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…
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”.
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…
Ian H. &etc.
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