Here we are then. No idea where we are. #narrowboat #boating #boatsthattweet

Before I write anything else, a BIG BIG BIG shout-out and thank’ee to a couple of great friends nearby – you know who you are, I won’t name you otherwise you’ll be inundated. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I shall be up to my nipples in fresh vegetable heaven for a long time!

CaRT may like it, CaRT may lump it, I neither know nor care, but for the duration they will find me “in the same general area”. I shall be sticking to the area that I know, where should a grocery delivery slot ever actually be available I can receive it, where I know people and they know me – where I may be able to help if I can – and going no farther than the nearest services areas that remain open – thanks ever so to whatever R Soul it was that damaged Bridge 101 and shut the rubbish point at Barbridge, much appreciated, and you have my very best wishes for gangrene-of-the-arse at your earliest opportunity.

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Pardon my mention of Hinge & Bracket, but the hinge as I see it is whether or not having been an aysmptomatic carrier and/or having the “milder” version of this vicious wee beastie confers future immunity from same. If yes, then we all have a chance. If no, then we’re royally shafted. Advice on that point is yes – no – yes – no – currently, maybe.

That also matters if ever a vaccine can be developed – if the beast mutates like influenza and the common cold, the vaccine will be no more effective than is the current annual guess at next winter’s strain of flu. If the wee beastie doesn’t change, we can perhaps nail it.

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The government strategy relies entirely on developed immunity and a vaccine.

The government approach appears to be lots of noise, all couched in very polite “would you mind awfully please” terms. The way that England’s demographics have changed during my lifetime means that “would you mind awfully please” no longer works. I am not convinced that the “spirit of the Blitz” ever existed except locally (as it still does, locally, see paragraph one here), the National approach looks now though to be one of the Spirit of F.U. …

Vignette Editor:

The Insitution of the organisation (not the individuals, necessarily) tasked with looking after the inland waterways (as in, Held In Trust for the Nation) couldn’t find its own backside in peacetime even if you helpfully popped both of its hands in its back pockets and then raised your eyebrows as if to say ‘there now, got it?’. Their approach so far has been to parrot watered-down versions of whatever Number 10 suggested a few days previously. Nothing decisive, nothing pro-active. Pettifogging witter witter witter.

The advice at one stage even went so far as to suggest that boaters were “better off than land-dwellers, because if they (we) (I) found themselves in an infected area they could just move”… yes, yes, like eighteen-tonne Typhoid Marys, taking aforesaid virus with them! Gobsmacking.

We ought to be grateful that at least the letter “r” in “centres” is in the correct position.

LSO, when I quizzed them, is not a full-stop-depleted acronym for London Symphony Orchestra, but for Licence Support Officer.

Nor, thank you very much, shall I be moving into a marina for the duration – the minimum distance between boats is necessarily less than that recommended between people, let alone between boats. I may look like a sardine but I don’t want to live like one, thanks, and I am lucky to be in the position of being able to avoid doing so.


For the moment the fuel boat, Halsall, are performing their stalwart tasks with just sensible precautions – Roberta will be throwing sacks of coal at folks from a position up-wind, and payment may be made in sheets of (disinfected) toilet roll handed over on a long stick. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Bro is, as far as my sources can tell me, holed up for the duration in The Elephants’ Graveyard. and preparing for cabin fever to drive him insane. Er. Insaner. Er. Insanerer.

The Sis, living in a nicely rural area, has the dog stationed at the gate, one paw on the Gatling gun and with orders to give lead poisoning to anyone who can’t supply the password (that being “Walkies!” today, yesterday was “Who’s a good boy then?”).

My grebes and cormorants have deserted me, replaced by four swans that I have named Week One, Week Two, Week Three and Week Four, in readiness for the apocalyptic food shortages. Seagulls occupied the field on the canal offside yesterday, and as they walked around looked – to me, at least – for all the world as though they were playing a football match. To me, to you, on the ‘ed, Henery. You get your laughs where you can. Well, I do.


Quite why they all landed and began running around in well-spaced circles is beyond me. I’ve put them all on the Transfer List.

Perhaps they were practicing the “the social distancing”?

In this world of vast amounts of dis- and mis-information all we can do is to do all that we can do and hope for the best. I’d love this thing to fizzle out and be a damp squib. A mate of mine – J – remarked not so long ago that we are in fact worse off for information than “we” were in almost any previous era of our history. There are vast amounts of information available, and you can’t actually trust a word of it, not one syllable. At least in medieval times you had word of mouth about local news from someone you knew…

I was born in nineteen-sixty. The sixties (and well beyond into the seventies and eighties) were Cold War, nuclear annihilation. The seventies added the I.R.A. doing their best to blow up England on a regular basis (most Americans have no idea at all what that was like, or the vast and regular scale of it – and a big, big thank you to the people of New York especially for funding the guns and explosives). The eighties brought the delights of the (bitch cow, Keynesian economics obsessed) Thatcher ripping the heart out of everything and selling it to the highest (or lowest) bidder, and the eighties also brought the delights of A.I.D.S. – and wasn’t that just a cheery thing for a bloke’s bloke in his twenties to manage his life to avoid. What were the nineties? I’ve forgotten, suggestions in the comments please. Probably a long snooze after the eighties. The noughties? Bank collapses and tax-payer bail-outs – cue Richard Brass-Neck Gimme-Money While My Staff Are On Upaid Leave And I’m On One Of My Private Islands Branson (I’d like to see that man defenestrated, seriously I would). Since the noughties, “terrorism”, swine flu, goat flu, and more wars than you could shake a small conscripted army at. Now we have a true pandemic. What else have I forgotten? Lots, I am certain.

