Galgate Happens…

Michelle went walkabout again today.

I didn’t. I was waiting in for our new ‘new’ inverter to arrive, which it didn’t, but I had to wait in just in case.

On her wanderings Michelle came across this…or ‘these’, depending on your perspective.

Steps near Abbeystead

Is it just me, or does Michelle have an uncanny knack of stumbling haphazardly upon the eldritch? The last photograph she took was of some fairy bridge weirdness near Cockerham. It was crying out to be illustrated and peopled with Rackham-esque characters. So that’s what I did. Well, that’s what I sort of half did. I drew it up and was going to add one of those trolls that had schoolkids’ pencils stuck up their bottoms back in the seventies, until Michelle pointed out that they were probably copyrighted, so I added some mice playing wag to the finished product instead.

Playing Wag

When she’d finished being mazed by the goblins (good work if you can get it) Michelle next visited the arts and crafts shop at Galgate Marina, to see if they’d buy any of our excellent Mouse Boat greetings cards.

Apparently not. They didn’t even look at them.

Some you win, most you lose.

Here’s a photograph of the aforementioned shop, anyhow. As soon as my new ‘new’ inverter’s been fitted, I’m off up to Galgate to set up shop on the canal bank and sell some cards anyhow, because I’m an awkward bugger like that.

Galgate Marina

One last photograph to finish off this posting with. I don’t know where it is. Some place around Abbeystead somewhere. I wasn’t there.

Answers on a postcard, please.


New Prints and Stuff

I’m just waiting for my new inverter to turn up, so, to pass the time, I thought I’d mention that we’ve got a couple of new ‘Mouse Prints’ for sale.

Firstly, here’s one for Mother’s Day…

Mother’s Day

And, secondly, here’s one called ‘Premium Bond’…

Premium Bond

And, thirdly, this one’s just called ‘Post’…


All available, along with our other fine prints, greetings cards, keyrings, bookmarks and stuff from the links in the left hand column.

That is all.

More Fun with Inverters and Mud

Michelle took all the photographs in this posting. Apart from the scan of the inverter manual, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Ellel…or somewhere.

Galgate beckons, but it’s still a long way off yet. (Sorry Soo…we will reach you eventually.)

Parp! Parp! Here comes the Mouse Boat in a cloud of blue diesel smoke.

My inverter’s still not working. I suspect I made too much toast a few mornings ago and blew a gasket. Now there’s no electric reaching my plug sockets, and every time I turn  the inverter on an alarm goes off, and the letters ‘HFP’ appear on the LCD.

I’ve no idea what that means. The manual’s been translated – extremely badly – from Korean, or Chinese, or Hindu or something. It’s full of useful titbits of information such as ‘Do not Dick Hold out of Shell’, but not a mention of what the letters ‘HFP’ mean anywhere.

You don’t believe me about the ‘Do not Dick Hold out of Shell’ bit, do you? Fair enough, have a look at this.

Don’t try this at home, folks!

So now I’m back at Ingleway, wondering what the best course of action’s going to be. I can manage without the television – it’s all rubbish anyhow, and Doctor Who won’t be on for months – but, no computer? No Internet? No thanks!

No-one’s going to bump into me in that coat.

This morning we moved the boat to the rear of Nateby Hall in a cloud of blue smoke (I probably ought to ask somebody about that, but there’s a thousand and one other matters to attend to first).

Then we took a stroll up to Bridge number 80. This is the furthest north I’ve ever managed to reach on the Owd Lanky Cut. The last time that I got here  a tree overhanging the winding hole tore my television aerial off, the engine flooded, and the inverter blew up…again. (No toast on that occasion.)

The Dreaded Winding Hole at Bridge number 80.

This is where the Lancaster Canal starts to wind into the mountains proper. I could spend the rest of my life here. In that house, I mean. It doesn’t appear to have any neighbours, or any access of any sort.

The bridge itself is one of those affairs where the road crossing it, if there ever was one, has long since overgrown with grass and trees and now resembles something concocted by Arthur Rackham.

Bridge number Eighty from the top.

I’m rambling. I need to reach a decision about this inverter. One way or another we ought to be trading and we’re not, so I need to suss out what I’m going to do quickly before we go bankrupt.

Ropey Tables and even Ropier Paintwork

Today the sun came out.

This has become something of a rarity of late, so I took the advantage and painted the rest of my port/starboard (delete where applicable) handrail.

Then I spray painted a section of the roof. There are twenty-two sections to the roof. The huge and expensive spray can of Hammerite covered just one of those sections.

And it was blotchy.

I’ll probably paint the rest with a brush.

I also managed to test out my ‘hanging tables’ idea. It met with some success, although just how successful it’ll be when fully laden is another kettle of fish. I’m glad I took out the three million quid’s worth of public liability insurance now.

