James: Will I be banned again?

Published: Sunday, 11 February 2018

Having sent endless bits and pieces to narrowboatworld over many years I thought it a good reason to take up Victor's invitation to submit a column, as he is away.

I'm not sure if this will get me banned again [James was banned some 17 years ago after his vendetta against Waterways World] but though I no longer read the waterway magazines, does anybody? I do the various web based efforts, so I'll risk telling what I think.

The Cart Clarions

I had better not name any of these web based efforts or I will possibly get banned again from writing but the one calling itself No 1 with the news, seems to have very little but relies on 'the idle journalist' method of reproducing what are known as press releases. Ought to be renamed The Cart Clarion, as there is little real news.

The more recent that 'is here to stay' only has two writers and perhaps that one should be renamed The Anti Cart Clarion, and I think is the worst produced of the lot, it just does not reproduce properly on my PC.

But no more of that, just pleased to see the Pennine one is still flourishing.


I have to join the current consensus of opinion about Cart spending so much money duplicating what others—more able—are already doing. I am of course referring to money thrown away on its efforts at attempting to be professional at so many other things, that it is not.

Many are telling it to concentrate on what it is primarily there for, the waterways, but it seems to have developed a deaf ear. Or it has too many people that are just not interested in the waterways at all, so prefer to do other things.

Doing well

I really liked the look of the new lock that the Wey & Arun Canal Trust volunteers have built, with just a little help from contractors.  I have followed the restoration of its canal over the years, and it is undoubtedly one of the 'get on with it' restoration organisations.

It was some time in the past that I remember people thinking that the Trust's intention of completion the restoration of 'the route to the sea' was a pipe dream, but it is proving it otherwise, and there is little doubt that it will eventually be done.

Not PC

As an old fashioned codger what I particularly like in the case of the Wey & Arun is that the Lady who is the chairman of that society actually calls herself such and not a stupid PC correct 'chair'.

As now do so many others being terrified of the PC police who want all to adhere to their daft thinking.

Not impressed

I have some connection with the Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust through a friend, and though outline planning permission for the whole route was granted way back in 2011, seven years ago, very little has been achieved. Nothing at all like the many other similar organisation such as the county's Chesterfield Canal Trust that has restored or built lock after lock and even created a new basin.

Derwent ArmIt seems there are too many people on its committee that are concerned with an 'attraction' over the Derwent instead of just using it as it was originally. Money has been spent on consultations for all sorts of daft ideas, and I'm hoping the editor has a picture of one that I remember seeing.

They should get on with the job of working on the actual restoration of the canal, that would create a marvellous week-end 'ring' on which there are now many marinas, so it would be well used.

Big ideas

I often wonder why it is that so many canal restoration societies go for such daft ideas as the ones over the Derwent.  When the Milton Keyes to Bedford canal was first muted, in came the ideas of negotiating the hill out of Milton Keyes, with another Falkirk Wheel. But did anyone even think of the enormous cost?

If they had simply got on with the job of building locks instead of wasting so much time with such daft ideas, perhaps we may have had the canal instead of just having a fancy linear park instead.

A waste

Any of you who have followed my efforts on the site may be aware of my feelings about consultations, that many know are nothing more than a cover-up for doing what has already been decided.

On that note I shall call it a day and only hope I have not gone too far—again!

James Henry

[Victor is away and we have two writers in his place.]