The wrong apocalypse. #narrowboat #boating #boatsthattweet

[Image above is this morning’s early-morning clouds over Cardinal Wolsey.]

It’s an apocalypse.

They promised me that I would get to dress – occasionally – like Aunty Entity.


ought to be driving the wild cars of my youth once again. Drive it like it’s stolen, Sidney. Oh, it is. In my day if Her Maj’s Constabulary wanted to do you they had to physically catch you first, and the “Stinger” had yet to be invented.


Instead I am trying to persuade supermarkets to deliver toilet roll to me, and I am walking up and down the same damned half-mile of canal towpath each bloody day at dawn, spraying water-point taps with DDT-level Dettol and being careful to breathe through my nose and not my mouth. I am wiping down surfaces – such as the cratch-cover & catches – before and after I use them, and I am trying to avoid touching my face. I can’t even fuss up strange dogs (nor yet even familiar dogs). Dog = surface (and folk take exception, as do the dogs, if you spray them with DDT or Dettol).

Like everything else in life, this apocalypse is shite.

We’ve got the tragic deaths, we’ve got the sickness, we’ve got the massive changes to and restrictions on the way that we live – but it’s all more of the same, nothing’s different except the intensity. There’s still a government telling us all what to do, they’re just telling us now in detail right down to how often we may see the sky. Money’s more of a problem than ever for all of the usual suspects, and still no problem at all for the robber barons. Big businesses are doing a roaring trade, coining in not only profit but tax-payers hard-earned bail-outs as well, while real small businesses go, as ever, to the wall without more than lip-service to rescue.

This apocalypse is all of the bad and none of the good.

I am still supposed to treat joggers and cyclists as though they are human. In a fun apocalypse I’d be able to …well, the less said about the better, but it would be a lot more fun, believe me. For me, that is, not for them. Squeeeeeeeeeze that trigger, don’t jerk at it.

Rule of Law, although its application is even more political during this apocalypse, and it is only being actively applied to the usual groups and – as usual – not applied to the usual outwith and above-the-law groups, is still in force, and there’s still a certain something preventing me from raising so much as a well-oiled cricket bat in self-defence (see my gripe about what I can’t do to disease-spreading wheezing cyclists and joggers). That something being “five years to life on a whole-of-life tariff”.

I was promised that when the apocalypse came I could drive Austin Cambridge GTi saloons through closed supermarket doors and leave tyre tracks around to the tinned foods aisle and then on to the aisle where they keep the Vesta boil-in-the-bag Curries. I was promised that when the apocalypse came I would be able to take my choice between Chatsworth or Highclere or Windsor or Sandringham, dispose of the incumbents and begin using the greenhouses to grow next year’s crop of potatoes and pineapples. The not-even-contactless little plastic card that was grudgingly issued to me by Yorkshire Bank PLC to provide access to Baby’s First Little Plastic Bank Account ought to have only been useful now for forcing certain types of door-lock. Instead it is sitting in my wallet, gibbering about rising prices and post-apocalyptic inflation, the disconnection over past decades of pension rates from real inflation figures and the precarious nature of works pension funds.

We have been sold a lemon.

It’s no wonder we’re all fed up with it.

Fed up to the back teeth with it. Couldn’t even get to see a dentist now if our back teeth were giving gyp at being fed up.

So, instead of a high-octane report from the Stuart Highway (which I have driven from one end to t’other) here is the same old same old from the Middlewich Branch.

The weather’s turned.

Cool, cloud, rain, wind. Dullth.

It’s still dark in the mornings, if you’re up early enough.


The well deck is looking far scruffier than is usual, but this is because Apocalypse, yeah? I wouldn’t ordinarily have coal of this quantity by this time of year, but who knows if coal is going to go the way of Buttock-Soft Soothy-Soothy De-Luxe Quilted?


The trains are still running.

Am I not supposed to be discovering how to drive one of the local rattlers, and trying it out as a means of transport and/or temporary accommodation now that the roads are full of bandits?


Work has begun on the brickwork of the railway bridge – and oh boy, does it need it.


The sun comes out between rain-clouds when it feels like doing so.


I can tell you every detail of every plant, every duck poop, every stumble-opportunity on this stretch of towpath. But only at dawn and soon after. During the daytime it is the province of the joggers, cyclists, walkers and dog-emptiers, none of whom I may introduce to Monsieur Pocket-Trebuchet or Madame Folding Lightweight Guillotine, since rule of law still – they tell me – proscribes such.

Me and my S.H.A.D.O. shadow.

