The Throbbing Middle of Nowhere, Still

Having enjoyed two or three of the weeks of faux-Spring/Summer we’re now back to faux-Autumn/Winter, with uber-changeable weather: warm; cold; windy; cloudy; clear; bright; as dull as ditchwater. The wind today has sprung a 180° change this morning, there’s what is oft known as a “silver sun” set among the complete mix of cloud varieties, but it’s relatively warm – not warm enough to let Mr Stove go out, but warm enough to make it problematic persuading him to stay in. Moan moan moan, it’s all I ever do. 😉 There are …enthusiastic (40mph+) breezes forecast for overnight and tomorrow, and we’re on lubberly mooring rings here, so here we’ll stay for a few more cycles.

Not so much of a problem moving while dodging gusts, especially for those wi’crew, but I don’t do it because I know full well that that single 43mph freak gust would occur just as I loosed the last rope and/or stepped off to re-moor. I’ve flown the Cardinal like a kite on many occasions, and it’s undignified. I was born a man, not an anchor.

The lead phomatograph shows my current view from the seaward side. Not a great distance to the horizon (my preference is for the farthest horizon that may be arranged, but hey ho we take what we can get), and what there is is green and pleasant (also my preference). The weather was weathering as much as suggested by those rainy down-strokes in the cloud.

It may look as though we’re perilously close to a bend, but tis not so; we’ve had two boats moored at our bow here before now. Besides, “peril” on the canals these days is measured not so much by map reference as by the sobriety of the person at the tiller of the [insert large corporate name] hire boat. Suffice it to say that we had two coats of blacking applied in December last, had it been three coats then there would have been a collision yesterday.

Tis April now, probably also so where you may be, so the Canal Company Ltd.’s unilateral imposition via License-Terms-&-Conditions-NOT-law of restrictions on most of the best moorings come back into play (48 hours versus the actual, legal, 1995 Waterways Act, fourteen days). The Cardinal and I shall have to pick and choose more carefully until Winter once more frees us from commercially-driven, “monetising” diktat.

We need services again early next week. Our choices are cruise ahead to the next winding hole, turn, go back ten miles from whence we came, service and then depart once more (since we cannot return to moor in that area for a while); cruise on down the Trent & Mersey ten miles to some services there (boring, boring moorings, twelve locks there and, should I have the temerity to volte face and return, twelve locks back…); or oik back towards civilisation and the services available on the Middlewich Branch and beyond.

I think I’ll oik back towards civilisation.

Oiking back towards civilisation is ten miles and seven locks, but it gives me more options once thereabouts in the matter of cruising onwards rather than around and about. Besides, I have things to be and people to do, as the old saying goes.

Despite the recent monsoons rains the towpath is relatively walkable, there being only a few mud-wallows. This is far enough out of (the nearest) town for there to be few walkers, those that there be being “serious” “hikers” and those “jogging” for their “health” – or other boaters.

The scarcely-tied-up unmarked boat behind us moved yesterday, praise be (since the canal rozzers have been sniffing around). The gennelmun at the helm seemed unconcerned with his various dangling and trailing ropes and miscellaneous fenders.

As far as I am aware there is no gossip and precious little (local) scandal. I haven’t spent much time digging out what passes for “the news” of late, it doesn’t seem to be a worthwhile activity.

Much better to simply drink in the countryside while one may.


Chin-chin, chaps.

p.s., my image storage remainsa at pre-hiccough levels, so fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Ian H.


    1. Strange to relate and, I am sure certain unrelated, a certain hod hencho – um, head honcho – of the biggest hire corporation do sit upon a velvet cushion on a gilded chair on an “advisory” committee. No conflict of interest there, none at all of course. No nest of rats behind the scenes, scurrying about, laughing over port and cigars at their deals within deals.

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  1. Is it just me getting old, or does winter seem to last longer these days? Eleven months of arctic conditions, followed by three weeks of heat so intense that frogs explode and my hair catches fire. I blame it on the old bloke down the road who keeps putting his bin out on the wrong night.

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    1. I must admit that I can’t remember seeing a discrete period of Spring or Autumn for quite some years now, it’s just either Winter or some foreign version of “Summer”. Sod’s law that my two favourite seasons disappear, leaving my two least-favourite to swamp the calendar.

      In the matter of the phenomenon of frogs exploding it has been suggested that the schoolboy habit of filling them with lighter fluid may be at least partially to blame.

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  2. You didn’t specify whether the aforementioned ripple-riders moored ahead were the long or the short or the tall, so I may gain perspective, any way fair winds, calm canal waters intrepid traveller till we again exchange electtrickamable pleasantries

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    1. In truth two boats was one too many, encroaching upon the bend more than may be considered polite. There are “institutionally-approved” mooring rings ahead of me, but also a dirty great chunk of armco flapping loose, which is why I am not moored there. This canal is one of bend upon bend upon bend, the chap building it didn’t approve of straight lines or of locks if both or either might be avoided (extra cost). 😉

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  3. Ian, you should know by now that Ingerland doesn’t have a climate, just weather. That gives the weather god the chance to have fun, which he (she?) seems to enjoy particularly in the spring.

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    1. This is true. A nation of people all scurrying about carrying inappropriate clothing. We have Conundrumitis here this morning – the wind along the canal is blowing steadily in one direction, while the clouds overhead (and there are many) are all steadfastly marching in quite the opposite. If I see a sparrow walking backwards then I shall know that witchcraft is in play.

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