A Brace of Most Pleasant EnCruisinations Indeed

After a volte face it is as well, given the limited reasoning capacity of Canal & River Corporate, to mooch on with a measure of enthusiasm in the published returns of The Distance & Overall Velocity Department. They just can’t understand that the pointy bit of a narrowboat points south when it’s heading south, and north when it’s heading north. 40W bulbs mock most mercilessly the staff in the Spatial Logistics Department of the Canal & River MisTrust Corporate Ltd.

We cruised a couple of hours at sparrow-yawn o’clock yesterday, and followed up with a couple of hours at ye gods, it’s still dark o’sundial this morning. Most pleasant encruisinations indeed, on both occasions seeing ne’ery another moving boat (although we passed millions moored up with occupants snoring), and mooring up ourselves just as the great unwashed masses began to do whatever it is that the masses do when they ought really to be washing themselves.

Koo-lay pee-latte was nose to tail, rather like the government. Shropshire Union 08/2021.

There were, in Cruise A, two locks in my way but these are the Hack Green locks that aside from the usual case of galloping gate-incontinence and some inordinate muscle required on one or two of the paddles are quite civilised wee beasties, not more than about a 6′ drop each – and no need to use those slimy, weed-covered ladders.

Cardinal Wolsey, Hack Green Locks, 08/2021, one not-misty, not-moisty morning.

Cruising away from the lower lock always feels refreshing because of the wide-open flat countryside thereafter, but also worrying because of leaving behind the Nuclear Bunker at Hack Green. Were my pager to beep at me with The Four-Minute Warning where should I run?

Oh Cinnamon, where are you going to run to?

More to the point, where would the cows run to? As you can see from the lead image, cows and I met for a quick fox-trot with one another. There’s a narrowing where a bridge has been removed, and the grass always tastes – I am told – much better there.

Cardinal Wolsey communes with cows below Hack Green Locks, 08/2021

Especially when washed down with some cool, refreshing canal water.

Yuck!

The moorings that we settled upon thereafter, the Cardinal and I, had been civilised on the previous stay, but on this occasion proved thick with towpath motorbicyclists (sans registration, helmets, a care in the world for others, decent silencers on the motorbikes, and doubtless also sans licence and insurance), and with a veritable Bat-Out-Of-Hellery of electric-scooter riders. These things happen of course, when the Cyclists & Ramblers MisTrust Ltd take away the towpath grass and put a hard surface in place. Bugger the boaters, so long as SUSTRANS pays the bill. The electric-scooters were almost able to keep pace with the infernal-combustion-powered motorbicycle.

That was half, perhaps two-thirds of the reason why we moved again this morning.

First light saw me creeping past more nose to tail, stem to stern moored boats in Nantwich… over the aqueduct… neatly around the bend (where I’ve had not some little practice)…

Nantwich Aqueduct, Cardinal Wolsey, 08/2021

…and thence to the service area which is wot is where that which needed emptying was emptied and that which needed fullying was fulled. Our only companion was the very nice lady driving and operating the “one man” BIFFA lorry, swapping out one of the rubbish skips.

The bins at Nantwich Service Area, Shropshire Union Canal

Swapping out a skip is not a quiet process, even at 0630hrs o’gosh.

There’s a book & DVD swap shelf in operation at these services, so I added half a dozen books to the offerings, and swapped out a DVD (Point Break to me, some silly Star Wars thing that came in a bulk charity shop buy to the swap shelf – a good bargain, methinks).

[Public Service Announcement – Update. Wrong Point Break, instead of the “classic” 1991 film what I’d found was some utterly dismal 2015 re-hash. Lots of people about whom I could really not care less doing ridiculous things – via bad CGI – that I am not the least bit interested in. No acting, no vaguely plausible storyline, wrong cast entirely. Ho hum. At least it was free. I’ll put it back on swaps next time I go through Nantwich!]

Cardinal Wolsey at Nantiwch Services 08/2021

Mr Water Tank took perhaps half an hour to re-fill, which surprised me, I thought that I’d be there longer. Washed down the solar panels with “fresh” while running through the hosepipe. The new-ish rinky-dinky extendy bendy elastic hosepipe seems to work well, although I suspect that it won’t have the life-span of the ordinary sort. The principle benefit is that it packs down into a small canvas bag and can be brought inside in winter, whereas the conventional hose-on-reel had to stay outside and oft froze solid.

Had to guffaw when I saw this (plastic – PVC) nonsense strung up at the service area. Aged over 55? Good god – why are you still alive? The Canal & River MisTrust Ltd have a scheme to get those over age 55years out and about for a whole hour a week of exercise on walker- and wheelchair-friendly towpaths, with supportive guides… (and wet-wipes and spare glass eyes and adult nappies and free Sanatogen Wine if needed)…

Got to get the old dears moving about eh? What’s that, Sonny? Speak up, my ear-trumpet’s gone rusty… and I haven’t seen my best listening-teeth since the dog got himself a new and toothy smile from somewhere.

