I have moved my liddle tank a smidge just to get out of ze mahrina, René, and I now have a nice new MiFi router #narrowboat #boating

Well there’s lovely for you, yes indeed, Myffanwy.

Gosh I do get around.

Returned on Friday from my tour of England (the public does so love to see One and, as Mummy, Daddy and the Headmasters of various schools oft said, I am so obviously a right one). Enjoyed a brief spot of the electric interwebnettings and then my MiFi router decided that it was time to stumble across the Rainbow Bridge into MiFi router heaven.

It entered Dodo mode, as dead as a doornail, done with dongling, devoid of data.

I cannot decide whether I thus suddenly became involuntarily internet-less or internet-free.

A short memorial service will be held later this week wherein I shall read from Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 on the poop deck (there’s a nice line in there about poorly electronics). Public and crew may assemble on the weather deck, and Tom the Cabin Boy will bash out a couple of hymns on his Hammond organ. After a brief collective sniffle and weep the old router will be buried at canal.

That’s akin to being “buried at sea” but there’s a lot less water involved. Bitter experience has taught me that it’s not always enough for the dignified disposal of a recently-acquired human body, and especially so if you weight the feet and the stiff at issue was, in life, taller than about five feet two and six. The shrouded heads poke above water.


WantedIn the “Good News” section of the programme Messrs Canal & River Trust Ltd have generously “withdrawn their previous communication on the basis of the information that I provided” so, for the moment, I am no longer a wanted man. They have accepted (in the face of overwhelming amounts of reality) that not only had I not “stayed in one general place” for more than fourteen days, but that I would, in fact, have been fine there still for some days to come. The black mark against my file has been expunged.

The reason for bothering about this nonsense is that apparently two such “warnings” and the TWMBO Trust* begins to consider bu*ggering about with one’s licence renewal, either refusing it entirely or only renewing it for shorter periods and at a higher cost. Down a very long road of such putative offences lies a circular legal confection in which the TWMBO Trust Ltd, a private company behind a charitable construction, the sole arbiter of behaviour and sole issuer of canal and river licences, refuses to issue one a licence and then chucks one off the PUBLIC waters for not having the licence that they, as a PRIVATE company behind a charitable (tax) facade, refused to issue to you. Alice would be proud of the process.

[ *They Who Must Be Obeyed. TWMBO. Pronunciation; “Twimbo”. ]

Yes, it’s that silly, and that contrived. It is what I like to call a “clumsy national sledgehammer to crack an almost purely London Bath Bristol K&A nut”. How they get away with it in what is supposed to be a “real world” beggars belief, but they do. Although it is a long, long road to that point I am not willing, not at all prepared, to allow even the first step… which is why tis always Pistols at Dawn and no quarter given.

I suspect that it will take months if not years for the last vestiges of the “Have you seen this dastardly mis-mooring master miscreant?” posters to be torn down or to weather away on the lamp-posts and village noticeboards.

One does so want to be a nice person, and a charitable soul and all of that sort of thing but my dear late Mother’s next-to-last words to me always come to mind in such circumstances – ‘Never forget, never forgive.’

[ Mother’s actual final words were ‘Avenge me…’ ]

So, what else has happened of late? Well, we’ve mooched on a smidge, preparatory to raiding somewhere for comestibles – I haven’t had a fresh vegetable screaming under my knife for weeks, and scurvy is beginning to kick in. The weather hereabouts yesterday was on the “ye gods” side of “too hot and unbelievably humid for a Hutson”, although the promised thunder and lightning did not appear, sadly. Today is dull with a capital duh and there’s water falling from the sky which, when you think about it, is an amazingly odd place for a species to arrange as its chief supply of essential H2O.

I’ve sorted through the photographicals of my recent expedition and will be posting soon, just to annoy, on yonder visitations.

In my previous press release I alluded to there having been a peculiar problem initially with our transport, and the Bro has authorised me to issue further details on the matter.


For some reason known only to the engineering department at Newport Pagnell the computer “brain” and control centre of the Aston decided that, while it would still allow the engine, gearbox and – thankfully – major etceteras to operate, it would withdraw all other facilities and would play Radio Bloody 4 constantly. Volume control was withdrawn and turning everything off and locking the car up made no difference, the radio stayed on. Have you ever listened to Radio 4 – with no possibility of escape? I have, now, and may I say that a more whining, droning, mind-numbing waste of an airwave you would be hard-pressed to find.

In truth being forced to listen to something called “Women’s Hour” at high volume could have been sorted temporarily by simply forcing a little Cheddar Cheese into our ears, but there were other considerations. What else was working or not working on the car during the electronic brain’s temporary insanity? The pressure-dump valve control system on the turbocharger? The stealth, anti-camera revolving number-plates? We had no way of knowing. Moreover, 24/7 radio, even vacuous and whining radio laced with cerebrally-lightweight partisan idealogy and fluffy BBC bias, was likely to flatten the Aston’s liddle baddery overnight at the earliest opportunity, to wit, that night

So, we began the week’s explorations with a visit to the nearest dealership (which was not near at all, and in “the opposite direction”, as all such dealerships are), and they appear to have cured the problem by updating the entirety of the car’s software – the Aston is now on Car Operating System Version 21ZNA9, or some such. It’s better, anyway.

