Manoeuvring an HGV with no brakes while children circle on skateboards

Silly o’clock in the morning, down to the watering hole to watch the lions and tigers and ephalumps and zedbras and rhinotillexomaniacs and mucophagists and wotnot drink, to turn the boat around, and what do I meet? Well, there’s one of them in the photograph above. Someone old enough to know better, scooting around in a plastic baby-bath. I’ve met dead ducks with more idea of the canal “rules of the road”. I’ve met dead ducks with a more sparkling personality, too.

C&RT Corporate don’t have Clue One.

Or perhaps they do, and they’re salivating, waiting for the inevitable, when doubtless they’ll be egging on the crowd and baying for the blood of ba*stard murderous narrowboaters. It’s not as though C&RT have exactly got our backs on any issue, is it?


There’s a lot of silliness going on this weekend, and I awoke with the madness upon me and a hankering to visit the services and then find somewhere to hide – somewhere where I’d see the minimum of chuffing bunting and as few peasants as possible kissing the wrinkled and spotty gluteus maximus of The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Up through the lock and away it was.

I almost almost almost got everything done before the rain set in.

There was an interesting moment at the second winding hole when a dog walker with three dogs kept encouraging her hounds to swim the length and width of the Bunbury winding hole (by throwing toys across the far side and exhorting the hounds to ‘go fetch’) even as I hove up and began to turn into it. That boils down to binary possibilities – hates the dogs and wanted them minced, or is too stupid to tie her own shoelaces. Fortunately, the dogs were brighter – much brighter – than she.

Why the helly hell do I keep meeting these people? I’m not an inherently bad person. I pat cats on the head and wait for the lights to turn green before I cross the road. I was an angelic choirboy, I never once burned a whole school down, and I capture bees and wasps and spiders and eject them rather than smash their brains in with a rolled-up newspaper. You wouldn’t believe the self-restraint involved, and yet still I am greeted by dew-damp dwarfs pretending to be paddling up the Orinoco (the river, not the Womble… although…) and ladies virtually chucking Fido and Max and Spot into the canal in front of me.

Breathe, Hutson, breathe.

I do confess that I have messed with the psyches of one boatload of hodilaymakers. They moored up bow to bow yestereve, and were not the quietest wee critters in the world. While they slept this morning I roped the Cardinal back away from them some 60′. I wonder if they wondered – or even noticed – when they finally crawled out of their respective husbands and wives this morning? Probably not.

In my defence I must say that I would have moved anyway, this spot off the arbitrary restrictions being available and thus allowing me to sit out the Platignumb Jubbly cerebrelations at my own pace. This spot is one of about two on this stretch off the restrictions where a chap may still attach his boat to the ironwork and thus not have to rely on pins during the silly season.

There’s also an internet tree in the next field. What was it Confucius said about EM radiation? That which doesn’t fry me only connects me better. Something like that.

The weather’s been almost lovely these past few days – all four seasons in one, short only of snow. On these moorings I get to watch the trees blowing around nicely. There’s something about the sound of a breeze through the trees – tis not dissimilar to the sight of the sun sparkling on water. A race-memory perhaps, from sixty-thousand years ago. Contentment.

Takes me back to the days when the cave was clean, the nearby volcano quiet, we’d brought down a roastbeefosaurus for dinner, and all was well with the world. Time to put filthy, hairy feet up in front of the fir fire, fire up the old Sony Athroposcreen two-inch wrap-around telly and watch the latest esipode of ‘The Weakest Missing-Link’.

Myyyyyyyy god, those were the days.

Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end, we’d sing and dance for ever and a day – meteor showers and rapid bursts of evolution notwithstanding. I remember the day that thumbs were invented. Father looked at Mother, Mother looked at Bro, Sis, and I, and we all learned a new disco dance-step, something about “hitching a lift”.

I’ve lost it again, haven’t I?

Early-morning lockery. It’s almost pleasant. My apologeeze to Pizza Boat Paul for waking him at such an unholy hour. If the Cardinal’s engine didn’t do the job then emptying the lock to set it will have. I can’t help it, I just love that time of day.

All that I can say in my defence is that had I woken earlier I would have been on the move earlier.

Five and a half miles, two windings, one lock, one service point visit, and about three hours from fart to stinish. Why this direction? Well, I’ve never claimed to be rational.



I’ll wear the pyjamas with the straps and buckles tonight, please, and be a darling and pop two crushed-up pammies and a half-pint of rum in my Horlicks.

I say ‘darling’ in relation to Nanny but really, any more butch and she’d have to live in a tree.

God, how I loved living in trees, the Rift Valley spread before us, and the whole world fresh and new.

Now those were the days.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H., & Cardinal W.


