Good morning Mr Sunshine, Messrs Geese, and the Spiders from Mars #offgrid #narrowboat #England

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nb Cardinal Wolsey at his moorings on the Llangollen – but for how long?

I was, perhaps, a little unkind to this wee stretch of canal in my previous post – and I think that it has taken the huff. This morning as the sparrows were all coughing their first cough of the day and queuing for the bathroom the landscape showed me what it can do. Then it issued a clear threat about what may happen if I don’t move on again soon, avec toute 3mph vitesse…

We have entered, it seems, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. This morning was on the “where’s my favourite cardigan” side of cool and the world was, briefly, bathed in a soggy mist until Mr Sunshine laboured, equally briefly, over the horizon.

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The way ahead lies shrouded in a secretive mist

The geese – the goosies? The goosums have, for some time now, all been practicing flying around in v-formations, preparatory to leaving the country for wherever it is that geesii over-winter. Juan-les-Pins or Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat or, if pushed for moolah, possibly Sainte-Maxime, I would imagine, if they have any sense. Do geese have any sense? I don’t know.

Anyway, the air has been thick with the crackle of inter-goose radio communication.

‘Oh, Algie – I think I’ve dropped my goggles, can we go back for them? It’s my diamanté pair from that little shop in cap d’Antibes.’

‘Simon! Do keep up, Simon, give it more throttle or you’ll be left behind again like last year.’

‘Sidney, you’re flying backwards and I am assuming that it’s intentional – so do turn around and stop showing off.’

‘Squadron Leader to all geese, Squadron Leader to all geese – does anyone know which direction is east? My sat-nav has stopped working. I can’t get a mobile signal.’

‘Wing Commander, if we just keep flying away from the sun won’t we end up going around in circles? Again.’

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The Dam-Busters flying out of the sun
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The rhythm of life is a powerful beat, but I don’t think that these chaps have managed to synchronise it quite yet. Up, down, up, down…

‘I say chaps, if you could just get those wings flapping in time please – remember your rowing days for Cambridge – up, down, up, down, up, down… There are people watching, you know.’

It was only later in my dawn constitutional that I realised why the geese migrate.

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Cobwebs formed overnight under cover of the murderous mist

Stand still around here for even a moment and you’ll feel the dry touch of a web encircling. Stand still for too long and you’ll be cocooned. Every bush, every tree, festooned with cobwebs and that means only one thing – spiders, spiders, spiders, spiders, spiders, spiders [pauses for breath] spiders, spiders, spiders…

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The more ambitious, architectural cobwebs of the Sodbucket’s Human-Flesh Devouring Spider common to these parts. These webs are dinner-plate sized. The spiders are thought (by me, and no-one else – and certainly not the scientific community) to grow to the size of sheep if sufficiently well-fed.

Now, if the appearance of evidence of Sodbucket’s Human-Flesh Devouring spiders isn’t an incentive to move on then I don’t know what is.

Even the Cardinal was not safe from the attentions of these eight-legged freaks overnight… look closely and you’ll see that everything is tied up with “string”.

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In the thorny matter of other wildlife so far this morning all that I can report is one dog-emptier (non-scooping), two disgustingly healthy joggers and one household cat. The cat was mightily confused by the Cardinal’s one-way reflective windows and portholes. He could hear me meowing but had no idea why he couldn’t see me.

After this short-lived flurry of picturesquenessnous (another new word) the day has reverted now to “Bank Holiday Weekend Normal” – dull, overcast and grey. Should I move today or should I move tomorrow? There’s coffee and good books to be read on one side of the argument, and spiders on the other.


Answers on a postcard please.


Ian H.

post-script. Addendum just before publishing. An additional to the passing and local wildlife. Another dog-emptier. Face like a pug chewing an especially sour wasp (and the dog was a small terrier). Why are there so many miserable people on and about the Llangollen Canal? Perhaps it’s the mist and the spiders – never the best combination in re human survival.

I’ve done justice to this area now, perhaps I ought to move.

One more coffee first though…


  1. Why are you puttering about taking gorgeous pictures and counting pooping dogs??? Shelob may be upon you at any moment. Leave, man!
    Draw the anchor, set the sail and leave that spidery hellmouth behind. It’s just dumb luck you aren’t currently cocooned in her web.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Cardinal and I have scarpered and moved some several miles – just in case! I haven’t seen so many cobwebs in one place since the news reports of that Australian town that was inundated with spiders. It was most worrying!


  2. Wonderful pictures! These weekly posts surely have to come out as the first in a long line of Chronicles? The pictorial and rambling delights of an Englishman #narrowboat #England I have a number of collections of famous chronicles, but none could wield a box brownie like thee!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it’s funny that you should mention that… Cheers, Muskie, I do enjoy pointing the old camera at thiings. In the end I did move – more on that later! 😉


    1. Airborne poop-bombers, all. Do swans over-winter in the same resorts as geese? I’ve never met one at an airport or ferry terminal to be able to ask… 😉


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