Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fog and Filthy Air









Most consequential choices involve shades of gray, and some fog is often useful in getting things done.

Tim Geithner

Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.


A quiet and foggy day on Mutters Moor in January. Many places here take their name from the feature that they replace; Orchard Way, the orchard now covered with houses, and so on.

Mutter's Moor takes its name from Abraham Mutter. Mutter was one of Jack Rattenbury's accomplices, and helped to distribute contraband. Mutter cut wood and turf at Peak Hill and carried the fuel into nearby towns for sale. This innocent activity acted as a convenient cover for the transport and sale of contraband, especially so since the biggest houses would consume large quantities of both fuel and brandy. Frequent visits by Mutter's carts and donkeys therefore aroused no suspicion.

Jack Rattenbury, Beer, 1778. He describes how a smuggling brig in which he was travelling was captured by a French privateer, and he was left at the helm to steer for a French port while the crew got drunk below...

'I began to conceive a hope not only of escaping, but also of being revenged on the enemy. A fog too came on, which befriended the design I had in view...'

Rattenbury steered for the English coast, and when they came in sight of Portland Bill, he convinced the crew that this was Alderney; similarly, St Albans became Cape La Hogue. When they got closer to the shore, Jack persuaded them to lower a boat and go and get a pilot — he eventually completed his escape by diving overboard and swimming into Swanage harbour. He hurried to the local customs authorities, who sent a cutter to recapture the brig from the French.

I have carried scores of kegs up the cliff. We used to strike a match and hold it in our hands a moment to call the boats in. The loads were then shouldered into a pit with a lid at Paccombe Bottom, or by the turnpike in the hedge there, and waggoned on afterwards. Once they were in Slade cellar but the revenue officers called and the kegs were only just in time started down the drain; it made the rats squeak. It was a pity for they were a nice lot of tubs...The goods used to come in a cutter called Primrose...it was her J Rattenbury steered with his foot...She was taken often by the coastguards, but generally had her papers right. She used to bring potatoes from Guernsey, but one day they caught her in a gale without ballast; she had just started discharging her cargo and that determined them [identified the crew as smugglers]. They sawed her in half, for they said nothing else would stop her. I knew Rattenbury and have heard he cut the officer up for crab bait, but Jack always laughed if it was thrown up at him and said it happened down Dawlish way by a Sussex man. The last cargo was Mutter's laid up under High Peak. G Salter watched all day from under a furze bush but about 4pm a stranger (gentleman to look at) came under Cliff and strolled right up to the tubs. The man in charge got as mad as fire but he had to lump it for if he'd spoken they would have taken him.

The Mutters' involvement apparently ended when the railway brought cheap coal to the area, killing off the convenient and effective cover.

I have a fondness for the smalltime dishonesties of old; people just trying to get ahead a bit it seems to me. The words to describe what it is that Goldman Sachs, the bankers in government and all those other pieces of shit do around the world fail me.

14 comments:

the Silverfish said...

Whooo Hoooo I get to comment first Yippee.
Normally I love the fog, you know walking in the valley on a foggy morn with my hell hounds leading the way, always on the alert but quietly, drifting in and out of the mist.

I know it might sound strange, they being my dogs an all, but it's almost unnerving the way that they drift across the ground like dark shadows, at peace and yet muscles always tense, ready within a heartbeat to rout any threat to the master. After all one never knows when or where Trolls, Goblins or Ogres might be lurking and one must be ever vigilant should they spring out with their evil intentions. They, the monsters real or perceived would
then be dealt with , with neatness and dispatch with no quarter given.

John it's quite comforting to have stalwart allies in a haunted place such as this.

Now I did say normally I like the fog but the shit we have been getting here for going on two weeks is getting just a little
long in the tooth. Spring is just around the corner with unduly warm temps and the snow has turned to rotten mush an yet cannot melt because of the FOG. Oh how I wish to see the sun.

john said...

