Woad twips, woad works, weed balls and why I’m hitting the bottle again

Many moons ago – a year, ten years, who can say? – one of the (one-of-one possibilities) local businesses damaged the bridge over the canal at Barbridge. This meant, apparently, that the lorry that used to empty the boater’s rubbish point could no longer obtain access (due to the weight limit imposed after the damage). Well, good gnus, when Bro and I cruised past in the Aston Minor the other day there were billions of hi-vis workmen working on the bridge, repairing it and loving it and polishing the centre-line cat’s eyes.

So we’ll be having those rubbish facilities back very soon, won’t we, Canal & River Trust.

You’ve seen the state that the “nearest alternative” facilities got into (two and three miles away, Calveley and Nantwich) haven’t you during Barbridge’s absence, so there’ll be no argument, will there.

[Raises an eyebrow by one half smidge, acknowledging that pork has some surprisingly aerodynamic properties when placed near canal infrastructure and in the presence of Corporate Policy.]

A live monster appeared at the lock at Cholmondeston. Having made its own way down the canal – probably after being torn off the bank at the winding hole – it was then pushed into the lock by a holiday boat. There then followed a demonstration of true rocket science, when aforesaid boat got stuck half-way into the lock…

Much “two-sixing” was required to heave the soggy beast out onto the side of the lock where it could do no further jammery stickery.

Now removed it looks akin to something from an early esipode of Dr Who, dangling its green tentacle noses into the lock.

Why is it that I am never carrying a pair of boggly plastic eyes, or even deeley boppers, to adorn things such as this when left around?

The dog’s tail is blurred in this, the lead photo, because it was wagging so furiously. I don’t know if Fido was desperately trying to make friends with the Blob or was terrified of it and trying to appease it.

A spot of a queue formed while several worthy locals and one or two of the less fairy-like holiday-makers got the thing out of the water and under some control. It fell to Phil to bludgeon the thing to death, lest any small child or domestic or farmyard animal be eaten.

When full the water level in this lock is roughly to the bottom edge of where you see the darker brickwork, which is wot is why it was a bit of a b’ger to lift out, there also being nothing seriously to gain a grip on. Weeds and mud, slippery they are, little one.

The bottle? Well I shall probably begin to rattle (even more than is usual) but I was chattering to Boris and Trumpington the other day over tea, global policy, my old Indian Army revolver and this quarter’s suitcase full of Bearer Bonds, and they both recommended that I combat my usual winter (tautological?) Seasonal Affective Disgruntlement with a spot of Vimatin D, Vatamin B12, Zinc and Iron. My god but these things are not cheap these days, are they?

Still, if they prevent me from strangling just one more politician this winter, it will have been worth it. Just.

The D and B12 are tiny, the iron is small, but the Zinc tablets look like something one ought to lubricate heavily before inserting into an ailing horse’s rear-end.

I might have taken NHS advice in the matter but we no longer have a generally accessible NHS, do we?

Perhaps I’ll just go back to strangling people.

It worked for me in London’s Whitehall district in the late Victorian era, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work again.

Old Smokey still occasionally receives hateful stares from Regretable Thunberg, but we’re fast entering the season when he’ll be lit, turned to “full on” and left alone. None of this now you need it now you don’t nonsense.

The wildebeest will complete their migration across the Cheshire plains, the penguins will return to their caves for hibernation until sprung, and Blue Peter television presenters the world over will hug pet orang-utans one last time before putting them into barrels of preserving rum.

See? My grasp of reality is improving all the time, and I’ve only had one day’s worth of pills.

I shall sleep the sleep of the innocent tonight.

No, seriously, my Royal Pardon came through.

Chin-chin, Muskies.

Ian H., and Cardinal W., of the High Seas.