I prepared to fight Martian tripods, I made plans for Triffids.

I did not in my wildest day-dreams address the scenario of sitting in one place, still under the gobsmacking mis-management thumb of p*ss-weak faux-charity limited company canal “executives” (all still collecting their full salary) and waiting for some twayte (so it’s pronounced, they tell me) of a cyclist to cough in the wrong direction as he pedals past my boat at 25mph while staring at the Yellow Vest App or whatever it is that will record his “personal best ever in a rural setting after a heavy breakfast of two avocados and a small black tea”.

It is my proposal that we send this “apocalypse” back immediately under guarantee, as being sub-standard and not at all what we were led to expect.

For one thing, the agreement was that I would, when the execrable matter hit the blades of the air-circulation device, look like a young Mr M Max. I do not. Nothing like. I am more like a 6′ 1″ version of that little chap who kept being kidnapped “because he’s got the knowin’ of a lot of things” – except that I know nothin’.


For one thing – for another thing – I did not expect that “the authorites” and “the powers that be” would have absolutely not a clue how to approach the problem. Will history record this as The Great Floundering Apocalypse of 2020? The Apocalypse when Nobody Had a Chuffing Clue? The Snot Death? The Hurry Up and Wait Because Unless There’s a Vaccine We’ll All Have to Catch This Virus There’s No Other Way Out, Hide Though We Might Plague? Half of those with any power to do good are arguing over whether it’s “racist” to call it “The Chinese Virus” and the other half patently couldn’t manage a wine tasting in a vineyard even if everyone brought their own corkscrew.

Apocalypses, with all due respect and with every sense of in memoriam requiesce in pace to those we’ve lost, were much more approachable in my day. If there were zeppelins in the sky one might at least shoot at them. When the waters rose over the chimney-pots we could learn to swim. Indeed, even had Corbyn ever been elected we might have at least walked to the Kent coast and tried to board the last boat out of England (HMS Thunderchild).

Her Majesty’s public would be able to see the problem and there would have been a higher percentage of sane and pragmatic reactions. This though? This invisible bug? No-one’s got a notion. Can’t see it, la la la la la – what? No, I did not wash my fingers before I stuck them in my ears. Why would I? Mention aerosols to half of the arosols walking the earth and all that they can relate to is a tin of deodorant. Fluid dynamics is just a cold pint – which we can also no longer obtain.

I had also hoped that Her Majesty’s media might have done rather a better job than they have (any job), and reported factually, such as “Martian spotted on Horsell Common”, that sort of thing, instead of the embarrassingly adolescent crap they’ve so far spewed in the name of “news”.

Oh well, back it is then to cowering indoors like a rabbit, listening to a succession of “government ministers” blether on and thoroughly wear out words and phrases such as “unprecedented” and “we are putting plans in place” (so, to clarify – you haven’t even got the plans in place yet then…) and “new methods of reporting deaths” (huh? you mean that you’re introducing a tad more honesty into the figures?). I shall, once the rule of law breaks down, encourage one and all to “flatten the curve” of the forehead of the first person who mentions “saving the NHS” (that institution that “we” (-they-) just sold to North America et al for thirty wooden shekels and a peck on the forehead from Mr Trump).

Remember the days when our biggest gripe was BREXIT, the occasional storm and politicians and public figures using trans-Atlantic invention fake words such as “uptick”?

“Uptick”, I ask you. Something to do with fleas? Perhaps they mean increase?

On a commercial note, I was penning books in re apocalypses long before we were treated to this foul nonsense.

Buy it here, buy it everywhere, leave me a good – or bad – review, and I may – I say just may – go easy on you with the old “uptick” cricket bat.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Wherever you may be, whatever rabbit-hole you may have fled down, like me, do please keep safe, keep healthy and keep on keeping on.

If nothing else, we need to see how the helly-hell this one is going to be brought under some semblance of control. Not clue one apparent anywhere, so far.

Bring on the Triffids instead, please.

Ian H., Miserable Bugger by Appointment to H.M. &etc.




  1. With regards to dressing like Aunty Entity – I suspect chain-mail would look good on you … and at the very least would scare off the clueless mouth-breathers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 07:15hrs this morning and past goes the first “all of the (new) gear, no feckin’ idea” cyclists. They are coming out earlier and earlier and I shall have to retreat further into the night. If I continue to retreat thus it won’t be long before I begin to clash with the late-evening joggers. If nothing else, this pandemic – tragic, horrid, dismal and ill-managed though it is – has given me fresh, albeit entirely unwanted, understanding of the minds of people who climb water towers with high-powered weapons.

