Drizzly mist or misty drizzle? A very grey Christmas Day indeed, spent people-watching. The games people play. #narrowboat #England

This photograph ought to give you an idea of what today has brought. The dull and grey has been strong in this one, Yoda. One of those days that hardly bothers to get light at all.

To be fair, I am not moored in the most picturesque of spots, the canal running between a small industrial estate and some housing of adventurous but dubious architectural merit. The industrial estate has closed down now for the duration, so the regular pulse of chaps running about and fork-lift trucks passing is gone for the mo. The housing? Well, that never did sport much life from the look of it. Each back garden has a fence that Trumpetty-Trump would be proud of, so I rather gather that the occupants are all nimbys and gain any pleasure that they do from their front gardens. I’ve only seen one occupant so far, I ducked out of her way as she strode past with her dawg, and she positively sniffed at me, as though I were something that had just washed up on a boat in the middle of her private lake!

I muttered, just loudly enough for her to hear, that try as she might, she was no Downton Abbey dowager duchess, and that the only way to distinguish between her phizzog and her dawg‘s backside was to listen until one of them talked some sense, at which point a chap could be certain that the other was madam.

[Father Christmas was kind enough to send me a telegram in September advising me that there was then no way, no matter how well I behaved thence, for my name to migrate from the “Naughty List” to the “Good List”, so I might as well relax and give up worrying. I therefore had nought to lose in re time off for good behaviour.]

I took a stroll along the canal and then back through town this morning. Town was deserted. Town might as well have been the set for the re-make of a certain zombie film (working title: Twenty-Eight Years Later).



This is in stark contrast to the days preceding Baby Jebus’s birthday celebrations, when the place was a bloody bun-fight of epic proportions.

The towpath has been great for people watching both yesterday and today.

Yesterday the Worm d’Anglers were out in force…

Dreamy Blend Photo Effect: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/dreamy-blend

Each one with a mountain of equipment on a vast trolley, and sporting at least several 30′ long carbon-fibre rods.

It was quite hilarious watching them “share the space” with the walkers and dog-emptiers and joggers and cyclists (not)! Anglers seem to be almost universally miserable to the core, and this lot certainly couldn’t have raised a chuckle between themselves. In and out across the path went the poles, up and down went the expletives and curses, passed back and forth. The only way to have had more fun from their antics would have been if a boat had come along and moved in to moor up…

Today has been a lumpy procession of lumpy people but without the anglers. Families dressed up for their once a year walk, it being The Christmas Day, kids whining, everyone concentrating on the mobile “Phones”. Early and mid-morning saw a predominance of joggers, also all mostly of the once a year variety, and hoping, methinks, that half a mile up and down the canalside at a drunken totter would pre-burn-away two plates of turkey and a bucket of Christmas pudding with custard followed by a crate of chilled Brown Ale.

Strange to relate, there have been no joggers at all since mid-morning. I wonder if they’ll be out again tomorrow, but this time c/w indigestion and hangovers?

I haven’t seen a single child wobbling about on a new bicycle. Do children still write to Father Christmas begging for shiny new bicycles? They were quite the thing in my day. I suppose that it’s all indoor stuff they want now, such as investment portfolios and Class A drugs.

The dogs have been constant and unchanging. A dog always enjoys a walk, or it always doesn’t enjoy a walk, religious festivals are of no doggy import and make no never-mind. All of today’s dogs were happy, including the poor brute that was being walked after dark and was sporting a new collar of flashing red LED lights and a set of reindeer antlers. Both items presumably xmouse presents given to Bowser or Fang or whatever his name was.

My lunch was, as I had promised myself, yesterday’s surplus cooked veggies, combined into a well-browned hash and served with HP Sauce and the DVD of The Great Escape. I ate three portions and allowed myself a seasonal belch and a lick o’the lips (my lips, I must regretfully say).

