Dogs, ducks, and damnable doodles. #narrowboat #boating

The lead photograph has nothing whatsoever to do with dogs, ducks or damnable doodles, but it is of the gardeners at work, mowing the towpath. One chap on a ride-on mower streaks up and down at a cracking pace and generally one or two with petrol-powered strimmers follow up.

They have, to date, been very considerate. They stop strimming the water’s edge when they meet a moored boat and just strim inbetween. If the boat is covered in grass cuttings – as the Cardinal often has been after their visit – then a while after the strimmers along comes a gentleman with a petrol-powered leaf-blower, and he gives the boat a good blow-down.

If I ever remember when I am next near a shop selling gardening tools I intend to purchase a set of grass shears so that I can neaten up what they cannot, and cut the tow-path edge the length of the Cardinal. Thus I would leave no vegetational spoor when we un-moor and depart after the gardeners have been…

It was persisting down that day, which is why they are swathed in head to toe waterproofs. Gawds alone know what the poor beggars are allowed to wear on days such as today, when Ingerlund is on the silly and very far side of 70° Fahrengezundheitings in t’shade. They’re probably allowed to loosen a collar button.

Dogs, I hear you cry. Well, I follow a YouTube channel known as “Minimal List” – and I recommend that you do too. They are bouncing around the canal system, visiting all that may be visited, and blogging about everything en route.

I got to meet George, the dog, yesterday. Oh – and his human servants, too.

Minimal List were passing through the neighbourhood, so I used the excuse of saying hello to Michael and Jo as a cunning way of saying ‘hello, would you like to come and live with me’ to George. No photographs, I was too busy fussing dog for photographs.

There’s a blogspot blog too, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

There are you-tube celebrities on the canals, and I’ve met one and I know where he poops.


There are ducks on this stretch of canal, manifold ducks. One of them has a clutch? Brood? Nesting? A wotnot of chicks, tiny chicks. Seven of them at first count, six of them at last count. Many, many people of this town come to stand on the towpath, incidentally alongside the Cardinal, to ogle and oogle at the duck and her chicks. They are incredibly cute. The chicks, not the townspeople. The townspeople aren’t cute.

Every afternoon towards tiffin though, Mummy Duck and chicks appear to be in trouble. Every morning too, immediately after dawn (when I am usually setting up the drip for my first litre of coffee of the day). Chicks running around squeaking, Mummy Duck fighting off all and sundry.

Everyone curses the other ducks and wishes them all ill.

However, notice something about this photograph of Mummy Duck and chicks in her regular position at the bottom of someone’s garden…


Yep, she always settles her brood slap bang at the top of the half-submerged wheel and tyre (some boat’s home-made fender arrangement). Always.

All of the other ducks have to suffer her wrath and beaky pugilism if they wish to get out of the water the easy way, the usual way thereabouts…


No chuffing wonder she’s always fighting. No chuffing wonder that it always seems as if the other ducks are being violent!


The other ducks are just trying to get back up to, or to leave their evening/overnight perches. Yes, ducks can fly, but they prefer not to if habitualised into walking up and down an old car wheel and tyre. Not all things are as they initially appear.

I am having duckling stir-fry tonight, with bing bang sauce.

Only joking, but what a waste of everyone’s ducky energy eh?

Either Mummy Duck needs to change her favoured spot by a couple of yards, or else some humanoid needs to put a second ramp out of the water and on to that garden frontage.

Jus’ sayin’.

Dastardly doodles?

This is on one of the bridges that we’ve just cruised through.


What the hecky heck is that artistic white splodge?

Two canoodling dolphins? Squid, in the throes of squidy connubial bliss? A couple of basking sharks sharing a towel? A ghostly elephant approaching? An accident with a bottle of liquid antacid?

What am I missing?

Ought I to go back there after dusk and see what it looks like when the canal is darker, more lonely and deserted?


Are ducks stupid? Well, judge for yourselves. Events have unfolded as I typed this blog post. The “other” ducks have gone to roost early this evening, well before Mummy Duck and her brood, who are still out somewhere, patrolling the canal in search of Hovis…


I suspect that the boot will be on the other webbed foot tonight. They look ready for business.

Do ducks wear boots? Even if not, possession is nine tenths of the law, apparently.

‘Say sorry, and we’ll let you up…’

This can only end in tears.

I’ll do my best to let you know what happens when Mummy Duck and brood return.

Now, where’s my wok?


Ian H.


  1. The young of ducks are ducklings. Chicks are young hens. I suspect Mummy duck would have problems with chicks in the canal. And they are her brood.
    Having said that, this is a most entertaining post. I’ve no idea what the white splodge is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I confess to still harbouring a preference for the term “fluffy little scrap of life” to refer to the wee beasts! In an environment full of carp and herons (and rats) it is a wonder that any of them survive at all. 😉


  2. All this heat you’re getting hasn’t reached my ‘muda triangle and it’s been freezing all day, even when the sun bothered to come out. I always wondered about how neat the grass verges seem in your photographs, now I know – a good action rain photo, are they using petrol strimmers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are indeed, but they have to walk a few miles between places where their van(s) can meet them. Most of the atmospherics in the photograph is water thrown up as spray from the soaking grass – t’were wet indeed. Mind you, they had to do it sometime – the grass was getting to be quite reminiscent of the African plains.

      Today here has been very un-Hutson, in the high seventies or eighties of the old system, that’s about one or two of the new “Centigrades” I think, if my conversion is correct. Damnable heat.


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