Moonset – easily one of my top twenty-four favourite hours of day or night

Also my favourite time to begin a wee cruise. To the wheelie bins. Nine and a tad miles round-trip, twice through Cholmondeston, and a visit to both Bunbury and Syke’s Hollow winding holes. A nice mist, a low sun, and most of the local world still in its pit. I know how to live.

Seriously. 🙂

The Cardinal waits opposite Venetian Chandlery as I empty the lock for him…

… and as the Sun’s alarm clock goes off and he staggers over the horizon …

Have to love the modus of the Canal Company Ltd who have invented, designed, had tailored and paid over wads of our cash for bags to put over broken infrastructure – ‘Under repair’.

Actually, no; it’s under a bag.

Second-busiest lock on the system, 11′ 3″ deep, and it has but a single working top-paddle, meaning that – accounting for the inevitable leaks – it takes more than twice as long to fill as it used to with two working paddles (it’s slower overall, so the leaks have more time to have deleterious effect, thus more than twice as slow). Didn’t matter much to me at that time of day – which is why I chose that time of day – but during the Silly Hours? Hmm.

There are many things prettier than a queue at Cholmondeston lock, all of whom are upset at the delay in their efforts to rush hither and thither at top speed, soaking up the slow pace and the tranquility of the canals. Few seem to factor time to transit locks into their cruising plans.

One or two other silly beggars were out and about too, they also habitually favouring Sparrowfart O’Clock Hundred Hours.

My mates were in A Fleeing (as would I be had I been there) from the multiple manifestation of “historic” boats around Chester (and Ellesmere) for the ‘Easter Uprising’.

Might have been the ‘Easter Gathering’ now that I think on it, but who can say with any accuracy?

Indeed, two “historic” souls were using the facilitabodes on the Service Area when I got there. I performed an “unaccustomed as I am” reversing manoeuvre and shuffle sideways to get the Cardinal onto the gap. Silly of me I know, but I like to be close enough to the wharf to be able to get from boat to sluice with the toilet tanks using nought more than a mildly-adventurous jeté.

Water, rubbish, gazunders, done.

Thence having achieved the main porpoise of the morning it wam an even more relaxed cruise up to the winding hole and back from whence we had come.

Rush hour had begun in earnest by the time we returned to Cholmondeston Lock, and there was a queue of some five boats to come down – and none to come up. As intimated earlier in this post, I’ve seen prettier sights. A gate or two, a paddle here and there – and with thanks to the Lock Volunteer for seeing me down and closing up after me – 🙂 – back to within a couple of centibodes of where we had begun, sat sitting in a puddle of semi-decent interwebnettings signal.

I plan on hiding behind locked and bolted and barrred bow and stern doors for the rest of the weekend – indeed, for the rest of the week, so if you should pass the Cardinal and hear snoring (or interwebnet tappety-tapping) then please tip-toe and don’t expect a reply!

Rumours of my continued consciousness for the foreseeable have been greatly exaggerated.

All in all, a most splendid wee venture, timed well and executed with a certain joie de rotule avec le wibble. Tally ho.

Chin-chin for the mo, Muskies.

Ian H.


  1. I believe by my informants that the said “yellow bag” has been on that ground paddles for over three weeks now! Absolute disgrace considering how busy that lock is. I’m really looking forward to my Vlockie duties next Thursday 😌
    Here’s hoping it’s been fettled by then.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Apparently the repair was a pantomime all of its own – ten or twelve staff present, three working, the rest Elfin Saferty – and the Head Honcho I am told fell apex over fundament over her own expandy-orange “safety” perimeter. Still, the working grunts (the good guys, not the office wallahs) fixed it – and I used it just this morning, most splendid indeed. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful and atmospheric indeed and I don’t blame you hybernating the rest of the silly season. Just watched DUNE 2021 x2, most excellent; I do love the desert.

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