Victor: The bad news first

Published: Sunday, 09 July 2017

I EXPECT I had better give you the bad news first—no narrowboatworld updates until next weekend.

Why? you may ask, after all it's not our usual cruising time, anyway the boat is in dock. I'm very much afraid that our Thomas & Co were much too enamoured by their Continental train journeys last year, especially on the TGV's so will be hurtling around the Continent, reckoning it balances the usual 3mph on the boat!  No answer to that, eh?

Not on mate

But back to real life, and I see those at Cart are once again blaming us boaters for the lack of water on the Regents Canal, for leaving the paddles up. They not having the nous of course to realise such boaters, and I now find are very few and far between, can only leave the paddles up on the gate(s) when leaving the lock.

Should the opposing paddles be up as well then the lock obviously could not work, which means that one set of paddles must be left firmly down.  So it is rather obvious to anyone with an ounce of the aforementioned nous to realise that water loss can only be caused by leaking gates.

But will those at Cart admit that?  For just once they did, plainly stating that one did—the leaking Acton's Lock on the Regent's Canal!  Wonders will never cease, but as water was pouring out for all to see they did not have much choice.  But will they admit to the other thousand or so that are also leaking?  You know the answer to that.

Whatever next

Press Releases from Cart nowadays are wonders of fiction, telling of the most marvellous things that it achieves. But alas, the newspapers will not stomach them any more, realising their sheer inaccuracy. 

But those at dear Cart have the answer.  If the newspapers won't publish them we will pay them, then they will!  And lo and behold, the Guardian for one fell for it, publishing seven such articles exactly as Cart had written, inaccuracies, exaggerations, distortions and all.

My information that it cost around £20,000!

But whatever next? Is there no end to its race for self-aggrandisement?  Is there any chance of it ever getting down to what it really should be doing and reducing its maintenance back-log, and making the waterways secure?

And another

British Waterways Marinas Ltd are also not averse to an exaggerated claim or two.  In its Press Release for the Autumn Fair at its Sawley Marina it tells us: 'It’s a great opportunity to see the facilities at one of the UK’s busiest and most centrally located marinas'.

What facilities? Busiest?  As it happened on Tuesday after seeing how the boat was getting on at Trent Lock we realised we needed some new  fastening for the bow and stern fenders, so took the chance to call at the self-same Sawley Marina, forgetting that on Tuesday the only 'facility' that is open in the café. The shop/chandlery being closed, with the whole place deserted.

So it was Mercia and Midland Chandlers, where we of course found everything we wanted. Our Thomas suggested it should offer Sawley moorers a discount as it does those moorers at Mercia, as there is very limited stock nowadays at Sawley, but of course it fell on deaf ears.

At Mercia even with the very much extended car parking, we had a problem finding a space, with literally hundreds of people milling around and the various outlets that seem to be doing good business.  Little wonder there is another development being constructed. 

Just can't understand these silly exaggerations, obviously trying to impress, but people are not stupid, and eventually cotton-on, that eventually gives the opposite impression they are trying to achieve, for people soon perceive a lie when they read it.

Does anybody believe it

Which of course brings me to the biggest lie of them all—that often now purveyed 440,000,000, millions of visits to its towpaths a year—or how much it has increased again this year? Yet any sensible person giving it a bit of thought can quickly realise how stupid it is.

CaRT often tells of its 2,000 miles of waterways, and it does not need anyone who is somewhat disbelieving to work out on his/her smartphone that with 365 days in a year it relates to a massive 628 visits to every mile of waterway every day!

Cart's John Dodwell was told to make sense of the figure, but his weird and wonderful suggestions must have left all wondering what he was raving about. Anyway, has any boater out there every had over 600 people pass  in a day? We certainly haven't.  John tells of the 'masses of people' by the canal at Camden Market on the Regent's, conveniently 'forgetting' to mention they are either visiting the market or visiting the pubs by the locks, and most certainly ain't visiting the waterway!

One thing to be said when Robin Evans was the boss-man, there was little exaggeration, he telling as it is—there were 3.4 million visits, that somehow or another has been multiplied by—you can work it out yourselves!.  Crazy eh?

Victor Swift