I wonder which acne-ridden teenage quarter-wit came up with that idea! I am only surprised that the buy-in age is set as high as fifty-five. Surely everyone over thirty is all nought but wooden legs and a strong aroma redolent of moist cemetery soil? Ugh – old people! Filthy! Why? Just why?

πŸ™‚

I attempted to take the MisTrust to task yesterday for their advertising of jobs at Anderton Boat Lift for eighteen to twenty-five year-olds [only]. The concept of ageism was beyond them. I explained that they wouldn’t (couldn’t) discriminate on almost any other criteria, and yet still they just giggled and looked blank. Caucasian men and/or “old” people – useless. If you’re in both groups, well… might as well put an elastic bandage around your neck and overdose now on liniment and moth balls.

Public Service Announcement – never put liniment on your moth balls, they don’t like it.

I’ve seen a fair number of The Youth of Today moving, and it’s not pretty. Half of them get out of breath with the exertion of just breathing. Perhaps that’s why so many at our favourite MisTrust Ltd show distinct signs of Severe Anoxia Of The Thinking-Gland?

Anyway, mild dampness of the underwear and immediate surroundings caused by guffawing at age-discrimination aside, it was a most pleasant cruise-ette indeed. My Plan A called for a specific set of moorings and, while everything else that I passed was busier than the car park during an IKEA sale, my intended moorings were utterly deserted.

I checked for any Candid Camera camera crews (none that I could see) and for any ‘Reserved for Nice Anglers for an Important Worm-Dangling Contest’ signs (none that I cared to see), and then moored. Job done. Nice one.

Cardinal Wolsey Barbridge Junction VMs 08/2021

I’ll lay out my ‘Can I speak to you about Jesus?’ signs and string up the ‘Services on Loudspeaker Three Times A Day’ banner, and see if I can’t keep them to myself for a while.

I don’t fancy my chances.

If only there were some sort of social exercise group for those of us so very far past our “use-by” date stamp. Just an hour a week along the towpath with the Zimmer-frame. Something that would mix well and safely with towpath motorcyclists and electric-scooters with the speed-limiters removed and the batteries doubled-up…

Gosh, I’d be there like a sloth up a drainpipe.

Amen.

p.s., the weather, which is wot did not look terribly inviting this morning while cruising (and mooring up), changed immediately to blue sky and something called “sunshine”. I’m asleep, aren’t I? I’m pushing up the zeds in my Parker-Knoll Recliner. Sunshine indeed.

The solar panels have a hint of St Emo’s fire glowing about them. I shall get out the Remoska and roast something, electrically.

26 Comments

    1. Thank’ee most kindly, that’s the first time I’ve ever been described as such! More usually I am classified as a “human curiosity”. πŸ˜‰

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    1. I did wonder if they were about to step aboard as we passed, but they seemed to be fascinated with their own reflections in the windows… I could almost hear them thinking ‘God – I’m GORGEOUS!’…

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  1. You have an abundance of community and spirit down there, not even the pandemic has brought it out in static land. But then I don’t venture into the empty shelf shops or come up against the anti-maskers, so I have to feel somewhat pleased. I just do battle with the mighty grocery deliverables and do fight against the absurd ‘subsitution’ prefect of the day who is probably unable to read very well anyway. What ever happened to ‘commonsense’? I only hope that the Brexiteers are suffering as much!

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    1. Common sense is a very silly name for something that is in no way common. I haven’t seen a good exhibition of common sense since. well, no – can’t remember when. The final nail in the coffin that contains my faith in human good sense was that single Brussels sprout a few Christmasses ago, all bagged up and bar-coded. I suppose that competitive evolution has decided that the species has politicians and television in equal measure; it no longer needs the expense of a brain gland…. πŸ˜‰

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  2. Dear Sir, I feel I must protest, not too much, with the par city of sunshiny ness experienced in this wonderful country I have noted that you frequently bottle it and then waste it heating things such as food, an ill-considered extravagance in my opinion, please don’t , can you not feed your cooker with irritating things such as electric scootmobiles or even better, their cargo of flesh.

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    1. My solar harvesting activites are part of a devilish scheme I have to bring about a protracted Maunder Minimum. If the world won’t chill one way then I’ll chill it another.

