The Mist

by Ian H Bruce (2017)



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The mist lies low above the water
The frost is spreading on the ground
Frozen leaves from the trees
Crunch beneath my weary feet
As I trudge along the towpath by the pound

I can smell smoke rising from the chimney
The stove is still alight and glowing bright
With a log thrown on the fire
For the evening I'll retire
And hunker down with music for the night

I've got hot water when I've boiled a kettle
Battery power when the engine has been run
The coal will have to last
'Til the coal boat next comes past
It's been months since I last saw the summer sun

When at last dormant nature awakens
Hedgerows show signs of turning green
There's no arguing with CaRT
So winter moorings I'll depart
And head off for an enforced change of scene

Where I try to befriend those frenzied boaters
Who think boating is a contact sport
They've seen barging on TV
Now we've a leisure boat grand prix
For boats rocked in their wake they give no thought

Then there's the threat of day hire dodgem
Boats crewed by drunks in silly hats
As they lurch from side to side
You just pray they won't collide
If they miss you going they'll get you coming back

There'll be arguments, abuse, blood pressures rising
Grumpy anglers, speeding cyclists, queues at locks
It's not a fast way to slow down
It's a theatre for clowns
I'll be happy when all this madness stops

Then it's time to moor up for the winter
No more crazy boaters, fingers crossed
Falling temperatures prelude
A season's welcome solitude
With only one companion - Jack Frost

The red mist is draining from my system
As white frost spreads across the ground
Frozen leaves from the trees
Crunch beneath my dancing feet
As I skip along the towpath by the pound

"The mist lies low above the water" - these words came to me in the winter of 2016/17 but the song didn't come together until I'd been on an extended cruise in the summer of 2017 where I'd been reminded of some of the negative aspects of boating, mainly selfish speeding boaters. When I encountered some continuous cruising friends who had suffered horrendous abuse when they had asked people to slow down - so much so that they decided to sell their boat - I had more or less finished the song, but it gave me the theme that being on a boat in winter may have some disadvantages but there are advantages too. Mainly the respite from the summer 'madness'. The recording is just a temporary one until I can produce better.