They Call The Wind …Gertrude

It’s been a tad blustery of late. By way of a change in rocking motion and outlook the Cardinal and I took advantage of the early-morning pause to oik ourselves around. Gertrude now blows on our bow instead of our stern, we have a different view of the railway line, and there’s a smidgen of cover sometimes afforded by the slightly raised bank and hedgerow hereabouts. Tis nothing like as peaceful as in the lead image – one of many available in a multitude of sizes and formats here – but tis different. So long as the wind isn’t actually ripping stuff off the roof or blowing a chap onto the wrong side of the canal then it’s really quite “atmospheric” being on water while the Anemoi dance with the Venti.

We had a night of rain, rain and more rain hereabouts last night. The tonneau cover had coverted itelf into an Olympic-sized swimmery pool and the towpath is a shallow cooling wallow for the Hippo-Potami. Mud, mud, Gloria’s mud. There’s nothing quite like it for reducing the temperature of the O-Negative.

Tis also Sunday, so doubtless winds or no ridiculous winds there will be a boat or six crabbing along the canal soon enough, some under-medicated Captain Ahab struggling ineffectually at the tiller in hi-vis and soggy bobble-hat.

The Cycling & Rambling Trust Corporation Ltd were out yesterday, surveying (all they are convinced that they and they alone possess).

The Corporate Rozzers have invaded and be-buggered everyone’s privacy in the local marina, logging boat names and numbers and positions, but they haven’t as yet ventured into the mud of the towpath.

C&RT Corporate are about as effective in all things as would be a chocolate lock gate in Summer.

Talking of which…

Bilious Gates commandeered my laptop yesterday, it being so busy “doing the updates” that it had no time for the idiot at the keyboard, the fool who purchased the damned thing. This in spite of my Sisyphean efforts to uninstall all possible of his crap, to disable all auto-wotnots and all compulsory-thingies. It didn’t help matters when AVG Interwebnet “Security” plunged into the Fray (Bentos). While remembering my manners and tempering my language, what a baboon’s scrotum Mr B Gates really is.

Stupidity would appear to be now in the mains water supply.

I emailed the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society – “ALCS”.

The A.L.C.S. is another of those faux-public actually-private Ltd companies set up unilaterally and without consultation supposedly to collect lending and copying fees on behalf of authors – c/w a total monopoly in the matter. Like C&RT of course its true function is to syphon off quarter-£million salaries, pension benefits, company cars, expenses and £central£ £London£ £headquarters£ for a cabal of metropolitan “professional professionals” all hopping like over-fed fleas from fake public body to fake charity and back again and calling it a career.

I emailed them stating that I was unable to register one of my books on their website because, it seemed, it had one of the “new-fangled” (two-years old and counting!) 979-prefix ISBNs.

They replied advising me, yeah? with a rising inflection, that the problem was that the book has a 979-prefix ISBN.

Gnoshit, Sherlock. Aren’t you just the huge throbbing brain labelled ‘A. B. Normal’ and bouncing around in a dusty jar on the laboratory shelf.

Two years and more these prefii have been in play, and this little winnet of a “Society” hasn’t yet found a way to extend their database to recognise the extended numbers…

They will do so, the emailed further advised me, ‘…at the earliest convenience…’.

Theirs presumably, certainly not mine. Not ‘opportunity’ you notice, but ‘convenience’.

Possibly I misunderstand and it is some reference to a public lavatory?

Carry On At Our Convenience. Performing outdoor micturition into an atmospheric disturbance is what comes to mind.

In diverse and inclusive language that they would understand; ‘Whatever‘.

Ah – here comes the first Captain Ahab as I type. This one is steaming with the wind, so as long as he keeps his nerve he really ought to simply pass at too high a velocity for good manners. I’ll be happy (satisfied, at least) with that.

The anorak-and-support-hose-clad couple on the stern give the appearance of discussing recent NHS notification of twin diagnoses of terminal heamorrhoids. Mr & Mrs Cheerful.

Still, they passed without exchange of boatily fluids, and for this much I am grateful. I may only be “smug-ish” because I am moored up on four ropes and – with luck – going nowhere, because thaty – oddly enough – is my plan. I do hope that Mr & Mrs Deliriously-Happy managed to stop before Minshull lock gates and don’t find themselves careening over the top, shooting the rapids in a fifty-seven foot narrowboat.

Do I really hope that? I don’t convince even myself.

It’s been a nice, quiet week – other than the wind – although as they say in all of the best classic films; too quiet (in terms of global politics). When the shelling stops it is not generally because the enemy has capitulated and is returning to their various hearths defeated, but that they are adjusting position, regrouping, and about to launch whatever the next Wave of Nonsense may be. The world hasn’t stopped its Spitfire-screaming descent into insanity simply because it’s all gone quiet for a while. Quite the opposite.

Meanwhile, there’s a favourite concoction of pasta and olives for tiffin.

Aha – here cometh the second Ahab of the day, agin the wind this time and taking few prisoners. That old saying is true, isn’t it? The one about how we are just three missed meals away from the total collapse of Canal Etiquette.

[Flips the cover off the ‘Enable’ button for the Raytheon Phalanx installation, and grins, digit poised…]

I really am a git.


Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H.


  1. You’re also a right you-know-what! I can NOT get that bloody song out of my head. I only ever saw the movie it came from once, on late night TV, (a singing Clint Eastwood! Who’da’thunk!) and thought the tune quite lovely. It’s all I can remember of the movie, apart from Mr Eastwood’s warbling. 🙂


  2. Wind, wind and yet more wind. I wouldn’t try moving around on the water in winds like we had. You probably had it worse up north.
    Yet the numpties seem to think it’s alright.
    Get Mr Stove plenty to eat and keep warm.


  3. I believe that the top picture of the Cardinal is the one I have on the mug I got at Christmas – at least very similar. I wondered if it might deteriorate in the dishwasher (I have had some very alarming mishaps in the past!) but au contrare, it seems to like the daily dip, comes up shiny every time. Unfortunately the spirals on the note book cut him off entirely (but I know he’s out there somewhere – cue the Moody Blues)


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