Hunkering and Bunkering

This probably constitutes El Panic Buying, but it’s not. I didn’t realise that the Fuel Boat, nb BARGUS, would be calling some twice more before Spendmas, so I loaded aboard as much as may be. Still, better t’have than not. Coal briquettes (tis virtually illegal – and soon will be totally illegal – to buy real coal, I suspect that this has a lot to do with real coal not being manufactured and thus not having varying proportions of brick dust mixed in), logs (by law must be kiln-dried…) and kindling treats.

When you stop – if you ever stop – to consider the controlling reach of the manifold laws, bylaws and general restrictions affecting the minutiae of our lives it all adds up to “Gobsmacking”.

Dullth and greyth and wind and rain – at times lashing winds and howling rains – have been the order of the day here, interspersed with “eye of the storm” almost full-on spells of Summer. Typical, for a small island in the North Atlantic. November weather in a boat is tres atmospherique, and best listened to from under a duvet while dipping in and out of a good book and a mug of hot Cocoa Substitute.

The sun barely rises before it sets again, and there’s really no need to actually turn your head to view both rising and setting, they don’t happen far away from one another; perhaps a quarter of the horizon in this northerly season.

The wind is at least blowing vaguely onto the towpath for the nonce and forecast so for the next few days, which is wot r better than blowing off the towpath, straining at the ropes.

With all peasants (but not important people) under House Arrest the world is a quiet-ish place. Dog-emptiers (a distinct species quite separate from dog-walkers) pass occasionally, the hounds making the best of a begrudged job. This patch of towpath doesn’t often see lycra-clad morons (“keen” bicyclerists), praise be to Zeus. Ramblers occasionally stagger by, staggering under the weight of everything that the man in the Outdoors Shop sold them, and struggling with two Alpine Walking Poles each.

The Goose Nation comes and goes, informed local word has it that they commute between the winding hole and Hurleston Reservoir.

Hurleston Reservoir is another massive chunk of infrastructure in the care of the Wellness Trust Ltd., as may be deduced from the white poles being used to monitor the Mount St Helens-esque failure and slumping of the reservoir sides…

Either that, or someone is playing an insane game of croquet.

Given the nature of the Wellness Trust Ltd’s directatorship and “trustees” I wouldn’t entirely rule out the latter.

Twenty-one acres, some eighty-five Imperial millions of gallons of water – and that slope is supposed to be uniform and, obvs, immobile. Lovely, yeah.

It’ll be spect-a-queue-lar when it goes. It doesn’t take a brain the size of a planet to see that there’s a problem, and it’s not going to mend itself. Provided that I avoid the moorings on the canal below I may be around to get some good photographs of RAF Chinooks, dropping bags of hardcore into the breach some day. Probably some day soon.

I like Chinooks.

When I am Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed) I shall have several placed at my disposal.

Hopefully there’s less drear wherever you are, dear reader (almost singular).

Chin-chin &etc.

Ian H., and Cardinal W.


    1. I’m afraid that I don’t know any ladies called Dawn or Dusk, but I am happy that you do and that they fill your winter days. I owned an Austin Montage for some years, and it filled the short space inbetween bumpers quite nicely.


  1. One does wonder why humans don’t learn anything from history. Particularly with the last dam breach being in such recent memory. Well, I doubt anyone lost their job over that, since so much was rightly praised about saving the town. They probably felt “Alls well that ends well.”, without considering that all can just be well continuously with proper maintenance. And it is their damn job to do that.

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    1. Advance planning, preparation, pro-active work – it does all seem to have dropped from vogue, doesn’t it?

      My god – Vogue. Stood in a bar in Blackpool, Madonna’s latest on the speakers, and we all knew how to Vogue… Some things, having once been experienced, will never reach the pages of the autobiography.

      I have to agree with you, if and mayhap when this (relatively minor, but still 85,000,000 gallon reservoir embankment goes it’ll be a sad day for any ducks in the way – and it ought to be criminal charges for a few of the directatorship and trustees of a certain Wellness Ltd. They will of course get off without inquiry and then probably award themselves bonuses and pats on the back. Hell in a hand-cart springs to mind. ;-(

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m learning so much new stuff around your pages. Coal? I thought only steel manufacturers in China and the hungry maws of power stations far from sight from the light switches and stove tops of the hausfrau were allowed to handle such hazardous materials, coming as I do from a nation of exporters of a substance that we only read about in the National Accounts. That you can even store it about your abode sounds so, well, Victorian.

