Gone! And never called me mother!

The coal, like the caribou, are gorn.

Most went up the chimney, three buckets of ash went into the eco-system. The ergs released thus went into the Cardinal, into my ancient carcass, into many kettles of water and into many fine cookingery pots.

What was and what, in time, shall be again.

The Cardinal and I await the attentions of Messrs Bargus, the fuel boat, which is wot are due tomorrow. In the meantime I am using the vast, echoing space of the well-deck to its fullest advantage, and am organising games of quoits for the crew.

Writing this post is no easy task. In fact, using the interwebnets has become – temporarily, I hope – a bit of a befuddle. It’s not that my mons cerebrum has slumped further and farther of late (although it has) but that I recently renewed my anti-“virus” software and in doing so finally, at long last, praise be, took advantage of some nifty Virtual Private Network (“V.P.N.”) product… and finally closed and nailed the coffin lid down on that “Google Account” – the one that I didn’t ever actually sign up for. Gone is youtube, gone is blogger, gone are manifold things that even the Cynical Mr Hutson hadn’t realised were Google nets for catching my information. Of course I am now in that period where sodski all works, and that which doth work hathent retained any of my long felt wonts and preferences.

This too shall pass.

Now only the company that supplied the V.P.N. software will track and trace my activity, and it is they who will sell it on to the global corporate giants, to be pipette-dripped into the great flow of humanity’s private data. They, and M.I.5/6/7/8/9 et al, and the 77th Brigade.

The 77th Brigade are not, as one might have hoped, a happy band of brave Firemen in some rural county station, lovingly polishing a bright red Bedford CA van carrying ten gallons of water, a stirrup pump and two buckets of damp sand, but are in fact in real life (such as it is) Her Majesty’s Government’s “British” Army’s proud internet weasels, tasked with changing the views and opinions of the “enemy” through “non-lethal” methods. Most people imagine “the enemy” to be some chap abroad, perhaps in one of the more classic national styles. No, folks, no.

Their website did give me a much-needed belly-laugh this morning when they offered me the choice of – apparently, believe it if you are mentally alternatively-enabled and would like to believe it – accepting all “cookies” or personalising by picking and choosing. Absolutely, the Army unit tasked with mostly online warfare by a government that would make the Medici and the Borgia gasp in admiration is going to allow me to decline their tracking “cookies”…

Fnarr fnarr. Is there honey still for tea, and did you also come down with the last shower?

Seriously, do unicorns still sh*t in the woods? Chatting to the bears as they both grunt and strain? Chasing the Andrex with a hoof or paw extended in an adventurous – but highly dangerous – ballet-step, as it rolls away across the decaying leaves and twigs?

Doubtless the 77th Brigade could tell us, and provide high-definition video footage with stereo soundtrack.

Anyway, I digress*.

*My Brigade file says something similar, and has photographs, screenshots and footage from my laptop’s surreptitiously remotely-activated video-camera to prove it.

Back to old-fashioned English ways and interests.

The weather has, of late, mostly been utterly dismal and depressing. Overcast, on the cusp of cor blimey it’s brass monkeys and yet strangely also too warm to leave a strawberry bombe untended for long on the gingham picnic clorth, windy and generally of the type to encourage S.A.D. (Seasoning Affective Disorder, a medical problem involving over or under salt & peppering one’s food). We had a smidgen of a dramatic sky, once. England is indeed a nation of peoples all wearing inappropriate clothing for the time of year. This is because, whatever the time of year in England, there is no “appropriate” clothing.

Barbridge Junction, with Cardinal Wolsey moored behind nb Grumpy 8ollox (although obviously a respectful boat-length apart). Yes, there’s a narrowboat named Grumpy Eight-Ollox…

We see here two quite splendid benches, ideally placed for the sitting and the watching while [other people] fudge the junction. Epicaricacy is a wonderful thing (until it is my turn to turn).

This morning though dawned misty, although it must be said that Mr Sun is trying to poke his nose into matters, and is confusing the picture mightily.

I’ve squeegeed orf the solar panels, a daily morning ritual unless frozen, but they won’t know whether to feed or to wear a scarf. I wasn’t really squeegeeing in the expectation of many ergs at all, but more to remove the road-grime before it settles in for life.

I am going to feed. Yesterday I cooked a double-ration of Veggies and the excess will today be bruised and smashed, forced into the Ridge-Monkey, and re-heated into a crusty hash on the stove-top, ready for a dollop of HP sauce. I know how to live.

I never know whether to serve a red or a white with veggie hash though. There are significant gaps in my education. Perhaps my mons cerebrum has suffered from some serious slippage-of-the-foundations.

Queen Victoria oftentimes suffered from that too, although she had staff and she never expected to be amused.


Eight bags of Excel tomorrow or shall I see if they can drop orf ten? When will they next call before Spendmas and the Silly Season? The best-laid mice of mans and plen go oft awry, ‘arry.

Cry Coal for England, and St Bernard!

Ye gods, perhaps I’ll have an early brunch instead of an early lunch. Maybe the calories will help.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H.


  1. I had to disengage my V.P.N because it worked a treat to protect me from the wiles of the internetweb, like it wouldn’t let ANY sociable media through or me to use it. You can’t fault it for trying and you can’t say it doesn’t work, but my isolation was missing the point and too much like BIG BROTHER to be of any use. I think Daddies brown, strong coffee with bubble and squeak is like nectar from the gods. (Only just found this one today 17th, is your VPN stopping us seeing them?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Using a VPN seems to have slowed me down a little, but then that gives my ancient brain-gland time to keep up – we didn’t have this sort of internet nonsense when I were a lad in the Primordial Slime. I’ve blitzed everything blitzable in re google and microsoft (except for using a pared-down microsofty laptop!) and upped all of the security that I can. Doubtless the 77th Brigade still read me like a sixpenny novel.

      Bubble and squeak is one of life’s delights, and it’s probably healthier by far than anything that comes in a box, tin or packet!

      I still don’t understand how I could have evolved in the trees – my cooking stove would certainly have set the foliage aflame. Perhaps that’s why I left the trees?


  2. The ‘Bumper Book of Great British Ettiquette’ suggests a subtle white for vegetable mash, a saucy red for rissoles and half a pipe of mature vinegar for any predominantly potato-based meal.

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    1. Ah – vinegar. Why does it taste so much better when splashed out of one of those classic Sarson’s bottles? The ones they’ve changed the design of so that a chap can’t buy Sarson’s vinegar in bulk and re-fill the fancy bottle…

      Nowt like it on cabbage and sprouts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It took me a minute, but when I substituted the ‘8’ for a ‘B’, the proverbial coinage dropped! 😀 … is is white with veggies, and cheeses, and red with mammals? 🙂

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    1. I’m only surprised that there isn’t a Government “War” Film Unit producing rousing and positive films with the “stars” and “starlets” doing brave things for global health and climate.

      Thinking about it, there probably is such a unit, it’s just become part of the social furniture and I can’t see it…

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Call me old-fashioned but I rather suspect that the Matriarch is already on ice somewhere, we plebs simply haven’t been told yet – the government will be frantically amassing things that they want hidden from the news under cover of the eventual announcement and the public wailing and rending of clothes.

          I may be wrong, of course, and the disappearance of QEII from all visible public life may simply be down to the stated back-ache, or perhaps a short delay while another clone is broken in… 😉

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I have mixed feelings, it’s almost cold, but also almost warm, and neither very well. I don’t know whether to stoke the stove, as you suggest, or to just leave the Reactor Room door ajar.

      I think I’ll ask for ten sacks of nuggetty dinosaur remains tomorrow.

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