E.P., M.I.S.P., and n.b. BARGUS

It’s been a funny old week, some parts of it so strange that I cannot tell of them on the interwebnettings and, in these days of micro-surveillance, must wonder even at the wisdom of telling the tales via the electronic post. Suffice it to say that my poor old eyeballs have been very thoroughly washed in soapy water this past few days and yet I still have a lingering after-image on my retina, and what is known in the Guild of Professional Doctors Dealing with Inveterate Window-Lickers as ‘…screaming flashbacks…’

Still, enough of the antics of boaters; to things that I can speak of.


Oh yes.

I did changethed my deliverer of the Electronic Post (some term it “email”) and I have changethed my provider of the Mobile Interwebnettingsonline Service (those signals through the quintessential æther that doth allow me to see images of people’s lunch provisions on The FaceBook, and giggle at cats with facial expressions similar to Margaret Rutherford’s bum, on The Twitter).

Nerve-wracking though this was I have yet to tackle the really difficult part – cancelling the old MIFI contract with Messers “EE”. It’ll come down to my simply cancelling the direct debit in the end, I know it, and they’ll throw some hissy fit and be sending ugly men in C&A suits, white trainers and sun-shades to chase me for mythical “Monies owed” for ten or perhaps twenty years hence. Good luck on finding me fellas, and even better luck on not finding yourselves in one of the canal systems many, many special, quiet places where the bodies are kept.

What prompted this flurry of re-adjustment of commercial technological loyalties? One provider notified me of a 60% increase in my usual payment – and has been summarily ditched in favour of a provider asking for 40% less than the old package. The other company (EE) has been stuffing me royally for a while, and has been ditched in favour of a different cowboy outfit (all mobile providers smell of horses and cattle, and eat beans around lonely camp-fires) that. for the nonce, is giving me 60% more data allowance and asking only 33% of the previous price.

Now, a company that is most decidely NOT of the “giddyup, keep them doggies rolling” variety – quite the opposite – is Messrs Four Counties Fuels – an umbrella company (that does not supply umbrellas) under whose aegis nb BARGUS doth supply splendid combustibles and sundry items. I give you here their FaceBook pages in the links above, their website being temporarily discommoded to me (mayhap my new ISP? I hope not; or mayhap an update going on). That’s Jason on BARGUS in the lead image, holding a 20kg sack of carboniferous nuggets as though he were merely flapping the toast crumbs out of some tea-towel.

nb BARGUS – Four Counties Fuels – Cholmondeston Lock, Middlewich Branch – March 2021. A Tight Fit (even though The Lion Sleeps Tonight).

Still somewhat disconvenienced by the culvert failure towards Audlem and the canal breach at Beeston, BARGUSUSSES route has of late become a back-and-forth over a horse-shoe pattern rather than a cruising around in a great circle.

nb BARGUS – Four Counties Fuels – Cholmondeston Lock, Middlewich Branch – March 2021.
Ground floor: perfumery
Stationery and leather goods
Wigs and haberdashery
Kitchenware and food
Going up

So even though they’ll pass again on the return journey today or mayhap tomorrow, the Cardinal’s well deck is fully re-stocked and we have an elephant’s sufficiency of kindling with which to tempt Mr Stove into life each evening in this now-you-need-him-now-you-don’t season. My blood it do run thin, it seems, in these times. Either that, or The Cold has obtained larger teeth. There are days – dotage days? – when it seems impossible to get wholly warm in one’s less extreme extremeties, fingerless gloves notwithstanding.

Messrs Canal & River Trust Ltd – now they surely are a dodgy outfit if ever there was one! – months into and with weeks yet to run on Messrs 10 Downing Street’s “no non-essential movement national lockdown”, paid good money to send a “boat spotter” out a-spotting this past Thursday, 04/03/2021 (09:36hrs), logging our boat names, numbers and positions. The chap walking the towpath is doubtless just doing a job, but whomsoever sent him out on that fool’s mission is surely a full pork pie short of a picnic.

A fine example of the Watery Wellness trust Ltd.’s expensive new “half-sunken tyre” logo

Compare the expensive new “half-sunken old tyre in the canal” logo on the van with the swan logo that they ditched (and even with their predecessor’s logo – British Waterways).

Two of these three logos (the swan logo having been provided totally free by a professional designer, many years ago) have artistry and meaning and elegance; the third is just an old tyre and a (rumoured) £60,000 font combination plus cost of buying and installing new signs everywhere and re-wrapping almost all Trust Ltd’s vehicles. The old signs were nicely aged, largely black & white – whereas this new nonsense is a brash shade of icky-blue, jarring the eyeball and looking most plastic and out of place wherever it is seen (and that is everywhere, without shame, let alone restraint).

I have no idea why the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd would be clocking their customers’ (!) locations in the middle of a long “no non-essential movement”, but there you go – I doubt that they have a clue themselves. If the Corporate C&RT do have a clue then it’s extraordinarily well-hidden, perhaps under some monstrous bushel.

Tomorrow – Monday the 8th of March 2021 – is the one full month anniversary of their gracing me with so much as a reply to an email in re their recent threats exhorting me to move move move more or else face trouble renewing my boat licence. That last managerial email, on the 8th of February, assured me that the manager involved would reply more fully in ‘…a couple of days.’ Total corporate silence for a whole month – they do no-one any favours, do they, least of all themselves.

What else has happened this week? Well, Messrs ASDA, having been asked to send me a cabbage (among other items, naturally), sent me an overgrown Brussels sprout.

