Squirrel attack

Mad squirrels and Englishmen go boating in the noon-day sun.

Was sat sitting peacefully, thinking about sitting some more, when there was a mid-weight thump on the Cardinal’s upper hull. The shower-room porthole – that I knew to be ajar, since I had but recently partaken of a cleansing dip – started banging about.

Well I was up and at it I can tell you, faster than a cross-legged elephant rises to turn the tofu kebabs grilling on the camp fire. I’ve always believed in giving trouble a chance to go away all by itself before I roll into what may be unnecessary battle with it.

A demonic squirrellish face and two wide-spread paws appeared at the window in the main cabin, towpath side – and I swear that the little beast was staring at me and with not some little intent. Whether polarised glass doesn’t bother tree-rats or not I don’t know but we locked eyes. He must have been standing on the gunwale.

Next I knew – having (marginally, on points) won the staring contest – he was off, through the open cratch cover side and over onto the gas locker lid to sit like a figurehead on my bow mooring rope knitting, and there he stayed even though the bow doors were open… with his back to me. Could there possibly be any bigger chin-flick, bras d’honneur from a small item of timid English wildlife?

At a moment of his choosing he then hopped along the mooring line, onto the towpath jungle and away using the narrow path trampled by nervous walkers and lost cats.

I did not manage a photograph of course, but here’s one of a lost cat wondering where the hecky heck nb Kingfisher C&RT registration number 123456 was moored. Do you know please mister? I’m lost. Could you please call 0800 S-C-A-R-E-D-E-Y-C-A-T for me and ask if they can arrange for Tiddles’ mummy and daddy to come and collect him?

The “no mow” policy continues to reap rewards. No, that can’t be right. If they’re not mowing then we can’t talk about them reaping. The “no mow” parsimony continues to be a wholly un-managed balls-up… there, that’s more accurate.

Reminiscent of those scenes in The African Queen where Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn were bow-hauling through leech-infested shallows.

We shall soon have to term them The Canal & Reed Trust Ltd.

On a technical note, the move toward gas-free living (no, I am not giving up Brussels sprouts) continues apace. The (Lettice-recommended – thank’ee agin) Remoska seems to be a most splendid device.

I bought the basic basic model because that is rated at 400w whereas the other, fancier shmancier models are 650w. Such differences are important when largely “off-grid”, as on a narrowboat.

The Cardinal’s inverter (converting 12v power to the land-standard 230v nonsense) incurs a roughly one amp overhead. The Remoska – which, being thermostat-free, is either on or off – draws something upwards of 33.33 of the amps plus the overhead of the inverter.

Most things I’ve tried so far have taken between 30 and 60 minutes (baked spuds for e.g. 50 minutes, stuffed peppers & mushrooms 30 minutes). The power picture is complicated by the weather and by whatever else is running at the time – fans, alarms, cctv, all of the usuals. Generally though I’ve been left with a 5 to 15 Ah deficit which has been cleared by the solar panels in an hour or so – long before Second Digestive Belch and/or the washing up.

Sometimes the solar system damned near powers the whole thing real-time.

Tis rare for me to need to run Mr Engine for electrickeral power between moving the Cardinal; the solar system generally copes. Usually all of my domestic needs are met, I can shower, do two or three hours of laundry, and cook a meal or sometimes two in the Remoska and we’re still in all-square mode a la batteries by the end of the day.

This is why anyone or any august body – such as the Canal & Reed Trust Ltd – who/that bleats on at me that I need to be more “green” and “ecologically sound” gets a (mostly) metaphorical poke on the schnoz. Compare my environmental demands living on a boat to those of even the most modest bricks-&-mortar dweller and you are comparing a neolithic tribe in mud huts with Manchester during the height of the Industrial Revolution. What I can’t get from the sun is replaced as a by-product of running my engine to move.

Still the eco-nutjobs, the ReGretable Thunderbergs of the fashionable bandwagon movement, want to take away my diesel engine (burning perhaps 200 – 300 litres a year – compare that to your car!) and my coal/wood stove (that not only heats my boat in winter but supplies almost all of my cooking facilities too).

Photographic representation of an exploding squirrel.

Heck, I even supply my own squirrels.

It’s been High Summer here of late, with temperatures and – more importantly – humidity – in the high “Ye Gods”. Now we’re back to late Autumn or early Winter. Cardigan and fingerless gloves abounding. Ruddy England.

Still, given that human society is utterly insane why should I expect Messrs Weather Ltd to behave any differently? SAGE is in charge of the seasons, and Diane Abbott, Greek and Roman gods help us, is looking after the temperatures.

Today, yeah? It will be ten centifahrengradeheit. A metric million. One hundred… um, twenty billion F or about 3 in C… yeah?

I wonder how long a slightly-podgy adult squirrel would take to cook in the Remoska?

