Like Flies on a … Dish of Restaurant Soup

The “fly” in my soup being, of course…

The WWT Ltd are apparently very proud of their “boat logging” (customer-stalking intrusive personal surveillance and very creepy, privacy-invading and doubtless rights-abusing) system. Two weeks on the Llangollen canal; not a sniff of a whiff of a spotter. Within two hours of mooring up in my favoured spot for an ASDA comestibles delivery – yes, you guessed it.

Their “system” is comparable to a blind man walking around an unfamiliar city using a chopstick as a white cane and a dead cat for a guide-dog.

Moving on, the Cardinal and I have moved on (several times). We are off The Joke Canal [the Llangollen in summer] and are busily engaged in running across the English countryside in the manner of Mr Bean chasing a butterfly.

We oiked ourselves down the Hurleston Flight the other morning, and most pleasant a morning it was too.

nb Cardinal Wolsey 508533 in Hurleston bottom lock July 2021

Rather like Reginald Perrin, the Rise and Fall of these locks is but relatively civilised at some 34′ 3″ in totoid, so making das use of dem ladders not quite such an exercise in over-water vertigone as may othertimes be.

nb Cardinal Wolsey 508533 in Hurleston bottom lock July 2021

For the bottom lock I double-doublechecked that His Eminence’s fenders were up (they always are in the upright and locked position unless forgotibode; I never knowingly travel with them down), and I asked him to think thin thoughts. Starboard chamber wall; rebuilt at great public expense. Port chamber wall; still as bent as a Westminster politician.

At time of exiting yonder locks we turned briefly to port, having arranged a meeting with an acid-green van and some crates of comestibles fresh and comestibles dry from my dealer. Watering and rubblish dipsposal we had been able to obtain from the tattered remains of Hurleston’s “Service Area” above the locks, but They Who have long-since allowed the Elsan point there to fall into decay thus giving them the “excuse” that they feel they need to remove it – so something on the order of a five-mile round-trip to Calveley was then required just for that and no other reason.

Incidentally, where “they” “logged” us, the Cardinal and me, a boater used to be able to empty Elsans, take on potable water and dump rubbish. All gone now, allowed to decay and removed. The rubbish was the last to go on the flimsy excuse – see what I did there? – of the access bridge having been damaged and not being able to take the weight of the bin lorry…

…which is very odd, since the marina that I rather suspect damaged the bridge in the first place still drags large boats across it, the oil tanker that refills their diesel tank still drives across it and they – and the nearby farmhouse Wardle Old Hall still get their bins emptied without undue drama by a bin lorry that drives across the same “damaged” bridge. Could it be that the WWT Ltd are lying through their wooden teeth yet again? Shame on me for thinking such!

Being me, I have photographs of

a. the repairs being made to the bridge

b. the oil tanker in question driving over the bridge after the repairs were made

c. the marina dragging a very large boat & trailer across the bridge after those same repairs.

Give me time – and a few more swift visits to those moorings – and I’ll capture an image of the bin lorry on the bridge too.

Jus’ sayin’, is all [excuse the trans-Atlantic vernacular, but it seems appropriate].

Anyway. Enough of causing one’s cranial bone to repeatedly impact a tall brick structure without hope of finding intelligent (or even just honest) life at the WWT Ltd.

While waiting for Meals On Wheels to deliver – over that same apparently-tragically-still-damaged bridge – and while having our identity and position logged and stored by the “charity” spotter – the heavens opened once or twice.

Barbridge Junction in the rain, Shropshire Union Canal 07/2021

and we were treated to a peal or two of thunder but to no visible lightning.

Oddly, the delivery of freshly-slaughtered bloody tofu and recently-orphaned screaming baby vegetables for the pot took place in the dry… praise be to Zeus et al. The only substitution in the order was ordinary nickled punions in place of silverskin nickled punions, and I can live with that. Life-juices of the freshly-squeezed-to-death fruit, strong flour, manifold highly-varied curryings… hmm. Yum et le yum.

Having amply comestibled we mooched on again towards the Deep South. Remind me to dig out the old [European} Union flag and to disguise myself with latte stains and pain-au-chocolat crumbs. I needs must pass for “southern” or else likely be lynched. Northerners are not popular in the south. Think “flea at Crufts” popular.

However, screaming gusts of wind stopped play after just some scant miles. We found moorings long before we found penguins.

It’s NOT the Llangollen.

This being Ing-er-lund, from last week’s “knocking the nineties Fahrengezundheiting” the it of it is, today, not even in the sixties. I believe that in English winters Edwardian drawing rooms were generally only heated to the mid-fifties of the Fs. This is doubtless why they wore lots of layers and ate fatty foods sufficient unto the growing of highly-insulating bustles wherein to store large quantities of shivering-energies. Were I made of less stern stuff I might by now have bunged the chimney back on so that Mr Stove might be roused. In July…

Not the Cardinal.

