Here Be Dragons

Haven’t been down this way for a month or several (no need, no desire), but thought that I would give it a jolly old go again. A rather splendid couple of hours with two locks, two gazunders, and about two miles of cruising saw the Cardinal land in a very nice spot indeed with two mooring rings, two bars of the “The 4G Internet Tree Signal”, and a partridge in an oak tree.

Five by five. In the pipe. Tickettysplendid.

We serviced and cruised on the only damned day of late with any notable sunshine. The it of the weather has been so consistently drear and dull that I might as well be moored between the ears of a politician. The kind of weather where one’s inner-hamster emerges from his little sleeping quarters, sips coffee from his dripper-bottle, does ten minutes on the wheel, gives the Universe a combination bras d’honneur & middle digit, and wanders back to settle again in the cotton wool.

Blurgh! but without the need for the exclamation mark (it’s too dreary for exclamation marks).

I like Church Minshull lock. Oh, the lock landing lower is in a grim state, and the by-wash is slowly dissolving the lock surround and nearby towpath, but the ladders in the lock are magnifibode – there’s room behind the rungs for a chap with Size 11 boots to get his feet safely into position.

On most locks the ladders are such that one needs to be wearing ballet-shoes and to have semi-prehensile toes trained and long accustomed by a lifetime spent on the stage in tights. That, or have the upper-body strength sufficient to haul oneself up and down eleven wet, weed-strewn imperial feets by hand alone.

It is important that when on lock ladders the hands are before the feets, because otherwise you are upside down, and that is most definitely not a recommended modus.

We single-handers love a good ladder. The Canal Company Ltd loves we single-handers such that there are some locks without ladders of any sort at all. Nuff said.

I digress (but it’s only a hobby and I always clean up afterwards).

The sunshine upon mooring was but brief, albeit staggeringly welcome.

We shall mooch on, mooch on, with ho-ope in our heart… in a few days’ time, and continue our escargoesque inspection of the system.

If you’re on the canals and you’re in a rush then you’re in the wrong damned place.

England is soggy. Very, very soggy (and, no, that is not some poor and culturally inappropriate impression of a far-distant oriental language).

The Cardinal has since gained a little company, as you can see, but the other boat is (also) well-trained in matters social d’etiquette d’canals, and while we are at one end of the luxuriant patch of mooring rings, they are politely at the other. We do but face one another over several boat lengths.

While the it of it may be dull at least the blasted blasting winds of Arwen and Bumblebuttocks have abated (or whatever silly name it was that the now-infantile Met Office gave to the most recent blusteration).

It was upon these moorings some long time since that I saw the local “The Hunt” gallop by (the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable). That is to say that the hounds and the horses were at the gallop, I doubt that the creatures in the saddles could raise more than a waddle when alone, and at that only when driven by the dying echoes of the third and final dinner-gong.

A “Hunt” is a curious spectacle – magnificent horses and hounds, but all perforce engaged in an activity dictated by “humans” that I would deem unfit for inclusion in even the cheapest brands of Soylent Green.

One of the hounds then – astray by wholly some two hedgerows and the tree-lined ditch separating canal from The Master’s Lands – found his way to the towpath. I set him straight and off he went. The hound was so far off the mark that I don’t think he can have shared his kennel-mates’ passions for huntin’ and tearin’ wildlife t’bits. Good boy.

The full red and chestnut horn-blowin’ spectacle of a “Hunt” is a grand one though. After The Glorious Revolution, when I am Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed) I shall change the rules. “Hunts” will be legal again and allowed and encouraged – provided that they are huntin’ either one of the “Hunt” members, or huntin’ something in ermin, freshly released from the House of Lords. No wildlife.

In fact, post-Revolution, this could be one of England’s most profitable industries; real “Reality TV”.

Countries the world over could send us their (morally-)sick, weak(-minded) and lame(-brained) ex politicians and bureaucrats (that’s all of them then), and we would televise the hunts. I predict that the skies would be thick with foreign military aircraft, stacked over Heathrow while waiting to deliver their a-cursed loads. The term “rendition” would take on a fresh, morally-clean and proper definition. The English Channel Tunnel would be clogged with train-loads from Brussels, political arms and legs poking at angles out of the carriages.

Shares in aniseed would go through the roof… until we got around to meting out the same treatment to those engaged in the global pillaging financial “markets”.

Who could resist forking over trillions of dinar, pesetas, escudo and rupees to watch the likes of Sturgeon, Merkel, Tiddly-Widdly Trudeau, Blair (and Bitch), Boris et al trying to leg it over an English winter hedgerow while pursued by hounds, horse and something nicely neutered in huntin’ pinks?

Would Branson, Gates, Sunak, Zuckingborg, Bezos, and Ratty-Musk put up a better show than the politicals?

We’d rake in a bloody fortune fit to make the Rockefellers draw breath.

The flow of “income” “tax” could be reversed… the odd pothole might actually be mended.

Hurry up The Revolution.

I will add a clause to the Act requiring that all December “hunts” shout ‘Tally ho ho ho’.


Hutson, Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed).


    1. Acceptable? My dear lady, it’s positively de rigueur! In the year that governments the globe over went, onve again, far, far over the line and into “Full Nazi” mode, hunt spectators will be supplied with portable trebcuhet and house-bricks, and encouraged to use them… Prizes will be awarded for twa*tting the most notorious of politicians, pharmaceuctical CEOs, “journalists” and bought-and-paid-for “D-List” “celebs…


  1. I like the theory, but it presupposes that any of them can move faster than a lame 80 year old. I think it wouldn’t be much of a hunt. Still, its definitely worth a shot.

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    1. Good point – we might always strap them to electric scooters or something, and jam the controls… way and means, ways and means. 😉


    1. There are indeed many people who, in all manner of meanings of the word, won’t be missed… Pleas of ‘insanity’ and ‘just following orders’ will fall on (my) deaf ears. I just can’t believe the world at the moment, it’s akin to some sort of tragic “Carry On” film with really, really lousy actors.

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  2. I think that’s an excellent idea. The pro-hunting lobby have always given the excuse that foxes need killing because they are vermin. I was never sure whether they were referring to the foxes or themselves. I’m all for a bit of ‘Big Brother’ style attempted-escapology for the landed gentry, only with landmines and guillotines for those voted off. For the first time in their morbid existences they might actually serve a purpose.

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    1. Every time my (late) Grandmother gave me a lesson in gutting and cleaning “long pig” she would remind me that no matter how vile the person, how useless the life, the average human body – properly salted-down in good oak barrels – is worth approximately one hundred and twenty-six thousand calories of juicy winter goodness.

      I’ve never forgotten her words, although Mother and I did some extensive testing and we reckon that with increasing BMIs it’s nearer to one hundred and fifty thousand calories per these days, and generally what is described as “self-basting”.

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