WP organising a Chips, Gravy, and Chilled Methylated Spirits Evening on the Benches of a Grimsby Park

The Canal Company Ltd to be guest of honour, with first sip from the communal bottle.

We’re on a road to nowhere. Well, WordPress is at least – they’ve slipped over into The Dark Side. Huge changes with no announcements; no-one checking that changes they’ve made have worked and haven’t caused unexpected or unwanted extra effects; storage reduced (for “new” customers, at the moment) and prices increased ‘…to make the benefits of WordPress.com available to more people.’ [Staff quote]. I kid you not. I don’t get to see it because I’m always signed in, but for all I know they may have quadrupled the amount of advertising that they place here too – for our benefit. Preparing themselves for sale, methinks, the usual part of such deals being that the acquired company makes unpopular changes before the sale so that the acquiring company may then avoid the bad PR. Please see update at top of previous blog post for details and links.

Anyway, as far as I know, as far as I may know, tis business as usual again here for the moment.

I can’t even remember what I was going to write about yesterday. It was probably just a load of old blether.*

*In which case I ought to work for WordPress’s PR & Forum Department.

We’re in that season (January to December) when England alternates several times a day, each day, between one season and some random other. Summer in the lead photo, but the frost formations on the Cardinal and on the (less well heated) boat moored behind were facinating.

As thick as it looked, I would guess at it being the product of a combination of some strange wind and odd precipi…….tation (a tangential reference few will recognise or even need to recognise).

Praise be to Mr Stove for keeping me toasty.

The canals being inordinately busy now that the past couple of years has weened so many folk from Ryanairing it to Kathmandu or wherever it was that they otherwise went, this image of our moorings is out of date by four boats, two in front, two behind now.

It’s still on the idyllic side of Hell’s Kitchen Bridge (and I’ve still no idea why the bridge ahead was given such a … colourful … name.

The bridge goes from nowhere to nowhere, there’s no road, no (non-trespass) foot access.

Or perhaps it only seems so?

Do you recall my telling you about the joke plumbing at the Anderton Services a while ago? The tap that briefly caused a refreshing fountain when first used? Well, the Canal Company Ltd have mended it. A friend sent me this photomagraph of the repair:

So now, for the far, far foreseeable, there’s only one tap at the services, not two – this wholly usable-with-care one being wrapped in Clingfilm and striped mending tape, and they’re situated at either end of the wharf of these busy busy busy facilities, so for a quarter of the time at least, with two-boat capacity, one boat won’t have a hosepipe long enough to reach.

Praise be that the Canal Company Ltd is not in the business of providing medical services.

After the silliness of yesterday I feel all blogged-out now. I’ll try to be more interesting next time.


Chin-chin for the mo, Muskies.

Ian H.


  1. Whilst helping out in the Physics department of a local (highly regarded) public school there was a discussion in the staffroom regarding the improvement of teaching methods versus the dumbing down of exams. The concensus was that teaching had improved immensely over the previous 50 years. The next day I showed my old 1964 Maths ‘O’ level papers to the Maths teachers – they finally agreed that although some of the questions were still on the GCSE level others would only be covered by todays ‘A’ level students whilst one question was met with an incredulous “but that university standard!”. I rest the old fogies case.

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    1. You surprise me not, sir. Probably all students get a medal for simply showing up (or for providing a vaguely plausible excusing email – mild sniffle, bit of an anxiety episode, couldn’t be arsed… that sort of thing). I did hear on the grape-vine that in addition to the dumb-dumb-dumbering a lot of the papers are “multiple choice” tick-box too these days. Her Maj’s Gubbermunt and Ejukashun Departminte proudly announce each year that more and more are “achieving” higher grades in their exams – I calculate that in just two more years over one hundred and fifty percent of students will “achieve” hyper-mega-A-star-plus grades, even in exams that they haven’t sat. I’d much rather give credence (and a clearwater revival) to the more likely option that you allude to – a year on year reduction in standards. May the Greek and Roman gods help us in the small matter of the future running of nuclear power stations, space missions and invasive medical procedures!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Now there’s a rêve humide for the boating classes – the corporate ones wrapped in Clingfilm and arrayed on the towpath as an art installation… Or perhaps displayed at crossroads, as a warning to other [insert collection of names here]’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, with that level of technical skill requirements I might qualify for a service person on the canal. Maybe its actually a thoughtful art installation about the state of services across the canal. It definitely feels like a statement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The expertise runs deep – the general “solution” for repairing locks with voids and/or collapsing lock walls is to inject resin until the problem goes away… ALl else is either surrounded by orange plastic expandy-fence and/or covered in red and white “C&RT Aware” tape. It’s not in any way the fault of the grubby-fingernailed real workers, they do sterling work it’s the result of the corporate ethos of Sticking Plasters and “Wellness”.


    1. For the moment, at least – and is there really any other time than the moment? During a monthly meeting of the Greek & Roman Gods Existentialism Sub-Committee I once foolishly postulated the possibility of a “pre-moment” and a “post-moment”, but I was shot down in flames. No, literally – there were flaming arrows and suchlike. Never again.

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      1. We need to round ’em up, put ’em in a field and give them a sharp, angry blast on the windscreen washers

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        1. Regret that in these straitened times my accountant’s sub-accounts assistant’s assistant had to make my windscreen washers redundant. In truth, they were pretty poor at clinging to the bonnet of all but the larger Aston anyway.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Whatever WP has done, there’s a right few bugs in it. They must have sacked the experienced programmers in favour of a lot of monkeys, there is a lot of it about I hear. Anyway managed to post it even if it was hard to see what I’ve written. Keep on drinking the Meths. Gravy has no business anywhere near chips.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Taking their lead perhaps from P&O Ferries… Experience costs, while pre-pubescent “winging it” is – in the immediate and short term (only) – much cheaper. It’s amazing just how old some pre-pubescent people really are. Long live chips, mushy peas and curry sauce. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I’m pretty dammed sure that you wouldn’t have had to queue for the one and only tap. I know for a fact you’d be full of water before the sparrows farted!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Almost had to queue there – a hire boat from Andersen dithering about, waiting to return themselves to base… I gave them a short, four-hour lecture on keeping out of my way… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. In t’olden days when I still took part in circus acts for corporations making a change to a system was the smaller part of the process – checking and testing for unwanted effects and the provision of a total roll-back procedure was the greater part. Towards the end of my circus years it became apparent that “winging it” was the I.T. of the future, and that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t even try to go back to it after the Fall of Rome. By the time I walked away from the Big Top tent it was apparent that (even) financial institutions were running more by inertia than design, and safety-nets were considered to bne too expensive to bother with. Money is not “safe” in a(ny) bank – it’s in the care of the mentality of thirteen year olds! Harrumph, &etc. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All, sadly true. My other half blames it on GCSE, which has lowered standards. I don’t care what the government says, more kids getting the top grades MUST mean the standards are lower. Kids haven’t suddenly become more brainy!
        And when I was teaching, I was amazed to hear of some pupils going to university and getting degrees. Those particular pupils wouldn’t have got near a University in my day. Not top stream kids, as was the case in the dark ages, but the second, and in some cases, the third streams.
        And we had a new head of department who had previously worked in 6th form colleges. He said questions were turning up on the A-level papers in chemistry that had previously need on the O-level paper.
        So it’s not surprising that general standards have fallen.


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