The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Smoke, mirrors, boats

Good heavens, I seem to be very nearly in Wales. My new-for-2009, leisurely ‘I am NOT a control freak, thank you’ attitude to boating made me take two left turns out of Nantwich Canal Centre (splendid, thanks) on impulse, and now I am on the Llangollen Canal. It’s shallow in places, busy everywhere, and Spring Bank Holiday is precisely the wrong time to join it. Cousin Andy and Sue seemed not to mind. Andy relaxed…

Shiny roof, shiny head

Shiny roof, shiny head

and Sue was so relaxed she felt the need to work on my extensive estate.

Tending the estate

Tending the estate

Ah, the deep, diesel-scented pleasures of boating…. The little challenges in finding your way around a strange town, keeping the electricity going, finding people to get drunk with. Every stretch of canal has a new community of boaters and a few old friends; new buildings, new birds – we had curlews and skylarks trilling over our lunch on Monday. On every trip I learn something (in this case, how to get a boat off a weir) and there are local oddities like these cast iron gravestones at Wrenbury.

Grave concerns

Grave concerns

And the nights will still be drawing out for almost another month. 

Jo, Andy, Sue at pub

Nantwich, by the way, was great and the people at the marina made me very welcome. As you know, I had my stern gland seen to and I feel much better for it. I’ll be back on my return journey chaps – brace yourselves.

Work continues from wherever I am moored, thanks to smoke-and-mirrors technology and a bit of determined commuting. I’ve been working on National Poetry Day as usual, chivvying ticket sellers for Fourpenny Circus, and talking to possible venues for our October and November season.

On Thursday I did Poetry in the Pub at the Vale in Bollington, assisted by Nik Perring. Cricketers at pubThe event was a great success – obviously people will try anything whilst pissed. We generated 41 beer-mat poems and I’ll be doing it again at the Church House in Sutton on 3rd June, 7-9pm. Nik is the co-editor of a very attractive book of photos and poems, including one of mine, which sells in aid of the Alzheimer’s Disease Society.

Next week I really will be in Wales, having crossed the fantastic Pontcysyllte aqueduct. This is another big tick on the Trainspotter’s Chart of Boating. Hopefully my crew will be slightly more restrained than this…

Andy demonstrates head torch

Andy demonstrates head torch


One comment on “Smoke, mirrors, boats

  1. Derek Adams
    May 27, 2009

    All that talk about the wonderful Pontcysyllte aqueduct & the Llangollen while we were at St Ives must have had a subliminal effect on you. I feel like Derren Brown… spooky!

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This entry was posted on May 26, 2009 by in Uncategorized.
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