A Whole Bottle of Washing-Up Liquid and a Lot of Elbow-Grease

That’s what it took to extricate this highly embarrassed “historical” wooden boat from Cholmondeston Lock. With age a certain spread sets in, and this caused the beastie to jam solid when trying to cruise out of the lock.

We’ve all been there. My particular nemesis was not a lock but a pair of jeans. I worked near Preston at the time and was shopping for new jeans on a busy Saturday morning. It was one of those shops with curtains on their changing rooms. I selected a pair, went to try them on, they jammed absolutely solidly around my knees, couldn’t get ’em up, couldn’t get ’em back down…

…and I began to panic, had to laugh, and lost my balance. Somewhat déshabiller I fell through the curtain and out onto my face, ar*se uppermost on the floor of a very busy clothes shop – laughing, and remembering Mother’s advice to always wear clean underwear in case there’s some sort of accident.

The boat here was spared all of that and simply dropped down in the lock and got its hips wedged agin the brickwork. Could go neither forwards nor backwards, bows sufficiently far out to stop the lower lock gates being closed again. The solution (other than chaining in the gunwales to get the boat back to spec width) was a bottle of Fairy LIquid and a lot of pulling – with the top paddles wide open to flush water down and under. Poor old girl.

HMS Soapy-Sides

Why must our indignities always be in the spotlight so?

I have never shopped for clothes in person since my jeans crisis, always buying by mail order and now off the interwebnettings. At least when I got stuck phobile moans were in their camera-free infancy, and YouBend dot com was still but a glint in Google’s eye. Staff assisted me rather than hoping to “go viral” with a video. I suspect that it may be a while afore this gentleman beings his boat back to Cholmondeston.

We’ve mooched on again. The “it” of the “weather” is a tad unpredictable in re gustables of the wind for the next few days, and we are near full-term in this ‘any one neighbourhood’. The views weren’t bad at the previous moorings, although there was a serious duck infestation.

The Canada geese nesting in the field on the offside were also becoming… disturbing. They seemed to spend most of their days sitting on the bank and staring, long-necked and intent, at the Cardinal. I presume that they thought I was too close to their homestead. I could take the staring but what discomnobulated the spinal arrangements of the dromedarius big fleabaggius were the rude signs that the geese held up whenever they saw me at the windows.

It was very hurtful.

Mr Heron plitter-plopped along the offside a few times but didn’t stop to let me watch him fish.

That was about it for the wildlife. No badgers.

Lots and lots of no badgers*.

*Windy Alley is the location of my wee small hours nose-to-nose encounter some long while ago.

The broken lock paddle of the previous post was joined in its protest by das other paddle, quelle unpredictable surpreeze, thus putting the lock entirely out of action – and forcing The Canal Company Trusst Ltd to mend things. I didn’t see it first-hand but the reports were of ten to twelve staff, three of whom worked while the rest were “Elfin Saferty” and “Management” and “Obzurverze”, and several vans, and lots of “Men At Work” signs. There were team lectures and motivational hugs, and the Head Honcho (Honchess?) fell apex over fundament over her own expandy orange plastic “safety barrier”, which may only be described as particularly unfortunate and difficult to handle with any perfessional dignity.

The online Stoppage Notice was up and down like an alpha baboon’s bum cheeks during mating season.

Praise be to the grubby-handed (actual) workers all is well again now, although doubtless the office staff on their day out will take the credit.

Gosh, what larks.

That’s about the it of it really. Lots of no gossip and little to no scandal other than that hitherto mentioned herein. The wind’s getting up a tad as I type, as forecast. Time to rotate the washing, methinks, in an effort to get the damned stuff dry. Inside of the Cardinal looks like a Chinese laundry.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H., & Cardinal W., flogging a spare kidney each to raise funds for the C&RT License increase this year, as every year. It far, far outstrips even the highest published inflation figure. Got to raise funds somehow for those “out of office” experiences having a spot of a look-see at the thungummy, the wotsit, the watchermacallit – the thing with all of the war-teh. Yah, that’s it – the k-nehl.


    1. Much more polite than swans who oft become violent in this season – and swan-wrestling is illegal in this country (the birds are protected by Draconian laws; me very much not so). 🙂

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  1. I remember the time I got wedged in the sewer following a particularly turbid bout of toshing. It took a whole tub of stern gland grease and a specially constructed shoehorn before the council could prize me free.

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    1. Can’t remember the officially stated figures off the top of my brain-stem, but with the disappeared and shrinking “early payment” discounts too… I think my previous licence was on the order of £952, this year with all payment option discounts available to Western Man tis £1,018.27 – I wonder what it might be like were we to be rid of the vast pulsating fleshy mass C&RT Corporate & Office, replacing them with real (grunt) workers (only) with mayhap a sprinkling of foremen (or forewomen), and a handful of regional overseers and one figurehead to talk to Parliament when necessary? If we got rid of all of those quangos, councils, committees, liaisons, inclusivity officers and company cars-not-vans? I’d (almost) happily pay the same and even (slightly) more in that case, knowing that it wasn’t going straight into the gaping maw of bloated bureaucracy. I am a silly old Hector. 😉

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  2. I had to have a giggle at the picture of you falling out of the changing room cubicle, Ian. How fortunate the foible moans (with added camera) and Youbends hadn’t been invented.

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    1. Many things had yet to be invented in my youth – speed cameras, Bill Gates, pizza… It was in so many ways a fortunate time to be alive and kicking about. I refuse to believe that we fell out of the trees and marched out of the Rift Valley just in order to be eaten by internet algorithms. At least, I hope… 😉

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  3. Re your jeans experience…at least you were not identifying as a woman and using their cubicles that day. I do wonder about mother’s reaction to finding a male installed when she was trying on clothes..i suspect smart work with the umbrella and handbag.

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    1. Indeed yes, those were the days when women were women, men were men, and the hills were alive with the sound of music. Young(er) chaps in jeans these days look like hipster flamingos accidentally sprayed with denim-blue paint and oestrogen. Other than this (and including this) I have no strong opinion. It was all downhill for the world – and the species – from the demise of the light blue Levi 501 602. 😉


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