Our Internet connection consists of a pay-as-you-go SIM chip in my phone with tethered WiFi from that. I’ve worked out what the little letters next to the signal strength indicator mean:

  • H: slow as Hell
  • E: takes for Ever
  • LTE: Less Than Expected
  • 4G: For God’s sake this is slow

We are out in the country at the moment, so have zero bars of H. That and the fact that it was cold this morning mean fewer pictures today. The time taken to unzip my jacket, take off my gloves, get out my camera, turn it on, and point at the thing I wanted to photograph is longer than it takes us to go past whatever it was I wanted to photograph, even at the stately three miles per hour that is Peggoty’s preferred cruising speed. All of which is my excuse for why I didn’t take a picture of the boat with the ferret hutch on top.

There was a sign on it that said, “FERRETS IN, FINGERS OUT”. Ferrets are used for hunting rabbits, as they can go down burrows or chase the rabbits out into nets. It’s a sort of poor man’s falconry. In fact, these days, ferrets may be used in conjunction with falcons, so that the ferret chases the bunny out of the burrow and the falcon swoops down and grabs it. This is an exercise in animal training and coordination that must rate as one of the most difficult ways of rounding up dinner imaginable. Some people will do anything to avoid going to Sainsbury’s.

Of course, there is the possibility that the ferret catches a rabbit down the burrow, and settles down to eat it, thus ruining your day’s hunting. Back in the day, you would put your ferret in a muzzle (or even sew its lips together) to prevent this happening, but these days you just go out on eBay and buy a ferret finder, so you can track your ferret underground, dig it out, and share the rabbit.

Since ferrets scurry around in confined places and scratch and bite things, the other thing you do with them is put them down your trousers. This is the stuff of drunken pub bets and street theater. The legendary Ken Campbell Roadshow did the ferret down the trousers bit as a set piece. In fact, the performer doing most of the ferretlegging for Ken was none other than Sylvester McCoy, better known as the seventh Doctor Who. He also hammered nails into his head through his nose, thus proving that his nostrils were bigger on the inside.

But wait, though you missed out on the ferret cage picture, we had another visit from a battle swan last night. This one reared up on its hind legs and pecked at the window in an attempt to force Paula to feed it.
Swan Invasion

We headed up the Grand Union Canal today, stopping about a mile short of the flight of lock that had been closed for the past few days. The canal here is fairly close to the mainline railway on one side and the M1 motorway on the other, so we have the 18th, 19th, and 20th Century’s methods of getting from London to Birmingham side by side. For the 21st Century they are talking about building another railway line, and perhaps in another hundred years the canal will be back in fashion.

We walked up to the bottom lock, and found a lovely farm store where we bought a home made pies, one steak and one apple, and other goodies. On the way back there was a barge doing maintenance on the canal bank. Herewith my first attempt at embedding video.

Canal Maintenance

This is groovy.
The grooves in the side of the bridge were made by the tow ropes on horse drawn canal barges.

We’re usually too busy to take pictures when going through the locks, so here’s a picture of a lock with someone esle’s boat in it.

And here’s a marina, for all the people who have boats, but don’t live on them full time.

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