Tis all one thing or all the other it seems, these days. Mind you, what’s to be expected when the lunatics are running the asylum eh? I am wearing my fingerless gloves and old-man cardigan.

Talking of lunacy, right at the beginning of a perambulatory inspection of the neighbourhood I stumbled across this:

Not a David Prowse in sight!

Incidentally, I recommend that you not stumble across it but walk very, very decisively indeed, ignoring the advice of Charlie Crocker to Lorna at Turin Airport and instead looking both to the left and to the right…

Fortunately, as well as blinking from side-to-side my eyes also swivel on stalks, so I managed to look both ways at once while crossing. Imagine the elderly male version of Cruella de Vil hurrying through a crowded social event towards a bubbling cold G&T dripping moisture on some distant waiter. Or more likely in this weather, a steaming mug of vegan cocoa. Whatever. Don’t linger is the message.

No, when I go it’ll be chased by MI7’s “Rogue Agent Recovery Unit” over Beachy Head in a stolen Ferrari, not diced by some two-carriage local rattler taking shoppers from Crewe to shops in Chester and shoppers from Chester to bigger shops in Crewe. With any luck at all, and all over my cold, dead body first, as they say (not that they, the other they).

So that’s the thing of it really. We’re off the Llangollen, headed slowly south, logged in quite the disconvenient (if not entirely unexpected) place, monsooned upon, victualled to the gunwales and considering putting match to stove in July. It’s all very silly indeed.

Slightly less silly though, it must be said, than life on the LLangollen in summer.

Chin-chin for the mo, chaps.

Ian H.


  1. Rain! … not that it’s my favourite sort of H2O, but we’ve had nary a droplet here, in a temperate rainforest I might add, for something like 50 days now! Your photo did bring a tear to my eye. Only one though – water conservation and all that. πŸ˜€

    Congratulations on your Southerning at last! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rain in moderation and with meteorological manners is a fine thing, allowing as it does the indoor staff to place the aspidistrii outside to water themselves. Plays merry hell with the Vicar’s croquet tournament though. His crucifix goes rusty in anything but mild drizzle.

      On the boat I find heavy rain very useful; I lay out my pair of spare underpants on the roof to freshen. Works a treat.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t travel too far south or you might just hear the plucking of them dueling banjos coming from the uncut undergrowth belonging to the WWT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some of those narrow bits are a bit too narrow and overgrown for my comfort. Bows and arrows from the towpath I can cope with, but when the locals can just drop from the over-hanging tree branches, well…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The little perishers are acting up here in Costa Rica too….this is the rainy season…except for days of blazing heat thus buggering up the sowing of maize, planting out sugar cane, etc…and just as they have managed that back come the rains in torrents,washing out roads, flooding on the grand scale…and what is more, it is cold! Cold, in Costa Rica!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Weather Gods are contrary creatures, I wouldn’t put it past them to suddenly foist weather weirding upon us all just as the human world is also sinking into insanity. It’s either that, or the whole planet is about to sneeze and then shake like a dog with fleas…

      Are you all set up and safe? I have my fingers crossed for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve often found that clockers lurk outside pubs and other venues where it might appear they’re being sociable (although, in reality, even the village drunks wouldn’t converse with them). The nazi-wing of the trainspotters fraternity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do find it odd that were I to mirror their behaviour I would be up before some Serious Beak on charges of stalking and all manner of privacy invasions and data abuses. Then again, I’ve never been able to understand this peculiar concept of one human (or indeed any animal) holding “authority” over another. All “authority” is merely bullying behaviour to which we peasants, the victims, have become inured.

      At its pointy end the Canal & River MisTrust Ltd is little more than a self-serving gang of knuckle-dragging white-ish collar thugs playing the “professional professionals” game for salaries in the region of a quarter mill not including various and nefarious “benefits” atop the plain and obvious wonga. Were life to truly be a cartoon then the huge can of RAID spraying over C&RT HQ is long overdue. JMHO. Other opinions are available from other people, but they’re wrong. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We live a society where authority is seldom earned but granted as a right to those deserve it least. The only authority I’ve ever respected is my own…which is probably why my life is such a mess.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The weather gods being what they are, what say you unearth a sou’wester and a yellow oilskin, place said where visible from above and…hey presto! the contrary sods will produce sunshine. When you have had enough of same, don espadrilles and a panama hat and you will promptly be drenched.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tis difficult to comprehend the weather that sees me sore tempted to light Mr Stove during the month of July – I do wonder if perhaps the Weather Gods are smoking crack or some such. Last week’s nights were ten or fifteen degrees warmer here than this week’s daytimes…

      I think, perhaps, that the time has come for me to turn myself in to Rudloe Manor.


Comments are closed.