    Would you believe there’s a subspecies of your Rambler, similarly bedecked and armed for all Alpine eventualities, that takes to the streets and parks of this fair city, Sydney, of 5 million people? I’m ashamed sometimes to be so apparently unprepared when I go to the park or shops in merely heeled sandals and a natural fibre frock, and without some life-saving vittles and energy drinks in my handbag. I really do court disaster daily.

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    1. You’ve hit the rambling nail on the head there – the other item of essential walking equipment that I failed to mention: bottles of water. At least, I assume that it’s water. The more sensible would carry bottles of gin & tonic, or perhaps in more desperate urban areas just vodka. Always with the (usually plastic) bottle, clutched tight in their little handies. How the human species ever migrated out of the Rift Valley before the plastic bottle was invented (and the walking pole) beats me. Presumably we crawled, from stand-pipe tap to stand-pipe tap. This at least accounts for the length of time that it took for Mitochondrial Eve to reach and populate Cleethorpes.

      Lovely to hear the word ‘frock’ used – it makes such a refreshing change from the word ‘leggings’! 🙂


  3. I’ve even seen those damned poles here in Costa Rica…it looks bizarre. People in crop tops and short shorts in day glo polyester, complete with baseball caps, sporting Alpine Waling Poles.
    What you need here when walking is a good pair of specs to spot the branch ahead in the road which means you are about to fall into a pothole.

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    1. They are a sad sight, aren’t they? The saddest of all are the entirely co-ordinated couples. Matching waterproofs, matching boots, matching back-packs, matching bobble hats and matching poles. Given that the couples are usually Russian Dolls of quite different sizes all of this matching outfit nonsense must make dressing for a fifty-mile ramble twice as long as it need be, trying items on and discovering whether too small or too big (or too porridge). 😉

      Tis sad news that the old sticks have even reached the Alpine-distant lands of Costa Rica – I had hoped that there were at least some portions of the world free from such earnest and serious-minded plodders. Ho hum. ;-(

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a mystery I grant you. I suspect that the hedgerows of the canals are coming into full bloom about now, with those lovely black and green poop-bag flowers… ;-(

      An awfully high proportion of the dog-emptier types look as though they wouldn’t recognise the function of a poop bag if you sipped one over their head. Others walk one way dutifully carrying Fido’s output but then return in the direction of the marina wholly unencumbered…

      Would that they were wholly unencucumbered instead.


  4. I must confess that I haven’t quite worked out the benefits of a pair of walking poles. I suppose it’s because people think it’s fashionable, like wearing your glasses on your head, rather than your nose. And don’t get me started on why cyclists like dressing up…

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    1. “Serious” cyclists are a sartorial disaster, tottering around on those odd shoes with the pedal-clips, pointy heads rammed into useless polystyrene helmets and bodies stuffed into bright yellow lycra like sausage filling. What is often seen cannot be unseen…

      I do wonder if perhaps the Cheshire ramblers with their carbon-fibre multi-section rubber-tipped walking poles are worried in case they meet sheer mountain faces or slopes of scree?


  5. Pretend Cocoa in the form of a single malt with a Weetabix chaser I suppose? What is the point of walking poles when we were all given a perfectly useable pair of leglets? I can see the point of a pole to punt. A Gondolier’s pole… pretty much on a par with the pepper mills in Italian restaurants, only difference being one is the transportation of a gondola through water and the other to transport the more impressionable of us to wild imaginings.


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    1. Some of the …ramblers …do seem to have ordered the entire Mountaineer’s Catalogue from backpacks to boots via poles and bobble hats. All of the gear and very little idea. I quite like the idea of a nice hand-carved walking stick or staff I must confess (nothing high-tech) – something to lash at the wildlife with, something to rest my chin on when standing and telling people who ask for directions that they ‘can’t get to there from here’ and have to go somewhere else first. 🙂


  6. Stay warm and don’t forget to put the brussels on if you missed the October dead line! I’m hoping for a better supply, they are pretty rubbish at the mo, whatever happened to the stalk that brings the brussels? Wonderful photographs as usual.

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    1. Thank’ee kinldy. I haven’t even thought about this year’s Brussels Sprouts – I shall have to have them stir-fried for two minutes rather than more properly boiled for eight weeks. Damn!


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