Jam Jam Fender WIP

My apologies for my quiet-th of late. I can abide many things but rank and eager mass stupidity is not numbered among them. Of late, for most of this year but especially in past weeks, that is all that has been on view. I’ve checked behind what I can see, and it’s just more of the same. Endless mindless ovine stampeding from one corner of the field to another. Cheerful much, not.

So. Jam. Jam is sugar. Sugar is surely healthier for the addition of alcohol. Sugar and alcohol can only be the better for the addition of fruit, and then what you’ve got is a “preserve”. I have three taste-buds: hot; cold; and curry. Somehow, when I spooned Pimm’s Special Edition Strawberry, Tangerine & Mint Preserve onto hot crumpets and lobbed them into my gob, those three taste-buds reported ‘Ooh yes’.

Intense strawberry oddly aided by what I had thought would be superfluous tangerines and awash in overtones of Pimm’s – but with a little too little mint for my liking.


This is grown up jam. I can highly recommend it.


The other jam? Well.

Venetian end of Windy Alley, Middlewich Branch.

Aeroplanes, locomotives and aumotobiles-of-the-waterways. Boats.

Many more trains running than hitherto. Many more condensation trails from those vile behemoths of the sky. As for boats, well, this evening you might, just might fit one more in along here in Windy Alley. I couldn’t say for certain though.

The sky hereabouts is once more spoiled by aeroplane trails. Ugh.

The hate has – not begun, it was already entrenched – but modified and intensified. The Canal Rozzers have ordered we “liveaboard” (and live-aboard only) boaters who do not rent a permanent berth in some private marina to get ourselves moving like laboratory rats with effect from the 23rd of May. Leisure boaters, those who do not live aboard (presumably because they live elsewhere in bricks and mortar) are whining whining whining because they aren’t supposed to move until the 1st of June, and then not overnight on their boats.

The logic, if such there be, is that this is my one-and-only home, whereas for a leisure boater their boat is – QUITE REASONABLY – only to be regarded as their “holiday home”. That is, after all, what it is! If leisure boaters are “allowed” to stay for overnight or extended periods then it would also have to be open-season on every other form of second home or holiday home, from tents in the Lake District to cottages in Devon.

This whining is all the more… strange… since a rather high proportion of “leisure” boaters have in fact already been out and about cruising their little hearts out for weeks. Moored here, following the rules, I’ve seen more unfamiliar boats pass by in ten weeks than I’ve seen in the previous four years. Odd that, innit?

It helps not that one Dominic Cummings – some sort of Buttock-Kisser General to the Prime Minister – has been flitting the length and breadth of the country while suffering from symtoms of lurgy and with a four-year old child in the car to and fro elderly parents, second and third homes, the office, the Commons, 10 Downing Street – and all with eyesight impaired enough to make he himself wonder whether he ought to be driving.

Ho et le hum. C’est la one law for peasants and quite anuvver for da barons. Plus ca change, as it always was and ever shall be, Amen.

On another note…

I did wonder if this was tongue in cheek, but it seems not.

I had hoped that his was tongue in cheek, but I don’t think that it is.


Apparently my spending three to four months on my boat under the relentless onslaught of anglers, cyclists and wheezing walkers encouraged down to and hogging the towpath courtesy of CaRT while a leisure boater spends the same period in a five bedroom house with gardens is me being “privileged”.

Whodathunkit? Not only is I male, pale and stale, but I is privileged to have had “private and exclusive” use of CRT facilities for the duration. I could have sworn that we were all being somewhat inconvenienced by a raging virus, but there you go, no, I’m not being inconvenienced, I’m being privileged.

While they, poor loves, have had to make do with the big telly, the choice of bedrooms, the fixed services, the gardens, the garage, the orangery, the heated indoor pool and the billiards room I have been cruising up and down with glee from service area to service area, indulging my enjoyment glands by pulling the chain on the Elsan sluice once a fortnight.

I have also been called “stupid” and [other names] and told that I ought not to worry about all of the CaRT-encouraged wheezing, spitting, snotting, snorting jogger/cyclist/walker traffic passing within inches on the towpath because… dunt dunt der… ‘it is yeah dat de virus can’t travel fru steel, innit? Annaboat’s made ov steel, yeah?’

I was tempted, but didn’t in the end bother, to ask this rocket scientist where they thought that the air in a boat came from. You know – from outside… vents, windows, doors – those pesky things that stop us from suffocating while we’re aboard.

What was I saying earlier? Something about ovine stupidity wasn’t it?

I don’t know why most people have a brain-gland. It’s up quite high, so it can’t be for ballast. Perhaps it’s just stuffing to stop their foreheads from caving in?


Well, the Cardinal has a bracket welded to his stern, poking out over the rudder. It is meant to have one of these attached, but to date has not. I’ve finally bought one – spotted them in Aunty Wainwright’s chandlery. As soon as I can arrange somewhere where I am not obliged to exchange bodily fluids with strangers while I work, I’ll fit it.

