There’s a Distinct Dearth of Wildlife on These Moorings. Also Those Moorings.

Here are a couple of Dearth-Ducks.

We’ve had a solitary swan, a brief moorhen, two boring ducks and that’s your lot. The wildlife has been limited to towpath Hoomans, and they’re not my favourite by any measure. Joggers (who wouldn’t jog at all on the towpath if they knew how much they sound to people on the boats like lone wildebeest thundering back to the herd); some regular numpty on a 40mph wide-tyred electric bicycle; the usual near-a-town march of dog-emptiers (love the dogs, wouldn’t miss the Hoomans even if aliens beamed them up for “to-destruction” anal probing). Someone cycled past at 0300 hundred hours o’clock this morning.

The breezes are with us again, and here they would appear to be making Mr Stove produce the full spectrum of sounds used in the production of The Stone Tape – television from the days when Aunty Beeb still had time and resources to make great drama (instead of just being a poor and tacky drama themselves). At least, I hope that it’s just the wind. The sound makes opening the stove door to give him a re-stoke and tickle in the dead of night something of its own sub-woofer production.

I shall have to dig out the DVD and watch it again.

Her Majestic Wotsit’s Met Office has been performing a few minor dramas of its own.

The morning view from the side-hatch. The sun is squished below a bank of low cloud rather than a line of trees.

Few people realise quite the precision with which the sky must be laid out by the Council workers each morning. They use set-squares and everything, there’s chalk marks everywhere.

Clouds do not wander lonely like love-sick daffodils; they are placed in the sky most precisely and according to written morning instructions received from Head Office.

Some aeroprunes leave condensation trails, others do not. Spot the teeny weeny (electric?!) aeropain in the photomagraph below. I watched it to the horizon, and it wasn’t pooping visible H2O at all. Perhaps they’d warmed up the enjamins properly before take-off, perhaps it wam a turbo-prop not a jetski (my visual acuity isn’t up to the 5,000ft task).

Preparing a game of Noughts & Crosses in the Sky for the Chairman in his Company Learjet.

The field on the offside here (we always play by strict F.A. rules) has one of those peculiar and disconcerting depressions. I often wonder what’s beneath them, if anything other than some bottomless void*.

*’Bottomless Void’ was what the kitchen staff at most schools I attended used to call me. That, and ‘Oh look – little bastard’s back in the queue for pudding again’.

Not just a dip in the landscape, this is too distinct. One of those weird depressions over some bottomless void, methinks.

Perhaps tis not the wind making Mr Stove imitate critters from all nine Circles of Hell, but merely the genuine article, leaking out of this poorly-bunged hole that leads straight down to The Hot Place?


There’s a splendid supermarket nearby, some sort of offshoot undershoot or side-line of Tescoids, and it has my kind of prices. I’ve made a couple of expeditions. The place, while splendid, brings back memories of vast warehouse shops in East Germany before The Wall was knocked downen by Fink Ployd – more aisle space than shelf or freezer; lighting so dim that the whole place looks slightly grey; stock being whatever can be got wholesale from disparate sources. I love it.

The only thing that I don’t love about it are the self-service checkouts; being ordered about by some Kommissariat Komputer terminal telling me that there’s an unexpected yak or small Icelandic pony in the bagging area, that sort of thing. That said, a chap really can’t argue with 65p for a litre of Orangensaft Nicht Aus Konzentrat and wotnot. Surprisingly the customers are far and few between, but unsurprisingly those that there are all sport old, heavy, grey wool coats, white ankle socks and headscarves.

Even the men.

Well, it is Middlewich.

I must have looked like some sort of sartorial god to them.

No, but seriously.

When enstrollinating to the shops along the towpath joggerradfahrerbahnen I generally attempt to judge the haul to two shopping bags – tis heavier, but much easier to carry two, balanced, than one. Strung from the pole across my shoulders they often get in other people’s way or cause serious or fatal injury but hey – who cares, it’s only other people.

The Sun shone for a while earlier this morning, but he’s gone home again now.


Drear and dullth and wind.

Outside is even more depressing, which brings us back to that dip in the field.

Today is a Saturday, so the once-a-week staggerers (I won’t call them “joggers”) are out in force. Wheeze-thump, wheeze-thump. A yoghurt pot has just cruised past, which is quite an adventurous thing on a day with breezes such as today. Finally – a cormorant has just surfaced alongside. Add that to the Swan, the Dearth Ducks and the Moorhen and we’ve got a Clarissa Dickson Wright multi-roast. Not me of course. I have ‘Richmond’ No Meat Beef-Free Beef Burgers.

Two quid. One of the highest priced comestibles in Jack’s.

Chin-chin for the mo, chaps, and wherever you are, do please keep on keeping on &etc.

Ian H.


  1. That depression in the field is symptomatic of the nationwide moroseness created through the generalised collapse of the agricultural system. What you’re witnessing is the inevitable, emotional retreat as the landscape battles against ennui and gradually becomes as depressed as an unbaked meringue (or an uncooked Yorkshire pudding, depending on your topographical preference for soggy food similes). Everywhere you look these days the trees are sagging with mental exhaustion, the hedgerows are retreating into their own lethargic borders and the dykes are becoming despondent. I blame the fall in the Yen. What we need is a rousing, patriotic chorus of folk songs from the Wicker Man to reinvigorate the pastures and give lift to the increasingly sallow moorlands. And what I need is an extremely large coffee to wake me up a bit better.

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    1. I wholly empathise with you and with the dip in the field. The state of the human world? Blurgh! If we carry on this way for much longer then I suspect that dogs are going to disown us and find another species to love – perhaps orangutans. I think that I shall identify as an orangutan from now on. Bob, the orangutan.

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    1. Two Fat Ladies was indeed splendid fun – I don’t think that it could be made in today’s weird world. Have you ever seen two television series – The Victorian Kitchen, and The Victorian Kitchen Garden? Highly recommended, very pleasant, gentle, and nicely dated; great places to retreat into.

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    1. I wouldn’t be surprised. I think that politicians these days aren’t so much born as they are ripped from some cocoon and processed through Frank Enstein’s laboratory. Apparently there are plenty of them about; at least one in Wuhan, a couple of dozen in Ukraine… In England gone, long gone are the days when Eton, Rugby and Oxford were the only influences for evil among them – someone’s released something far more sinister, far more demanding. I’ve given up on my ambition to be a tree – I’d only be cut down and made into toilet seats!

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  2. At 6.15am I’m wandering down the towpath (Ellesmere port to Chester stretch) with the dogs on there morning jaunt. Low and behold a whole heard of Wilderbeast tearing up the towpath towards Chester. I kept myself and hounds to one side for 15 mins while they trundled past. A couple of minutes before the last one came through I noticed a number on the backpack & it was number 256 so no wonder it took 15 mins for the heard to go by@

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    1. A stampede of joggers – ugh. Unless, of course, they were all running from an alien invasion or something? Were there tripods on the horizon or strange lights in the sky?


      1. There were certainly lots of lights coming down the towpath at 10.30pm when I let the dogs out for the last wee.
        I asked one guy where have you been and he said don’t ask! Done 48 miles including cross country. One hell of a long day considering they past me at 6.15am.


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