Friday, 17 April 2009


On the bus this morning - from Victoria Park. The rain was rattling on the roof most of the night. At the same time comforting and depriving me of sleep. Outside Hackney Town Hall - all those capital letters seem to sum up the bloated pomposity of local government. But then it just is. Part of that normality that helps define the texture of London maybe. So tired but not sure if I'm looking forward to that customary relief that is the weekend. Got a party to go to Saturday night but haven't seen S since Tuesday morning. Graham Road.


Biked along the tow-path to work this morning - from cabin to desk took about 45 minutes - actual cycle time probaby more like 30 to 35 mins. Certainly coming back to the boat this evening took around 30 minutes cycle time. It's still a bit of a palaver to get the bike to fold as it should. Just out of practice methinks.

The boat is rapidly being defeated by bits of falling tree - a trifle of sticky droplets, leaves, pollen, twigs and small leaves - whole and part. The boat looks a bit of a mess after s's efforts to clean the outside of the cabin. It looked lovely then - at Paddington Basin.

It's just gone eight and I've just cut the engine after around 20 minutes of battery charging. Not sure if I'm imagining things but the engine seems to be vibrating more than it should. The old Lister is hardly whisper-like even at tick-over but there does seem something harsh about the beast at the moment. One sunny weekend I'll get the back deck up and have a poke around....Mmmmmm, that sounds like I know what I'm looking for.

A plane flying overhead just made a momentary roar. Sounded like a wounded spirit.


The candles give a lovely glow. It's been a warm day and I've just returned from seeing Tiff and Jamie who have kindly been baby-sitting one of the folders since Monday evening. S at netball tonight - and is wanting to go away at the weekend. Feeling very down since the Easter weekend. Seem to be caught up in something that I find utterly perplexing. One of those periods in my life where helplessness surfaces with a vengeance. Although I wonder if this emergence is a cover for a plain and simple truth. A personal truth only perhaps but this truth of 'desire's signpost' doesn't always point in the right direction. In fact I don't think it ever does.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Victoria Park. A bank holiday Monday. Arrived here yesterday. Just a 75 minute cruise from the Angel. It's about 10 and the runners have been pounding past at intervals since the early hours. Had a pleasant but uninvolving evening last night. Just seemed contactless. Maybe it was just fatique. Or the age difference, but I wish for something with a bit more substance. The last conversation of any challenge, real humour, or interest was probably with Will and Kath. I find myself trying to avoid the pergorative 'lightweight' (it's also a term virtually trademarked by Alan Sugar). But this does describe my deep-seated dissatisfaction with most of our social encounters. There is something about conversation largely driven by anecdote that I find saddening. Not because anecdote as a conversational form is intrinsically dull; it's just that most people we meet have so little of interest to say.

Evening. A day of children. N lovely. A charming baby. A real sweetie. Came back to the boat just a few minutes ago. Running the engine to top up the domestics. The weather has teased us today with what it could have been like over the bank holiday weekend. It's now a mild spring evening. The planes are whirring overhead. But the fish aint jumping. Tired and stressed after couple of days of babies and toddlers. Too old to cope well with the inscesant demands of this alien breed. Well, not alien perhaps but parental over-weaning makes them seem so. Small, forming humans - not from mars. Hunger for a bit of adult conversation though. Now peace but little tranquility.


Visitors to the boat today. Mike and Ikks and Richard dropped by on his bike. Iwona is back in Poland for a couple of weeks getting her teeth done and seeing her mum. Finally set off through the tunnel about 3. Not a nice day weather-wise but M and I are easy and enjoyable company. Very fond of them both. Had a compact tea at St Pancras basin and took on some water while we ate a lovely spread put together by Sally. She put a lot of love in to it - as she does most things. I take too much of this for granted. In fact I sometimes wonder if I take such 'spiritual' generosity as a kind of simple mindedness. But, then again, such paucity of spirit on my part is rooted in safety - a kind of psycho-social risk aversion. Something that took its place in my outlook in early life and has festered there over the years and has resisted all my feeble attempts to overcome its insidious power. I really don't know what I can do other than be wise to its tactics. Today it has resulted in souring the end of an otherwise lovely day. It was a lovely day, wasn't it?


Slight muzzy headache. Went through an afternoon of assessing a pitch for a professional services contract. More style than content. On the bendy back to the boat. Have cleared a backlog of work for Bob. Hope to get through this Easter break without too much stress. Set my aspirations high you know.


And then there's the squeaking. A pulse in time with my stepping around the office. Not just in the office of course, but noticeable there - to me if not to my colleagues...kind of reminds me of the old theme music to the Laurel and Hardy shorts. It comes from my right shoe. From near the heal I think. - stooped slightly as I walked to the office loo this afternoon. Trying to focus on the part of the shoe from where this squeaking issued. No luck so far. The exact source remains illusive. Think I might wear my Loakes tomorrow, instead.


Evening. At least the coming long weekend will bring some light relief from the weekday routine.

I tend to the Morso with this routine now well rehearsed, making sure that the ash in the tray is merely warm - emptying the tray and then giving the thing a good 'raddle'. S likes that word...'Is it a real word'? 'raddle'. 'No idea', says I. 'But it's in the manual.'

Radio 4 murmers in the darkness. A programme about 'Britishness'. As I tap out this missive, I note the glow of the Blackberry illuminating the bulge of my Horlicks-engorged belly.

Enough. Time to turn in and escape into sleep. Shall I walk in to work tomorrow?

Monday, 6 April 2009


Sunday - the 7th anniversary of my discovery of Sally at Tower 42. The sun is shining and we have The Archers keeping us company. Sally is a bit snotty at the moment and a boat has just chugged by us - heading east- maybe going to the next mooring at Victoria Park. We'll be here for a few days (a week maybe). My right arm is still giving me gip. Its very quiet here - considering our mooring spot. The east gate wasn't opened until around ten causing some minor consternation for sunday morning runners and the more ubiquitous cyclists which blight the towpaths in this part of London. I don't share any camaraderie with the bikers here. Bloody menace most of them. Would delight in seeing one career in to the canal...


Finally left Paddington Basin after picking up two pairs of new glasses from Specsavers on the Edgware Road and taking on water. Got to Angel about 2030 in the gathering darkness. No respite from the Islington tunnel at this time of the day. We doubled up with a fellow 'continous cruiser' - a chap in his 50s with a smart newish boat - about the same length as Lysander. Passed a few niceties about doubling up and even got an exchange in about us going to France and 'Narrowdog to Carcassonne'...had a fraught passage through the locks at Camden. Usual hoards of youngsters out in force on such a sunny Spring afternoon. Sally did not enjoy the experience. Got quite stressed. Both.