Bank Holidays & Bunting

The Gubbermunt, perhaps thinking itself to be (at best) our employer or (at worst) our owner, has granted we peasants no fewer than three Bank Holidays during the forthcoming month of May. May Day (this year actually on the 1st), and which they despise, Spring Bank Holiday on the 29th, and an extra day off on the 8th for being good little workers and so that we may all wave our knickers in the air to celebrate as Charlie Boy and Lillie Langtry Camilla waddle up the red carpet with chubby, greasy little fingers outstretched towards The Crown, slipping a little in their own dribble, Charlie’s ears knocking askance the wide-brimmed hats of the great and the good sitting in the pews closest the aisle.

It’s a “bit of a bugger” since that’s three weekends and Mondays that I mun plan for, three weekends and Mondays when – weather being agreeable – the turnip-scrapers, wheel-tappers, and lamb-stranglers will all be out in force. Those in important jobs such as lamp-lighters, hackney-carriage horse fiddlers, and rat catchers will, of course, be expected to remain at their toil. At the mildest hint of sunshinery there’ll be screaming hordes venturing out on boats hired, boats long forgotten in marinas, and boats day. Skanks, scuzzbags, hoorays, and Brasso queens all rushing around varicose-veined cheek by peach-fuzzed jowl and screaming about ‘contact sports’ and ‘where’s the pub moorings?’

Among those there’ll be one or maybe two nice people too. The “regulars” of the canals, the ones who are about on days that Rishikins Sunak hasn’t declared to be ‘”‘off you go now my little ones, be back promptly for your shift at midnight’, will be holed up, thoroughly aghast. Imagine if you will, Mr Parry (Admiral of the canals) waking one day to discover that his nice little “fourteen up, fourteen down, 3 receps, 12 bths, triple garage” detached house in Surbiton has changed just a tad. All other houses in his neighbourhood have been sold to a Chinese hedge fund to be run as “AIRBNBs” and/or accommodation for “refugees”, and Hertz, Enterprise, and Budget have all set up shop on the same road, specialising in hiring Vauxhall Astra GTii to under-privileged under-twenty-one inner-city dwellers, the only condition being that they have no experience of driving, no driving licence, and no responsibility for their actions while “doing doughnuts” and making TokTik videos. Bank Holidays are the boating equivalent and, yes, I have seen a Day Boat doing doughnuts (and slamming into moored boats while doing so).

OK, that’s an overstatement (everything but the Day Boat; that was at Barbridge), but I am a miserable old sod, and you do get the picture. πŸ˜‰

More do-as-we-say-and-not-as-we-do from CRT. I wonder how long this one will be here, clocking up the hire fees but unused.
I am convinced that these things move themselves about, and that they’re not actually moored up; they’re trying to climb ashore. Do as we say, not as we do, lots of love, CRT.

Now, where did I put the bunting? If I don’t find it before the coronation I’ll be distraught.

Oh yes, now I remember, it all came in rather handy that weekend when I ran out of toilet paper.

Oh me. Oh my. Bites knuckle and looks tearfully towards the horizon.

CRT Calveley Service Area, work underway to digj out and surface mayhap a dozen new parking spaces for some sort of expansion and/or change of use.
CRT Calveley Service Area, work underway to dig out and surface mayhap a dozen new parking spaces for some sort of expansion and/or change of use.

Work continues apace at Calveley Service Area, the car parkery being extended. Something’s afoot, Holmes, since flower beds have been removed, and the machinery compound to the rear has also been enlarged. Perhaps this is one building that CRT aren’t flogging off for short-term capital gain?

The cheese factory lies just beyond (that sounds like the title to one of those nineteen-seventies television series plays, dunnit?) and yesterday, by way of my nostrils, flung me back to none other than Pyewipe. Anyone who lived in or about Grimsby and environs during “the day” will be familiar with that… aroma. A smell so thick that you could slice it with a knife, so disgusting that everyone tried to breathe through their arse ears to avoid the taste.

It’s an “aroma” I’ve not noticed from the cheese factory before, and it was being emitted from one, tall, chromium-plated chimney. I do hope that it’s not to become “the new thing”. Calveley might have to be removed from the moorings map.

Pyewipe. Historically - and who knows, I do not - mayhap to this day, source of one of the most peculiarly disgusting smells known to mankind. Thick, cloying, damp, nicotine-yellow, and somehow lumpy - and ALL over the surrounding miles and miles and miles...
Pyewipe. Historically – and who knows, I do not – mayhap to this day, source of one of the most peculiarly disgusting smells known to mankind. Thick, cloying, damp, nicotine-yellow, and somehow lumpy – and ALL over the surrounding miles and miles and miles…

Do have to wonder what goes in withing a “cheese factory” to produce such aromatic peculiarities. Perhaps the drains were backed up.

