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.
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.
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.
Especially when washed down with some cool, refreshing canal water.
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)…
…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.
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!]
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?
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.
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.
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.