  1. I wouldn’t accept the pardon. It’s like admitting that what was done was wrong. And I for one refuse to apologize for fairly regular bouts of “apology generating” behavior. At least others seem to feel apologies should be generated. But I merely give them a righteous glare. And take another one on the rear for it. People are wrong. I’m merely bringing the fact to their attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People do look startled when the world is explained to them by an expert, don’t they? I put it down to their being in awe of me, and somewhat shocked by my brilliance. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Everbody’s doing it doing it! Be careful with the Vit D….just saying, it may well surpass the normal on the ‘friskiness’ scale (so I have been told!) and clinical trials are still being processed. My super-strength vegan vit D is on its way from Guernsey at this very moment (where it has been on holiday I hear you ask?) from Healthspan my trusty drugs pushers inc. As to the others I have been taking them for years and from my own personal trials I have not once strangled a politician – but that may be more to do with access to one than anything else. Interesting about the zinc though, mine are so tiny in comparison and also contain Vit C (to be taken orally!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will be happy simply to maintain a wet nose and a shiny coat, “frisky” is not on my list of ambitions (especially since we are in a cattle-farming area rather than sheep). The wheels fell off my bicycle long ago.

      Through the machinations of they who (think that they) must be obeyed (at the moment, this will change come the revolution) my winter supplies of broccoli and other fine fresh comestibles may well be more difficult to obtain, thus I have arranged a back-up diet of pills in the Grand Manner of Major Tom, Justin Case.

      Timothy Leary is well taken care of.


  3. A beaver hauled out of the canal. The other thing I wonder is do you have sailing drug dealers plying their trade in a similar vein to the coal merchant? Or did a drone from the Amazon rain forest fly over and drop its cache of pills on your Kon-Tiki type craft? Only asking as I prepare a food parcel to be sent to where? Sainsburyโ€™s notwithstanding… obv!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sad as I would (will) be to see the sky filled with buzzing drones, that would (will) be a boon to we rotten horrid live-aboard boaters – give The Beast a twelve digit Lassitude and Lessitude and then listen out for something landing on the roof of the Cardinal…

      There are many splendid businesses plying their trade on the canals – the fuel boats, of course, the pizza boat, beer boat, a mobile smithy & workshop, fender makers (not guitars), a casino boat, several bordellos and a Houseboat of Wide Ill-Repute. Sadly though, and peculiarly given the prevalence of herbal aromatics afloat, all of my drug dealers are ashore – including my source of magical fungi.

      The Canal Rozzers do their level best to keep we bargee travellers in check in re convenience of parcels (by moving us on at ignoble intervals), and I rely on a complicated time-frame/network of a chandlery and the Bro. And patience.

      Come the revolution, when I am Lord High He Who (Must be Obeyed), this will change. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  4. Quercetin or green tea is now needed Ian – they help you absorb the zinc. Alternatively, you can take some of those hyrroxoquin…malaria thingies that President Fart is so fond of. However they do have some nasty side effects which may make more frequent visits to sewage disposal necessary. As to the iron, unless you have stopped eating the sprouts – probably unneeded.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John, the iron is there because of the possible discomnobulation effects of the zinc. Given that I generally eat a disgustingly healthy diet anyway none of this ought, strictly, to be necessary, but even if tis, I like to keep everything to a minimum. The only addition may be a Black Velvet each morning for Second Breakfast… ๐Ÿ˜‰


  5. Yes, I agree with Helen. Lay off the pills if it stops you strangling politicians.
    That beast by the water’s edge does look fearsome. Are you sure it’s dead?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It was thoroughly strangled by the process of roping it to lift it out of the water. I’ll have to check whether it has moved at all since – one never knows. The Canal Rozzers have been asked to re-home the beast (it is too heavy for mortal man) because should it find its way back into the water it will doubtless block a paddle feed or gate or some such. We shall see.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If those pills stop you strangling politicians, lay off them at once!
    And when you;ve finished with the British lot, Costa Rica is in dire need of your talents…

    I think the dog is terrified…all those things his mum told him would happen if he didn’t sort out his toilet training have come true…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. So many politicians, so little rope, so few lampposts.

      That dog was certainly at the very least bemused by the weed-ball beast, and I noticed that he never joined it on that side of the lock, preferring instead to keep his distance. Sensible creatures, dogs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

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