As far as Cheshire goes, this is the absolute middle of nowhere. The serious wastelands. Off the map. Here be dragons. That sort of thing. Now moored at least a quarter of a mile away from any houses, and a mile and a half from any town. 😉
Arrived here yesterday after a wee cruisette of just over seven miles and two locks – conducted almost entirely in lashing rain. I was doing my impression of a drowned rat when I got here. Layer by layer my layers were succumbing to the wet-th, the hem of my Berghaus was dripping into my boots, and the peak of my sopping and sodden cat flap was dripping rain all over my specs. My theory was that yesterday was just a meteorologically miserable weekday, and I’d like as not meet little traffic, whereas today is Xmouse Eve, forecast for sunshinery abounding, and a Saturday to boot… risking the madding hordes being out and about.
In the event I met almost as many boats yesterday as cruised past today.
I also got shouted at in Nantwich. Those in the know will know which “gentleman” and his (new to him) boat. He’s shouted at me before. Apparently he was convinced that I was speeding past moored boats and ought to try slowing down. Since I am just about the slowest thing around – my timed cruising average is 2.75mph – and half that or less past moored boats – it seems unlikely. None of the other hundred boats that I passed seemed bovvered, innit. I suggested politely that he go back inside his boat and hold his breath from now until eternity. He came out for a second shout and an old-fashioned shake of the fist. 🙂
My diagnosis was ague of the brain gland cavity exacerbated by dimness of the thinkery bone.
The iced knuckles and triple-pneumonia (don’t ask) of yesterday’s efforts were worth it though. Today was indeed on the “fine” end of the Winter scale. The contrast betwixt previous moorings (next to the 24/7 busy A51) and these moorings is wild; I awoke this morning to the sound of absolutely nothing. How nice it is to be free of ice and free of traffic noise and free (as much as may be under the Establishment heel) in general.
The past few days had been assigned to various tasks. Oiking off the Llangollen once the ice was cleared (and discovering that it wasn’t entirely so, there still then being loose floes and bergs in the vicinity). Meeting Messrs Harrods and Messrs Fortnum & Mason for the delivery of comestibles*. Visiting the best chandlery around at Venetian for bunkering and chinwaggery.
*Remember that Christmas when Sainsbury’s brought me one – as in a single – Brussels Sprout, carefully bagged and bar-coded, price 3p for the use of? Well this time I got Brussels aplenty, but forgot to order any carrots. My food is mostly and for the present thus white and green, as opposed to white and green and orange. Still, mustn’t grumble (especially since the omission this time was mine). 😉
Speaking of omissions. The Canal Company Corporation Trust Ltd, in that expensive re-branding (with blue plastic) that they promised they were only going to undertake on a “replacement” basis, ripped down a perfectly serviceable metal sign:
and – eventually – replaced it with a blue plastic sign with less information (as in none!) and with the place name misspelt… They then ripped down that sign (to the accompaniment of raucous laughter and hoots of derision) and replaced it – now some – what? – three? – years later, with… nothing. Two vast and trunkless (black and signless) posts of steel, perhaps in some sort of odd tribute to Ozymandias.
Life may, coincidentally, be better by water, but signage isn’t.
I can’t help but look at those two stark, sturdy posts and wonder if perhaps one foggy Christmas Eve we shan’t find Fay Wray tied between them (with blue C&RT mooring-twine), awaiting the physiologically unlikely but heartfelt and enthusiastic amorous attentions of King Kong*.
*Not of Dickie Parry. He’s a bit busy up to his get-a-new-career-asap armpits in DEFRA at the moment. He probably looks a little like Fay Wray does here below. ‘What do you mean, I’ve ballsed it up royally and you won’t give us a bean? Wellness was a wonderful wheeze!’ Cough cough.
There’s some odd logic at play hereabouts, as everywhere on the canals. One bridge back there is the famous – or perhaps notorious – “Obstruction” (bstruction), wherein an obstruction appears to have been engineered with the sole purpose of supporting the “Obstruction” sign. Gnosh it, Sherlock.
In other matters of wry interest I noticed today this somewhat peculiar arrangement, in truth the logic of which genuinely escapes me. Perhaps the worksheet called for a specified number and exact position of moorings rings (not my job to question orders, Guvnor, I just do what it says on the sheet here). It it wiv a ammer.
If there’s a mooring ring already there then just bung another in behind it? These were either constucted simultaneously, or one was constructed with the other already in place – but why? Aside from an ocean-going yacht, a small private jet, a numbered bank account, any semblance of semi-decent human good-looks, all IQ points over eighty-five, and a love life, what am I missing? There must be some reason (and reasoning) behind this weird arrangement. Maybe.
I can’t help it, I do wonder at the thought-processes involved.
Perhaps it’s the same logic, and by ‘logic’ I mean ‘awe-inspiring hypocrisy and casual disregard for boaters’, that led the Canal Company Corporation Trust Ltd – the one that waxes long, lyrical, and uber-patronisingly to boaters on just this manner of transgression – to dump a tug and pan smack on the lock landing above Hack Green locks?
Very much not an uncommon sight. Do as we say and not as we do, obviously. Then they wonder why no-one takes them the least bit seriously (including DEFRA, by the looks of recent events and which is more important and significant non-events). Yes, it’s only a little bit of extra manoeuvring to work around this abandoned work-boat arrangement, but the message it gives is glaringly obvious. Were I to place the Cardinal so I would likely be the recipient of an email threatening non-renewal of my licence.
This pair isn’t even identifiable, bearing neither unique numbers nor names – another gross offence, we boaters are constantly told.
So. Christmas Eve, eh?
Why do we never hear of Christmas Adam?
In the name of equality I demand Christmas Adam.
Or am I getting my stories mixed up? Didn’t Adam and Eve try to shack up with a donkey in Bethnal Green so that they could make a baby or something out of three wise men? I’m sure that it was something along those lines, and there was a farmer, the Sun, and a holy goat.
Father Christmas needs must be fore-warned that I am keeping Mr Stove in tonight, it’s nothing like as cold as it has been – and nothing like as cold as the poor unfortunates in that curious ex-colony of ours, the United Somethings of Somewhere, at the moment – “cyclone bomb?” – huh? – but there’s arisen a most definite breeze, and it’s finding every draught that it can. Brrrrr.
Christmas lunch? Yes, there will be one. It’ll likely as not be a dish of steamed veggies (perforce minus carrots) and mayhap a Pukka Pie or two. Will I be glued to the Idiot-Box for His Majesty’s address? Will I ‘eck-as-like. Don’t have a telly, for one. Think H.M.K.C. is a world-class berk for another.
Nope, I’ll – if plan goes to plan – be feet up agin the stove, listening to the wind whistle and whine, forking salted peanuts down my neck and reading some good book.
I wish you all as pleasant a day yourselves.
Chin-chin Chihuahuaii, and if you see Rudolph then please give the poor animal a box of those tissues treated with Aloe Vera; his nose is awfully red.
Merrick Rythmath, and for those aforementioned colonial cousins – best wishes from the Grithwald Family Chrithmath. May your chestnuts roast over an open fire, may your daze be merry and bright. Or some such nonsense. Actually I may well dig out the National Lampoon Christmas Vacation from the DVD library and give it a go. It’s that and/or another watch of Master & Commander, anyway. The classics.
Ian H., and Cardinal W.