I mean, it’s lovely green cabbage – but is it really old enough to have left its mother?

Still, there’s enough there to allow me to cogitate and later comment profoundly upon the nature of corporate C&RT, all without moving my (face-) lips.

It’s not an unpopular opinion.

Mr Grebe hasn’t been back to dive and fish near the Cardinal for a few days. Either that, or he just hasn’t surfaced for a few days. Could be either. The big fat grey squirrels in the little copse alongside haven’t been seen for a week – presumably back under their duvet, nibbling at warm nuts and binge-watching episodes of Dad’s Army. It’s been very sparse on the old wildlife front of late.

Talking of wild animals – time perhaps to begin to tackle EE’s cancellation…

Wish me luck. At least I have cabbage.

Chin-chin, Ian H., and Cardinal W., Combined Scourge of the Canal System.


  1. 👍😄….miss r little chats down at the lock… Your blogs had a bit of excitement to my morning happy days see you later on this year ear when I come back from Yorkshire NB cygnet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nobody ever comes back from Yorkshire (or Lancashire or North Lincolnshire or Northumbria or Cumbria etc) – why would you? 😉

      Look forward to yacking with you once more. Although, on current evidence, I’ll be chained up in one of C&RT’s prisons or one of their customer correction facilities afore long!

      Phil’s Patch (I’ve named it thus) remains largely bare, a fitting memorial. I wonder if instead of scattering wildflower seeds over it I ought to keep spraying it with napalm or agent orange?


      Liked by 1 person

  2. I suppose poking the buggers with a stick to remind them of your existence would be unwise. But having the unresolved issue hang over you is quite unfair. It is your home. They haven’t even got the decency to acknowledge it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Methinkth that the basis of the problem is that they think themselves an “authority” somehow “ruling over boaters” while we boaters, being the ones who shell out the cash (follow the money, as they say) consider ourselves to be customers.

      What makes the basic problem so intractable is that the human species has an inordinately high “tin-pot little Napoleon” quotient, and those in (any) office find the inexorable slide into the role of officer of the banana republic a pleasant slide.

      The month of total silence is counted already from an email simply asking them to reply in re the matter earlier raised… How many times ought I to have to poke an office clerk in a company that I do business with for some sort of response, good, bad, or raspberry? The corporation is indeed dismal beyond belief – it fits well into modern England’s infrastructure! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Good luck with EE.
    As to silence from the tyre drowners, I have written to my banks’s ‘customer relations’ dept…no reply as yet, some weeks later. I wonder if, as I mentioned discrimination, they are having private investigators investigate my sex, religion and ethnic origins to see whether I qualify as being able to be discriminated against.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Banks out-stripped their moral capacity millennia ago, but of recent times their biggest two-fingers K.M.H.A. to the human world came when they – very belatedly – realised that the whole Western population could be held to ransom via the caves that they live in, and the banks lobbied politicians to have the housing “market” “opened up” for business. I am not old enough to remember the times when a peasant level house could be worked for and saved up for, but even in my early days a house was “only” two or three times -one- -average- household income.

      I am currently moored opposite some new very ordinary houses (ordinary for these times – all crammed cheek by ugly jowl with postage-stamp gardens) with a hoarding at the fake and faux “gated entrance” (with a stub of wall either side!) – advertising them as being -from- no less than thirty times the national average wage (ONS data)! With interest that’ll take two incomes for two full working lives – and the banks would squeeze more if they could.

      It not me – not US! It is the world that has fallen irretrievably into insanity.

      Rant over. Thank’ee. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My husband worked on the London Stock Exchange when young….in the days when a firm could be hammered if it cocked up and when ‘my word is my bond’ was honoured…or else! Then Thatcher let the banks loose there and it was as if you turned a bingo hall into Las Vegas….and if a bank cocks up the taxpayer pays! He had left before then having an inkling what was to come when they tore down the old building to make way for the new, demolishing even the war memorials in the process. Banks make me spit.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Silence is golden (as they say) and my last communication received frome Insurance Services re my termination of my DD (credit dept) was that they had referred it back to Customer Services and I needed to telephone them. The whole issue began because I couldn’t get through on the telephone last November and they began with threatening letters re debt collectors (each letter and text they charged me £30, so it began to mount). As a non-customer since said November 2020 I have not tried to telephoned them. You can’t insure a car you don’t possess can you? That does look like a ‘forced’ brussel but very edible.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The notion of meaningful “customer service” was on its last legs before, but this – the most contrived and grubby apocalypse of all of Human time – has put the final nail in the coffin lid. There’s just no way to really contact most corporations these days, and certainly none to contact human life therein.

      Everyone thought that I was daft, decades ago when I objected vociferously to the change from having ‘Personnel’ departments to replacing them with ‘Human Resource’ departments. Well, now everyone (customers as well as employees) knows what being nothing more than an “resource” feels like.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “I have no idea why the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd would be clocking their customers’ (!) locations in the middle of a long “no non-essential movement””

    Essential key workers! Society would collapse if the spotters stayed home for a while. One can only hope they don’t run into too many plague-infected individuals on those narrow towpaths.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is what we damaged, asocial misfits without a live brian or a functioning brian-stem between us call crazy, isn’t it? The only real-world down-to-earth actually-happening explanation that I can come up with is a Corporate psychosis. They really do loathe and despise live-aboard boaters – no other explanation covers their outlandish, disproportionate expenditure of “charitable” resources upon us.

      I have a soft spot for the corporate “management” and “directors”. It’s an especially soggy patch of Dartmoor.

      Liked by 2 people

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