Monday 29 April 2019

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.121 – Cutting Ropers and Cunnus Thumbers

Oh to live the narrowboat life, the claustrophobia, cassette toilets and confined showers. That blazing argument with no doors to slam, those members of the gongoozleing fraternity watching your every move. Now this session didn't start very well to be fair, I was back on these poo riddled canals we have to endure with a bang !!!!

You see how dare I point out to a very irate corridor dweller who I eventually I awoke from his slumber, that his barking and unleashed dogs, who were following me down the towpath, were not only being annoying with their unpredictability, but were releasing chocolate hostages in unison. Not only that but in such a random fashion to trouble any seasoned battleship player, let alone some trying to trace their unseen dogs footsteps.

I’ve seen those that live on the water, dump dog poo bags on the middle of the towpath for all to see, once they have left their moorings, irresponsible dog walkers with their poop machine Charlie defecate on the towpath and verges in plain view.

Out of sight, out of mind seems to be the order of the day. Even those that do pick up their mutts poops and bag’it often leave them hanging off trees like Christmas decorations, what is all that about? I can take you to one particular spot on the canal with literally hundreds of bags that have been dumped over time.

Sadly it’s the few that spoil it for the majority, canals are a shared space after all, be it, cyclists, anglers, ramblers and who those that just want an escape from the city. The reality is for someone that walks more canal in a weekend than any boaters will ever do in a two weeks, or even four the amount of dog excrement that litters the waterways is seemingly greeting worse. Luckily the river season is peaking its head round the corner.

And no I’m not a miserable old git, dog waste tainted public spaces, is right up there with the main complaints from the public to the authorities. I’ve had to clean it off Sam’s Bike, his shoes and mine, my landing net handle and bait bucket. Stick and flick it if you really have to, just don’t leave it for others to have to endure, it really is disgusting and there is no need for it. 

Now talking of disgusting, even the ones you stumble upon that look like a Saag Paneer like this one I made the weekend after feeding your dog tit bits, at least make an attempt to clear it up, just don’t leave it for others to discover. 

Now an early form of paneer is said, by legend, to have been made accidentally in saddlebags during the Mongol Empire. As the nomads rode their horses from settlement to settlement with the desert sun beating down, the milk they were toting mingled with the rennet lining their rawhide bags, curdling into a sort of proto-paneer. Despite these early origins, though, paneer didn’t make its way into Indian cuisine until the Mughal Empire. 

Paneer only requires two ingredients to make the creamy cubes, milk is heated and an acid (often lemon juice or vinegar) is added, and the resulting curds and whey are separated. The curds are pressed, and there we have it. Paneer that can be eaten fresh, cubed and fried, or mixed into any dish. Now, back to the matter at hand Saag Paneer.

Around 2000 BCE, when the Ayurvedic cooking tradition found its legs, people likely prepared chopped mustard greens in earthen pots with yak’s milk. Saag in Hindi means “leafy greens,” which accounts for the combination of mustard greens, spinach, fenugreek, and other leaves in traditional saag, but, in its earliest form, mustard greens were the main event. 

Palak, meaning spinach, drives the quite common variation palak paneer, so if the menu says palak instead of saag, you can expect to see only spinach among the cheese cubes. The difference between the two isn’t huge. Saag is now typically made with spinach in addition to mustard greens. In the present day, heavy cream has replaced yak’s milk. When cubed, fried paneer enters the equation, the dish becomes saag paneer.

“Mick, you’re well off track now”

The reality is, the fishing didn’t go to well. The fish in reproduction mode you see with temperatures as they should be at this time of year, the usual hotspots, floats motionless, it was tough going, two dropped takes that was it, at least there was a couple of people interested in talking about what I’ve been catching in and around these poop paths.

So a blank !!!!, I'd say nice to just be out, but for this session it will be filed with those I'd rather forget.

At least the spring has brought some much needed colour to the drab canal banks, heck with the Zander with minds on other things, I might dust the carp rods off. 


  1. My forecast for the future of the countryside is in the not too distance future no one except dog walkers will be there. Rules and trespass mean nothing to them.The rest of the countryside will belong to people like the Wildlife trust and RSPB no humans required.

  2. Pointed out today to 2 old dears walking there 3 dogs that really they are trespassing,in the nicest possible way.There answer was"I would like to see someone try to stop me".There was the future of our countryside in a sentence.


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