      The most interesting legal shenanagins will come when one of the C&RT-encouraged bicyclists goes sweaty apex over lycra fundament after coming upon a boat mooring pin banged – perfectly legitimately – into the towpath. C&RT will be directly responsible for putting both parties at significant risk on what is actually not “public” property, but a “permissive pathway” and thus tantamount to private land… which we boat owners pay a direct licence fee to use, while the bicyclerists personally pay nowt. You bring the drinks, I’ll do the snacks. πŸ˜‰

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  3. Shortly, Ian, things will quieten down as the school holidays end. Although, then, I suppose, you’ll get the oldies, like me, beginning their hols, having been waiting to avoid the kiddywinks (and, of course, the inflated prices during school hols.)
    I do think that the tow-paths should be banned from anything going faster than walking pace. (Badly worded. The tow paths shouldn’t be banned! Just the vehicles on them.) πŸ˜„
    And paving them only encourages these people. Wait until one falls into the water. Who’ll be blamed?

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    1. I can’t wait for one of C&RT’s “sympathetically guided” Over-55 Exercise Parties on the towpath to meet a motorbike and a gaggle of electric scooter riders. There’ll be bits of Zimmer-Frame and wheelchairs everywhere, and a tearful guide explaining to Messrs Police that C&RT don’t insure any eventuality, preferring to risk it all to the taxpayer’s funds instead…

      I’m not a bad person really, in spite of what I’ve just said. It’s just, well – who couldn’t imagine that happening and not find themselves feeling a smidge of epicaricacy? πŸ˜‰

      Seriously though, there have already been many nasty accidents. There’s at least two cyclists out there somewhere who make a muffled “ting ting” noise each time they break wind. I don’t respond well to “ting ting”, and apparently the NHS regards bicycle bell removal as a matter for private treatment.

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  4. We had a sixty foot hose pipe on an annoying reel that refuse to turn properly. No matter how carefully I rewound it, the hose itself always ended up coiled around the gas bottles in the bows within five minutes, as well as the tiller, the propeller, three pedestrians and one small dog.

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    1. My old original hose (came with the boat) was more kinks than a Waterloo Sunset. As I cut out each strangulation the hose eventually became so short that there was nothing left of it, and I ended up ferrying water from the tap to the boat tank in an old two-gallon absinthe bottle.

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  5. At coffee o’clock, in the quiet hours before yokels must arise and roar off to their work shells…you made me guffaw and almost render my laptop (the electronic one) coffee-washed.
    Must say, I’m impressed that you have swap shelves along your route.Maybe you could trade a Boris for a Mickey Mouse?

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    1. Early is still the best time of the day even with the canals filled to capacity – although tis a much shorter window of opportunity than hitherto; other boats begin moving from about 0800hrs whereas once upon a time they wouldn’t shift until mid-morning at the earliest. I am not averse to meeting occasional traffic if needed, but it’s much more pleasant without!

      I must admit, I do look at Boris and wonder if perhaps we might send him back and get a refund on our Green Shield Stamps.

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  6. So it was you that went past us at sparrow fart o’clock. I was just tucking into my scribbled eggs on toast & mug of tea. I was just thinking” there goes a boater after my own heart” getting some cruising done b4 the majority get out of their pits.
    Another vlockie day done and on to meet Mrs vlockie Steve at Calverley waterpoint. She says she passed the Cardinal on her little cruise (sounded her horn)passing the Cardinal but no sign of life other than your bow doors were open. Having a siesta me thinks!

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    1. It was indeed, I was tempted to blow the horn but decided against receiving a lump-hammer to the forehead! Did indeed see you cruise by but was in the throes of a supermarket check-out confustication at the time and dare not leave the keyboard… seems that the b’gers now (also) require a mobile txt code as well as my card, word and good reputation. Just be here long enough to get more coffee, biscuits and tins of Baked Beanz. πŸ˜‰

      That time of the day is most splendid indeed – although I ought to get a hospital silencer fitted to the boat…

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  7. With your luck you’ll probably be greeted with joy by Saint Scholastica’s parish youth cruise, their boat bearing banners reading ‘Canal boaters for Christ’….and I trust you will not be tempted to add an apostrophe, the letter s and the word sake.
    According to ‘The Telegraph’ canal boating is the in thing….perhaps you should become an ‘influencer’ and put a stop to it.
    c

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    1. No sooner had I wroten what I’d writ than a boat cuddled up to our stern and another manoeuvred carefully to face our bow. Twas to be expected. The canals are ridiculously busy, every boat that ever there was is out and about and the sillysad thing about it is – the monstrous MisTrust Ltd aren’t even raking in any more money than usual from the holiday influx, not so much as an extra groat. Tis just the system taking a battering (and, occasionally, the Cardinal).

      Since the ecclesiastical approach to personal space isn’t working I shall give the old inflatable sheep on the roof another try.

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      1. Local councils covering canals and canal towns where traders oik up and bring some business in have begun demanding “street-trader” licences from the boats (this on top of C&RT’s trading licences), making it hardly worthwhile trading in most cases.

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