Dylan Dusmal

The weather, that is. Solidly dill and dusmal, day after day, with a fair old wind gusting. The solar panels are coping but my goodness me, they’re working for every single solar erg. Periculiarly though, it’s not really cold – oft too warm for a jacket, and Mr Stove thinks that I am just being a wuss and remains reluctant in the matter of exothermic discoalicities.

The nearest I’ve come to any excitement of late was an early trip to the Audlem services, walking along the somewhat gloomy section shown in the lead photograph in the pitch-darkness of an 0600 hours o’clock morning. My rinky-dinky new uber-bright head-torch works wonders but it does tend to attract moths and laddy donglegs about the face. Note to self; learn your lesson and never yawn again while wearing… the beast.

Audlem Boater Services

The sluice room door (room? it’s more of a cupboard) is the black one at the top of the ramp-ette. A door to the left at the top of the same ramp leads to the conveniences. The gate to the left of frame leads to the dustbin compound, where the wild wheelie-bins roam.

Immediately to the right of the ramp is the Shroppie Fly public house. That wasn’t open at 0600 hours o’clock for some unfathomable reason. The has to be some strange reason why the services block looks to be nicely painted, the pub is nicely painted, but the plaster is falling off that intervening section faster than the last shreds and vestiges of basic credibility from a currently-serving (“serving”!) politician’s reputation.

In the blustery darkness I disturbed a cat, or possibly stumbled upon a pre-disturbed moggy. Whichever was the case, the wee beast resented my presence. An owl “buzzed” me by swooping low over my head. At least, I think it was an owl. Could have been a terrier-sized bat for all that I could really see in the brief moment of our encounter. Something that had little regard for remaining unnoticed followed me, cracking sticks and twigs and generally making noise on the other side of the trees and hedgerow.

I resolved that if attacked by cat, bat, or whatever, then I’d hit ’em with my Elsan cassette and damn the environmental consequences.

Talking of environmental consequnces, Audlem’s main drag is having a bit of work done this week.

Audlem October 2021

I hadn’t noticed the surface seeming to be particularly bad, but the tarmac-monster has been up and down, eating the top dressing, and it looks very much as though a small army of chaps is about to give it the once (or twice) over.

Audlem October 2021

So odd that nothing can apparently be done for local roads that really need it… Calling Inspector Darren… and his magic measuring stick…

QUESTION: I am familiar with the green lights now shown on most buiding site vehicles, these indicate that the driver has buckled up his seat-belt, but what are these blue lights? Blue is for ‘mergency services only, surely? Most of the vee-hickles in use here had a blue light mounted high on both sides and to the rear, angled downwards. Any ideas?

Incidentally, green always used to be the colour of lights used by medical vehicles, “First Responders” in un-marked cars, Boy Scouts cycling frantically towards accidents brandishing their tools for removing horses from Hoovers. I can’t keep up. With the changes to the lighting rules, not with the emergency vee-hickles.

Taupe strobes were for builders and plumbers on emergency calls.

Mauve strobes were for beauty therapists speeding to the scenes of eyelash disasters.

Papal Purple strobes were for use [only] by priests and convent vehicles, rushing to administer the last rights [or chasing Boy Scouts].

That sort of thing.

Green and now blue, eh? Whatever next.

What colour I wonder will the strobes be atop the vehicles moving when all roads are reserved solely for the use of politicians, senior bureaucrats, and party officials? The way things are going on we’ll find out soon enough.

The Audlem Co-op is doing sterling work keeping my broccoli quotient kicking the meters over into the red. Brussels sprouts too, they have, and lovely it is yes indeed Myffanwy. I’ve put them on to boil ready for Christmas 2022. Mind you, their £1 a bag spuds have to be the most taste-free spuds I’ve ever not tasted.

Incidentally, tangentially, and purely co-incidentally, my previous shout-out for my images as Christmas Cards, Jigsaw Puzzles, wall-art and manifold wotnots was so successful [so successful that I almost sold one] that I thought I’d do it again – and remind you please to NOT purchase, seriously, but to simply do the “share” thing instead, and to tell ten thousand of your closest friends on Twitter and FaceBook and suchlike. Let them do the purchasing!

Greetings cards from £1.29 each if you buy a packet, your own message inside, that sort of thing. Production in several places on the planet, delivery world-wide, payment possible in magic beans.

Clickez-vous adventurous helpful types on the image above or clickez-vous here, many thanks. Then please maybe click on your first one-hundred favourites and tweetez vous those or share on Facebook or something, the buttons appear on the individual item pages…

That’s about as undignified as I am prepared to get. 🙂


Quo vadis, Doris, and when? I don’t know. That requires Mr Wind to relax a little first. Then it will be a slow mooch north again I suppose, back to where people know me but still talk to me anyway because they’re nice like that. What’s that old saying from Confucius? Home is somewhere where when you have to go there they have to take you in.

Might have been the Custody Officer at any one of Pentonville, Wormwood Scrubs, Brixton, Feltham, Belmarsh, and Wandsworth rather than Confucius now that I come to think of it, and it wasn’t “home”, it was A-Wing, Maximum Security.

