To Top-Up My Phobile Moan…

Buy a voucher online
Find the tephelone and fiddle about until I remember how to switch it on
Wait patiently for a signal while sitting out on the well deck, waving the phone around
Experimentally tap on random icons until something that looks as though it will allow me to make a telephone call appears
Dial 150
Listen to a gobsmacking amount of irrelevant guff
Be advised that I can do this all online (no sh*t, Sherlock, if I could, I would)
Wake up the phone from snooze, experiment until a keypad appears – Press 1
Listen to more guff and thirty-six different “options”
Wake up the phone from snooze, experiment until a keypad appears – Press 1
More guff, more options
Wake up the phone from snooze, experiment until a keypad appears – Press 2
Be transferred to a “customer advisor” (for what? fashion tips?)
Be asked what I want (I thought that we’d covered that by following the “options”?)
Explain what I want
State full name and spell it out letter by letter to ensure that I am awarded a ‘t’ and not a ‘d’ in my surname
Get asked for 1st, 13th and 27th letters of my password
What password? I don’t have a password.
Don’t you use your phone much sir?
It’s rarely even switched on, just for bank access code texts and 999 calls. Sometimes I use it to text the Fuel Boat with an order but that’s as exciting as it gets. I hate it.
No problem sir, how much did you top up last time?
What, about two years ago? It’s hazy but I’d guess at Β£10 or Β£15, it’s rarely more.
Which though, ten or fifteen?
I’d guess at fifteen, a couple of years ago I was still spending money like it was water.
That’s fine sir, just bear with me while your data loads
Will it hurt?
My data loading…
How would you like to top up?
Voucher please.
Can you read out the sixteen digit number for me?
Oh yes, I had a lousy education at eight or so of the worst schools that Mummy and Daddy could find but I’m surprisingly numerate. Shall I begin?
Niner niner two-ah seven niner niner blah blah blah…
IX IX II VII IX IX blah blah blah…
Ah. There we are sir, that’s all gone through for you now. Your new balance is – [giggles, having probably never seen a mobile phone with so little credit on it]
Excellent, thank you. I’ll call you again in a couple of years.

PING! PING PING DONG DING PING! – no, not the name of someone from the Malay Peninsula, but “confirmation” texts arriving like a flock of vultures sensing dead meat.

Job done, turns mobile telephone OFF again until needed.

It’s all such jolly good fun, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

My strollette was very green and pleasant the other day. I played hide and seek with something from the bovine family.

I sat on a bench alongside an abandoned bag of dog shi*te.

This is why when I am Lord High He-Who [Must Be Obeyed] after The Revolution I shall have all dog-emptiers that are not personally known to me shot for life and the quay thrown away.

A successful single-parent duck family was having a picnic on the towpath. Pleasingly, when I exhibited non-threatening body-language and gave them what space I could they remained on the path and didn’t dive into the water as though my name was A L’Orange.

The towpath is looking splendidly flowery with this no-gardening nonsense. I remain in two minds about the whole scheme, although it must be said that neither mind is of sufficient size to be out and about on its own.

The trees are biding their time. One of these days we humans will get what’s coming to us, and the Tree Civilisation will rise again. [Demonic, woodish laughter…]

The restricted “visitor” moorings along the way are senselessly crowded. Yes, that one boat tucked up right at the far end is Grumpy 8ollox.

I am so glad that I moved off them to make space, otherwise life would be impossible.

My new ‘Have you heard the word (and the acoustic guitar and folk-hymns) of Mr Jesus?’ sign on the Cardinal’s roof is working wonders. Having the sign made up in flashing neon lights was brilliant. Putting it between two giant loudspeakers was genius.

I fear that Messrs SUSTRANS et al will soon be having a problem with Messrs Watery Wellness Trust Ltd’s “new” no-mowing policy. That dangly-dangly bit over where the path used to be is covered in thorns, and yes, the edge of the towpath becomes mud, quicksand and water just about where the cutterbups are.

Oh how we laughed. Guffaw, guffaw, guffaw.

Mr & Ms O’Swan brought their brood to beg beside the boat. They would appear to have lost one, there were twelve.

Perhaps the twelfth has already gone off to boarding school?

