Praise be to the Greek & Roman gods – it IS about twenty Fahrengezundheitings cooler now!

So in immediate celebration I am cookering a hot meal. A curry to be precise. A “Whatever is in the cupboards in packets and tins” curry. In my rinky-dinky new slow-cooker. On solar power only. Technically this makes my slow-cooker a slow-cooker powered by nuclear fusion. You don’t get that on the Queen Mary, no matter how posh a cabin you book.

This is the first test for the wee beastie. I’ve test-tested it before, but not in calorific anger, just to make sure that it worked nicely and that the inverter was happy to speak to it. The beast is all of 120W, so with a nice and bright day the Cardinal hardly notices it.

I’ll let you know later if clouds stopped play. 😉 The solar panels, magical creations that they are, only require light not heat in order to produce three and a half Dianne Abbott’s worth of electical megawattrickery, so this ought to be a cookinary experience available on bright winter days too. Time will tell.

On a similarly dis-seasonal note, I’ve got another gazmo and gidget to try out come autumn’s cool, stove-favouring weather. A “fire basket”. Quite literally so. A basket for the fire.


The idea is that it is easier to keep coal, kindling, logs and wotnots in a much more efficient burning arrangement with the basket, reducing fuel consumption, reducing wear and tear on the stove, and increasing the number of ickle bickle orphan kittens hugged per capita in the Balkans. I am hoping that it will also ease the seasonal disagreements that Mr Stove and I have over philosophical matters such as ‘light, you miserable b*gger, light’. It’s such a damnably simple and sensible-looking device that I can believe good things of it.

We shall see.

Designed by Pat Pending, and available from all sorts of reputable sources including, of course, Venetian Hire Boat’s Chandlery. Pat Pending must be one of the most prolific inventors ever in the history of mankind.

Gossip? Scandal? There is none.

The Middlewich Branch (not that I am on it a.t.m.) was closed for miles by some “pollution incident”, although whether diesel-based or Elsan-based the Cyclist’s & Rambler’s Trust’s semi-incoherently-worded notification did not say. That it is open again is good news, not so much that I want to use the branch for a day or four, but because other boats will be able to lose themselves up whatever creek suits them, and thus the better keep out of my way. 🙂

The “braying hooray” boats that were moored up ahead yesterday afternoon and overnight have, praise the Lard, moved on to annoy pastures new. They looked like trouble the moment they oiked up on our bow, and sure enough within eighteen nanoseconds of tying up out came the chairs, the table, the beer, the barbecue and the boom-box, bang went any notion of peace or of anyone else being able to use the towpath.

I have no problem with these items in isolation or indeed in collection as such – except when they are deployed with unnecessarily meerkat proximity to me. Other moorings were available, no idea why they chose to be cheek by my jowl as they did. Perhaps they needed an audience, someone to witness their fascinating “screeching, fog-horn-esque” conversations on the vacuous nature of the human condition and their palliative haw-haw-hawing? Many such do.

One of the defining characteristics of “braying hooray” boats is that in the manner of emptying their dog’s bowels they do tend to encourage the hounds to grunt, groan, squeeze and go cross-eyed with effort alongside other people’s boats, never too near their own. This lot were also praisers, not scoopers… iggle wiggle goody-goody boy-ikins as do ‘ad a good poo-poo den? Is Mummy’s little soldier all dunny wunny? Nice an’ em-per-tee for mummy-wummy and daddy-waddy? G’boy! Then off they’d trot, leaving a steaming mystery for the worms to puzzle over and get themselves out from under.

This is, at the (utter) least, one step above bagging it and then draping it in the hedgerows and trees, as many do.

Whatever, they’ve gone now and so long as they all (except the dogs, of course) die horribly and quite soon I wish them no serious ill-will.

Gosh, I’m horrid, aren’t I? 😉

I swear that once or twice I caught one or two of the dogs with expressions that indicated that they were considering the social and personal benefits of being a stray rather than being tied to their current, slightly mortifying, domestic arrangements.

At this point I am expected by “jolly good form, what, eh?” to tell you that I can’t tell you how magnificent it is to be slightly cooler, but I can tell you – it’s ruddy magnificent to be slightly cooler!

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Of course, there’s a long way to go yet before I can begin moaning about winter and cold… 😉

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…and lack of available nuclear fusion to power the slow-cooker.

Shall have to mooch us on again one early morning in the next few days, services for the requirement of. Not at a weekend though. Must think of somewhere else to moor up, too, for a while – I’ve never been one for wildly adventurous cruises, and the madness is yet to descend upon me.

Hmm… curry for tiffin. Now, to blast some unhealthy white rice to go with the Catch-As-Catch-Can From A Can Curry.

Until later this afternoon it may well be just me, the Cardinal and my pet moorhen on these moorings. Then of course, the water-skiing boats will all stop and look for somewhere to tie up and roast the fatted gin bottle on the towpath.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H. &etc.

p.s., Dear Zeus, please make me love my own species (the common man) – but perhaps not until after I’m dead, eh?

p.p.s., Actually, that’s not fair to either me or to my fellow human. I do like most people, it’s just that I so very rarely seem to meet most people. No man is an island, and nor am I. Some sort of craggy outcrop or sand-spit, perhaps, but never an island. That’s it – I am a human sand-spit. Or perhaps one of those rocks that sea-gulls turn white with droppings and there’s an automated light-house warning automated shipping of automated risks to seafaring life and limb. 😉 Oh, whatever.

