It’s not Bognor, and King George The Vth is not in residence.
We’re in salt territory. The guide books (also the Scout books) advise that the many empty spaces in the local town are due to demolishunz brought about by subsidence. The Trent & Mersey Canal was begun in 1766 and completed in 1777. I got here last Thursday.
The chap moored just ahead of the Cardinal has been running his engine for most of 245 years.
Wonder of wonders, Heavens to Murgatroyd, I spotted us being spotted by a spotter this morning, at approximately 11:01 o’sundial. The Canal Company Chap was decidely new at the job; he had yet to master the art of reading boat numbers without slowing down, or of tapping them into his rinky-dinky ruggeddyised iPiddlypad without being obvious. He’ll learn. Most of the old lag snitches do the business without breaking step and/or making eye contact.
We’ve got a moorhen here that’s about the size of a small turkey, and it’s most vocal indeed at very first light, with its dog-chew meep-meep meep meep meep-meep. There’s also a cormorant with a regular schedule, fishing alongside and underneath in worryingly-long dives. I’ve told him that he’d swim more easily without the pole and the keep-net, but you know cormorants; they just won’t be told.
A couple of fields along from here there’s a lapwing in residence, with its cheesy-grin-making call. We’re short of nothing we’ve got.
There’s also a supermarket that’s nobbut a three-mile round-trip walk, or thereabouts, so the Captain is scoffing rare treats and fine
wines fruit juices. They’re a bit heavy on the old carry but we’ll make a special trip afore we move on move on move on to see what they can offer in the way of Earth vegetables. Scurvy is not an option. I need an intravenous-cabbage drip and a broccoli poultice under each armpit.
The chap in the lead photograph is indeed riding a unicycle up and down the towpath in the company of his faithful hound. NHS cut-backs mean that instead of a four-wheel wheelchair, two large wheels and two small, with a seat, they only issue one large wheel these days to the non-private omniplegic. Apparently the pole is a rather tight screw-fit but you can ask for a left or a right-hand thread to match your religion.
What would a blog post be without a shadow-selife?
There’s also a fair whack of industry south of here, and a Salt Museum (several very interesting cruet sets on display) – sited, oddly enough, exactly where a large chunk of the salt industry used to take place before Her Maj’s Gubbermunt consigned all of England’s industry to museums.
There’s also a smidgen of a shelf-ette, and although I say “smidgen” I couldn’t get the Cardinal happy and baseplate-clonk-free except on the smaller of his wheels. Not even the squidgy blue fenders worked here for me.
Others are doing fine on just pipe fenders and slack ropes, but mayhap I’ve “chosen” (it was the only gap free on arrival, so mot nuch of a choice) the one spot where the concrete edge do poketh out farther than most? Who knows? Who cares?
There’s a lamprey’s surfeit of choice of peregrinations hereabouts, since not far hence is a vast parkery.
The Mersey Forest was where The Beatles used to live, working eight days a week stealing tunes from the rich and singing them to the poor. Choose the right pathway and you too can mimic Sir Paul McCartney by pointing at a the very same tree and warbling ‘I saw her standing there, Officer’.
Choose your time of day carefully (I’ve found that the middle of the night’s always good) and the infestation of Hoomans is much reduced and the walking unspoilt thereby. There are moorings up there too, I mayhap try those when boredom here sets in and/or the chap in front runs out of diesel, and can no longer produce sympathetic vibrations in the Cardinal’s wood panelling and windows, my back teeth and the overweight moorhen, which is standing on one leg in the shallows, beak crossed, eyes wild and staring, vibrating like the bonnet ornament on an Hispano-Suiza with an oiled-up sparkplug on cylinder number seven.
The Canal & River [Mis]Trust Ltd have installed some visual jokes along the towpath, although I mun admit to having seen their repeat installations of this one a few hundred times in other places…
Intended, I believe, to discourage lycra-clad louts and loutettes on bicycles, tricycles, quadicycles and quinticycles from attaining death-to-life-and-dismemberment-to-limb velocities while on the towpath, I don’t know about you but I can spot a minor flaw in the design.
Suggestions on improvement of same on a postcard please, addressed to ‘The Throbbing Brain’, Canal & River MisTrust Ltd., Blah Blah Bla SW1A 1AA½, England.
Seriously, lycra-louts and lycra-loutettes can be such horrid rotters, circumventing even the most cunningly fail-safe designs of the Canal Company and of SUSTRANS. How “out of control” must a person be to go around to one side rather than to slow down and fiddle through the constriction?
When all is said and done these are not awful moorings. The Cardinal and I have been on worse.
We might up sticks soon and see if there’s room at Anderton. By ‘soon’ I mean ‘when I can be ar*sed’. Holding of breath not recommended. The whim arrives when the whim arrives, and not before.
Now Anderton’s so far north that it’s really not far off the Arctic Circle*.
*NB., the Arctic Circle is nothing like Arctic Roll.
It’s been full from end to end when I’ve cruised past, and I’m not about to beg for space.
My dignity and Mother’s war-time Swiss accounts are all that I have left.
Love and kisses to Vicky, please tell her that India’s doing just fine.
Ian H., and Cardinal W.
Thanks for the chuckle, excellent! That structure to slow the progress looks like something out of Pet Semetary, hope the dog suvived.
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Northwich has, or had in the many decades ago when I lived there, many buildings built on rafts so they could be easily raised when they sunk.
The subsidence is caused by the extraction of salt beneath the town.
Salt was extracted by pumping water down a shaft. It dissolved the salt which was then pumped back up as brine. This left big holes underground, causing the subsidence.
It was a serious problem in the early part of the 20th century. Buildings cracked and even collapsed.
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They do need to extend the fence…and when they do they should reinstate the blade and rope for their guillotine.
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It’s hilarious really – I have seen many of these things installed, and not one is functional, all have been circumvented! Whirling blades might help, along with electrification. The Canal Company would have to form a large committee if it were asked to re-invent the spoon, and I dread to think what the end product might look like!
Even when “working” as initially installed these odd constrictions didn’t stop the cyclists – but they did and do still stop fat people (can I still say that on a public platform? Well, I’ve said it), folk in wheel-chairs and – most hilariously of all – anglers with their vast trolleys of fish-hunting equipment!
Where are you Madam Guillotine? You have a lot – a LOT – of work to do. 😉
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It’s good to see the bloke on the unicycle being towed by his dog. I was starting to think that only nut-jobs were using the towpaths these days.
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Happily – I think – although I’m really not certain at all – there are still lots of completely rational, sane and well-balanced people zippin gup and down too. Alright, in truth – there aren’t, they’re all freaks. Every. Last. One. Of. Them.
It’s like some sort of Circus of The Damned out there, and it’s terrifying.
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