Where weresheep may safely graze on the hillside – provided that they have independent suspension. No, I said suspension, not suspenders.
These moorings are a pleasant mix of the villagey-townish and the deliciously bucolic. If you listen carefully on a Sunday morning it is possible to hear the church bells pealing and the sheep bleating. It must be said though that I don’t think anyone gave the sheep any hymn books. On the offside of the canal a householder has a few hens and a cockerel, and these add a certain BYYORKKUKKUK! to the mix once in a while. It’s a generous slice of an England that won’t last very much longer. The W.E.F. – W.H.O. – “Wokeists” will have their way (what is it about the letter ‘w’?) and, well; the place will become unrecognisable in all of the ways that it is now illegal for me to detail anywhere outside my head. Once Elon Musk-Rat’s company Neuralink Inc gets its way even such thoughts will be illegal. You know what I mean, don’t deny it.
The only moorings hereabouts that have an even better sound-track are some on the Llangollen – Wrenbury, I think – where I moored one evening and was woken next day by singing of an ecclesiastical nature. No-one told me that there is a convent just behind the high hedgerow on t’towpath. The ‘Oh Good Goody God God Thou Art So Big and Butch’ singing begins at about 0500hrs hundred o’clock, as far as I remember.
I thought that I’d died in my sleep and there’d been some sort of clerical error and I’d been sent to the wrong place. Does the church make “clerical” errors?
Anyway, I digress. The Sunday morning sountrack to Audlem and Wrenbury might only be improved by occasional overflights (can there be an “underflight”?) of Spitfires, Hurricanes and/or Lancasters.
It’s pleasant. It’s… been emotional.
We had rain last night and today. Lovely warm rain. The sort where tis too warm and humid for a rain jacket, and a bit wet without one. I ran a few errands into the nearby Metrolopis; rubbish, potable water, that sort of thing. Gazunders tomorrow, probably.
These days on t’canals it pays to keep up to date with the domestics; you never know when a Service Area will be shutski’d, a lock discomnobulated beyond usefulination, or – as is happening at present – there be a condition of the canal wherein the bottom be too close to the top, and it be impossible to move. England, one of my favouritest corners of this globe, hasn’t been able to organise a wine-tasting in a vintner’s parlour since (roughly) the 9th of May 1945. We are an island in the North Atlantic that somehow finds a., the need for water in rivers and canals a constant and baffling surprise, and b., the collection of rainwater nigh-on impossible.
In simple terms, we all carry umbrellas but it never occurs to us to build (or, as importantly; Toddbrook and manifold other as yet un-told embarrassments notwithstanding, to maintain) water reservoirs – or even to accept that we could do as well or better simply by turning our umbrellas upside down during showers and then queueing as only we know how to fill Army bowsers stationed for the purpose at the end of every High Street.
At the moment it would be quicker to list those canals that remain navigable instead of listing those that are closed because of insufficient water. Boats on the Audlem flight were experiencing interesting low-water effects in the pounds today with levels at times down five or six inches. In a system that hasn’t been dredged since Raquel Welch and John Richardson had a go themselves between filming scenes that’s enough to stop traffic.
Still, mustunt grumble – and navigable water or no, not much reduces the interesting by-wash at – I think, from memory – Lock 12. The lock has a lower landing on a bend, with full Shroppie Shelf – and usually for some reason, three bollards all surrounded by copious amounts of dog-poop. The lock itself is under the road bridge, up a wee ten-yard gutter.
It’s quite the character. What makes it especially so is that the narrownessnous of the cutting means that the by-wash has to go back into the canal immediately, and at a wonderful angle.
Given that narrowboats are not dissimilar to 72′ long fork-lift trucks, and mostly steer with their rear-ends, the narrowness of the approach means that, in technical terms, getting a boat into or out of the lock here is never going to be pretty. You can’t steer into the flow because the stern of your boat’s got nowhere to go. The water pushes the bows into the scrapey-scrapey, and that’s that.
Doubtless there are narrowboaters with “classic” or “historic” heavyweight boats that have made it time and again without spilling a drop of their Martini – the sort of boaters who really enjoy their Tricorne hats and scurvy – but you won’t find many with a boat built later than about 2348 B.C. who haven’t winced and ground their teeth here.
In other news…
From my wanderings I surmise that there is about to be a mini population explosion – that’s a small explosion in the population, not an increase in the population or an explosion of Minis – hereabouts, a Stork resting from its labours betwixt Lock 14 and Lock 15. If you see this thing hovering over your chimney stack holding something by its nappy then start knitting bootees. There’s always a Colonel of truth to folklore, unless you’re talking about kernels.
There are exceptions to every rule of course. I was a baby not delivered by stork. My parents found me in a box of Cornflakes. Anyone else remember those plastic dinosaurs and such that used to arrive in cereal boxes?
You don’t even get proper Cornflakes these days – all reduced sugar and full of Industrial Vitamin X or whatever. Any small plastic toys these days would be eaten by generations absolved of the need to think for themselves.
Ye gods but I am rambling in this post. It’s been that sort of week, really. Two days of Summer silliness – and yes, I did sit on both days under a wonderfully cold wet flannel, loving the sensation of the drips down my back, and I don’t care who knows it – and now we’re back to “where’s my old-man cardigan” weather and fingerless gloves in the mornings.
There’s a Lunatic Velocipedist haunting the towpath here. One of those new-fangled electric bikes and, methinks, with the restrictor removed. He is but a dark blur as he passes, I’d guess his speed to be at least some 30mph. He’s an accident but he’s not waiting to happen, he’s riding around like a loon looking for it. Dogs and boaters dismounting beware. All hail cyclists on the towpath.
Give me church bells, nuns, and sheep any day in preference.
Be it weather or war or whatever (more double-yoos), don’t forget to do your Terror properly, children, and to hand it in at the next election. Bonus points will be awarded for anyone bringing me the head of the cyclist. ‘Will no-one rid me of this turbulent cyclist?’ [Henry the Twoth.]
Chin-chin, chaps. Do please keep on keeping on, if for no other reaon than that it must annoy the hell out of someone, somewhere, somehow.
Ian H., &etc.