It’s grand weather for the ducks, as the old cliché goes – although, to be honest, the ducks look fairly bloody miserable at the moment as well.
And so it rains. Then it rains some more. The world resembles an unfinished sketch, an immediate, colour-drained foreground smudged into an indeterminate distance. Hardly the snow-blanketed landscape with crisp, blue skies that Christmas card manufacturers would have us believe.
The boat’s looking grubby – especially the roof, where autumn’s showers of leaves are now mulching down into grimy puddles.
Outside Salwick Hall there were three apathetic sheep, balefully watching the boat slide past. Or rather there were two apathetic sheep. The third one was clearly dead. It had probably just given up hope and keeled over. It was that sort of day.
Last week somebody told me I had something snarled up around the prop. Summoning up the effort, I checked the weed hatch, but I couldn’t see anything untoward. There might have been something there. I just couldn’t see it, and it was too cold and wet and terrible to climb inside for a proper ferret around.
I moved the boat through the sodden emptiness from the shadows of some long lost bridge behind Swillbrook to some empty furlong of churned-up mud and dripping rushes in front of the nuclear fuel rod processing plant at Salwick. At least I can find my way back to the boat after dark round here. The boat glows. And the mud on the towpath appears to move of its own volition.
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere a tacky florescent pink plastic flamingo had been blown off somebody’s jetty by the wind, and had now found itself wedged upright on one broken leg in the reeds by the cut. It just about summed the day up really.
It’s dark at nine in the morning these days. It’s slightly less dark but still not what I’d call daylight at midday. By half three in the afternoon it’s night. This time of year makes me feel as though I’m stuck in one of Tove Jansson’s final novels.
Apart from that, it’s great fun.