"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Work at this time of year is of course dominated by National Poetry Day – encouraging people to submit listings, keeping the website moving, sorting out publications and print runs etc. In my non-NPD hat, my second series of workshops at Wilmslow has finished and I now enter the autumn period of planning and booking things for next year. Macclesfield workshops are cancelled due to lack of interest, but there are plans afoot to rejuvenate the cultural life of the town – of which more anon.
The Smily Man of recent entries has apparently decided to keep me, to kill a bit of time as the nights draw in. What right-minded girl can say no to a man with a smile, a comic horn (see previous entries) and magnificent boat-handling skills? Besides the comic horn, he brings with him a boat, a dog, a redundant double bass and a cohort of friends and pub-goers at the Hollybush including Graham, who is learning to play the banjo….
My trusty guide took me on a leisurely tour of the Caldon Canal – first the beautiful wooded Leek arm, then the Froghall branch which runs below it, alongside the Churnet Valley railway and terminates (for us) at the Black Lion in Consall Forge.
It really is beautiful – water, trees and one exhibitionist kingfisher (that’s the exhibitionism, folks, sorry) which stayed in view for hundreds of yards – and at the weekend we got to share it with friends Peter, Linda and new chum Hayley.
They pushed me off from my mooring delightedly, gazing on with the deep bovine pleasure of crew members who have forgotten to get on the boat themselves. All went smoothly after that.
Hayley is a militant knitter. She knits breasts, for instance (above). I have one of her knitted breasts on the side, as it were, and it never fails to attract attention. As we sat in the Black Lion talking about toilets as boaters will, she quietly produced socks of biblical splendour.
We had the water almost to ourselves. The Hollybush crowd were ahead of us, catching crayfish and cooking them despite the children’s pleas – ‘oh but dad, they were my pets! That one was called Gert.’ Gert perished in a good cause and just as well, since the food at the Black Lion was lamentable. It hardly mattered on such a canal, and with such good company….