A brilliant film, The Great Escape, but a tad depressing, too, as most war films are. I shan’t need to watch it again for some years.

For later this evening, I hear you ask? Well, a good book – ‘The Worst Journey In The Midlands’ by one Sam Llewellyn, some pillock rowing to London on the River Severn and River Avon and several pre-restoration canals in an ancient rowing boat. I shall combine aforesaid book with an early to bed, and with a mug of something hot and wintery.

Mr Stove is behaving himself impeccably, remaining in even if I neglect to get up a couple of times in the night to feed him coal. Long may his good mood last.

Long may my coal last.

That, I think, is the last for this particular watery-weak blog post. I just thought that I ought to let my reader know what today has been like. Doris, it’s been great.

Mind you, I could do with a spot of winter sunshine, and so could my solar panels, poor devils.

I hope that you’ve all had a splendid day, and that no-one got their head stuck in a tin of Quality Street or anything requiring a trip to A&E and/or the local tin-smiths.


Chin-chin for the mo,

Ian H., and Cardinal W.


  1. We dined at one of the offspring’s domicile this year … the telly, a giant 50 meter thing was on all the time, albeit with the sound almost off, a concession to me grumbling about it on previous occasions and flaunting my hearing aids in their faces. The food was abundant and conversations were shoehorned in between checking of phones and all of us staring at something on the tv for a moment as though we were a pack of hounds who had seen a squirrel out of the corner of our eyes. There was however very little of the usual subterranean tensions percolating to the surface, so Mrs Widds and I, on our way home, declared it a smashing success. 😀

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    1. If there were no knife-fights, no plain fisticuffs and very few martial “black belt” pouts then your Christmas has to have been a success – congratulations!

      Television affects me woefully these days, I haven’t owned one for years. I refuse to pay H.M. Government the “licence fee”, currently £150.50 for a colour set and £50.50 for black & white, with a 50% concession for those who are blind… and although we too now have eleventy-million channels a la across the pond, there are quite seriously maybe three or four programmes a year worth watching, the rest is either BBC propaganda or commercial £propaganda£. I don’t miss it. The woeful effect though is that if there’s a television set playing in a shop window I experience the same problem as a cat trying to walk past a mirror – I get transfixed by the gaudy moving images! Several times the Emergency Services have had to use a 10′ medical poking rod and/or telescoping pushing stick to free me… After each episode I spend days dazed, muttering about “bright and shiny”. 😉

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    1. You sir are too kind, thank you. You will get your reward in Basingstoke (that’s like Heaven, but the property prices are slightly lower). 🙂

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  2. How could anyone wish for a day better spent, perhaps the edge of a tree forest rather than concrete and glass but canals are connections, not just a bucolic utopia, hope the Gods provide some energy giving rays soon.

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    1. There has been the tiniest smidgen of weak sunshine today, but it’s making a difference. Mind you, it has brought out about twice the number of walkers and runners and bicyclists today compared to yesterday. There are no anglers though, so they only have each other to contend with and are not having to leap hurdles every twenty-five metres! I really must stir my stumps and get moving again soon…


  3. Well Captain I believe it has been drearisome wherever you live. Fascinated as I am not by any form of fishering I do wonder about folk who take delight at sitting beside water (whatever the weather) holding onto their rods; just the logistics of putting a grub or worm on one the size of the featured one, beggars belief, never mind the need to have something that long to fish on the other side (why not move to the other side?) of the canal. Fishing and keeping tropical fish in tanks is…..well alien to me. I must confess that your Christmas lunch as given me a craving for Bubble and Squeak now covered in brown sauce and would sort today (Boxing Day) lunch out!

