Saturday, October 30, 2010


Morning all,
 Mmmmm the 'fish putting up a post at this time of the week?, shouldn’t he be working away in ‘the grind’? Well yes, in all honesty I should be, but yesterday I seemed to have picked up a virus and as well as feeling lousy had little control over some of my bodily functions (too much information?). A little spritelier this morning but still not 100% so it appears that I’m heading for a quiet day of contemplation.

One thing that is occupying my mind (not a large void the fill) was the events reported in my last post and the following comments thereafter from you good folk. The general theme of these comments is to trust your dog’s instincts, which I do, but also the idea of a little ‘self protection’. As I’ve already stated I take no pleasure in confrontation and abhor the very idea of violence, but this does not prevent me from standing up for what I believe is right and I would gladly do anything to protect my family, even if it meant my life for theirs. My self control and ability to read or diffuse situations has increased exponentially over the years but upon occasion the red mist still clouds my judgment and vision, although this time was the first in a very long time.

But as I get older, though only middle aged at the moment, I realise that  although my ‘wisdom’ (yes wisdom, I’m not yet a total duffer!) increases my body cannot do what it used to do in my younger years. Certainly my core strength has dropped noticeably since the operation as has my endurance levels, but are these also connected to the body wearing out slowly and not just the op I have to ask my self? It’s quite feasible that the red mist of last week could have resulted in personal injury or worse in a similar situation and then how would I provide for my family? But on the flip side if I had not have stepped up to the plate would my beloved Lucy have been injured or worse by this idiot?(she IS family). Another thing to consider is my nature; yes I’ll walk away given the opportunity but there is something deeply imbedded in my spirit that will just not let certain things go. Call it an overriding sense of right and wrong, which we all have our own interpretation of, but I’d be less of a man and untrue to myself if I walked away from certain situations.

So with the above waffling out of the way, I finally come to the point and that is in this day and age when our nanny state bans the honest from carrying anything apart fro a tooth pick (though maybe this is now also banned) what can a frail (ahem), gentle (splutter) and sweet natured gentleman (what the?) like myself do to avail himself of a little security, whilst keeping big brother happy, upon the trails? Well here’s the rub, three comments from Joe, Mark and Bob shed a little light and gave me the idea. Two suggested stout walking sticks whilst one suggested a priest (club for gently subduing fish), although Wolfy I thing that carrying this in the middle of a forest might be frowned upon, after all I don’t what to looked upon as the aggressor J. But a combination of these ideas lends itself to one idea – the shillelagh. If you’re unsure of what this is here is a short clip from the excellent Grimbo over at Wolfbushcraft and I’m sure that you’ll see the connection to the combination of walking stick and priest. So my first wood working project is set in motion, as soon as I’m up and about I’ll be scouring the local blackthorn copses not for the sloes this time but for something else to dull the senses.

But if any of you have any comment or ideas upon this subject please feel free to comment or e-mail me, after all I'm just a friendly gent at heart (bull......)

Oh and apologies for the lack of my basic photography, but I’m sure you will all let me off this once.

Your friend,


Bob Mc said...

Gave you something to think about huh? As well as a project for the new lathe. None of us are getting any younger, and we live in a much different world than the one we grew up in. The encounter with the Bad-un could have ended much differently. While a piece of wood may not be much protection against a man with a gun; a walking stick, staff, or shillelagh if you want to call it that, can at least keep a man with a knife at more than arms length away. Besides using it to put a knot on his head if it comes to that. Hope you never need to use it for more than its intended purpose as an aid to covering rough ground, but you’ve undoubtedly heard the saying. “Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” Happy trails.

Murphyfish said...

Hi Bob,
Yes I'd rather not be in a situation where there is a need for such an item but to repeat the saying it's “Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

Mel said...

Unfortunately, as you have stated John, and others have added also, "You never know". Certainly hope that whatever you choose will do the job intended, even though, lets pray you never have to use it as a defensive mechanism.

Here is hoping a quick recovery to full health. Not so great for work, but, you will be on top of your game for your trips into the woods.

Shoreman said...

Hey John. Being of Irish Heritage
(somewhere back there) a shillelagh would certainly do the trick. I had actually found a really nice walking stick that I was going to tell you about it, but you beat me to the punch. Now that this is becoming an "encounter thing", I think I'll start wearing my fold-up metal wading staff more often. One never knows.


Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

Great idea. I carry just a walking stick, tall one, to keep unleashed dogs from taking a sampling of my flesh when we walk. But one with a knob on the top would be EXCELLENT for thumping the back of a head, if one had a need. Hope you NEVER have a need. But...

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Good idea John. You just never know....

Gorges Smythe said...

Living in a country where frivilous lawsuits are the norm, I have to agree with the gent saying that he didn't see the need for lead in the large end. That might cause a jury to say the stick was never intended for a walking aide in the first place, but as a head-cracker. (Also, drilling the head could weaken that end.)

We have livestock canes in this country, used often in the stockyards as an arm extender (by humane types) or as a cow-beater (by sub-humans). They're usually made of hickory and are quite strong. If you have them there, one would be a ready-made, but less funky, alternative to the classic shillelagh, and might look more respectable in court.

John Gray said...

I read with interest your blog about the irate walker
same thing happened to me a few months back where an alsatian barrelled into my three dogs ( they were on leads)
The alsatian was way too powerful for its owner and my agression ( after the dog was beaten off) frightened me badly .

Protecting your dog is scary, it really is....itis only when they are in peril that you realise that you are in fact a member of a pack!
with all the responsibilities of one!!!

Leigh said...

I agree with Gorges. BUT, if you were able to make it look practical or even ornamental... then it might work. Perhaps at the end you could notch out a hole and set a compass down in it. Various uses = good alibi! lol

I like my walking stick. I made it from an old tobacco stick. I left the bottom end still pointed. The pointed in has its benefits, one of which it gives the added help of trekking up steep inclines... and it could probably do a little damage too.

Just a few ideas for ya there. I hope you never have to use anything but like any of us who carries a big stick, we are all aware of the possibilities out there. Good Luck.

Murphyfish said...

Thank you for the good wishes Mel, tis true I’d rather be fit for the rambling rather than the grinding.

The incident has indeed given me more to think about than I thought it would and is a sad sign of the times. Only thing now is to look for something temporary as the blackthorn once harvested is going to take an age to cure.

Hi Laurie,
Indeed I too hope that the occasion never arises, like you say there’s always a ‘but’….

Mr. Smythe,
It is a tightrope to walk with these countries seemingly inept and comical laws that seem to pay more attention to the trash of this world that the honest folk that just want to get on. Putting the case for self defence, however genuine, does seem harder than for an aggressor claiming compensation for being injured when burglarising some innocent persons home. The law can be a real ass…. Thanks for the heads up on the livestock cane, now if anyone would care to donate one?

John G,
I had not thought of it that way, but your quite right a view Lucy as part of my family and she must view us as her pack so to fall into the responsibilities of pack leader seems natural and right, I do believe you’ve hit the nail upon the head.

Ah Leigh,
Once again my little ray of sunshine lights up my comments section, you always manage to bring a smile to this grumpy bloke. I’m sure you’ve posted pictures of your ex tobacco stick in some of your previous posts, if I recall correctly, and a lovely job you’ve made of it too. The case for the defence would certainly be easier with such an item.

To all,
Thanks for the comments and support, always welcome my friends.


Murphyfish said...

oops sorry Karen nearly missed you out then, thanks for the support me dear.