Cheers Silverfish. It must be nice to walk there with dogs. Usually I walk alone but not always and the the thing I like about walking with dogs is that when I am hanging behind taking photographs, after a while they run back to see how I am getting on and to make sure I am ok, it's nice really although there is a lot of licking and dog spit involved in the whole business.

I am soon going to a place where apparently it is Piskies that I have to watch out for. I will have my camera ready for them of course.

Two weeks of fog is more than you need really. The sun is still up there somewhere, it is claimed. I hope it will make an appearance for you soon.

john said...

The creature that I really don't want to meet is this one:

Owlman

nobody said...

Yay, that was so Patrick O'Brian! But even he never came up with a story as outrageous as the prisoner left to the helm while the prize crew gets drunk below, ha ha.

As for Mutter v. Goldman Sachs, if you think about it, Mutter's smuggling was only smuggling because the Goldman Sachs of the day had declared it so. Or to put it another way, do those due the revenue ever pay it themselves? Of course not. In fact they wouldn't even pay the uncustomed price what with all those bond houses full of free confiscated goods.

As usual it's good to be king. Hmm... I'm thinking Mutter's crime could be more accurately described as 'daring to drink, and assist others in drinking, a consumable without paying large sums of money to those already wealthy.' That's a fair call isn't it?

And the photos were nice too John.

john said...

Yes that is a fair call Nobody, we constantly get ripped off over these things.

Back in the 80s Thatcher privatised a lot of what the people of the country owned here. It was portrayed as a good thing because 'competition' would bring the prices down and we all had the chance to buy shares in things we already owned, though us already owning these things was not the way it was spun.

Of course only wealthy folk can buy a lot of shares, not poor people and as for competition, has anyone tried getting water from a different company? they don't exist but somehow this is not a monopoly.

Much of the businesses were bought up by foreign companies who now charge ridiculous prices for basic amenities. Politicians do the work for big business and screws the population, it's the same old same old.

Now we are being bombarded by the upcoming general election and I read the comments in the newspapers where people complain about the mad leftist socialist Labour Govt. and how they fucked the country up and how much better things will be when the Tories get back in.

They don't seem to notice that this left/right two party politics is a sham, in that it doesn't matter who gets in, they don't represent the interests of the people.

john said...

Still, on the plus side I've managed to get Hugh Grant to sing on my cover of AC/DC's 'Whole Lotta Rosie' he's making a lovely job of the introduction.

nobody said...

What a mad sentence. It's not there as a google/statcounter experiment is it? I'm game!

Darlene said...

I'm loving your first tree photo! very artsy and fun!

john said...

Hi Nobody. It's just a bit of random nonsense really. Sometimes I like to imagine unlikely combinations. I do like statcounter games though and must try and think of a new one. I am away for the next week so I hope you all keep an eye on the internet for me whilst I am away. Happy trails.

john said...

Hi Darlene. Thanks very much for stopping by and leaving your nice comment, it is good to have people pop in and say hello and good luck with your blog, I hope it gives you as much pleasure as I have had from doing my own. All the best, john.

nobody said...

John you swine! How come you get all the Darlenes?

Penny said...

hello john!

in the fifth picture, I was looking for some ghouls or perhaps a werewolf, of london, wearing a london fog coat.

hardee har har.

john said...

Back again!

Cheers Nobody. It must be because some of my photos are artsy and fun, like the nice lady says. I think I have a bit of catching up to do.

john said...

Cheers Penny. I'm sure they're creeping about out there somewhere. I don't usually meet them but we experience the result of their actions.

I've just been out walking in Cornwall, catching up on some coastline on the most southerly tip of England. It wasn't quite spring yet as it is late though we got the full measure of their rain alright I think.

It is a very windy and rocky place where the trees only grow to about 8 or 10 feet and are shaped by the wind. The weather was so wet that I was unable to take many photos, so much was missed, but I got enough of the cliffs and the rocks, even though the results don't demonstrate the full extent of the weather.