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    1. I’ve never seen an angler angling on his own side of the canal, they all use those dirty great long poles these days. Sometimes making progress along the canal is to take a two-hundred rod salute, very, very grudgingly given. On the evidence of the (hundreds) that I have come into contact with thus far, anglers are indeed a strange breed. A small percentage are very nice cheerful folk, but there’s no middle ground – all of the rest are as miserable as a chihuahua in a six-inch flood. Hash and Bubble & Squeak are splendid foods. 🙂


  4. I was entertained by my daughter, her significant other (!) and his Mother. It was very lovely, SO’s Mother and I are now firm friends and intend to see each other independently of our offspring.
    I had no Sprout! I did have Parsnip, Carrot, Leeks, and roast Potatoes and Yorkshire puddings with LASHINGS of gravy and afterward Treacle pudding and LASHINGS of custard. Tomorrow, I shall open my pack of organic Sprouts and the one of King Edward potatoes and both shall be roasted and served with hot chestnuts and LASHINGS of gravy. Followed by squares of Turkish Delight (the real stuff, not Tesco’s finest). I have no idea what my other half and his children were eating in the wilds of Yorkshire but I bet they have run out of wine already!
    Happy Boxing day dear thing.

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    1. Treacle pudding with custard is right up there with Brussels sprouts and other veggies as food of the gods. 🙂 Takes me back to my school days in Scotland when the “main” course on offer was things such as salt herring, and the teacher used to let me skip that and have two (or three) puddings instead…

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  5. An accidental blog find to be sure but a good read. Greetings of the season from the Kent Coast. I hope you won’t mind the occasional stop by from now on?

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    1. Thank’ee, and welcome! The blog keeps roughly the same opening hours as does the interwebnetting, with just half an hour off once in a while for lunch. 😉


  6. Happy Holiday. Or Good Sufferance of the Holiday, as it were. I feel you might be one of the few people, who like me is not looking for the Holiday to be more than Just Sufferable. And if it manages a 3 point landing and turns into a rather pleasant day, that’s just good luck. Of course my idea of a pleasant day is to be alone. So. My odds are good. Until this evening when I rashly committed to a family dinner party. I really must stop pretending to be a normal.

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        1. There is a spot of sunshine today, so it’s even better than yesterday was for people-watching. Everyone is trying to walk/jog/run/cycle away the excesses of yesterday. Some of them look in quite a bad way!

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    1. Being “normal” is over-rated. Christmas used to have a certain magic about it when I was knee-high to a cart-horse, but it takes a bit of effort to enjoy it these days. 😉

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  7. Happy holidays, Ian. Delighted that you shared it. Ours is rather quiet as we aren’t exactly the Christmas celebratory types but try to acknowledge those who are. We take this day as one to share our gratitude for those dear people who added joy to our lives this past year. This year my husband and I are delighted to include you, Pat, and Aaron for the smiles and laughter you all have given us. And, to be quite honest my husband asked if he had to eat his Brussels this year. Of course, I placed a single sprout on his plate in honor of our new friends. I rather think Hairy, his cat, carried it off to be covered later but I did my best. So, thank you for the smiles and joy you have shared with us, and your books that cause us to giggle uncontrollably and nod in a knowing way. You are a gift.

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    1. Ma’am, it has been a pleasure to (internet-)meet you! I thank you for your feature of me and review, and I am doing my best to come up with some more to amuse! I had a singular Brussels sprout today – after I had (s)mashed everything together for my vegetable hash, cooked it all and served myself a generous plateful I discovered one wholly un(s)mashed sprout in the mix – it was delicious. Sprouts always find a way.

      Happy New Year, and all of that stuff. 🙂


    2. Thank you SinDe Barnwell for your kind words; you have been essential ‘fresh air’ in an otherwise stagnant time continuum. I now worry about Howard who has the take the brunt of neglect caused by your reading habits (although we are all most grateful to be privileged to entertain you) from late or cold meals. I think the delivery of a brussel on his plate (however significant a symbol of the ‘British way’) may come close to torture for some. Pleased that the cat was around to save him – you’ve just ‘got to be wild about Hairy’! Sincere good wishes to you both for 2019!

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