Fowl creatures.

They’ve just paraded past as I type this and there are most definitely only eleven swanlings remaining.

Ancient recipe: take one fox, give the fox a camp-fire and a good, solid wok, add a baybay swan stoled while Mummy and Daddy O’Swan were sleeping…

It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it.

Perhaps it was the Dog-Poo Fairy?

Right, I must away and find something useful to do.




  1. There should be a certain place in Hell reserved for those who don’t clean up and dispose of their dog’s crap! A dog came flying past while I was walking down at the lake last week – illegally off it’s leash of course and then it stopped to do it’s business. I spotted the owner, directed him to the deposit and made sure that he put it in the proper bin! Don’t argue with little old ladies with canes!

    Perhaps the lack of clearing of the towpaths will at least limit the number of cyclists – another bane of my existence! Had to deal with two of them coming right at me on the sidewalk this morning. I had my shopping cart with me and deliberately walked right down the centre, forcing them to stop. I pointed out – yet again – that it is illegal for anyone over the age of 14 to ride bikes on the sidewalk in this city. I then pointed out the very expensively constructed bike lanes that were available to them – only to be informed that they found this particular road – too dangerous!! God help me but they thought nothing of endangering all of us who use the sideWALK!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often wonder if perhaps lycra and wheels aren’t evidence of some off-shoot of retrograde evolution. The moment that saddle slides up between those cheeks they become Sons and Daughters of Emperor Ming The Merciless.

      Had one while out on my perambulations a couple of days ago, came up behind me so fast that the first thing I knew about his presence was the scrunch of rubber on gravel as he braked and locked his wheels to avoid – eventually – having his yellow vest tied around his neck and being thrown into the canal.

      I’ve got no problem with anyone using a velocipede for sensible transport or for a gingham-clad pootle in the countryside before tiffin; it’s the insane speed merchants (ninety-percent of cyclists it would seem) who need to be culled. JMHO.

      My personal best for (not leaping into the hedgerow and) making a cyclist walk quietly behind me is about seventy-five yards. He ding-ding-dinged, I told him over my shoulder that the next place wide enough to pass me and my shopping trolley safely was beyond the next bridge… Lit by the fires of Hell in my eyes he smiled and said ‘thank you’. πŸ˜‰


  2. The mobile phone is a blight on God’s own earth, you do well to avoid the nasty little bomsterds, cue woodish laughter, Hoak,hoak, hoak, willow-ho-ho, tree-hee-hee, et al, et al.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is indeed – once upon a time such a useful little tool, now far outgrown its welcome. Whenever I switch mine on it argues with me about my giving my consent to some better “location tracking” system. Each time it argues I decline, each time we meet again it argues afresh (but with the same old dull nonsense). Android, Google and all of the others just don’t understand that I don’t WANT to be “tracked” – if I don’t know where I am then it’s because I want to be “lost”. πŸ˜‰


    1. πŸ™‚ There was… a certain arrangement of lumps and bumps. I didn’t poke it with a stick or anything, although I perhaps ought to have done.

      A sub-section of dog-emptiers do all manner of things with the evidence to avoid taking it home or popping it into one of the surviving bins-for-the-purpose. The hedgerows and trees are adorned with the black/white/green/yellow sacks of the dog fruit. It becomes very obvious in winter, when there’s no foliage to hide the 50,000 year half-life of micron-thin plastic bags!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 12 little cygnets swimming on the canal
    A fox came and caught one and then there were eleven!
    Eleven little swanlings swimming by worm drowners
    A big pike rose and got one (obviously preferring cygnet to worm. And who wouldn’t)
    And then there were ten!
    Ten little baby swans swimming past the Cardinal
    Ian fancied swan for dins
    And then there were nine…

    You can add the rest. Sorry it doesn’t scan too well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s swan?
      Thou art more swanly and more swannish:
      Rough winds do shake the darling swans of May,
      And summer’s swans hath all too short a date:
      Sometime too hot the swan of heaven shines,
      And often is his swan complexion dimm’d…

      Mr Shakespode, taken from his Big Book of Rhyming Stuff About Swans
      (now sadly out of print)

      Liked by 2 people

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