Porch for a hamster-home? What the world needs now is a chuffing great rubber fender on its stern end.

It needs drilling for a couple of substantial bolts. Or perhaps some arrangement with (potentially-)sacrificial tie-wraps. Tis just a big rubber bumper.


Work In Progress.

That’s an academic treatise on the historic mysteries of the area local to Venetian Marina – centred on Cholmondeston Lock (the locals pronounce it “Chumston” or “Churmston”).

The Beast of Cholmondeston Lock – Encounters & Accounts.

Fleeting sightings of strange beasts hereabouts, terrifying noises in the dead of night. Blurred and grainy photographs from films found in abandoned cameras bearing tooth and claw marks. Trampled foliage and droppings fit to grace a yeti. There are many reports, many of them describing the beast – or perhaps beasts? – very differently to one another. I am trying to put them into some semblance of order.

It’s another relatively short book, but an exciting one. There’s a long way to go yet. The cover designer got to the end of the job long before me. Out as soon as I can make it so.

The Beast of Cholmondeston Lock by Ian Hutson

Two other books in the pipeline, but I can’t give you details of those yet (I am waiting for some of the protagonists to die so that I won’t be sued). One is life on the canals in general and particular, the other a(nother) work of fiction.

Also been putting together a Cardinal Calendar for next year, and a wider selection of postcards for no-one at all to buy. 😉

So. Aside from hiding aboard the Cardinal and scribbling books, it’s all just so much privileged nonsense, isn’t it?

Chin-chin for the mo.

Ian H.

Note to self: Be a better person.

No idea why though.



  1. I’ve noticed that the majority of people prefer to strike downwards when they’re upset about something rather than upwards at those responsible for their upset. It’s easier for leisure boaters, for example, to attack live-a-boarders than the upper echelons of the CaRT. I, on the other hand, have started using snuff; one pinch to be inhaled sharply whenever a jogger/cyclist/wheezy-family-of-bloaters-new-to-the-towpath appears. It scares the crap of them and, nine times out of ten, sends them back in the opposite direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They do indeed. I am a sensitive old soul and I regard being harangued by leisure boaters much the way I regard being savaged by wild buttercups. I taught Father Jack Hackett a good fifty-seven percent of everything he knows.

      Had one of our friends-on-velocipedes come up behind me on the towpath the other day while I was wheeling my comestibles back to the boat. He yelled and yelled something about “bike behind”, which I thought was nice, although overly-loud. Cyclists ought to know their place.

      I didn’t look around, I just replied that I could hear him, and that there was a nice wide bit of towpath just beyond the next bridge (about sixty yards) and that I’d pull over to let him pass there. He bade me a muted “good morning” as a re-mounted, but didn’t make eye contact.

      Doubtless I have been cursed unto the seventh generation of Lycra. My my, how sad, never mind.

      Snuff sounds like fun. I wonder if I could cobble something up with clear plastic tubing to my nose, the other end leading to a(n empty) bottle of LPG on the trolley. I could stencil ‘Titrated Vapours of Hydropoxychloroquine’ on the bottle, and cough a little if folk come too close.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Book cover – looks bloody brilliant! …The other jam – looks bloody ‘orrible. P,S, your tweet at the twitterpated twiterati – also bloody brilliant! … The Pimm’s jam – my tastebuds just rolled over and begged for mercy – looks bloody scrumptious! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 It usually takes a lot to wake up my taste buds, but that Pimm’s preserve had mine leaping up and down like hounds waiting for the feeding dish to be put down. Splendid stuff. I ahve ordered another jar for the “rainy day” cupboard!

      Our Primed Minister has ordered the general population of peasantry to launch themselves back into the world and into interactions on the old scale. True to form they’re all out there now, rubbing shoulders, angling, running, rambling, cycling and canoeing (or kayaking) and enjoying life to the full while they die.

      If it weren’t so tragic it would be hilarious. I shall continue to conduct my outside life in full aqualung gear and dry-suit, with flippers. I draw the line at – and only just at – gargling with hydroxychloroquine & bleach cocktails… 😉

      Keep swelligant, middle digits in salute to the world at all times.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always thought of you as privileged although I am at a loss as to what these poor folks (the leisure lot) perceive as CaRT facilities, have I missed something other than the basics water, waste and…..nope can’t think of anything. Are the leisure cruisers not allowed to use these basics and do they have to take their waste home with them? But then I’m an underprivileged house dweller…..I wonder what these complainants would say if they had to move house every fourteen days, eh?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If this wee panedemicski has done nothing else then it has shown just how very much a fractured society of human animals we are. Everyone hates some other group, and I just quietly despise them all. 😉 I am an equal-opportunities despiser.

      Scenarios such as 1984, Brave New World, Soylent Green, and Cheerio & Thanks for the Apocalypse aren’t really so very much removed from the realms of possiblity as we had previously, possibly, thought.


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