Why are canal bridges generally so tight? When the canals were built these weren’t public spaces, the canals were a workplace, and bridges cost money; the narrower the span the less moolah the owners had to fork out in their initial speculations. You got room for a working boat, room for the horse, and that was your lot.
In the general and usual way of things there’s been a complete flip of course. Horses are now, with a few local and specific exceptions, banned from towpaths, boats are made to feel very unwelcome on the canals by the Canal Company Ltd., and towpath “users” reign supreme – anglers, ramblers, cyclists, mackintosh-swaddled gentlemen who hide in the shrubbery with their willies out, ready and eager to jump in front of you and shout ‘Have another sausage roll on me, Deirdre’, that sort of thing.
One species that is inordinately popular and numerous on the canals is the domestic pet hamster. At least, from the numbers of piles of sawdust one sees lobbed into the hedgerow, lots of boats must be home to hamsters. I assume that the sawdust is hamster bedding, for all that one might mistake it for the eco-spoor of the eco-freaks with their composting toilets.
We’ve enjoyed a few minor cruise-ettes the Cardinal and I since our previous bloggery, and most pleasant they have been. This morning’s was no exception. Her Majesty’s Met Office predicted wind and rain and doom and gloom of course, but having failed to send the required memo to the shop floor, a perfectly good, mild winter’s day was issued to the plebs. I decided to use it. Not far, just out of the immediate neighbourhood, should any of the Canal Company’s nazgûl see fit to ride by.
They missed the Cardinal when he was in for blacking and out of sight under cover in the dry dock. Oh, they had the scent and were sniffing about, up and down, up and down, so frantic to feed and yet also so thwarted that one almost felt some animal sympathy for them.
I had a great Christmas break, thanks and praise be to the players, you know who you am. 🙂
I may only hope that all of my reader (sic) also experienced a very Joyeux Noël.
AaaaahSDA made a surprise delivery of comestibles yesterday – I had no idea that delivery slots would be available until (I was guessing) mid-January, but wa-hey, I grabbed some of that when I saw it. So… I am typing this while (re-) stuffed full of sprouts and spuds and carrots and cabbage and onions and coughilower and wotnot. Most splendid indeed.
Half the reason why I moved this morning was because Messrs Internet & Signal were positively dire on the previous moorings. No 4G, no 3G, not even “H+” but just a couple of bars of something called “H”. H was something quite different in my day.
I bought the Cardinal a late Christmas present – two new Shroppie Shelf wheels. The existing ones are showing signs of giving up the ghost, and my favourite chandlers had some groovy wee beasties in stock – larger, more substantial, and solid rubber tyres instead of the inflatables. The old inflatables were no longer inflated. I can empathise, also having been deflated by life of late. Well, life of the past two years in particlibode. Flat are I. Flat am we all.
We shall try them out soon. You can see them on the boof of the roat in the photomatograph Brillo, just in front of the Horn of Jericho…
That’s not where they live, it’s just where I plonked them until I’d moved us and had sorted the locker out to fit them in the better. New rope for them too. 🙂 These are the wheels that the Cardinal flies on occasion to keep the hull away from the underwater obstruction that juts out near the towpath on so many miles (and miles and miles and miles) of the Shropshire Union Canal.
Once deployed they do make getting one’s leg over, so to speak, from deck to dry ground and while ducking down to avoid the cratch cover and ducking up to avoid the predatory swans a tad of a stretch. Still, as Mother always used to shout to me from her rooftop laboratory whenever the tell-tale light on her control panel indicated that I’d opened the refrigerator door; ‘You can’t have everything.’
The clouds today suggested much weather to come, but in fact the sunshine – weak as it was – prevailed, and Messrs Batteries-Domestique got themselves nicely (and convincingly) into “float” status.
[Steps down from desk and does a little Happy Dance.]
There’s a stretch of towpath on the upper west-side Middlewich that is damned near impassable if there’s been rain. We’ve had rain. Lots of it. It’s impassable. Armposseeblergh. You can see a bit of it in t’photo above. Perhaps some eco-freak could put some “hamster” sawdust on it?
Talking of gnus, the good gnus is that we’re past the Winster Soltsice, and the days ought, they really ought, to begin drawing out again. Not afore time, methinks. What we probably have to come now are the freezes and precipitations of January, February and even March – beware the ides especially.
The Days of The Ghost of WInter Yet To Arrive? Most excellent they shall be, so long as I contrive to always be moored somewhere close to the necessaries. Shall we have snow this year?
Do they even know it’s Christmas Time at all?
Let us talk genuine turkey…
I met a lovely lady on the previous moorings a couple of days ago. In classic manner her (lovely wee) dog put its heart and soul into a guts-dump not only alongside the Cardinal but right alongside my “office” window. The lady, in classic manner, looked on lovingly, and then once the dog had grimaced and squeezed its last, made to walk on…
I suggested – reasonably politely (my communication did begin with ‘Oi!’) – that she may like to consider cleaning up her dog’s mess.
Did that ever open the (ental millness of some kind?) flood-gates!
I am guessing that the lady had… issues… bottled up, on the boil, and all ready to go.
She lived locally, this was her neighbourhood, and the sooner I moved on the better.
Blah blah semi-hysterical blah. I gather that boaters are horrid, lower-class, oik-ish types that ruin her expensive bricks & mortar outlook, and we even got the “well it’s to one side, so if you stepped in it you’d have been straying too far from your boat…’ line. Yep, a canal boater, straying too far across the width of the canal towpath. Hmm. I see where you’re going with this, madam.
Most of what she shrieked she shrieked to either my back or to the outside of the Cardinal sans me. I’ve attended thousands of truly high-quality lectures in my life, I didn’t see why I ought to provide an audience, gratis, for her rather mediocre offering.
Uber-snobbish NIMBY much? I think so, yes. Lives next to the canal (and the canals are almost certainly a year or two, maybe even three, older than is she), and doesn’t like canals or boats or boaters in general. Didn’t react well to my suggestion that if this was indeed her (exclusive) neighbourhood then she might like to take more pride in it and not cover it in terrier-shite. She did not, she told me in no uncertain terms, appreciate my sarcasm.
If you believe in the Multiverse Theory then there’s an alternative reality in which madam got her just rewards and had to walk home dripping wet with cold canal water and warm swan-pee, rolled in giant hogweed – and with fresh dog-turds in her coat pockets.
She quite obviously didn’t know that it was Christmas!
So. Twenty-twenty-two eh? A(nother) whole new year. What shall the collective “we” do with it?
I don’t even want to speculate. We’ll probably see even more dribbling stupidity mixed with dribbling insanity. I shall suggest it though anyway, in spite of the evidence.
Do please have a Happy New Year, one and all.
Ian H., and Cardinal W., damnable boating oiks, spoiling everything on the canals.