatus), out he sailed. Full speed ahead and don’t spare the flippers.
Excitement over. Doubtless he only paddled down to the winding hole and then joined the queue to go back up the lock.
Narrowboats. Not all narrowboats are equal – some have some very fancy bits, bobs and pretentions.
This one’s some sort of “Dutch barge” with an eating disorder and a “skinny fit” hull. It’s a lovely boat, but IMHO (and remember that I am Lord High He-Who) the centre cockpit is impractical and makes control difficult, and there is too much of the boat that is nought but boat and thus not much-needed lebensraum. Must be noted however that it got up the lock without the aid of a swan.
We’re still moored in Windy Alley, in a long line of miserable boats, all being miserable with added whatever. That’s me, first on the left.
Ordinarily Windy Alley is delicious for its wide-open sky but at the moment it’s akin to living under the messy end of some giant broody pigeon.
Oh I can’t complain. We’ve had a steam train past a couple of times, a Deltic, and something odd dragging what must have been an incredibly heavy load (Richard Parry’s pay packet?) – all of which I’ve missed with the camera.
A mate procured for me a coffee that I haven’t seen hitherto – coffee from Southern India. Ye gods (Greek and Roman), it’s ruddy good stuff.
Some coffees are just hot and wet, some tickle the odd taste-bud as they answer the siren call of oesophageal gravity, but this stuff runs around a chap’s mouth kicking seven shades of delicious sh*ite out of every sensory organ fitted. Apparently – and not a lot of people know this – it’s grown alongside vanilla trees or vanilla bushes or vanilla-squirrels or whatever vanilla grows on, and it shows. Most excellent stuff indeed.
I’ve had a cafetiere so far this morning, there will be another later in the day. If a chap must stand at the side-hatch and watch the human world crumble before his eyes then this is the coffee to drink in-between offering advice such as ‘Oi! You’ve missed a bit.’ and ‘Wouldn’t it be more efficient to just shoot everyone between the (blank, dull) eyes?’
It seems that the vegan egg-substitute that Messrs Chandlery ordered for me may well have arrived, so I needs must venture out into the day, later. I have of late been craving what we English term “French Toast”, and I’d like to have some before the world ends. This is – as far as I can tell from extensive research and much reading of reviews – the only stuff that will produce the necessary eggfect but not have popped out of some hen’s over-strained sphincter.
I’ll let you know. Fingers crossed. Another variation of “comfort food” – if it works. The reviews are about fifty-fifty, with half hating it and half loving it. Tis also supposed to be good for Spainish Ohm-lettes and the like. Mind you, at the price charged it ought to be good for every damned thing.
I haven’t tried powdered egg since Mr Hitler started World War II just so that he could bomb the backside out of our house in Grimsby.
Oh well, chin-chin &etc.
If anyone hears a nightingale singing (in Berkeley Square or otherwise) please do let me know.
I have an old Roman recipe.