Comestibles, Canal Rozzers, Cruises

Deny this one too if you will, my dear dissembling, double-dealing, perfidious, mendacious, pecksniffian, weasel-hearted, Janus-faced Watery Wellness Trust Ltd.

Other photographs are available, but this one very carefully does not personally identify the gentleman, while he’s carefully invading my privacy by logging my home’s position in your rinky dinky database for any and all of your staff, total strangers to me, to see.

Pah, pshaw & phooey. Oh, and before you do deny it, know that I spoke, very politely and in very friendly fashion – as always, to the young gentleman as he was working his way through the boat numbers closer to the Calveley Service Area.

Spotted yesterday while I was awaiting the loving attentions of Messrs ASDA.

Messrs ASDA have a habit of arriving early and without warning, but yesterday they arrived late and without warning, which meant that I spent an hour and a half waiting atop Bridge 104 with a carnation in my buttonhole (no, dear American friends, I said buttonhole) and reading a copy of the Financial Times. Still, they arrived, which is wot was good.

However, one item had been damaged among my delivery. Can you guess what? If I mention that there were two bottles of Imperial Ming Dynasty Dark Soy Sauce in my order, and that I sent back one… half empty…

Oh how we laughed.

Guffaw guffaw guffaw. Yes indeed, guffaw. No, but seriously…

One item among the sticky loveliness of my groceries was a new-to-me old-fashioned Fray Bentos “Vegetable Balti” pie-in-a-tin. Once spotted, they had to be tried, even if only for ‘ooh Fray Bentos brings back childhood memories’ reasons, although the filling wasn’t veggy-table then, but very much dead-animally. Now all that I have to do is to work out how to bake the damned thing without the benefit of an oven. I’m thinking perhaps in foil in the ash tray of Mr Stove. We shall see. Needs must when the Devil cooks.

Why are cows always so curious? Did curiosity ever kill the cow, or does it only harbour murderous intent towards cats?

The weather being (almost) co-operative and this coming Monday the 12th being the kick-off for Wacky Races 2021 the Cardinal and I then mooched on a league or two. We’re mooching in these areas while Messrs Bank send out a replacement replacement for my one and only bank card, much since expired. Banks do not understand the word ‘boat’. This is surprising, since it’s a four-letter word, and one would imagine that banks would have heard all of those.

Anyway, another v.pleasant minor cruise according to plan, and an eventual mooring up. Eventual because the first time that I tied the planet onto the Cardinal it was to find that SMARTY (“Three”) couldn’t raise so much as a blip on the interwebnets radar. I put my boots back on, roped the Cardinal fifty yards farther along Yappy Dogs Alley, and we now have one whole bar of 4G some of the time. 😉

Yappy Dogs Alley, just to the north of Barbridge.

Rain began in earnest, poor Earnest, once I’d tied up for the second time, and a celebratory litre of coffee was brewed.

Only saw one other boat moving all day.

This morning showed early promise, but has since spoilt itself and turned drear and deadly-Dudley dull and dank and dismal.

The best of the sunshine so far today. Mr Sun has since taken his football home and won’t come out again to play.

That’s frost you can see on the grass behind the tree above. The it of the temperature was below the freeze of freezing overnight. Mr Stove had his work cut out for him, again, and met the challenge with phlogistonic ergs abounding, thank’ee kindly.

Things were more daylight-ish on the return of the stroll. Some familiar cruising boats moored about, snoring, and here a couple (either side of the boat in the middle, so to spoke) that have mooched out of the local private marina moorings (albethey on-line moorings).

I do wonder whether Messrs Marina-Dwellers – who seem oblivious – will ever cotton on that their habits of popping out on a regular basis “to the pub” or “to our favourite picnic area moorings” will put them outwith the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd.’s new ‘Licence Terms and Conditions’ from this month? I doubt it, I very much doubt it. The huffing and outraged puffing when they get their first ‘Have you forgotten to cruise…’ and/or ‘Make the most of your licence…’ threats will be something to see.

Just “popping around the corner for the weekend” on a regular basis is now verboten.

I shall not refrain from the giddy enjoyment of a sense of due epicaricacy.

And I did tell you so.

Talking of the suburbs of Rome burning, here’s one last photo for this post – you can never have too many moored narrowboats with smoking chimneys; stoves in the process of being woken up after a long, un-tended night-shift. With added swan…

So. what did I learn from yesterday?

  • A chap can feel on the cold side of cool if he stands for an hour and a half atop Bridge 104 in the sometime rain sometime drizzle, waiting alongside his faithfull trolley for a big green van laden with broccoli and other magical items.
  • Soy Sauce does not “go with everything”.
  • In the propagation of interwebnetting signals fifty yards can make all the difference in the aether.
  • Dassing pog-walkers don’t half give you funny looks when you’re dragging your boat along on the ropes.

Figs gave I none.

Now, about cooking that old-style pie for tiffin today…


Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H., & Cardinal W., Still Spoiling It For Everyone, Apparently*.

*Four months so far of extremely unintellectual slog akin to wading through neck-deep treacle in the company of a distinctly pre-opposable-thumbs corporate ancestor, and we’re (finally) beginning “Stage Two” of the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd.’s Formal Complaints process, with only the Ombudsman and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Waterways then to go. Six months now after the six-month period they’re shouting at me about, four months after they actually deigned to actually tell me that they were shouting at me; thirteen months after the written agreement upon which they have decided to renege – and the licence that they are threatening not to renew expires next month.

The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd., just getting better and better at sucking the life out of the canals since 2012. They would have started earlier, but 2012 is when The Devil farted and they were formed.

Imagine British Leyland, but with the build-quality, design-excellence and managerial genius removed.


