Knutsen Bolts and… Stuff

Well that was a lovely forty minutes, spent cleaning out the shower sump-pump. To take a shower aboard a boat (fresh) water must first be moved onto the boat in a controlled fashion, then pumped up to the shower-head, then what gurgles down the drain of the shower tray must be pumped overboard in a controlled fashion. Somewhere in that process I mun take time to shampoo and condition my ear and nostril hair with biodegradable dandruficide. The shower sump-pump naturally sees a side of life that is but one step up from a Dickensian open gutter, and occasionally doth need some T and L and C.

Fortunately, not being so cabbage as I am green-looking, aforesaid pump was removed from its hitherto utterly inaccessible position in the Cardinal during his refit, and located where I can more easily plonk my carcass and a set of screwdrivers and a socket set.

Honestly, it comes as a shock to me every time that I do this job that I have some sort of “shedding gorilla” aboard, taking frequent showers while I sleep. You do not, I repeat not, want to linger over the contents of either filter or pump. It’s my shower, and I still wear industrial gauntlets and a frown, and necessarily ponder the nature of Quatermass.

Enough said.

The lead photograph is of the nearby Service Area bins but halfway through the recent Bank Holiday weekend. You know, one of those weekends when we horrid drains-upon-resources, we vile users of facilities, we live-aboard boaters increase our rubbish output manifold just so that nice hodilaymakers have nowhere to put their empties except atop the wheelies. Gosh, we’re horrid.

Well, I am.

I moored or less elsewhere, briefly, pulling over the better to look at a friend’s new boat – wowsers, as they say in the best circles – and then concomitantly suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous crowds. Well, a long line of boats, anyway…

I – we – as one – me, myself and the Cardinal – moved then on as swiftly as the terms of my parole will allow, to moorings not far but thus far less… meerkat.

Being in a long line of boats suggests nothing more to me than living in an early sardine factory, in the days when sardines were laid end to end, before some wit came up with the notion of laying them tightly side by side (which is when and how marinas were invented). This is quite true and you may prove it to yourself by interwebnet-searching the hitherto popular housewifely phrase ‘oh – and a tube of sardines please’. The squared-off tins came later. French housewives walked home from market with French Sticks thrown over their shoulders like Resistance Rifles, English housewives took the bus with tubes of sardines slung, like Eton Rifles.

As Father once expostulated after Mother had explained her recipe for Ngầu pín to him over a glass of chilled Chateau Puissance Gutrot; ‘Life. It’s all just bollocks really, isn’t it?’

The Cardinal and I got Rozzered the other day. I glanced up from my copy of Truly Orwellian Pictorial Weekly For Boys and there was the Canal Company rep, standing at our bow (on the towpath side, not – yet – the canal side, although I’m sure that they’re working on it), tip-tapping our position into his iPiddlyPad with his fickle finger of fate (and for all I know, his Cadbury Finger of Fudge) and who, having writ, moved on.

The legal sophistry that the Canal Company use for this regular and sustained invasion I presume runs along the lines that they’re logging the position of my boat, not me personally or my home – even though they are inextricabully one and the same. I should love to follow Canal Company staff around, logging their position in a database for any and all of my employees, associates and – ahem – “business partners” to see, and test as my defence in court that I was merely following the Rozzer’s trousers, not the Rozzer.

Somehow I think that I’d be back in Cell 274a (outside balcony, with full bath and twin beds) at HMP Wakefield keeping Eric The Cell-Mate Slasher happy before you could say ‘fatuous, facetious, and fallacious, Your Honour, and I demand an immediate whole-of-life sentence, or at minimum something complicated from Chaucer.’

Come the Revolution, blah blah blah.

Meteorological Autumn arrived on the 1st of this month, September, and Autumn arrived with the 1st, bang on the dot. From our previous “egads, Livingstone, it’s hot” we are now deep into wet, windy, and deadly Dudley dull. I do remember England of olde enjoying long spells of meteorological middle-ground, pleasant without extremes; that surely cannot be all rose-tinted spectacles?

I looked like a right little twerp as a child; Mother insisted that I wear rose-tinted spectacles.

Also cricket whites and those plastic shoes that some schools made you wear if you’d forgotten your plimsolls.

I wonder if anyone labouring under the double-barrelled surname of ‘Tinted-Spectacles’ has ever thoughtlessly named a child ‘Rose’? In the world of Brioche and Brooklyn (otherwise known as ‘Kent’) it must surely have happened.

Autumn eh?

Time soon, very soon, to encourage a controlled exothermic reaction in Mr Stove, and to wade (not literally… although…) through the Canal Company Ltd’s “Winter Stoppages” to find some meandering route for moochings that will confuse and confusticate the Rozzers while also keeping me and my cruisings of (relatively) sound mind and (don’t even go there, gf) body. Nebulous “budget constraints” – as in they’re nigh-on bankrupt, if not actually there in County Court already (ah, what memories, what memories) – seems to have curtailed the Canal Company Ltd’s maintenance ambitions this Winter, and if they stick to plan then my genuine cruisings will be little impacted (by them, although what else the Fates have in store for us, I cannot – will not – say).

The Establishment Machine rumbles on, and whether I move wildly or not, I rather suspect that we shall all find ourselves transported to the pages of some Dickensian drama this Winter. Which is wot reminds me, I need a bottle (or two) of Blue, and I can probably squeeze another sack or two of nuggetty coal nuggets on the bow, if I juggle.

Please Sir, I want some more.

Aye. Well. Don’t we all.

Chin-chin for the mo, Muskies.

Ian H., and Cardinal W., not so much ‘on the run’ as ‘tottering about a bit, confusingly’.


    1. I have high hopes for Winter. It used to be fairly dependable, but these past few years of nonsense have blurred everything. Are the Wunderlusters safe in a cave somewhere, sufficient bodily reserves built up to allow sleep until Spring?

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  1. Given your expertise with the shower device there is a large boat moored somewhere off Portsmouth which could do with your attention.

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    1. I gather that the mainspring has broken on poor old HMS Wince of Pails, as they so often do these days on naval vessels – I rather suspect that getting any all of the many, the very many countries that hate England’s guts to build the things may have summat to do with it… We would do better to station a couple of dozen rowing boats around the coast, each crewed by a chap with a pawn-shop cutlass and a pump-action Purdey and a large and angry ship’s cat. Cheaper, more effective, less embarrassing.


    1. I have no doubt that Her Majesty’s Fuzz would be called instantly, and – quite out of character – would respond to the call within seconds, there being no prior or more urgent TikTok dance video to participate in. I’d be hog-tied with cable ties, gagged, and reminded that since 1994 we in England who exercise silence when questioned do so reminded that it may actively harm our defence in some nebulous way… even if wholly innocent.

      Wouldn’t it be fun if somehow ALL live-aboard boaters could be prevailed upon en masse to follow Mr Parry around, logging his every hither and thither? Now _that_ I’d like to see (and be part of). Then we might send him an email in the favoured “passive-aggressive” style – ‘…have you forgotten to do the job you’re paid handsomely for? Based upon our observations you have spent all of your time with anglers, ramblers, and bent MPs rather than with boaters… &etc’

      I am assuming that he can read, or has someone who could be relied upon to render an accurate summation of our email in Corporate Gibberese. 😉

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