Message ends.

[as will Mr Squirrel if he comes back with the same attitude and/or two carrots, an onion and some gravy]

Incidentally, for any and all of your greetings card, jigsaw, wall art &etc needs:

Hutson’s Photographicables; printed and delivered worldwide

Ian H., and Cardinal W.
Blots on the canal landscape (apparently).


  1. I wonder if your pussykins is not so much lost but has lost it’s fieldmouse sized snack somewhere in the dense jungle that used to be a path in the days of yore. Perhaps in the days of yore audacious little squirrel friend?
    Hugs. Keep on Boating and Bugger the Canal & Reed Trust Unlimited.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do cats still eat mice? I thought that the Cat Nation had apologised to the Mouse Nation and paid reparations and agreed never to chow down again? At least, that’s what the article said in the Daily Mail…


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  2. Are you sure that the squirrel does not have a contract with the tyre drowners as part of their surveillance operations? It’s attitude leads one to dudpect that this might be the case.Very green, after all…no use of diesel or upkeep of a spy boat andits report can be twisted whichever way they want.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Squirrels would certainly meet the criteria for Senior Corporate C&RT job candidates – living in trees, feathering their own nests, hoarding wealth (nuts) and moving about in unpredictable and utterly useless ways. Squirrels have the advantage of the “cute” factor though – when at a distance. C&RT Corporate would be cute too, if only the distance involved with them were measured in light-years. Some Corporations spread happiness wherever they go; some, such as C&RT, spread happiness whenever they go.

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  3. The weather here continues to fluctuate wildly – 33C and humid yesterday – 29C today with clear skies and a lovely breeze – 26C tomorrow with thunderstorms – 18C and rain for Tuesday and then between 21 and 28 with varying precipitation for the rest of the week! I had to get my A/C installed in early may because temps had hit 37C and HUMID – then had to look out my Fall jacket at the end of May! Oh and tornado warnings have been issued to the west for later this evening!

    As for squirrels – they are amateurs – try racoons! We even have TV commercials that feature racoons invading homes and the owners just continuing on with their morning coffee – that sort of reaction! My friends used to laugh at my racoon stories until they had to walk me home one night and there they were, lined up along the sidewalk to my front steps – just daring me to walk bye!

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    1. Tis indeed the humidity factor that tips the balance – England would so much more often enjoy the spring meadow tinkling stream climate that we think it ought to have were it not for the air suddenly turning all North Atlantic and sodden – bone-chilling cold in winter, ear-tickling chills even in summer. Moan moan moan!

      Racoons do seem to have much more of the cerebral about them. Squirrels just eat and run about, rather like politicians were it not for the disparity in the speed of the movement (and the polticians eating far much more than the squirrels). If English crows had thumbs they’d probably be our racoons.

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  4. I feel it would be remiss of me to not suggest you catch aforesaid tree rat, gently incarcerate it within a hamster wheel and encourage marathon running, thus saving the ingredients of any garden tweety-bird feeders within your vicinity and ultimately saving the need for fossil-fuel-powered generation

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    1. From the look of the thighs on the thing I surmise that it has recently retired from a career kick-starting Jumbo Jets in cold weather.

      Without wishing to become at all political, it would be nice to see a red squirrel once in a while. I suppose that when the Iron Curtain was drawn back the Soviet Union stopped exporting them.

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  5. I like the window in the top of the Remoska to see what’s going on inside, how cool is that? You could at least see your dumplings rising.

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    1. That little window is both a boon and a benuisance at one and the same – tis useful, indeed tis essential, to be able to see the grub cookering, but it’s there because the heating element is a circular arrangement around the lid, so some tender loving care is needed to ensure that some things are cooked in the centre. That said, it does seem to be a fantastic beastie, and most useful in an off-griddly scenario such as a boat. 🙂

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    1. Farmed animals are indeed quite worrisome when the sum of their various belches and farts alone are totted up – let alone the morality of munching. Crops – when properly grown, without silly amounts of chemicals and genetically-modified tractor-trundlers – are I believe some ten times more efficient in use of land versus stuff produced to eat.

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  6. Here, in the Tropicalics, the current temp is, according to some boffin who adjusts such things, 15 deg. C.
    Now, what you need to factor-in is that they, whoever the chumps are who do such calculations, are NOT sitting in cold room, with windows open.
    So you might as well shave half a dozen of your ceniwotsits. Its cold, so I’m off to bed. Which is warm. Bon ecueuril et sante (Can’t be fagged finding the quotation marks. DIY.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The day here has just changed again on the drop of a whim – it’s got very warm and very, very humid… No idea from one minute to the next. I left the boat wearing a light gilet and thinking it inadequate, I returned carrying it and dreaming of cold showers… 🙂

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