…and we’re mowing again

Sort of. Apparently. Just still leaving the “leap of faith” edge to the canal, catering thereby for walkers and cyclicsts and leaving boaters distanced at the end of a four-foot stalk of grass. Or something. No chaps with strimmers.

It may sound like some daft, “first-world problem” whine, but unless you’ve oiked up somewhere to moor and know what’s involved you can only imagine how awkward this makes the process.

Deliberate policy or just corporate numnuttery?

Well maybe both, I do have to concede that the Corporate They wouldn’t understand what a boat was even if you got an experienced proctologist involved in the explanation. Half of their motives may be that they simply don’t have a clue.

Damn, I hate being charitable in the morning!

I did worry about the chap on the mower (and not just in re the oddly short “roll-over” bar, protecting everything aside from his head..), knowing as I did that he was heading for this:

…and wondering how he was going to distinguish barely-mower-wide towpath from edge of canal. He did return some hours later though, presumably having mown all the way to Brighton, or Hove, or somewhere, and back again.

One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow, one man and his dog…

I met a man with two dogs this morning. Well, more accurately I met two dogs with a man. Rottweilers, and he had ab-so-lutely not one whit of control over them. In fact he had not one whit of co-operation from them. The dogs had no more respect for him than they had for the stout leads on which they towed him along.

The time was Sparrowfart O’Sundial of course and I had just performed my penance of the day by dis-fulling a gazunder. I had snapped off my latex-and-talcum-powder gloves at the remains of the Sh*tehouse Door…

Calveley C&RT Services, the sh*tehouse door, such as is left of it. A policy of quite deliberate lack of maintenance and the encouragement of decay.

and was engaging with myself in a game of Pirate Hopscotch to get us down the ramp when Cerberus and Cujo hove up a-pace.

The gentleman in tow, short on breath (and initial manners) exhorted me to ‘Get back in there – for him…’ – nodding indecisively at what may have been one of the dogs then chewing the iron railings, or possibly just re-sharpening their teeth.

Bear in mind that I am extremely fond of dogs, not so of humans. If I meet humans during the daytime then it’s likely that I am psychologically prepared to some extent. Not so at 05:50hrs.

There was a brief pause necessitated by the lack of employment of “please” while I considered and rejected several of Mr Churchill’s better speeches ending in ‘off’, and then I decided to place value on the “for the dog” portion of the gentleman’s gaspings, and retreated behind the stout particle-board that is the sh*tehouse door.

One wonders now whether the damage evident is really just down to the ravages of time, or perhaps to Cerberus and Cujo playing with their breakfast.

Waiting like some refugee in hiding I heard the sound of eight vast paws and two staggering feet passing, followed by a breathless ‘thank you’.

If a job’s worth doing then it’s worth doing well, and having begun the task of co-operation with a mixed party that really ought not to be out and about at all, I decided to not spoil the broth (mixmetaphorgatawny) by not not (not?) giving them a few seconds more. Someone else please count the multiple-negatives, I have lost the plot. I waited, strange though it felt to be hiding in a sluice room, especially given that I was more likely to bite the man than his dogs were to bite me…

At worst the dogs and I would bite one another – and I’d win.

I haven’t hidden in the dark like that since, oh – it must have been the 2011 London riots.

When I stepped back into the fledgeling daylight the party were some two hundred yards away down the towpath. I couldn’t tell if the gentleman was upright or whether he was being towed along like some slipped anchor. Not my circus, not my monkeys. Certainly, except when requiring me to go into hiding, not my concern. Presumably the gentleman has some working arrangement in place for his own co-existence and survival.


That was me all peopled out for the day, anyway.

I slipped around to the bins – ever-full, since the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd summarily, parsimoniously, and underhandedly closed the bins at Barridge – and disposed of my Rocky Horror Show gloves and over-well-used “two pieces of Regina Blitz Kitchen Roll”.

Calveley Bins, with the weekend yet to go, when every hire-boat that ever there was oiks up with one last bag of rubbish to lob over the compound fence, the better to make the boat look vaguely clean upon return to base.

I silently refer to his compound as ‘Boomtown’ because of the rat traps abounding.

The rats refer to it as ‘Take-away Alley’.

My god, it can be a glamorous life, living on a narrowboat.

There are days that really shake one’s confidence in one’s truly being an “apex predator”.

Back to the Cardinal for coffee and the cold collation that is brekkers.

I have two more jobs to do that require my presence outdoors today, but they can wait until I’ve listened to a couple of Paul McKenna tapes and girded my loins again. I think I’ll listen to that one about Serenity, and then finish off with the personalised one he recorded for me, the one with twenty-one reasons for not clambering up a water-tower with a high-powered rifle slung over my shoulder.

Om mani padme hum… om mani padme hum…

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H. &etc.

p.s., for all of your personalised greetings card, print, canvas-print and suchlike needs, lots of my photographs you see on this blog are available from

Hutson’s Photographicables; printed and delivered worldwide

Printed all around the world, delivered all around the world.



