Gone half-past three in the arvo yesterday up oiks some (highly inappropriately proprietorial) chap, nails notices to living trees (something I abhor), bangs on my boat (ditto) and announces the near-imminent arrival of – gasps for breath – a “working party”*.
[*What is the collective noun for a large group of self-elected Sanatogen-rich busybodies wearing hi-vis and a sense of moral, social and indeed generalised superiority?]
Bang on my boat and you’re likely to find the side-hatch flung open and me biting your knees.
We’ll gloss over his manners, his thinly-veiled accusations of vandalism, his attempted lecture on putative “over-staying” (as he misunderstood it) and his general air of holier-than-thou-because-” us marina“-yeah? – and even over the total lack of posted notice or C&RT-logged event, either of which would have seen me plan my moochings very differently and not be at Bramble Cuttings, thus maintaining my only healthy position, slightly to the left of the Human Species vis-a-vis enforced contact therewith. The gist of it was ‘Leave. Now.’
Quelle chuffing surpreese. I knew that things were too pleasant. Not just supermarket car park syndrome this time, Messrs Universe had organised a mob.
Given that I am a “people person” in much the same way that Pol Pot was attracted to simple Cambodian peasants, the arrival of eight boats full of “folk” of a similar bent to this chap was a vision of an inner circle of Uber-Hell-Plus as far as I was concerned.
Short of waiting for them to come within reach of the Cardinal’s long nines there was nothing practical left in the way of options (for me there rarely is; my electrons spin counter to most folks’).
I upped sticks and left.
Six and some miles to the next semi-civilised moorings, arrival just before dark.
Schedule, such as it was, buggered. Peace, tranquility, more evaporated than a tin of Carnation.
The canals have changed even in only the seven years that I’ve lived on them. Tin-pots and busybodies abound, manners and courtesy and etiquette are sometimes thin on the ground. The gaps in which to be free(r on a pension than otherwise possible in England) are fast reducing.
To those of you who know me a little and now that I know what sort of people are inextricably associated with Bramble Cuttings in all of its careening towards “whimsical pottery dwarf next to the ornamental pond” glory; what do you reckon are the odds of my ever mooring at Bramble Cuttings again, even should they be the last available moorings this side of the drains of Calcutta?
Beelzebub, your cat is mewing, I think that his snowball may have melted.
p.s., Father Nature knows best. Bramble Cuttings does not need even more signposts, even more stands for disposable barbecues, or even more benches. Enough already. Cut the grass if you really must, and sod off. The trees, the grass, the twittering birds and the lack of towpath traffic is – was – quite enough to make it magical.