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  1. Those picnic-on-the path folk sound horribly like the “Hooray Henry” types that multiply like fungi at events like Henley Regatta, Ascot or Derby races. All booze and bad manners.
    I like some people, but even those are better in “small doses.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people are like gemstones in a coal mine slag-heap – rare beasties but very nice to trip over and infinitely more valuable. Many more people would be gem-like – but they need the crap of the “me me me” society washing off them first! As we breed and build ourselves into not extinction but a life in some sort of airless and industrious human hive arrangement there is already insufficient room and insufficient time for what are in fact essential human (species, herd, tribal) behaviours – we’re out on an artificial limb, and it’s creaking…

      Once upon a time some distant memory of manners drummed into them by parents would have driven those braying hoorays to find a space away from others for their …braying. In the year of our evolution two thousand and twenty they feel _entitled_ to set up camp in the middle of a line of quiet(er) boats, as their inalienable “right” (without responsibilities).

      Jebus H., I am a grumpy, old-fashioned Hector! 😉


  2. I. too am glad it’s cooler even here in the deep south. As to people, I think more and more of we sensible and considerate folk are becoming disillusioned by our fellow humans. I’m meeting more people than I’ve ever done before who claim not to like people. Except for a few carefully chosen ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that there are at least two generalised causes.

      There are generations now who have “grown up” (such as they have) without having been taught or learning for themselves that a simple nod, smile and good morning to strangers who cross paths is a really valuable “oil” that keeps society’s wheels from seizing up. Strangers now aren’t acknowledged (it takes no more than that) but are actively ignored. The herd is a real herd no longer, just a lot of individuals without enough elbow-room.

      Even once past the strangers thing, everyone’s been bleating on about “rights” for a century – with not one word about “responsibilities”. The Human planet has become a full “me me me” society, with everyone (almost!) determined to do anything they want, convinced that they can do everything they want, and other members of the species if not actively helping in that are at best just an inconvenience. It’s like a Court full to the rafters with freshly minted kings and queens – each one expects everyone else to bow and back out of the room, but it’s just not going to happen.

      JMHO. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When I was brought up, in the age of the dinosaurs, we were taught to consider other people before ourselves. Then, I would say in the 1070s or early 1980s, someone or several someones decided that it was not good that mothers in particular, and women in general, as am extension of that, were giving all their time to others and there was none left for themselves.
        So the concept of having some time to do what they wanted was put forward. Now that’s fine. I went to evening classes for various things for years while my husband looked after the children. I did all sorts of things that interested me, and occasionally found time to do them at home, too.
        But then people started talking about ‘me time.’ Sounding innocent enough, but those two little words have selfishness built in.
        Again; when I was at school, we were taught–no told–that if we were with friends, and adults were approaching on the footpath, we were to go into single file so the adults did not have to step into the road, or be otherwise inconvenienced. Does that happen now? Does it heck! Now, when out with my husband, or other adults, WE are the ones that go into single file when we meet a group of youngsters.
        People now think it’s their right to do exactly what suits tnem. Want to talk you your friend outside a shop door, blocking it? Do so! Want to park right outside the place you are visiting, even if it will block the road? Do so! (One day, in my town, a bus full of people was held up for around 15 minutes by a parked car.)
        I could go on, but I won’t.
        But there are still some people who say ‘Good Morning’ when out hiking. Once it was everybody, but it’s not gone completely.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It certainly is good curry weather, although to be fair I do like one even when it’s really hot; a lot easier having the new slow cooker though, it’s not like you can light Mr Stove in 38 degrees. I use mine a lot for curries/stews/pasta/rice dishes (throw it all in!) and cooking on a dim watt bulb is always good. It’s been much too hot to even put the grill on. Now I’m tempted seeing what you have in your pot! You have more patience than me, can’t imagine people turning up that close,I would have to blast them with some irritating music – Des O’Connor’s greatest hit – whatever that was! Maybe my vast collection of Meat Loaf, it is an aquired taste, like Brussel sprouts with salad, mmmmmm!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a sneaking sensation (no, not the old war-wound trouble coming back, this is different) a sneaking sensation that the slow-cooker is going to prove most useful indeedery. The curry was splendiferous – and there were Brussels sprouts in it too. It seems like an enocomical creature, about as much electrickery as running the old laptop. I shall try something pasta-esque next – I do like one-pot meals. As well as there being less washing-up to do they hide a multiude of seasonal sins.

      No idea what Desmon O’Connor’s greatest hit was – and no way am I going to search for it online because that would mess up my search history and what gets advertised at me, mightily!

      I do know of boats that are happy with solid-fuel cooking all year round. No idea how they manage it, although they do. In my case it would be better to leave the stove alone and to just pass out on the floor.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It was ‘I pretend’ … made #1 in both the UK and Ireland in 1968!!! The Wikipedi-raptor didn’t say which ‘Ireland’, but perhaps back in 1968 they were still one?

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  4. Are you sure the BBQers are not French?
    When living over there and taking a break on long car journeys on one of those long loops bypassed by the modern road the place would be deserted…birds singing, greenery all around, just right for the flask and sandwiches.
    Then a car would arrive and, given about half a mile of loop, would park right in front of you. The driver would then emerge and pee.
    I don’t know who they were trying to impress but I’ve seen better things in a dish of vinegar on a shellfish stall.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha! You describe the type exactly! There is a narrowboater analogue of the parking/peeing Frenchman – in fact for a few days in this past week there was one such moored just down from me – right opposite the little row of houses. Night or day he’d regularly leap off the boat and study the hedgerow intently… have a little shake (Elvis style) and then get back aboard. Those houses all have living rooms with panoramic windows to take advantage of the canal scenery, and they’re raised up slightly, so they must have been afforded a prime view.

      I doubt that the sparrows, hedgehogs and other wildlife were much impressed either. 😉

      Hmm – looks just like a penis, only a lot smaller.

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