  1. You will be delighte to hear that the tyre drowners have taken a stand at theHsmpton Court Flower Show…with a ‘Message in a bottle global impact garden’.
    I suspect those paying their outrageous charges for a poor returm could think of another sort of impact for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well that’s my licence fee gone in just the cost of that ugly-looking fake bung in that old rusty metal frame. You just couldn’t invent this corporation; people would tell you that the idea was too far-fetched. What next I wonder? C&RT fashion at Fashion Week? C&RT sponsorship on an F1 car – actually, that one might work, since the C&RT logo is half a tyre! The beggar belief, honestly they do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have zero respect for people being dragged by dogs, people whose dogs cant be trusted on a public path. It’s not the dogs problem, it’s the idiot being dragged who has the problem. He deserves to end up in the bottom of the hole you emptied the gazunder in. Sadly, he’ll probably get rid of the dogs because he’s a lazy git. I don’t have any strong opinions on the subject though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does speak volumes about the pack hierarchy when the human is not in charge! I bridled a bit at being ordered back indoors but sense prevailed and it was the easier option. I don’t like to see a dog cowed or subservient but for their own happiness they must know the order of things. ;-(


      1. Exactly. I’m always happy for a well behaved dog to walk ahead of me on a leash, but no pulling. No lunging at other people or dogs. And always they should respond when I call them back to heel.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That handsome door does suggest ravaging teeth, if not from Cerberus & Co. then the gang of Rattus rattus around by the back shed. Ripe for renovation, as the real estate sales pitch says.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The entire Service Area, including the greater part of the building wherefrom the real workers of C&RT emerge each working day has an air of something left with not some little deliberation to die. I suspect that the largest rats around run up and down the corridors of C&RT HQ… 😉


  4. Given your suspicions abut their finances, do the tyre drowners have a water feature in the reception area of their offices?
    I ask because I had a friend who was quite a high powered beast for a major accountancy firm in the days before all their lies were discovered and his theory was that if he saw a water feature as he stepped through the doors the firm was either laundering dirty money or was about to go bust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s probably the curse of C&RT – they have a 2,000 mile long water-feature on their doorstep…

      I concur with the theory of your beastly friend. One company that I worked for not only had a water feature in the reception area but had fish swimming in it – and a glass lift that landed in the middle of the indoor pond and disgorged its passengers onto a little bridge. The amount of dodgy (government) money that went through that place was awe-inspiring.

      Mind you, another ancient and hitherto venerable company, ditto, had no water feature but simply a place called ‘Marble Hall’ with which to impress guests – making them squeak across fifty yards of (stolen) marble just to make an enquiry at the cold, cold, cold reception desk among the columns and vaulted ceiling. My shoes squeaked each and every time I walked across the hateful place – including at my initial interview. That place used to run on – probably still runs on – financial duct tape and the sort of run of dumb luck that proves not only the existence of The Devil but his eagerness to enter into contracts with corporate directors… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You can almost hear them – ‘take the mower out, be seen as far as you can, don’t get too close to the edge’. I wonder if they get danger money? Must have been difficult in Highway Department Land with the advent of cameras in mobile phones to try to deny the roads, pavements and kerbs are well made in peasantville estate when the injury claims started pouring in. Difficult I image if you get your mobile wet after falling in the canal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do wonder if perhaps it hasn’t dawned on one of the throbbing giant brains at C&RT Corporate that they’re lining themselves up – with _our_ money for a lot of extra court cases from ramblers with twisted Swiss walking poles and cyclists who have lost their bells in the undergrowth… so to speak. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was painting the boat one day when the lawnmower man went past and sprayed half a ton of grass cuttings all over my fresh paint work. On another occasion, he cut through my mooring ropes and bent my pegs. I think he’s followed me onto dry land now. Every time I get the camera out for a bit of home-filmed narration he appears outside my kitchen window mowing our lawn into extinction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been lucky in this area, the mower chaps have thus far avoided strimming by the boat (in the days when they strimmed, not currently), and I’ve only once had grass-splatter. I do know that this is unusual though, the tales of mowing maniacs abound elsewhere. Just the luck of the draw I think, and down to local “management” being good, bad or downright ugly. 😉

      If this is the limit of their efforts from now on I shall have to buy a., a flame-thrower (to prepare for landing) and b., a V8-powered strimmer with diamond-tipped carbon-steel cutter…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I saw a comment on fb yesterday where a guy got off his boat very gingerly into the long grass only to drop his foot into a hole which sprained his ankle!
    It’s high time these incidents were brought to the attention of the dimwits at Canal & River trust that make the cost cutting decisions without proper thought to the implications of their actions.
    It is certainly not the fault of the guys on the mowers who are just doing as instructed by the tosspots in charge.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely so – The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd is an organisation of two distinct halves. There are the genuine workers, this being the mowers and suchlike (even outsourced) and the volunteers, who actually get their hands dirty, then there are the Corporate Numnuts – a quite distinct breed.

      There are plenty of leg-breakers around the system, even when it was properly trimmed! Someone expounded the theory that C&RT’s behaviour mirrored that of large corporations slowly going bankrupt, and I do have to wonder if there’s anything in that theory. Hidden as they are behind refusal to answer FOI requests we cannot know the true workings of the Ltd part of the C&RT and whether the banks are pulling their chain.

      I have every respect for the workers (and none for the quill-dippers and Zoom-meeters)! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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