That’s one of the most significant changes to cars since I was knee-high to an E-Type Jag. In my (deliciously mis-spent) youth if a car developed a fault then the problem was that it wouldn’t do something, “it wouldn’t start” being the favourite. These days with everything being under the sole control of some Chinese microchip, an internet connection and the software-writing skills of the Chairman’ spotty thirteen year old nephew (give us a job, Unc.) the “breakdowns” are more active, the cars do things that you don’t want as well as not doing things that you do want them to do.

Brakes are updating. Please do not use brakes while software is updating. Connection lost. No internet. Brakes are unavailable.

It is for precisely this reason that the Bro always carries an emergency anchor and a hundred fathoms of heavy chain in the car.

Honestly, Officer.

Anyway, I’m back and so – thanks be to you know who you are – 🙂 – is the Cardinal’s interwebnettings connection.

Question is, is today miserable enough for a spot of stir-fry rice with some of the curry sauce for luncheon? I think that it may be. Mad dogs and Englishmen cook curry in the mid-day sun, and all that.


Ian H.



  1. As I was reading this Mrs Widds, who is not overly fond of computerised anything, was overheard to say, with high umbrage, “Why the f**k can’t they leave the dashboard alone?” … my response was, “Said everyone who has had anything to do with computers, ever!” … we are not amused.

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    1. My thinking is that natural processes tend to bring about an elegant (but brutal) simplicity, human processes tend to bring about an inelegant and subtly even-more brutal, frantic complication. In its extreme (and fairly useless) form the ideal machine is a rock. No moving parts, no complication, it is 100% reliably a rock simply by being. Do we humans ever seek such simplicity? Do we eckythump, we base our entire uber-fragile “civilisation” on ever-increasing intricacy that needs constant tending if we’re not to fall collectively back up into the trees (at best). We’re at the point even now, while we’re still in nappies as a species, where if computers stopped computing for some reason, or satellites stopped orbiting, we could no longer even feed (all of) ourselves. Tis crazy.

      Eee. I’ll go to the foot of our stairs. 😉

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  2. I’m sure it’s a sign of my age, but I really don’t want to give up my normal albeit 19 yo car (sans talking and computer everything) for a car that talks to me, and is hooked to the interwebs.
    I don’t want the company that built it to be able to track my every move.
    I don’t want to be subject to the pranks of precocious middle school hackers who think turning off a car remotely is height of good times.
    I don’t want my radio to play when I don’t want, or what I don’t want.
    I just want to turn a key, push a pedal and steer my way to my destination.
    Although… A fully self driving car, where I can just read a book…. That might be worth it.
    But that reality will probably exist after I am dead and burned at sea.

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    1. Wholly agreed! Why an average “school run” vehicle needs 500bhp too these days beats me. I’ve timed road journeys that I have driven oftimes since my youth – when cars were cars and we could all read paper maps – and travel today by road is, generally, slower than it used to be. This is not “progress”, it is commerce and coercive control of a captive population.

      Now, if you’ll please to excuse me, there’s a couple of chaps outside in leather raincoats and gloves who say that they’re from Messrs Government Ltd., and they are here to fit my tin-foil hat.

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  3. Radio 4 does have some good bits but it can overdo some stuff – especially the Whingeing Women programme, as you noticed. Can’t bring myself to listen to that.

    Glad that the car’s computer has been tamed.

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    1. Radio was last counted as “fun” and good to listen to in the days when I waited for the Top Twenty and later the Top Forty to be played on a Sunday night, and recorded it all on my rinky dinky cassette recorder so that I had fresh music on demand for the coming week… 😉

      Most radio thingies these days are either constant advertisements or a constant goose-gabble competitively comparing levels of (supposed) victimhood, or entreating us all to feel guilt for having stumbled out of the Rift Valley in insufficiently ordered and regulated diversity.







      Seriously, makes my blood fizz. 😉

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  4. Hecky thumb, I’m just one up from the cars that you had to crank up at the from bumper with a ‘crank up’ handle thing, computerised cars are the scurge of modern society. I wonder why it chose Radio 4? It’s not one of those Tory – otas is it. Sound to me like the Chinese have already installed the brainwashing techniques they use in their holiday camps for training purposes. I have to admit that your life is fraught with incident for someone living in the slow lane. If you’re short of water we have plenty over here, our two day summer is over.

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    1. And here was I imagining that I was the only one left who remembers starting handles and the correct technique for using them so you didn’t dislocate your thumb when the engine backfired.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Never quite had to use a starting handle, but I have bump-started many cars, and I have used a purloined pair of tights to temporarily replace an awol fan belt – got about eight miles out of those, enough to get me home. You tell the youth of today that tjhough and they just won’t believe you… 😉


    2. Radio 4 was bad enough, but imagine if the thing had fixated on Radio 1… or worse still, Radio Bournemouth?

      The huge benefits of computerised cars come at the cost of selling a [putative] soul to the [putative] Devil – why must yin always come with nasty yang? I am sure that this sort of electronic insanity will never happen to even a single self-driving car – or HGV lorry!

      When 40,000kgs of goods intended for Boots the Chemist drives itself through a pedestrian zone at peak time at 80mph who will they prosecute? Would such hinder the relentless march of [putative] “progress”? I doubt it. Remind someone of my words when I am wrapped around the wheels of a 1959 Bedford TK lorry that was too busy talking on its modem to look where it was going!.


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