Cows and Crows

These are nice moorings. You can tell that without even looking at the view because most of the length of the towpath has been restricted by They Who to forty-eight hours. Not even “allowed” to stay a complete weekend! There is room for perhaps three or four real boats* to squeeze in for the more legal fourteen days maximum (the restrictions aren’t just the bit with the picnic tables and ready-made “bar-beak-oohs”, they extend far past that area). All part of the strident blue plastic touristification (new word) of the canal network by a corporation that hasn’t got Clue One.

[* Space, that is, if you carry a machete with which to hack down the canal-edge weeds in order to be able to see what you may moor to…]

I am moored with tall hedgerow to one side but I still love these moorings because of the open horizon on the offside. Cows and crows. Also moorhens, Canadada da da dada geese, (foul-)swans (ugly bullies of the avian society) and a hawk or two of some kind. There are sheeps (the four-legged kind, not the human kind) on the other side of the hedgerow.

Today – in weather terms – is gloomish, rainful and with an excess of coolth.

These are the eggs of the Lesser-Spotted Artist bird. This species lays its eggs on picnic tables, and is a close relative of the spider species that crochets woollen nests in trees and bushes, and on lock beams. The it of the weather was dry yesterday, and these certainly haven’t been varnished. If it’s poster-paint then they may well not hatch and might return to being simply stones.

We are fortunate indeed that the Lesser-Spotted artist bird does not sit upon its eggs to hatch them.

As far as I know.

Lots of things are building nests around here. The Priestman “JCB” is constructing its birthing-mound of mineralised Triassic peri-glacial fractured depositions upon which it will lay perhaps two or three small motor-mowers or a building-site cement mixer.

A mature Farm Digger building itself a nest upon which it will lay two or three small motor-mowers or perhaps a cement-mixer.

TBH, Bridge 82 on the Shroppie could do with a young cement-mixer.

Bridge 82 Shropshire Union Canal – earthquake damage

The bridge has been like this for many a while. Some say, disingenuously, that the damage is related to the road traffic over the old structure, but I think it more likely – as no doubt will the Canal & River MisTrust – that this is evidence of damage by a high-flying boat, smacking into the parapet well above water-level.

May the Greek and Roman gods help the poor bu*gger that is cruising under when it finally lets go, and may that poor bu*gger not be me.

Those compression “roof-tie” things that were intended to stop the structure bulging are now proud of the brickwork and doing little to stop its glacially-paced collapse.

Boaters (especially live-aboards); they’ve got no respect for anything. Kill ’em all I say, and let Mr God sort them out. Rushing up and down pell-mell, full-tilt, helter-skelter with ne’ery a care for the waggle-stick or the acceleratrix or the dis-velocitator.

The Cardinal and I found a pre-trampled section of un-especially-restricted towpath upon which to fling our ropes. There’s a smidgen of such at either end of the “The Visitor Moorings” nonsense. Finding such is not a tactic that is going to work in winter, methinks, when there’s less of the “busyness” about the moorings. In fact, come springtime the whole system will probably resemble something from one of those documentaries about what Milton Keynes New Town (1946 Act) will look like a few years after the human species disappears.

Yes, that huge out-growth to the lower right of frame is the towpath edge where we are invited to moor up and commune with Father Nature and get Wellyness By-Watered.

That said, once tied up (ooh er Missus!) you can’t beat a good commune with the crows and the cows.

Apparent distances distorted by telephoto distortionnessnous

A bit of “greening” of the soul, after the hectic metropolitan hither and thither of Audlem City.

Of course, it might just be mildew…

Talking of long-(brain-)dead things, the The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd took time out to ask me (and nine thousand million other people) to take their online quiz to discover what canal animal best describes my Inner Me. They’ve been running some sort of “appeal to especially thick toddlers” campaign suggesting – and I kid you not – that we all go down to the canal as soon as possible to commune with our “spirit animal”. A chap shuffles along to their official website and answers a few questions about which sort of butterflies are the sexiest and whether he’s ever seen sunshine on a rainy day, that sort of thing, and the official system generates an answer to the creature that typifies his “inner spirit”.

Only the Canal Company Corporate could have taken my answer of ‘Dust Mite’ so seriously…

Apparently I’m the only one.

Gnoshit, Sherlock.

Scary thing is, do they not know that someone somewhere somewhen will have typed in a finite list of possibilities, or do they actually know that this someone really has entered ‘dust mite’ as one of the spirit animal answers for their customers?


Ian H.

p.s., the actual answer from their system for me was “bat”.

Just ‘bat’.

