Victor: Who is kidding who?

Published: Sunday, 15 December 2019

SURPRISE, surprise—Canal & River Trust is spending more than last year on 'Winter Maintenance'.

Last winter it forked out £38 millions, continuing the downward spiral from £50  millions in 2013, yet now it tells us it is increasing its winter spend by £5 millions.

Do I believe it?  Of course not, and here's why my friends.

The winter stoppages, as many of you will be aware, run from November to March, resulting in the cost normally published in October of the work to be undertaken, though this year nothing was published—until now.

And even a cursory glance through the increased 'spend' rather shows the discrepanciesthis 'spend' actually includes such as the £2.5 millions on work already started way back in October on such as the Macclesfield 'leak'.

Then part of the winter maintenance we are told in the widening of the first lock on Hurleston Flight on the Llangollen, that was started in Septemberanother million or two!

I didn't bother looking any further, the increase is obviously no real increase at all.

In actual fact the 'winter maintenance' spend is including that already being spent during the summer months. Clever, eh?

At least

At least there is actual maintenance being undertaken, with I notice quite a bit of dredging planned and work on mechanical lift and swing bridges that could be good news for users of the Leeds & Liverpool.

So I attempted to find out actually which swing bridges would be getting the work, using CaRT's web page, but though I consider myself quite capable, I just could not get any stoppages other than weekly, and as I was not prepared to go from week to week over the winter period so I gave it up as a bad job.

The site gave the dates of 15th to 22nd December for stoppages. But allowed the start date to be altered, but then only gave a week of stoppages at that particular date.  Seems queer to me.

We plough the fields and scatter...

It would seem CaRT is taking up farming these days, to pass a dreary winter's day.

In another of its ever increasing weird and wonderful stoppage notices it tells us 'ploughing works is taking place to enable commercial navigation, up stream from Doncaster Lock' on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigations.

No, no, no, the 's' is not my error. the stoppage notice now tells us there is now more than one Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation.

I have suggested time and time again CaRT should put someone who understands the waterways in charge of these stoppage notices, but as this is obviously not happening it perhaps shows that no one can be found!

Telling it like it is

It really was about time that someone told about the real perils of Weil's disease, instead of the limited glossed-over explanations from the various waterway authorities, so all credit to Keith Gudgin who has spelt out the real dangers of the disease that kills.

It is obvious that the powers-that-be don't want the public to be too aware that contact, especially with canal water carries such dangers, after all we are told it is 'better by water', and perhaps the 'by' is the operative word and certainly not 'in', that time and time again is proving fatal.

Victor Swift