Knowing Gowhere

Yesterday, when all my ergs were so far away, the Llangollen Canal was nicely crusty. Today it’s done a better job still, crusty from side to side, end (of this stretch) to end. The lead photo is from yesterday or possibly the day afore – tis too damned cold to go outside today for a current one! I am going nowhere.

His Majestravesty’s Met Office proclaims that an hour ago it was -11.3° Celsium-Celsiums in the out of doors. On arising and waddling around My Usual Routine Waking Tasks the in of indoors aboard the Cardinal was 6.5°C at head-height in The Captain’s Cabin, 19°C at head-height in The Day Cabin… and 10°C at knee-height. Floor level, just above the baseplate? Best not mentioned, except to say that you could unfry an egg on it. Blessed be the Roman god Slippersicus.

Mr Stove has been breakfasted (on hardwood logs, split into soldiers to go with his egg) and thanked for all of his work on the night shift, keeping twenty tonnes of steel sitting in ice a viable living space.

His Majestravesty’s “Government“, still in their clown outfit jimjams and – unusually – with a nose as red as was mine on awaking, but theirs being circus make-up and/or the long-term effects of vintage port, not coolth, has been thanked for still not including we off and semi-off-grid households in any of the funny-money hand-outs intended to go some way towards apologising for the facilitation of the profiteering that their mates (and spouses) are enjoying in the energy-supply corporations.

‘Oh I say, Bassingham, my mulled back-hander is getting cool – do buck up and throw another peasant on the fire, do. Then telephone the Gas Company for me and see what the damned delay is with my new yacht.’

Three boats moved yesterday.

One, a waterskiing training vessel of Canal Company Trust Ltd’s stewardship and pilotage. The gentleman at the tiller made friends and kept up the good name of C&RT all along this stretch, on the main Shropshire Union below the locks, and almost certainly every elsewhere on his travels. He had scant regard for knocking the ice about and no regard at all for the wash that he was creating – something that the Canal Company Trust Ltd wax long, lyrical, and patronisingly about to we civilians. High moral ground? Chaps, until you get your staff on the same hymn sheet, no no no… It doesn’t look terribly dramatic (unless you’re canal-savvy, and know how boats get slammed around and banks eroded).

Video here courtesy of a gentleman wot it woz was stood still standing on the bridge.

Being indoors and in the middle of a good gluteal scratching session mit der stretching exercises und yawning practice I perforce had to keep my shtum, but several folk locally managed an expressed opinion (while pouring a hot kettle over the cat/falling out of bed/listening to their fenders crunch against armco/bracing themselves on the lavatory for anything but the more usual alimentary reasons).

I believe that such conversations as were held ran along the lines of:

‘Oh I do say – could you please remove your somewhat discomnobulating excess velocity from the space-time equations relating to your passage this morning?’

whereupon came the reply

‘You slow down if you want to, The Lady’s not for slowing down.’

Another chap seemed determined to make it down the locks whatever, and was assisted to do so. There he is at the bottom of the flight, on the lock landing. Sliding out of the bottom lock like a narrowboat slipping into a Corporate Gin & Tonic at a subsidised Xmouse Party (Regional Management and above only – one can’t hob-nob too little with the hoi-polloi) that was as far as we could get him. It was hard work getting that far.

Still, at least he didn’t have to bother to tie up – it wasn’t as though he was going to drift off anywhere fast.

Just making the short turn to the left took fifteen minutes, and dislodged two David Attenboroughs, an Ice Station Zebra, and The Thing. Then began the work of getting him in to the side. What Jolly Larks.

Damned good exercise in such sun as we enjoyed.

A third boat hove up and considered their options.

The best of these options being to wind in the top pound.

Ice allowing.

Thence to scoot back from whence they came.

It all happens on t’canals, you know.

An elderly gentleman went missing of late, with Messrs Police & Co Ltd instigating a search including this area. I don’t know if or in what state he was found. I hope that he’s safe.

Some of the sheeplings in the field alongside went missing, others strayed onto the A51.

Don’t look at me in that ovine and accusatory manner, this time it’s nothing to do with me; my love life’s been in sorry tatters since Tight Fit covered Wimoweh, peaked at No.87 in the UK Album Chart, and split up in 1983.

I rather suspect that the missing sheep are in one of the relatively nearby major connurbations, already butchered and on sale, untraceable.

Much though we have things to be and people to do, the Cardinal and I will be waiting a day or three more before we oik ourselves down these locks. By then we’ll need diesel (again) and coal (again) – not to mention The Usual Services – and we’ve promised ourselves to try for an indulgent delivery of indulgent comestibles. Then we still needs must find ourselves somewhere as convenient as may be in which to hibernate through the silliest of The Silly Season (Xmouse and Gnu Year).

Tempers Fray and Tempus Fugit as my old Kung Fu sensei used to say while beating me senseless for my own good, with nuns and chooks.

Let us see what today brings.

Keep warm and beautiful, stay off the sauce if at all possible, and if you stuff a turkey make sure that it’s dead first (terrible mess, feathers, beaks, chestnuts and breadcrumbs everywhere in the galley).

Chin-chin Chihuahuas,

Ian H., & Cardinal W. of The Arctic.


  1. Like you , we caravan/holiday home dwellers have failed to reap any of these so-called freebies, so no extra squirts in the pre-paid wigglies thus my pipes have lost communications with their tappety tap taps. Say lah vee as they say in rubber dinghy land.

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    1. It’s almost as though the whole notion and scheme is in the hands of people with no notion of the Real World… Surely if one isn’t at one’s town house one may be found at one’s country seat, eh? I’m only surprised that – even for such brick-dwellers as may “qualify” for it – they haven’t made it conditional upon being used to heat stables and swimming pools! Clue one, not got, they.

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