      Sadly, I suspect that at the end of it, if there is an end to it, nothing will have been even incidentally improved, and we’ll all go back to the factory to continue printing money for the robber barons. Will we have a society in ten years time in which dustbin men, sewage workers and lorry drivers are paid more than footballers and merchant bankers and television presenters? Will we buggery. In even five years time will the NHS be loved and valued and flourishing and funded and run by people with more than one lonely brain cell each? Will it buggery. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose for the peasants (and I harbour in my bosom no particular fondness for the peasants, but fair is fair and equality is not a preferred pronoun but is something tangible that – ought to – end up on the plate, the hearth, and the medical statistics of all).

      Aside from this, and a life-long visceral distaste for the cinematic offerings of Mr George Formby, I have no strong opinions. Harrumph. Cough cough*. 😉

      *NOT a new or persistent cough, not associated with fever or lethargy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. People, well some people, have been asking ‘What will society be like after this pandemic? How will it have changed?’ My answer to that is ‘Not one whit!’ As soon as this lockdown ceases, people will be rushing to the shops to buy whatever they don’t need, jumping on aeroplanes to travel to places far and distant, carrying whatever diseases they might have, coughing and sneezing not into elbows, or even hankies.
        ‘Oh, look,’ they say. ‘There are dolphins in the Grand Canal in Venice. In the Philippines, marine life is returning, the pollution smog over Los Angeles and various Chinese cities has lifted. Isn’t this great?
        All this shows how much humans have had a detrimental impact on our surroundings, but they’ll all jump into their cars again, go back to work in their polluting factories and chop down trees destroying wildlife and overfishing the seas as soon as this is over.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re quite right, as a species we’ll go right back to what was familiar and all of the old silliness will prevail. Worse yet. we peasants will be paying for it for ever more. No change there either. Back to the old inhumane system ruled by wholly artificial money without a care in the world for real value. What’s that old saying? We know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Ian. You seem… vexed. Irked even. Possibly I notice a bit of miffidness.
    I’m sorry you are trapped in that boat like a caged dog. Only able to scratch the annoyances and constantly harassed by the great unwashed exercisers.

    I hope you have a bit of gin to keep the cage from irking you too much.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah yikes and gadzooks, not especially miffed, just the usual “grumpy”. As a baby my first word was ‘Harrumph’.

      I was promised an apocalypse and what I got was solitary confinement instead!

      I have grown used to not being able to venture out (unless essential) during the day but tis tragically hilarious watching those passing, all breathing one another’s freshly-contaminated air!

      The canal here is a billion times better place to be stuck than in some hell-hole of a town or city (unless you’ve got a decent garden). The disconvenience for me is that the moment I step off my “property” I am straight onto the towpath – and the idiot executive has been encouraging the world and its heamorrhoids to exercise on the towpaths (even during the currency of this pandemic they’ve been advertising “wellness by water”)!!! Come the revolution I shall be sitting happily with my knitting as Madam Guillotine works on the C&RT Executive and Trustees! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It does sound awful, it isn’t like you can go find a bolt hole somewhere else. I’m sick to death of hearing how hard the rich people are finding this and needing to come to us pitiful tax payers for a hand out. I’m sure whoever invented this to cull the population (whether bat, beast or ……… ) they sorely miscalculated the economic dimensions of the exercise; it’s looking like the wee beastie may be mutating even more than it already has. I expect you are safe from Tesco Kippers You shouldn’t publicise that you have managed to acquire Dettol (or any other brand) spray – keep your cratches crached.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In truth I am placed a lot better than many, tis just the daytime confinement to become used to – and that only because I refuse to poke my head (and lungs) out into anyone’s condensation trail! On windy days it’s fine, but when it’s still or blowing the “wrong” way tis a problem.

      I am convinced that Mr David Icke is absolutely right in this matter – except about all of the details, the cause and the operators (those he’s wrong about)! Mind you, the effect is the same whether tis just the shape of the Establishment system causing these effects (as I believe) or Mr Icke’s cabal of Ill-oominatese. 🙂

      Sainsbury’s (the only supermarket that I am registered with – the others won’t even open an account!) have gone silent again. I knew it was too good to be true!

      My heart goes out to Branson et al, all stuck on their private islands or yachts or country estates, confined to just a few thousand acres. Poor loves. I had been harbouring hopes that this whatever it is would, if nothing else (and I hoped for nothing else), reduce them to the ranks where they too might have to grow their own food and forage! Silly me. ;-(


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