The Return to Lancaster

We went to Lancaster, Carol and me. The sun was shining, but the afternoon was chilly, which made the sky shimmer like a pond full of crystals overhead.

Our first port of call was the old corner shop at Galgate, where we stocked up on brown bread and bacon. There’s nothing so grand as a proper pan-fried bacon butty – a rare occurrence nowadays as my hob is generally occupied by cats. I ate my butty in the bows for added boating ambience.

For some reason I’m reminded of the 60’s cult television series ‘The Prisoner’.

Earlier in the day, at Potters Brook (there’s no possessive apostrophe in Potters Brook, so please don’t send me letters of complaint) we saw the umbrella above parading along. I just remembered that bit. Apologies for the lack of chronological continuity.

We went for a stroll to the best-kept bridge in Britain (or something like that) at the Glasson turn-off. Then we returned to the boat for another bacon butty.

Carol gets the hump. (I’ll get my hat.)

After which we headed to Lancaster with every intention of mooring up outside the Water Witch pub for the night. It took us all week to get there.

Unfortunately, almost the entire wharf was taken up by a twelve-foot, badly parked yoghurt pot, so we were forced to turn back.

The winding hole outside the student accommodation turned out to be extremely shallow and full of plants. It was more like a tropical water garden than anything remotely practical. We found ourselves grounded over and over again, watched intently from the rear of the pub by an ensemble of non-socially distanced drinkers. It took us hours to wrestle ourselves free from the weeds.

There was nowhere to moor near Lancaster. Presumably there’s a breach somewhere. Every time we pulled over to within six feet of the towpath the boat would hit some underwater sill and tilt at an angle of forty-five degrees. This might explain why the banks that were crowded from end to end with boats a fortnight ago, now lay empty and forlorn despite the fine weather.

Cutting the duck weed rug.

To add to our struggles, a carpet of duck weed had been working its way south from Hest Bank. There have been a lot of complaints about this on the various canal-related websites. The CaRT are blaming the plague. Everybody else is blaming the CaRT.

I thought it looked pleasant. It doesn’t bother us narrowboaters. It only ruins the engines of badly-parked yoghurt pots.

We spent the night back at Galgate, talking until two about the decline of the British film industry and why the BBC should be made to go commercial. Then we crept away, back to Potters Brook, at first light (around ten-ish), forgetting to stock up first on tobacco at the last remaining store for hundreds of miles.

Back at Potters Brook, waiting for the Alpacas to start singing.

8 thoughts on “The Return to Lancaster

  1. The weed’s not so good for narrowboats with raw-water-cooled engines either, Brian!

    There’s a lock on the Llangollen named Povey’s Lock. It’s got an apostrophe on maps and in guide books and in the British Listed Buildings site. But BW decided to make it Poveys. Three years ago I decided to emulate the Bristol Apostrophiser and attached a carefully cut apostrophe. Friends tell me it’s been removed now.


    1. My problem is that I’m not sure whether Potters is singular or plural. If I find any possessive apostrophes floating in the canal, I’ll just have to send them home and let them work out their sleeping arrangements for themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I did rather gain the impression that the directorship et al of the Cyclists Anglers & Ramblers Trust were basing their twenty-twenty responses on advice from the PG Tips chimpanzees. It would appear from evidence now that what I saw earlier – the encouraging the coughing masses to come down and cough over boats, live-aboards included, and the uber-eager rush to lay everyone off, furlough the company cat and to sit at home in their Berkshire estates painting watercolours of their favourite expense accounts – was but half the picture. The other half was an absolute zero maintenance, including that which might so much better and even more safely have been done while we the masses were confined to quarters.

    Desperately trying to imagine what Richard Parry’s garden pond (lake?) must look like – silted up, covered in weed, little pottery gnome anglers and pottery yellow-shirt cyclists all lost in the overgrowth of the banks…

    Liked by 2 people

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