Memory fails me. Custody was the best thing about school meals when I was knee-high to a policeman. Regular vanilla, pink strawberry, or chocolate. Hmm. Delicious.


Using a crowbar and a formal Freedom of Information Request I managed to pry my “sightings” record from the cold, lifeless clutches of the Canal Rozzers. In the first half of this licence – in fact, all year long – they’ve seen me absolutely nowhere except moored on their favourite patrolling ground. Not a sniff of a spot on the Llangollen, not a whiff of a sniff here in the deep south (Audlem!). Nor anywhere in-between.

I do wonder if perhaps Duct-Tape used to affix a “spotter” to the Cardinal’s bow might be in order, give the Corporation a sort of figure-head’s viewpoint. I do wonder if perhaps the gentleman from last year’s lengthy debacle has been quietly a-clicking on “Delete” a few times in the old Excel spreadsheet, building the foundations for the vendetta he so obviously desired. One never knows. Cynical of me, I know.

Hey ho.

The wildlife in these parts is a tad limited. There are the usual rats in the rubbish bin area (and don’t you just meet them all in the dark by the light of a head-torch, gleaming little eyes everywhere – not unlike the House of Commons). Fowl play appears to be limited to the usual hedgerow nonsense and a slack handful of moorhennery.

Zombies too on the towpath of course, the usual horrors are passing by. My god are they passing by. I am neither hip nor down low and cool with mooring this close to even a small town, not even a nice little one such as Audlem. It’s as though the Asylum Bus crashed into a branch of Miss British Home Stores, and they all got dressed in the dark, in a hurry, without mirrors and without medical, adult or even sane supervision…

That’s about it, really. Far fewer private boats oiking about, the traffic is eight tenths share-boat and hire-boat, all desperate to complete the Four Counties Ring in a week, or something. It’s school half-term, so the Llangollen is closed again (broken lock at Quoisley).

Plus ca change, plus c’est easier to pay by card.

Chin-chin for the mo, Muskies.

Ian H., Blethering On for England.


  1. Pray tell kind Sir, how does one find one’s movement thingies from the canal rozzers?
    Asking for a friend if course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The approved way is to email Information.Request@canalrivertrust.org.uk … but that will likely lead your friend, as it led me, to someone who thinks in terms of official freedom of information requests, and will advise you – I mean your friend – that they may or may not reply within a month… and then they’ll initially send the info in a password protected Excel spreadsheet that can only be opened by someone working in an office for a Daft Fake Charity… I got mine in ten days, two weeks for a copy that I could actually read.

      A better way would, perhaps, methinks, be to email the regional chap – if in this area – I don’t know where exactly your friend is – ! – a gennelman Jim by the name of James Smith with an email addy of roughly lower-case first name dot surname @canalrivertrust.org.uk …


      Some sightings that I have seen being logged don’t appear in my records… They take absolutely no account of where they positively DON’T see you, which would be better data than the actual “sightings”!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You need to wander up far yonder end of the Llangollen you’ll get spotted lots!

    Oh hang on. Wait a mo there’s an issue there isn’t there…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear that the Government “Levelling Up” fund has bought both the Llangollen and the Montgomery canals for twenty million, pounds I presume. One wonders what they propose to do with them. C&RT seem to be rather pleased (either that, or they have trapped wind, it’s difficult to tell).

      Shall set foot and fender upon the Llangollen again soon, but not so far that I couldn’t reverse down Hurleston if required, assuming that Hurleston remains open.

      Well I remember those little “bicycle repair kits” – I wonder if there’s a market for ‘Canal Repair Kits’? A box carried on each boat, containing a spare culvert, two small lock gates and a fabric dam in case of breach…


  3. I’ve read the complete works of Dylan Dusmal. My favourite was Portrait of the Dog as a Young Artist, followed closely by Under Wilf’s Mud in which a welsh allotment holder attempts to bog snorkle his way through Wilfred Mott’s geraniums.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘Blue and green should never be seen’……another farewell to the old certainties of life…
    Now, as to the rozzer duct-taped to the bows….to be acceptable, I think you will have to capture one who is at the very least gender fluid in order to strip it of its upper garments in the style of a proper figurehead before attaching it to the Cardinal…he/she/it would need a nameboard – for the edifiction of the ignorant – so you might like to think of any appropriate Cardinals’ mistresses. If Richelieu then Anne of Austria might well serve though you might need to consider the recent ruling of the ECJ which permits families who think one of their number has been traduced to claim damages. However, the current crop of Bourbons probably do not frequent what is left of Britain’s navigable waterways.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Talking of bourbons a simpler, less criminal plan may be to engage in sherry and Polaroids with the notables of each and every parish that the Cardinal and I oik up in. Um – presenting only the more vanilla of the polaroids to the canal rozzerie of course, and keeping the remainder as an investment against old age.

      Traduced is a lovely word, it always sounds medical to me – in a thunder and lightning tower-top laboratory sort of way. Wear something washable m’lady, we shall be traducing the new journeyman gardener tonight, weather permitting…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Walk right in’ gives a whole new meaning to “blues and twos”. Like most lyrics that I cannot dredge from the depths of my thinking-gland I believe the next line to be ‘dum de dum dum de dee dee dum dum dee dee de dum’, or similar… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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