First Cruise of the Year…

…first of this year, that is, on which I encountered not a single other boat moving…

Has Winter begun?

The chimney is smoking somewhat in the lead image because I’d just bunged on a slack bucketful of fresh dinosaur remains in order to give Mr Stove something to chew on as I cruised. Thus, if I time things correctly, the inside of the boat remains toasty ready for when we land in France or the Peloponnese or where’er tis that I am aiming for. Anywhere well within two or three hours’ of crusing at my average velocity of 2.75mph. On this occasion the mighty and rugged weatherworn sandstone outcrops of the Area Serveece overlooking the crystal-clear azure-blue waters of the Sea of Calveley, the better to empty the toilet cassettes.

All hail the Greek god Elsan.

There’s something wholly intact about the magic of an undisturbed early-ish morning cruise. Forty minutes up to the Service Area, best part of an hour bunkering (it’s not the fastest tap in the West), then half an hour from there to the winding hole and back to moor on the Singing Ringing Mooring Rings of King Alpraham’s Domain. Plenty for me.

Moving off as quietly as possible the better to not disturb the neighbours (even though there’s heavy traffic thundering past almost 24/7).

Praise be also to the Roman god Wheelie-Bin, and to the lesser-worshipped but equally powerful Demon of the Hose*.

*Water-type hose, not Elizabethan hose & codpiece.

Ought to have been able to dispose of rubbish where I was, but the Canal Company Ltd have closed the facilty, they’re just too cowardly to actually say so outright. Ditto water a few years before that.

This is the bridge that – according to the boneless hyena of C&RT – can support fully-laden mini-oil-tankers (stubbies) and large 4x4s dragging large cruisers, but not a wheelie bin.

Last time I was hereabouts, about seven weeks ago if memory serves, the place was jam-packed with revellers and ne’er-do-wellums, with not a decent mooring in sight. On this occasion though, praise be…

A lovely stretch of empty towpath

…space abounding.

Oh, by the way, there’s no need for all of those vitriolic and venomous anti-boats-“sans”-home-mooring folk – or even for the Canal Company Ltd., with its insane hatred of same – to thank the Cardinal and me – and manifold others similar – for beginning the task of keeping the waterways and esp. the winding holes from totally silting up during the winter months. We love you all, that’s why we B’Stards do it. [Not.] We should all stop one winter, and benchmark the infrastructure when it hasn’t been used by man nor beast for six winter months.

I did gain a neighbour later in the day.

Bridge 104 in the small Principality of Calveley

But, being a rabidly-sociable people-person, I can live with that. Meerkats R Us.

These moorings have one significant disadvantage, and that is the towpath-side treelets and busherings that have been allowed to grow unhindered – they cast a speckled shadow in the low winter sun for most of the day, discomnobulating my solar panels. Still, as the maitre d’hotel at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat said to me as he supervised Les Bouncers throwing me out of the bar and into La Mer; ‘You can’t have everything.’

It’s gone ten of the a of the m and I’ve just been out for the third time to try to squeegee orf Messrs Solar Panels – and they’re still deeply frosted over.

This reminds me of a partially-buried very-young-childhood and fragmented memory of a parquet-floored clinic or surgery at which I seem to remember Mummy and Daddy were engaged in a debate with experts in re treatment of some kind. It’s all very vague but very intense, and I seem to remember the phrase ‘deeply frosted over’ being used there, too. 😉

I’ll try again in twenty minutes. The batteryodes need all of the love that they can get duing this, the Season of Lesser Ergs.

Tis time to break out the scarves and thick socks and bobble-hats from storage. That said I haven’t stopped wearing the fingerless gloves for most of the year. I think that I’ll have a shower before applying the goose-grease and then sewing myself into my WInter Underwear.

I think that my blood is thinner than it used to be, which is wot doesn’t bode well for the season.

I would have it changed, but the National Supply is doubtless now awash with Pfizerisms.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H. &etc.


  1. I spent most of one winter squeegee-ing, washing and elbow-greasing my solar panels in the hopes of boosting the batteries enough to catch that all important extra five minutes of the One Show on Friday evenings, only to discover the next spring that they weren’t even connected.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clean-up on aisle three please, I just spluttered my coffee. Not kind but then life is inherently cruel (and especially so if you’re under C&RT’s jackboot heel). The Cardinal’s panels are covered with thick frost this morning, which actually helps the yield by refracting a low sun… up to a point. I shall have to judge my expedition into the icy wastes of outdoors carefully, trying for that triple-point where the frost is soft enough to scrape off, the sun high enough to need it, and my oomf sufficient to get me out there. They never explain this sort of thing in physics lessons at your average comprehensive school.

      Mind you, at least you cleaned them – the saddest sight is an array of panels fit to grow a crop of potatoes.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting point and not occurred to me until now, is the Blood Donar Service taking the blood from vaccinated people? I remember being denied giving because of being put on medication. Does it mean that ONLY unvaccinated people can give blood? Can’t think that anyone who refuses the vax would be that altruistic – things you think about when reading your posts.


  3. I do enjoy mooring there but you are dead right those overgrown bushes do block off ones solar panels.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember well the winters at the workhouse. We were offered the choice of being sewn into our underwear or being bricked up in the boilerhouse. Memory fails me and I can’t relate which was my preferred option. I do remember that the workhouse boiler was an 1803 Stephenson 667 with double side-pipes and integrated flange mechanisms.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They are good moorings, but I have to find something to moan about… 😉

      That, and the mud. Mind you, the interwebnetting tree on the railway is a bonus.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have fond memories of my liberty bodice, rubber buttons notwithstanding. A cosy cross between a bralette for the soon to emerge buds and a corselette for the ‘puppy fat’. I struggled to breathe at the same time as feeling Boudicca would have worn one in winter’s chill… maybe Boudicca bodice would be more appropriate name.


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      1. Liberty? More confusing still is the Fraternité and Egalité bit.

        I don’t think that they are clothing in the usual sense, more a sartorial statement of bodhisattva.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you. Now I have that song – the man who shot liberty bodice – going around and around and around in my head.

      I can’t wear corsets. They squeeze everything and it all just pops out around my ankles and my neck.

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  5. Mother used to help out sat a clinic for children just after the war and she did meet up with a mother who had greased her child and wrapped it in brown paper for the winter. Being old fashioned brown paper it would carry stitches so had been sewn into a sort of suit of armour.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What ever happened to brown paper? I was very disappointed some years ago to discover that old-fashioned parcels wrapped the correct way in brown paper and tied up with string are now verboten by the Post Office. Apparently the string can interfere with the machinery.

      Well I remember the (rare) occasions of being on the receiving end of an old-fashioned paper letter.

      Mother used to send us back to Social Services each winter, and then redeem us in spring.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The worst years were the yearts when Mother lost the little “cloakroom ticket” and couldn’t redeem us until we were on sale and reduced-price promotion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. She reckoned that half the problem was poor housing….those who had been bombed out and then were allotted prefabs were much better off – proper washng facilities for a start.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I can believe it. We lived in the whole spectrum when I was a sprog, everything from uber-luxurious pads to houses with no electrickery or water (or toilet) and with such damp that you could push a finger into the walls up to the first knuckle! As a child I loved them all, but some were damned hard work for Ma.

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