On top of that the planet is now entering a cyclic climate change that will end who knows how (no matter what we arrogant little plonkers do), and someone thought it best to rename Marathon Bars as “Snickers”. Jebus H on an electric pogo-stick.

You’ve got to laugh. No, seriously – laugh, or the kitten gets it.


Keep safe, keep the faith, and don’t lose the tin-opener.

Ian H., continuing to cloud-watch, look out for wildlife and reading and writing the odd book. Oh yes – and continuing to eat the odd curry. Soon to become very odd curries if ingredients must necessarily change. Howย do you curry a swan?

Retro Photo Effect:

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  1. Winnie* famously said ‘you can rely on the Americans to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else’ … I think it’s time to revise that to, ‘you can rely on the government of just about every country in the world right now, to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else and taken it to a (well funded) committee’.
    * Perhaps not his exact words but close enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is (gruesomely) interesting to watch the various parties doing all that they can – but only what they know. Politicians are trying to legislate away the virus, probably Americans are intent on shooting it. People who make paper schwizzles are doubtless somewhere schwizzling at it. Instead of thinking what we ought to do we all just do what we’re familiar with doing. Novelty does not come readily to the human beast. Me as much as anyone else.

      Our (in-)glorious “leaders” appear to have burned all of the lessons of the past and have not planned for the known unknown – it would appear that Her Majesty’s Government is – again – winging it afresh, re-inventing the wheel. No basic plans for civil unrest, no plans for rationing, no idea how to persuade folk to do life and business differently… all things that should have been in dusty old paper files in Number 10, awaiting something such as this, so that the basic thinking doesn’t need to be done all over again whilst you’re panicking about having no toilet roll in the Government bogs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It does seem like your various authorities are not quite as…. well…. I guess they could be more proactive.

    On the other hand, I’m rather concerned about the trend of ours. My city just had a law enacted that people must keep 6 feet between them. When they announced it, they listed all the various ways it is silly and of course they won’t enforce it in those silly ways. Making the law itself rather more silly than useful. Still. A law about 6 feet seems a bit far. Like the first toe into totalitarian power. But that’s undoubtedly me being anxious and paranoid due to the pandemic making me reasonably anxious and paranoid.

    They laid off a dozen people at work. Thankfully I’m not one, but it’s like working at a funeral now. And the increased anxiety now that all of my fears are coming true is not great.

    My boss got his covid19 test. A day early! And yet. He’ll know in 3-5 days. Isn’t that helpful? What the hell is the point of this test again?

    The Great Toilet Paper Painc has spread into the Great Bread Panic. I was thanking myself that I know how to make bread and was pleased at the idea of doing so. Until I discovered that I’m out of flour. Bread is bad for you. That’s my new motto.

    My goodness this comment went on too long. Thanks for listening to my brain babble on about it’s concerns.

    Stay safe. Keep others safe.
    Wash your hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my gripes about how these things are (putatively) “dealt” with is that politicians only ever think in terms of new legislation (when what we actually want from them is action action action, and there are plenty of laws already to cover common sense eventualities). There’s always a slug-trail afterwards of powers that they ought not to ever have granted themselves, and an attitude change that seems to think that these new powers are reasonable – just more and more interference. Governments as far as I am concerned have two responsibilities – to keep the lights on/streets safe and clean, and to keep out of my business while doing so. Politicians see their responsibilities as being the other way around!

      It does seem that business (and the tax base, and England’s commercial place in the world after this – if there is an “after”) is being put much above the needs of anyone over their ffties… I am cynical (hey, who would have guessed!) but think of all of those benefits and state pensions no longer needed, and think of (in this country) all of those private pension funds that fall into the company coffers on the death of the pensioner (in England the fund does not become part of the estate). Hmm….

      Meanwhile the NHS can’t cope. Well, might that be because we’ve spent money on everything else apart from the NHS in past decades? Healthcare is (was) one of the (very) few excuses for governments to even exist at all. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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    2. There’s no bread flour to be had anyway! People who would never in their wildest dreams have bought it all. I do, actually, make bread. Not all the time, but always have some in. Now I can’t get it. And what’s the panic about toilet rolls?
      Ian. you forgot the petrol rationing in, was it the 60s or 70s? I forget. (But then I’m now one of the ‘elderly’, although I don’t feel like it.)

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      1. I was thinking the same thing as I was staring at the empty shelf of flour. At least 50% of the people who bought the flour have never made bread before and at least 50% of them won’t attempt to make it once they get it home. ๐Ÿ˜€


  3. That last picture looks like it’s straight out of Hard Sun (if you ever viewed that particular end of world series) I would like to find out who the writer is of this current one we all find outselves in. Pleased to hear there are good folk around you, we should all look after each other whilst we keep our distance (not that easy is it unless you are already well practiced?) Have another batch of vegetable soup simmering, hope it’s as good as the last batch and together with my (now, since your nobbly loaf) weekly bread making I’m alright for a bit. Morrison’s slots have now disappeared into infinity, I’m just hoping I won’t fall into the chest freezer in the garage to find something beyond recognition. Take care!

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    1. It’s certainly an interesting time, and a strangely worrying feeling – we’re all so used to watching this stuff on the Idiot Box that we can’t quite believe it when it threatens to happen for real. Still, at least the government will save us… Everywhere else is putting controls in place, Number 10 has put the kettle on and is wondering where the cheque book is so that they can bail out Richard Branson. You’ve got to laugh. Hysterically, but laugh.


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