Hecticus – God of Rush

The Canal Company Ltd’s “Let’s not mow to the edges because wildlife, yeah?” policy in full June bloom. By August if you’re not already aboard your boat you won’t even be able to see it from the towpath. Ah, the best-laid plans of metropolitan quarter-wits, eh?

The local mutant duck (some people term them “swans”) has learned to bang on the hull of boats to summon humans, demanding to be fed. He gets short shrift from me, even at 04:00 hours o’clock hundred of the a of the m. I am assisting him on the next stage of his post-duck education, by training him to read the names of boats, and to afford a wide berth to anything bearing the legend ‘Cardinal Wolsey’.

A moorhen made a raid into this territory yesterday, paddling proudly past at flank speed bearing a stolen soggy reed stem. Presumably a late nester desperate for the best materials. I told you that it’s all go on the canals. The rightful occupiers of this territory – Mr & Mrs Moorhen – haven’t been seen for a couple of days; they may be bound and gagged on the nest, waiting for someone to notice and release them.

Aha – I hear the “squeaky toy” squeal of Mr Moorhen. They live yet.

What of the weather I hear you ask, desperate for meteorillogical news. Well yes, we’ve had weather. It’s been two-blanket cold, it’s been ‘get your hands off me, Officer; naked is mankind’s natural state’ ridiculously over-warm and horridly humid. It’s been still, and it’s been windy. There’s also been an elephant’s sufficiency of rainfall, although thankfully in the customary small droplet form, not falling as a single giant slab of precipi….tation. Wheeeeee…. splat.

A cloud went past this morning in the shape of a speeding dragon. I didn’t have so much as the pocket rocket with me, so here are some other clouds for you.

The Shipping News?

Sea state slight or fair, Dogger Forties, Cromarty Trafalgar my god, there was a battle, Variable 3, becoming southerly or southeasterly 4 or 5 later.

Poor old Variable 3.

The game of bow to bow, stern to stern, bow to stern and vice versa mooring continues, with added Rastles & Coses on the dern stoors.

At times there has been as much as 24″ between the Cardinal and the next boat.

Such Lebensraum as has been afforded has generally been to our stern, where folk nudge in like greased meerkats slipping into an orgy, and then realise that there’s b’ger all to moor up to there unless you want to trust to pins during Silly Boat Season (and there’s an Angloid-Welsh depot just up the canal, issuing bunken drums like hats out of bell, on a regular basis).

Such ironmongery as there is has no holy holey-holes nor chunky bits to which it is that what one might sling a chain or moor, if there be more than chains. This is the last such hole this side of Hell.

As you may notice a mole appears to be walking the length of the Shropshire Union Canal, sticking close to the water’s edge and popping up on a frequent basis for air, and probably for a quick crafty smoke, Mrs Mole not allowing smoking indoors.

I can hear a woodpigeon in the distance which is odd. The wee feathered poet in the shrubbery next this water is, methinks, the loudest and most persistent tweet-tweet-TWEEEEEEET merchant I’ve heard in a long time. All day long and most of the night. Tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet TWEEEEET…

Perhaps someone else strangled the wee critter? I know I would like to.

Biggles has just droned overhead, possibly on some reconnaissance run spying out the lie of the enemy trenches for later bombing, possibly just taking Algy and/or Ginger for a joy-ride. The smaller air traffic is generally one of those plastic-wing things with a lawnmower engine, but we’ve had a gen-yoo-ine gyrocopter around on occasion too.

There has been the usual procession of regular dog-emptiers and dog-walkers (*the behaviour of each species and the quality of the experience for the dog quite different, if you observe them closely with a rheumy eye). Two came past yesterday – very trendy types – with three dogs a-piece, secured on leads to their stout leather waist-belts. This would have been a dignified arrangement, had it not been that not one of the dogs was in any way trained to walk on a lead, and each of the arrangements of the three dogs all insisted on walking separate and disparate vectors, sniffing and pooping and howling at the daytime moon. It was akin to watching someone being pulled asunder by horses, but with dogs…

Am I really evil for laughing as the – let’s call them dog-walkers in recognition of the energy expenditure – staggered about like struggling human gyroscopes, trying to remain upright?

Alright, I am evil, but I am also sure that the dogs knew exactly what they were doing.

It’s all go, you know.

Hectic, hectic, hectic.

Be careful how you say that – it’s possible that you may raise Hecticus, god of rushing hither and thither with no good reason.

Greek or Roman? I have no idea, and I am, frankly, surprised that you even asked. A god is a god is a god, so long as they have a statue of some kind.

I wonder what Michelangelo might have done with a thousand tons of Carrara marble and sight of those dog-walkers? Probably something much more amusing than Canova’s boring Three Graces, anyway…

David bends forward to poop-scoop, not realising that Hounds Two and Three are about to tug in the same direction. Such proportion, such poise, such such and such with perhaps an excess of “so; forth”, and so forth.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H.


    1. It’s been many, many years since I last competed in the Naturist Iditarod. The genetic hairiness of Hutsons was deemed by the Ethics Committee to be an unfair advantage, and I was banned. I still find the whip useful though on many social occasions.

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  1. Were they hoping that the dogs would tow them? If you have any knowledge of dogs you would know that they would think it their bounden duty to tie you up with the leads lke ribbons tound the maypole.

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    1. Well I remember the Doggy High-Master of such tactics – Pipsqueak, a dog of my sister’s acquaintance. Pip would occasionally lull the Sis into a sense of false peace and security and then, just as she looked elsewhere, would poop on her shoes – while she was wearing them, or at best exactly where a human under Earth gravity would be forced to step. It was the dog equivalent of pointing and shouting ‘LOOK!’ and then taking horrible advantage. Had pipsqueak possessed an opposable thumb tis likely that she would have gone out in a blaze of notoriety – probably on top of a water tower with a high-powered rifle and a list of grudges to be settled. Pip was Ninja-level when it came to dealing with humans.

      I remember once she had a twisted bowel – uber serious and oft fatal. I drove her to the vets at warp speed, opened the door to lift her out… but instead she walked out of the car, walked across the pavement, into the vets, past the waiting area and receptionist and straight into the vets treatment room. No messing, her message was ‘mend me – now’. A curious hound in many ways.

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    1. It seems to be a trend, I’ve seen others wearing these belts with multiple hound-attachments, As you say though, surely just a handful of separate leads is easier and much, much safer! If the dogs were all to run in a circle they could screw the humans into the ground with very little effort at all.


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