The Ghostly Floating Table of the Wendy Elizabeth

The Ghostly Floating Table of the Wendy Elizabeth

In other narrowboat related news, I topped up the diesel, emptied the bilges and Gorilla-glued the side hatch back together. (A piece of it had fallen off. Don’t ask me how. It has a habit of doing this.)

Then I took a photograph of my dining table, complete with wine bottle, spectacles and ragdoll mice, for no particular reason.

Shown actual size.

Shown actual size.

Oh yes, and a very nice lady at the cafe at Bridge House Marina is now selling my mouse prints and cards on a commission basis. As I left the cafe, a bloke followed me out holding one of said cards and looking quite pleased…so at least I’ve sold one.

And now my fire’s gone out, so I’d best chuck another log on it.

Paintpots and Downpours

For a few worrying moments yesterday I thought there was something wrong with my eyesight. Then I realised the sun had come out – an increasingly rare occurrence nowadays and one of which I immediately took advantage by taking my paint pot outside and attempting to smarten up the roof.

Stolen from Phil Collins’s piano

This is Hammerite ‘direct-to-rust’ paint. As far as I’m concerned, because I couldn’t be bothered washing everything down, it’s also ‘direct to mildew’.

I didn’t get very far – just half of the port side handrail (possibly the starboard side, I haven’t got a clue which is which).

Michelle, in the meantime, was out exploring the Wyre with her camera.

Greenhalgh Castle

This is Greenhalgh Castle in Garstang, or at least what’s left of it after Oliver Cromwell took a dislike to the owner for overcharging him in the souvenir shop or something.

Your guess is as good as mine…

And this is somewhere else…no idea where exactly…possibly Emmerdale Farm. (Despite Emmerdale being set in Yorkshire, apparently it’s filmed at a secret location in Lancashire…or so I’ve been informed.) I was too busy painting to ask.

This morning it rained. The noise of the raindrops turning yesterday’s glossy, smooth paintwork into a moonscape woke me up.

At around elevenish my sister, Janet, and my brother-in-law, Jim, turned up for a brew and natter. And because everywhere was just a mass of mud and water, I emptied the Thetford, moved the boat slightly further north to just outside Bridge House Marina, moored up as soundly as I could, and hitched a lift back to Ingleway.

Our trading licence has now kicked in and we’re allowed to trade from the boat, but given the constant downpours and the unstable towpaths, there’s no point in sticking our mainly paper and card stock out in the deluge.

Here’s another random photograph from Michelle’s wanderings to finish this posting with.

Garstang…just Garstang…with the church tower in it.

Just time for a short video…

…before the Mouse Boat officially opens for business. Not that we’ll be selling directly from the boat immediately, but we can still trade in online sales and stuff while I finish painting the roof and making everything more presentable.

Anyhow, here’s a video (because we haven’t had one for a while) of us moving the aforementioned Mouse Boat from Dimples Lane to the Wyre Aqueduct the other day.

A Break in the Weather

Yesterday I took a tumble down the slope from the bridge at Dimples Lane. To make matters worse I was overloaded with stock at the time, doing a superb impression of an old Albanian peasant woman. It all came down with a wallop – or, perhaps more accurately, several wallops – successfully tearing a hole in one of my oil paintings. (It was the one of Kitten balancing on the edge of the boat, in case you’re interested. That’s a week of my life I’ll never get back.)

That slope is a death trap; a lava flow of unstable mud that resembles Zsa Zsa Gabor’s forehead after her Botox had worn off.

We took advantage of the lull between storms – the weather clearly knows that our trader’s licence is about to kick in (less than a week to go now; next Thursday in fact) and obviously bears some personal grudge against us – to move the Mouse Boat to the Wyre Aqueduct. (Apologies. That was an unnecessarily long and complicated sentence.)

So long Dimples Lane

The Wyre Aqueduct at the rear of the Tithebarn isn’t exactly one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but it does hold a certain charm. It was designed by John Rennie back in Georgian times. This might explain why the wind eased off when we stood on the top of it. (I’ve been warned by Tim Vine’s lawyers that the preceding joke is almost certainly copyrighted to him.)

The magnificent, mighty Wyre Aqueduct

The footbridge behind the Tithe Barn is being painted at the moment. Or rather, it isn’t being painted, because I couldn’t see any blokes in paint-spattered boiler suits anywhere. Nonetheless, there’s a sign next to it saying that the bridge itself is closed due to maintenance. I’m not sure whether this means that boats can’t pass under it on the off chance that a pot of paint that’s been sitting there untouched for the last three weeks falls on their head.

Whatever the case, bugger that. I’ve paid for our trading licence now and I intend to continue in a week or so’s time up to Galgate and beyond. I’ll have to wait until the small hours and then quietly sneak past whatever troll lurks on guard duty beneath the bridge, pulling the boat behind me on a rope.

Moored at the aqueduct

Right, that’s enough for now. I’ve got a pie in the oven.