How do you reset the alarm on a Canada goose? #narrowboat #england

I overslept. It was damned near 0730hrs when this gaggle of horn-honking ne’er do wells made it their job to wake me up before the whole of the day was wasted.

Oi! You! Feed us or we’ll crap on your solar panels.

Geese can be unbelievably noisy, especially if they are hungry from their overnight fasting and wholly intent on persuading each and every narrowboat to open its hatches and feed them. I neither opened the hatches nor fed them, the smudge on the photograph above is because I took the photo through glass…

Mind you, they were quite right about it being long past time to stir my stumps. This was my reward for flinging off my striped pyjamas and performing a few stretching exercises (and, yes, coughing and scratching at armpits and …things… counts as exercise). I poked my angelic little face up agin a porthole and the sun poked me right back in the eye.

The nearby star, the one that revolves around Earth.

Just look at it. No high-rise monstrosities, no thundering, smelly traffic jams, no seething throng of greasy humankind all screeching for attention and blood and a number 32 bus and unbelievably lousy latté in a soggy paper cup. From what I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a fair bit, “living” in a city or a large conurbation is all about desperately avoiding noticing the world that you live in, about avoiding contact with other life-forms, about creating a fragile, battered and beaten little make-believe bubble of faux-isolation around yourself. Interaction with wildlife in cities generally means wondering if that pigeon is going to move before you kick it out of the way.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a country mouse, not a city rat.

Having realised that they were not going to get breakfast out of me, my feathered alarm clocks with watertight arses paddled on. Doubtless they created merry hell with the next boat they came to. I do hope so – the next boat along is in a marina, among hundreds of others. Rich pickings, I’m sure.

Our work here is done. Next boat please… Dave! Norman! Stop pretending that you’re swans, kissing indeed! You’ll frighten the horses and stop the hens laying!

Even when I lived for some many years within twenty-five minutes drive of the centre of a real city [Manchester], I didn’t love the city – I just loved what I could get there. I loved the restaurants, the clubs, and most of all I loved the entertainment – live orchestras, live theatre, acts of the calibre of Cirque du Soleil and those things that my generation refers to as “rock concerts” with the big names. If I could have got those elsewhere then I would, as a preference, have got them elsewhere!

I’ve lived in and near to other places that were officially cities but aren’t really – Lincoln, Norwich, Blackpool.

Lincoln is picturesque, but chaotic to drive in. Norwich is more of an overgrown town than a city, and it only has one horse (deceased). Blackpool, being a seaside place is as tame as they come, and fun in a totally tacky sort of way. I’ve worked in London, right in the centre on the banks of the Thames, I’ve worked in Leeds, Brighton, Bristol, Washington, almost all of those sorts of places, but never Birmingham or Sheffield for some reason.

Wouldn’t give you twoppence for any of them really. Not even a penny. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t shell out a farthing (unless buying them to immediately re-sell, lock, stock and smelly barrel).

Can’t see the sky because of the high-rises and the light pollution, can’t see the trees and the grass (because there is none). Elbow to elbow, cheek to jowl and everyone bad tempered and rude. No thank you. It is of course, the corporate, political and town-planners dream to someday cover the entire planet in one big city. I count myself lucky that I shall no longer be on this planet when that happens.

I shall have packed my bags into the boot of the Hutsonmobile and scooted off into outer space long since, warp factor “get a ruddy move on, Doris”.

There were far fewer birds in Hitchcock’s early films, he just didn’t have the budget available.

Star-trekkin’ across the universe, only goin’ forwards, we can’t find reverse…

Actually, I drove across Australia once to the strains of that song. Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Sprang and that big red rock of Mr Ayer’s. The rest of the soundtrack was Tears For Fears and Kate Shrub (she’s grown since) and much, much fine music of a fine music era. I like Australia, ruddy place is big and not yet under concrete from coast to coast.

I have little doubt that some grubby little politician somewhere is working on correcting just that oversight. G’Day, we’ve got room for another McDonald’s over there but make the drive-through big enough for road-trainsIf the koalas are causing lumps in the road just flatten ’em with a shovel before you pour on the tarmac. Escalators up Ayer’s Rock (and no, I won’t call it Uluru, that’s not my name for it, it’s someone else’s).

This morning’s moon, early on, with a little (fake) lightning.

When I am Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed) the town planners and the developers alike shall be introduced to short ropes and long drops. Then I’ll bury the whole lot of ’em under one of their own motorways.

Now, back to my question for you.


How the hell do I re-set the alarm time on a goose? Is there a button or something?


Ian H.


  1. Apart from the above mentioned method (I use garlic and shaved ginger myself) I don’t believe there is a injury free method of ‘goosing the gander’. Perhaps it is better to have one’s day begun thus than never to have begun it at all … depending on the weather. 😀

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  2. Do not attempt to reset a goose. They are a brutish fascist lot and should be avoided and not encouraged. I wholly approve of you not feeding them.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of cities and only wish the dream of our future, which was supposed to mean we could all work at home by telecommuting, had become a reality for me. I would move to a snug farm and shun all interaction with strangers except where absolutely necessary.

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    1. That working from home dream never did come to fruition, did it? As you say, we were all supposed to be able to telecommute left, right and centre but I’ve seen precious little of it. My theory is that the money – the “Bosses” – don’t trust the workers enough to let us out of their sight. The world seems to have never quite reliably grasped the notion of making the planet a happier, more comfortable and homely place, we seem to have been sidetracked into just making someone, somewhere, some more money money money (and goodness knows what they do with it – buy themselves islands to live the idyll that the rest of us ought to be working towards, i suppose)! 😉 Come the revolution…

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  3. I believe to reset a goose it involves an onion and a lemon pushed up the parsons nose (for added moisture), set on a rack in a roasting dish (to drain off excess goose grease collected and used for perfect roast potatoes) cooked slowly inside a hay box. Then again ’tis Sunday (someone just told me) and you are entitled to sleep in even if you have no reason to rise before the crack of spring…..I was horrified the other day when I noticed it was 2018 already! Had me a few seagulls over this morning…..must be cold at the coast. Lovely pictures and worth rising for!

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    1. All set to freeze here too, according to Her Maj’s Meteorological Office, well below zero for a few days – so I have taken the opportunity today to mooch on a little, via the usual services. Let the polar bears commence! 🙂


    1. Thank’ee kindly sir, tis but much appreciated! I have found with the geese that the reset button requires them to out of water and upside down – only then does the “reset” button show… 🙂

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      1. Good info. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know this. Terrible when you consider I live in Canada. (Whose idea was it to name these geese after our glorious land, I wonder. It seems they’re found in lots of other places).

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        1. It is a silly name, really – I see that even Sky News made the mistake today of referring to the wee beasties as “Canadian” when in fact they’re nowt of t’sort, as you say. Canada shouldn’t get the blame for them at all. One there was shot by hunters (“hunters”) and ti promptly fell out of the sky onto the head of one of the “hunters”, hospitalising him! Score one to the Canada Goose for meaningful final actions! 🙂

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