The system didn’t specify soup-, fruit- or ding- …


  1. Glad to find you in a good place…both in terms of mooring and your good self….now I am back on line after yet another ‘rainy season tree falling on telephone lines’ saga at this end.
    The road to the bridge to get to the good road to town is becming narrower every day…..I am keeping an eye onthe car of our obnoxious North American neighbour…if it passes our gate but does not return then with a bit of luck it is half way down the hillside.

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    1. I was beginning to wonder if you were in some pestilential gaol on trumped-up charges of “deliberately being a foreigner” or some such. Glad to hear you’re fine and swelligant and back on the interwebnettings.

      If the neighbour does have an automotive disconvenience remember that it is perfectly acceptable to laugh – so long as you only do so on the inside, saving the guffaws for indoors with no witnesses… Slip a few extra psi into his car’s tyres, that ought to help things along.


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    1. They are generous with their bureaucratic excretions, aren’t they? I haven’t seen an organisation so actively, insanely poorly managed since I was in charge of the Broadmoor D-Wing Boy Scout Club. There’s been a lot of this inner-animal spiritual bollocks pouring out of C&RT’s orifices of late, it’s only a matter of time until the boat spotters are told to throw away their IpiddlyPads and just hug us all and share an early-life anecdote or two as they find us.

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  2. Excellent reading as always but rather lacking the usual uplifting vitriol, and whose day isn’t brightened by a few more hens, especially my mate Cocky, he of the scarlet comb.

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    1. Probably not a whole lot – I get the impression that C&RT Corporate has at its throbbing, beating heart all of the school leavers and paiid-scheme desperados that it can find. The average maturity level would appear – on six years of personal experience – to be about ‘Giggle, twirl hair, play on the phone, wonder if you can look old enough to get into a decent club next weekend’… A mature organisation they are not! With perhaps the exception of the Corporate Executive, most of whom have been grubbing about shamelessly for pennies and free gin since twenty-nine of the notorious pieces of silver went missing circa 33 A.D. …

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  3. When thinking of bats, have you considered the possibility of cricket or table tennis? But I like the idea of dust mite. I bet all the possibilities are mammals! Poor nonmammals don’t get a look in.
    Low-flying boats, eh? Make sure the Cardinal stays high enough to miss the bridge. The Watery Wellness people would soon blame you. I hope it doesn’t do its glacial collapse when you and the Cardinal are passing through.

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    1. A cricket-bat wouldn’t be bad; shows the right sort of spirit, anyway! A fair number of the bridges – and half of the locks – are of the ‘oh my [Greek & Roman] gods, let’s get through this and hope it lasts long enough’ variety; the Watery Wellness Trust aren’t what you might call “big on pro-active maintainance’… They wait until one of two things happens – some other august body picks up the bill, or the whole thing fails cataclysmically and they have no choice but to repair it. Unless it’s the towpath, in which case it’s a cycle-lane and there’s always [SUSTRANS] money to re-surface those in or near towns! Whine whine whine – I need some wine. πŸ˜‰

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  4. I believe they consider you Lord Dracula and are to frightened to say it directly. 🀣
    Your neighbors at this mooring seem just my sort. Lazy and out of my business.

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    1. There’s a small, shallow “lagoon” opposite, created by a break in the offside bank – it has a routine all of its own from dawn until dusk (and probably afterwards too). Cows drink there, the heron holds court, the Canada geese sail in one after the other like an armada heading back to port and the moorhen nips in and out when nobody else is around. Tis fascinating to watch (for a while, at least). πŸ˜‰

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  5. Well howdy bat man! Makes sense when you consider the Robins you’ve encountered down by the dingly dell! Lovely pictures and the cows and crows are amazing! The Watery Wellness remind me of the old Police Authorities (they who kept check on the constabularies); their monthly News Paper re my force, one once said, would be better if they didn’t have to mention the force at all, only them! Sometimes they forget why they’re there at all, hey ho. Ditto Pam in Texas.

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    1. I used to have a batman outfit, although since I was about eight years old at the time I don’t think it would still fit me. Worth a try though, I’ll dig it out and let you know.

      Tis odd, isn’t it? GP’s receptionists treat patients as an unwanted distraction, Civil Servants mix up the words ‘servant’ and ‘master’, and the Canal Company hates canals and canal-boaters. I suspect that some sort of pattern has formed, and it’s about time the rug was picked up, taken outside and shown the blunt end of the carpet-beater.

      Actually, I doubt that our carpet-beater would be up to the job. He’s been with the family for something like one hundred and sixty years and it’s all he can do now to unfold a Mansize Kleenex to blow the dog’s nose. Would have pensioned him off years ago but servants become like favoured items of furniture, don’t they?

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  6. You always cheer my day, thank you for your excellent writings and observations.
    Stay well and continue to delight and entertain us.
    Pam in Texas.

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