This damnable weather has returned my sleep pattern to the primordial sludge; I sleep – half a brain, one eye, one ear – I wake, I get up and occupy myself (not like Poland) pottering about doing job-ettes, I go back to Bedfordshire for what hobbits would call ‘Second Napping’. I have no say in the matter, it’s just the way wot fings is, and doubtless they will return to normal when the it of it feels like it. Anyway, Second Napping was rudely interrupted by the unmistakeabode sound of a hot air balloon pilot burning a lot of (Russian?) gas…
I threw on my spectacles and flip-flops, flung open the rear hatch and stepped onto the deck to have a gander.
I’ve been in a hot air balloon some many years since, and it were wot was a fantabulosa experience but not without incident. To my thus barely experienced and inexpert eye I suspect that some, maybe all of the occupants of the sillily-sized basket would be in need of fresh underwear and a Wet Wipe each. They were low, damned low, considering what was below them. They skimmed the trees, for a few tense moments appeared to be about to “land” on/in the canal itself, then skimmed the towpath-side trees, dropped down into the field and eventually away. The pilot was burning gas as though it was going out of fashion. Whether he was showing off or whether he’d “had a moment” I could not say.
I like to think that it was the sight of me somewhat déshabiller and en costume d’anniversaire as Father Nature intended that assisted them back to the necessary altitude. One does what one can to help. Early mornings are not so peaceful as once they were. F’rexample this morning. While Second Napping went on happily undisturbed Second Walkies was more of a Walkette than a Walkies…
…several other factors piling on to the already tardy-temporal and mitigating convincingly (dirty beasts!) against a better mileage. The day was already become too warm and too humid for a Hutson Minor; those people things were beginning to appear – some chap on my path (how dare he?); and I could hear the BolinderGardnerListerRussellNewbury putt-potter-putt of an approaching boat. Using a stick to draw diagrams in the earth I made my calculations and drew the sad conclusion that it was time to return to the Cardinal, a-sap or sooner.
Four boats then passed us before 0700 hrs hundred o’clock of the sun-dial, and a fifth – the one nicely moored but a polite git-gap ahead of us – left at just past the hour. All of them thinking to be “early”. Unfortunately, this leaves us wide open to some Grade A Twonk mooring bow to bow without the polite git-gap. Ho et le hum. Ce sera and soon to be surrounded, I surmise.
Whether the weather in Wetherby &etc will bring others out like flies today or will keep them at bay I dare not say. As we’ve had admirably demonstrated over the past two or three years the behaviour of the Human Beast is neither rational nor intelligent. Not even pretty.
As I type there’s a chap walking up to the bottom lock, windlass in hand – between you, me, and the gatepost he doesn’t look as though he’s likely to even make it there. Imagine The Walking Dead, but with narrowboats involved. Does he know that the moorings beyond are jam-packed? Is he really intending to do all fifteen locks today, under the blaze of the nearest star? Will 999 answer, or is the call-centre in New Delhi even warmer than here? These and other questions answered on next week’s episode of SOAP.
Me, myself, and I are – I are? – holed up here with dismal comfort-expectations until at least Wodin’s Day. The char-id-ee shoppe in the local townette-village was open yesterday (it opens once a week, in season, for a few hours) so I made a madcap dash of a raid. Five quids bought me a nice stash of books and some DVDs. It’s not as though I’ll actually be watching or reading them any time soon, they’ll just tag very nicely indeed onto the end of my to-be-viewed/to-be-read pile.
No idea what the charity is that the charity shoppe supports. Old porcupines or Loud Londoners or some such deserving cause. Brash Brummies perhaps – the local marina has a taxi-boat that chugs past on a heart-beat regular basis, with someone possessing that accent and a very healthy pair of lungs explaining the “history and uses of the canal system” to passengers. First time past his captive audience on the line of moored boats is… interesting; fifteenth time past makes a chap want to run out the long nines and send him and his taxi-boat down to Davy Jones’ Underwear Drawer.
Three more boats past. One – H.M.S. Pretentious, or some such, of the Gosh Look At Us Navy – missing the Cardinal by a molecule or two of paint, the chap on the stern clutching at some yappy wee rat-on-a-string “dog” while “steering”, while his [wifeling?] assists mightily by doing sweet FA. The gentleman is roping his boat forward to the lock now, the lady is comfortably seated and tippetty-tapping on her mobile phone.
People strike some fairly strange bargains in their lives.
There is indeed evidence a-plenty that the planet Earth is the Universe’s lunatic ayslum.
Or perhaps – my favourite theory – is the u-bend sink-trap of the Universe.
Oh – a boat-load flying some Scandinavian (?) flag have arrived and are attempting to work out what the gentleman is doing. This boat-watching is fun! Should I tell them that no-one is doing anything, there’s no boat coming down the lock, and the initial chap is just standing there holding his centreline rope, having done nothing to get the lock ready for himself?
Go go gongoozlers! GoGo Gongoozlers? Now there’s a thought. The Walking Dead (with Narrowboats involved) – cage dancing to Donna Summer. Aaargh! That which hath once been imagined may not be unimagined.
The Scandinavian holdilaymakers are wandering around now like penguins in a pin-ball machine, but none appear eager to walk ahead and check the status of the lock… the rat-on-a-string dog is on the towpath, yapping and be-bothering everyone and every dog passing… Lady Phobile-Moan is (seated again, but) energetically lecturing it on how Mummy says Doggy-Woggy must behave much more morer nicely… oh – the first boat has gone in the lock, so someone prepared it for them… the Scandinavians are attempting to follow them in (it’s a single lock)… now they’re floating about below the hastily closed lower gates… there’s an awful lot of wing-walking (shuffling along the gunwales) going on; someone’s going in before long… This could take some time.
More toast, more coffee, I think.
Well why shouldn’t I watch? I’ve always got an audience whenever I do something stoopid, I have never laid claim to “being a nice person”, and I don’t have a television…
Besides, which of us can really resist a slice of epicaricacy pie?
By way of contrast to Mrs Do-Nothing, a game old bird (am I still allowed to use that phrase on the internet? I mean it in a highly complimentary fashion.) just hove up, waited for hubby to bring the boat alongside the bollards, lobbed her walking stick off the boat, grabbed the Labrador dawg and marched off a-pace to set the lock… step step stick, step step stick… Jolly well done, Doris.
Ooh – I hear another boat approaching…
Ian H., Nebby of the Canals. I wish us all luck with the warmth. Ugh.
p.s. on a commercial note, don’t forget that just a link-click away is a fine selection of merchandiseables, including a selection of mugs ranging from “peaceful canal mugs” to “Cold War mugs” and my personal Cold War favourite – the Bikini Alert State mug. Worldwide delivery, and Hutson lives to eat another day. Link on top menu under ‘Gubbins’ or ‘Here‘. Prints, greetings cards, even jigsaws – all manner of tat.