Today? Well it seems to be shaping up to be a better day than was advertised. I bunged a log into Mr Stove at dawn to remove the overnight chill, and – moan moan moan – we’re now too warm, and have doors and windows open. The sky is undecided, but there’s currently a spot of sunshine. We were supposed to be treated to more breezes but it’s dead calm out there. Messrs Hedgerow & Birds et al are twittering, and Ms Moorhen has been bobbing up and down, fack and borth.

The hounds two boats ahead have been taken out for their morning emptying constitutional and first ciggy of the canine day. The boat ahead is awake; I can see the tell-tale lateral wavelets. It is, methinks, perhaps a “share boat” (where a dozen or so split ownership and use it for hodilays on some rota basis) because while uber-neat it is also utterly impersonal, and there are none of the more usual conveniences such as solar panels.

The beast set my AWOOGAH alarms off yestereve as it came in, far too high a rate of knots, far too shallow an angle. The chap clinging to the roof rails halfway along the gunwales, towpath side (exactly where, in the likely event of his losing his footing he would be squished by eighteen tonnes of steel moving at perhaps 4mph – do the physics), the lady at the tiller flinging things into maximum reverse and wondering why the stern of the boat suddenly leapt out away from the intended target. They moored up, Greek & Roman gods bless ’em, on pins knocked in with all of the delicacy of an Acupuncturist working on their first live patient; surely an exercise in innocent optimism hereabouts (close to Anglo-Welsh Nest) if ever there was one. The centreline (tsk tsk) is rigid, the bow and stern lines looser than the needle in a politician’s moral compass. They were in something of a rush, I surmise some sort of booking at the (only) local eatery. They moored up wholly unnecessarily with bow-button intimately sniffing the stern of the boat ahead.

If there aren’t too many of those people things on the towpath I may wander along later and dump some rubbish, fetch some potable water, check on yesterday’s progress with the world’s latest car park, that sort of thing.

Or I might just hang out of the side-hatch and punch the ducks and swans senseless as they come too close. They have no interest in defending themselves; I’ve never seen a duck or a swan even wearing boxing gloves. Wusses.

None of which waffling gets me any closer to formulating some sort of plan for the month of May. I need a minimum of three, perhaps four places to moor, all of them in some sort of convenient juxtaposition to a service area facility, within reach of an address that Messrs ASDA will recognise, and yet far enough away from the more dense (in every sense) urban areas such that the part-formed humans (who will doubtless also be getting some sort of week-long “day release” from academic and semi-academic penal institutions) are discouraged from staggering and wheezing past the Cardinal.

It’s enough to make a miserable old sod’s brain ache.

Chin-chin, chaps.


Ian H., and Cardinal W., packing more of a welcome than did the British Navy upon sighting the Spainish Armada.


  1. The extra bank holiday, I assume, is to make up for the fact that there’ll be no Guy Fawkes Night this year due to there now being a catholic queen on the throne. (Er…at least, theoretically, that’s how it ought to work. Somehow I suspect that everybody’s forgotten what Bonfire Night is actually about, other than scaring animals and annoying old fogies like me.)

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    1. I wish I hadn’t posted that now. I just remembered that last time I mentioned this somebody threw a wobbler at me because James II actually converted to Catholicism…and now I can’t ‘unpost’ it. Let that be a lesson to me…never post comments after midnight when you haven’t had enough coffee.

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      1. We received exactly that sort of backlash when Father converted the small Rolls to run on natural gas during the war. It seems to me that reality is being rewritten on a daily basis, I feel as though I am in one of those early psychedelic episodes of The Avengers (and, no, I am not going to clarify “which” Avengers I am referring to; there’s only one lot that is worthy of mention). In fact rooms full of spinning spirals and laughing puppets and electrified racing cars in the hallway would be easier to fathom.

        I really, really can’t take this “royalty” thing seriously, it’s beyond risible.

        I have set an auto-delete command for your comments, j.i.c., of one hundred years hence. This ought to forestall any trouble. πŸ˜‰

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  2. Egad! Is this corrienation thingy going to be a THING or a bit of a fizzle? … will the hoi polli be protesting or digesting? … ah well, I suppose it’ll be a bit of a Roman Circus and much mead will be consumed.

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    1. Wouldn’t it be glorious if not a single peasant took the slightest bit of notice? Not a flag waved, not a photograph taken, not a commemorative plate or mug bought. The only possible icing on such a cake would be if the “mainstream” “news” outlets were to hold some sort of “genuine news day” and be too busy not telling porky pies to even mention robber barons tottering around London with stolen jewels and indefensible privilege and power… πŸ˜‰


  3. I expect the peasants will all be tied to their goggleboxes on the actual corry nation day, like good little boys and girls, doing as they are told by their masters. Then those with a brain, and who use it, will have the country to ourselves.

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    1. The aliens will be laughing themselves senseless (again) in orbit, pointing out that neither king nor queen do anything useful such as lay eggs. These days they don’t even fly off and form new colonies.

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    1. If only it were that useful!! This mechanical doodad’s function appears to be being moored in inappropriate places for long periods – while racking up hire fees… πŸ˜‰


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