Sunday, 11 August 2013

MK towards Blizzy..

After our few days at Milton Keynes it was time to pull pins and head towards Blisworth. Not that the pins took much pulling as every boat that passed must have read our minds and went by at full throttle snatching the mooring pins out at every opportunity. How thoughtful. 

It was nice weather and as we were aiming to get to Blisworth by the weekend we were hoping to find a mooring spot close to the bottom of the Stoke Bruerne flight. It was a fairly busy stretch of canal but everyone was being sensible and we followed a pair of very competent Black Prince hirers. Whilst on the move I had my first pot of crab apples simmering away, ready to strain and reduce into pectin for setting my strawberry jam. Shop bought apple pectin is about £10 per litre which bumps the price up quite a bit. 

Along the way boughs were bending with the weight of this years crop of crab apples, I'll have to think up a few more uses of this precious free commodity. The journey to Cosgrove was pleasant but not particularly noteworthy. Crossing the Great Ouse aqueduct brought us to our first lock in a while and a queue of moored and drifting boats waiting to lock up, good job its only a shallow one. Deb went off ahead to help other boat crews recycle the lock until it was our turn. The problem slowing everyone down in front was their reluctance to move up to the small lock landing rather than loiter in the visitors mooring section, and the fact that none of the crews behind were going up to the lock and help. By the time we were through with our locking partners there were no crews waiting and no boats on the lock landing but still five boats a few hundred yards back. Maybe they had become over reliant on the volunteer lockies.

One of my favorite urban art pieces

This must be about the most photographed bridge on the GU

Can you spot the gongoozler just below Cosgrove lock

All seeing, all knowing - 'one day the world WILL be mine'

We pressed on faster than I usually would to avoid getting caught up with the boats from behind. The stretch I was hoping to moor at (about half a mile of good bank side before the locks) was full so we continued on to the water point(s). I'm not sure if these spaces are not visitor points as well, its the only stretch I've seen so far with more than a couple of taps. I think there were six. The Cosgrove lock loiterers soon caught up and we were causing a bit of chaos as it was unclear as to who was watering and who was waiting for the lock. 

By later evening there were just two of us moored up. Us and a charity boat full of delinquents (children of a less fortunate disposition I think they are called). They were watering and I was please when they overflowed their tank and hoses were put away and ropes were uncoiled from bollards. Thank goodness for that. Ropes were retied, shit! The buggers are staying. 

One lad, Nelson, was a real little shit. A perfect artist at causing trouble, skirting around the flack and then reappearing at the back of the huddle in all innocence to watch. He really did need dangling from his ankles into the canal until he had seen the error of his ways. I had chosen the concrete bank side to finish T-cutting the starboard side of the cabin, we had done about a third down in Berko but it badly needed finishing off.

Smurff hands, back in Berko

From my vantage point I was able to observe the interaction amongst the pack and the three (male skipper, and two women) carers, probation officers, youth workers, jailer, fellow delinquents - I'm not quite sure what they were. Attenborough would have had a field day! Some of the group were probably nice kids but when you let them mix with the likes of Nelson (apprentice of Satan) you know that the shit will always hit the fan. So which of the three were supervising, surprise surprise none. Skipper was glued to the phone about two hundred yards away, and the two women only had time for each others droll conversation. When one of them popped her head far enough out of the huddle to enquire of the splinter group of delinquents as to who was next on tea duty she realised that the stones they were throwing were getting closer and closer to the privately moored boats on the other side. 

Several bouts of 'don't throw stones', 'I wasn't throwing stones' were contested. Team Nelson won every one. He was consistent. If being a little shit were an Olympic event I don't think the other countries would even bother entering. 

The puddle of slime drifted away from their boat, stagnated in the fifty yards between them and us, and then carried on to just past my rear deck. I was displeased. I was hungry, my back ached, I was in postdrome migraine mode and bored of polishing. At least one of the three wise persons will reel them in now as they were a good few hundred yards form base. No, the elder delinquents were still in their huddles. I'll give it a mo then gladly go and tell them how to do their jobs. 

The stone throwing started again. No intent to hit the boats but Nelson was trying his best to harass one of the quieter girls who had a serous phone addiction, she had spent the whole three hours so far with it glued to her ear, 'they can't tell me what to do, they're not my muvvers' seemed to repeat on a loop. A lone coote swam over to see what the fuss was about. These usually shy birds seem to get more tame the further south you go and are nearly as greedy as the ducks, just a lot more thick. He soon became target practice. 


'PUT THE BLOODY STONES DOWN AND BUGGER OFF' oh dear I can feel the F's and C's rising with the spittle on my throat, straining to join the vocabulary of my tirade. Nelson does what Nelson does, skirts to the back and waits like a Jackal. The huddle aboard The narrowboat is broken, skipper wanders over. 'Stop throwing stones, how many times have I asked you to stop throwing stones'


'NOW PISS OFF BACK TO YOUR OWN BOAT!' - they leave before skipper arrives. A chorus of 'it wasn't me' nearly drowns out one guilty looking girls 'it was me' before the girl with the phone surgically attached to her ear mumbles past 'you're not my favver anyway, you can't tell me what to do'. They are ushered back aboard by the useless twins saying 'see you're upsetting people now'. 

Useless, lazy and ineffective. No, not the kids, the people who will probably spend the rest of the year glorifying themselves for 'making a difference in our society'. 

Get a big hammer and return phone/ear girls phone/ear back to the base material it was made from, dangle Nelson in the canal from his hightops until he sees reason, and split the two useless twins up and give them a few kids each to engage with, give them some tasks and maybe even promote a bit of competition. Social work or youth volunteering isn't easy but if you either don't want to do it or aren't any good at doing it then don't do it.

The calm of the morning after...

...about 6.30ish

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