  1. In 1714, the first king of the House of Hanover acceded to the British throne. That was nearly 300 years ago.
    Yes, he was a German, but how many generations does it take for someone’s family to be accepted as British? I worked with several people who were born here to parents who were born abroad; German, Polish and Greek Cypriot. I also taught many youngsters in a similar situation. No one thought of them as other than British Nationals.
    So why, after nearly 300 years, do so many people hark back to the fact that the Queen has German ancestors?
    There was also William and Mary. Dutch.
    What about William I? Norman.
    The British people are a mongrel race. Even before the Romans there were people coming here from abroad. The Celts came and joined with those already here. Then the Romans followed by the Angles, Saxons, Danes and Norse. Then came William le Batard, aka The Conqueror. In East Anglia, Dutch came to help drain the fens.
    Others came for a variety of reasons. Irish to help build the canals, Jews escaping from the Nazis, Nigerians of Indian descent after Idi Amin expelled them. And we’ve offered places to Hong Kong Chinese and Ukrainians.
    Mrs Queen does an amazing job. And she’s more British than the people I worked with and taught who weren’t accused of not being British.


  2. They tell us that we are better off now than at the dawn of man,,, and we do have canals etc… but it continues to nag at me. Has our entire biologic and social revolution been to executed to our own misery? I often think a full bellied Lucy sitting back and watching a sunset was more content than I am looking at the sunset.

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    1. I do think that there’s something very basic in the nature of our evolution that precludes any possibility of real civilisation. The power relationships haven’t changed in a million years – biggest babboon sat atop the highest rock – robber barons versus serfs and peasants – the WEF/WHO/Davos/uber-billionaire set versus everyone else… We haven’t broken that dominance/subjugation pattern in any meaningful or permanent way since Mr & Mrs Ug first dropped out of the tree and began to sashay across the Rift Valley. The entirety of what passes for Human Society in this era has as its focus not humans at all, but money money money – and power and control. We live in a world of a million tiny restrictions, and like the proverbial boiled frogs we rarely question our social environment. JMHO. πŸ˜‰

      I do wonder what a human-sized human-friendly social environment might look like, were it at all possible. A society where quality and happiness mattered, instead of price-tag. I doubt we’ll ever know.

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  3. Had my VPN worked I would have watched Trooping the Colour, if only to appease the shades of my mother whose practise it was to assemble ex service friends to shout criticism of the drill of the brigade of Guards…..the same would assemble for the British Legion Festival of Remembrance to await the music of ‘the boys of the old brigade’ as the Chelsea Pensioners entered the arena in order to shout ‘creepers!’

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    1. That’s one thing I will give ol’ Queenie’s generation – they could do the “pomp and ceremony” thing well. The younger ones don’t have a clue though, their talents lying chiefly in the matter of providing cringe-making levels of embarrassment to the nation.

      I wonder what the Establishment actually does with “doubles” that are no longer required (and must not be seen again in public)? Do they retire them quietly to some “Old Doubles Home” on the Sussex coast, or are they buried with – in this case – H.M.Q.? Some terribly English version of the Hindu (and parts of Norfolk) Sati/Suttee…

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  4. Where’s your nodding-queen-tiller pin and union-jack Thetford? The CaRT’ll be onto you for your lack of patriotism you anti-British terrorist! How dare you go against the unbiased BBC News monologue? You should be ashamed, young man. This woman has worked harder than any other woman alive, just for you! Imagine the stress of having to be queen all day! The endless Royal Variety Performances! And the environment! She cares so much for our ecology, apparently…according to the BBC vox pops! Always out with Greenpeace saving Wales, even at 196 years old! It makes me proud to be British, so it does! Everyone loves her majesty. A parasite with over a thousand years of subjugation and oppression behind her!? How dare you! She is a goddess, the most generous woman who ever lived, a massive (etc. Please turn out the lights when you leave.)

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    1. It is difficult to imagine anyone not wanting to spend the weekend celebrating being a serf and glorifying the “robber baron” classes. I think that my medication may be off. Why else would I not simply adore a long-etablished hierarchical social system that (literally, in England) subjugates 99.9% while leaving a thin scum a-top the pond, scooting around in their half-billion private yachts (in-between rogering minors senseless, pocketing tax monies and back-handers so fast that you can barely see their hands moving, and playing with peasant lives as though they were pawns in a game to pass an idle afternoon)?

      Very much in a “gallows humour” sort of way it will be “fun” to watch the cat fight when they finally admit that the old bint is dead. WIll Charles the Turd have the balls to give it a try, or do some of the younger generation have more power and influence where it matters (matters to them)? We ought to bring back jousting and decide the succession on the basis of “last one alive”…

      By ‘jousting’ I mean, of course, firing squads. πŸ™‚

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