    1. There is much rumour in the truth that old Traffic Wardens never die, they just get a managerial position with the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd. How fun it would be to march up to each of their little office enclaves, open the front door, throw a stiff peaked cap, two shoulder epaulettes and a few yards of freshly-starched gold braid into the centre and then watch them fight like hungry, amoral hyenae… blood and torn hair and ripped fingernails everywhere.


    1. A blast indeed, ranking up there (or down there) with Vesta “boil-in-the-bag” curries… heady stuff. My only excuse among this lifelong celebration of the culinarily dubious is to say that I have never forgotten my roots. Also my brassicas, my tubers, and whatever never-from-concentrate orange juice is made from.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Gordon Blue calling… a Remoska electric cooker is most definitely what you require Ian. Lakeland sell them for £149.99. Alright you could buy a whole lot of secondhand camera for that amount however to my very cookerly eye, as far as I am aware a Fray Bentos pie would prove a bit of a problem for a Canon to cook. Before you beat me to it, cooking in the crypt has a certain ring you it, don’t you know?

    Instead of tin foil, a tiffin tin plus lid might do the job. Bet you have lots lying unloved in the Cardinal’s attic left over from your time out in India.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah that brings back memories – my years in Poonah, boiling potatoes and elephant’s feet in my pith helmet. Happy days. The splendid thing about a pith helmet is that once you’ve finished using it for cooking then with a quick wipe out you can stick it under your camp bed just in case it’s needed during the night.

      I shall have to do some calculations in re the electrickery consumed by a Remoska wotnot – it may very well be worth it. In winter I’d have to run the engine and so would be in effect cooking on diesel, while in the summer the solar would almost certainly take care of it. The oven section of the gas cooker is the only thing that’s a pain in the old fundament, if you’ll excuse my use of the word fundament.

      We didn’t have fundaments in Poonah. I don’t think that they were popular with the troops anywhere in India. There was no need, really, what with monsoons and with labour being so cheap. Damn it, I miss the Empire*.

      *Also the Regal and the Odeon.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m not certain that I am worth it. I took myself to an assayer once, just outside Paris. I walked in, he said asseyez vous and I replied, no, I’d rather you did it since you’re the professional. Apparently I’m worth five magic beans. Inflation and wear and tear will doubtless have reduced that amount since.


  2. How do you bake your loaves of bread if you don’t have an oven? Covered in foil should do it I would have thought – you have me intrigued now – is there any kind of dutch oven device that can be put on top to enclose it and make the pastry rise. There’s nothing like Fray Bentos pastry and yes, essence of youth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bread’s an easier shape – I cook that in the OmniOven or the little cast-iron Dutch-Oven – and it can be (indeed needs to be!) turned over part-way through baking. These Fraidy-Bentings pie things have to be cooked in the tin and can’t be turned over (as far as I can see). I’m going to give it a go in the ash tray of Mr Stove, and see what happens. The heat will mostly be top-down… but if the pastry rises too well I’ll not be able to get it out of the stove.

      A big(ger) Dutch Oven than I have would work I think, but only on an open fire, with embers spread on the top to cook more evenly.

      Tis but my own fault. I had money saved for a new cooker, but decided that a new camera would be much more fun!

      p.s., I was correct. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. WWT. They do WANT to be efficient , effective , and effervescent They just dont actually know how. I’m sure a Buddhist or other saintly person would show compassion and kindness toward their ineptitude. But the rest of the world has things to do, and will quite understandably kick incompetence in the nuts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder if they do, I really wonder. Fortunately the notion is quite moot, since I’ve never been in any danger of being either saintly or sainted. I was a nun once, but that didn’t last more than a few years. As ever, referrring only to the corporate WWT Ltd. and not to the grunt workers such as are left, the organisation’s a bad’un, rotten to the core values and quite without hope of recovery. There are one or two spectacularly talented people in its management of course who might conceivably be utilised elsewhere, but then circuses with classic clown acts have all but gone out of business, haven’t they?

      It is the custom of my people to leave behind some sage words of advice spoken on their deathbed or, if lacking in sagey-ness, to go out in some style. My late aunt on my uncle’s side went out with the words ‘Never forget; never forgive’. My late uncle on my aunt’s side left us with ‘Do unto others the moment you see them’. My dear late father muttered something in Russian and the only words that I could make out were ‘glorious’ and ‘revolution’ and ‘double-agent’. My dear late mother’s last words were simply ‘Avenge me’.

      I have no sage advice to offer, so I think that perhaps I shall instead hint to certain uncharitable “charities” that I have left them a legacy and, when The Metropolitan Great & The Otherwise-Unemployable Good are gathered about, tugging on the coat-tails of the solicitors and asking how much how much how much, I shall go wild-eyed, raise a hand and say ‘The door is locked, the windows barred, the fuse is lit and you have perhaps six seconds in which to find The Bermbe…’

      One ought always to leave the world a little cleaner than one found it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice to hear that your spirits are lifted after receiving 1 bar of 4g & that you are all set for the way out wacky races.
    Tattenhall marina & Golden Nook have been letting all and sundry down our way for the last 10 days now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It ought to be fun, I think – every boat from every hire company stuffed to the gunwales with folk determined to holiday just has hard as their holiday-glands will let them. 🙂 Until things settle down a bit – if they ever do! – I will keep to dawn or dusk raids and avoid the middle of the boating day… While here I might take a chair down to the junction and see if I can get any good photographs of the traffic. Or it might just be a damp squib…

      I did wonder about reversing positions and maybe hiding in a marina for a month or three – but that would drive me even more nuts than usual!

      Hope all is swelligant with you and yours, and that the Tattenhall and Golden Nook mobs managed to pass by without removing your blacking. 🙂

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