The canals give a chap access to England’s back garden, the views generally unseen by Earth humanoid. Some views are quaint and constrained and/or confined by hedgerow and hollow, but my favourites are the wide skies. Or, as I should stay if I wish to remain in character…
‘This most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours!’
I wrote that you know. Bill Rattlestick nicked it off me and used it in his script for those Hamlet Cigar advertisements.
The last of which in that collection is gobsmacking… How did they get that past the A.S.A. prudes of Prude Hall?
A chap sees some splendid skies from the canals. Mix in a few of my favourite people (by which I mean trees) and it’s a combination made in about 4,400,007,977 B.C.E.
The farther away one gets from trees and skies and the nearer to people abounding of course, the more spoiled it becomes.
Nature puts up lots of signs, many more than the human species raises. However, Father Nature’s signs are generally in thoroughly good taste, whereas personkind’s signs are uniformly ugly and brutish.
Nature puts boggly eyes and needle-teeth on tiny dogs so that everyone is forewarned of their propensity to sink their fangs into anything all of the time. Nature puts zig-zags and diamond-shaped markings on sheep, so that you know they’re poisonous and will attack (especially the notorious rattle-sheep of Yorkshire). Nature puts piles of debris and human skellingtons at the bottom of sheer cliffs, so that any fool may know that one step too far and gravity will immediately have its evil way with you.
Personkind has recently erected and renewed some more of its ugly, ugly, ugly signs in Audlem town, thinking that the plethora of old ones is no longer sufficient unto boater-depression.
This older sign appears to be some tangential alert relating to angular two-dimensional square-muzzled black dogs that poop fire in the form of – what? Flaming Hot Cross buns or blazing random rocks adorned with monochromatic Scottish flags? Perhaps it’s not a warning at all but merely a reminder that such critters can assist in the matter of camp-fires?
Thank you Spot/Rover/Fang, now would you please light my cigar?
There’s no red slash on this one, so is the dog’s behaviour approved or verboten? I suspect that a two-dimensional square-muzzled dog that can poop fire wouldn’t give a shit either way. JMHO.
Then there’s this one. No Perfectly-Formed Piscine Entities? Always slice cod diagonally? Salmon may not moor here?
All haddock in the canal must wear a seat-belt?
No swimming left?
Chuffed if I know.
The most ridiculous but least-funny of them though is this one.
Squeaky new, spreading the usual Canal Company Trust Ltd love for boaters. £25 a day? Who are they kidding. My gross income isn’t twenty-five knicker a day so good luck collecting that one. Charged by whom? How? On what basis, given that the only law in the matter, the 1995 Waterways Act doth most definitely not empower nor intend to bestow any such nuckfuttery within the purview of the Canal Company Trust Ltd.
No matter how much like some miserable misanthropic brown-warehouse-coated chap in a hut overseeing the corporation park pond C&RT become, they always manage to sink that little bit lower still. As organisations go if being truly awful were a virtue, they’d be saints.
Note that they can’t even make the putative “offence” match the parameters of the (no basis in law) “time limit” posted on the moorings. Twenty-four hours (presumably any twenty-four hours provided they be – presumably – consecutive hours) versus dawn to dusk or midnight to midnight or just a C&RT finger in **** – um, I mean in the wind, not the ****. Level of proof? The say-so of Ms Nimby in the flats opposite? Two telephonic rattings-on and a signed statement from no fewer than three anglers or cyclists? Return prohibited within what? Six moments, two and a half whiles or three pregnant pauses, and second-offence charge then charged in guineas, groats and insane, lop-eyed corporate grins? The legislation allows fourteen consecutive days in any one neighburhood and, as part of a bona fide cruise, says nothing about return – so I think I’ll have fourteen consecutive 24hr stays then.
What utter bilge. Do me a favour.
They seek of course to unilaterally and unofficially legislate via Boat Licence “terms and conditions”, ignoring the basic tenet of English law as far as I understand it that any contract must be “reasonable” and (reasonably) “reciprocal” – and as far as I am aware, agreed in advance between the parties involved.
Corporate shmorporate. Please place your corporate lips on my hairy gluteus maximode before proceeding with proceedings.
Happily, especially so since C&RT have done nothing to protect or further the interests of boaters [at all, ever] and esp. of late in the recent matter of the energy companies’ and politicians’ blatant and shameless profiteering, these highly-combustible wooden posts are disappearing at a delicious rate. Up boat flues, to where they belong.
The wind of late has been somewhat discombobuveniencing in the matter of easy – safe – considerate – single-handed moving. Yonder rain has been, on occasion, genuinely biblical. I was listening to seventies rock on headphones the other evening and I could still hear the rain pounding on the Cardinal’s steelwork. Sometimes it’s been on the ‘my goodness me, Cyril, is it really that cold out?’ side of a penguin’s todger, others it’s been damned near shirt-sleeve again. Indeed here today a chap did walk past the Cardinal carrying his jacket*.
*He looked insane, but on the canals one can never be sure certain.
Most days to see the Sun Messrs Solar Panels Inc would needs must to burrow somehow through ten miles depth of dark grey cloud. Mr Engine has been stepping up to the plate and seeing to the needs of the batteries. The batteries have been seeing to my needs.
I have noticed one most interesting phenomenon, enon enon, hereabouts. Broccoli and carrots and other such fine fresh comestibles purchased from the Co-op shop in Audlem last every bit as long as my memory tells me that vegetables used to last. Such items bought from and delivered by the large supermarkets, even though they be well inside their marked “best before” date, often barely make it from delivery van to boat before going bad. Broccoli green as I pack it into my trolley at the van is oft yellow by the time we make it to unloading in the galley.
Whatever the big(ger) supermarkets do to their vegetables the Co-op plainly does not, or they do and the others don’t, or something. I don’t know which.
I’d love to know.
Perhaps the Canal Company Trust Ltd could put up a sign to tell me?
No, that would be useful!
How did that song go? They paved paradise and put up a [no-]parking (mooring) lot (sign).
Doubtless they’ll come for the skies and the trees soon enough.
Moan moan moan, it’s all that I ever do.
Chin-chin for the mo, Chihuahuaii.
Ian H., and Cardinal W. Bewitched and bewildered, but rarely be-bothered, and never by ewe.
p.s. &etc – I ought not to need to but I will repeat here that I regard the Canal Company Trust Ltd as being two (or more) distinct bodies. I have the utmost respect for [almost all] of the grunt workforce, the ones who do real work (such as replacing lock gates and other manifold bolcocks). I have less than zero respect for [almost all – there are a slack handful of exceptions] of the directors and trustees, who really could do with a swift **** up the Source of The Nile.
The canals – and by canals I don’t mean the angling opportunities, the cycle routes, or the diversity of the wellness wandering by water in the inner cities – won’t improve until these metropolitan latte-mobsters are sent back to their manufacturer marked “Dud”.