Victor: So many idiots

Published: Sunday, 23 February 2020

I HAVE never been able to understand why boaters take to flooding rivers then get themselves and their boats in a mess.

Reporting on yet another one stuck, this time on the towpath at Cranfield Lock on the Trent, our Keith Gudgin sums it up very well indeed: 'Boats on banks, stuck under bridges, stuck on weirs etc. drifting downstreamsheer folly'.

Have they no sense at all he asks?—Obviously not.

The results

Regular contributor Bill Ridgeway wants to know what—if anyresults narrowboatworld gets from the authorities from its articles.  Here is his question:

I have had 50 articles published in narrowboatworld over 2.5 years so I thought it would be opportune to pause and evaluate with the objective of focusing my mind and concentrating effort on the important things in life.  This is an emotive rather than scientific evaluation. 

There is no doubt that I get some satisfaction in writing articles and comments.  However, regarding influencing others I fear that although there have been follow-up comments in narrowboatworld I am not aware if CaRT takes the slightest interest.

Right. I can assure Bill that we do get results, for there have always been CaRT elected council representatives willing to pass on a snippet or two providing of course we never reveal their names, which of course we do not.

DoorMakesDepthIn addition to CaRT itself taking notice and responding—the latest result was our constant complaints of the Stoppage Notice misinformation that caused it to cut out the waffle and simply report 'Reason - repair' or 'structure failure' instead.  Mind you this has gone too far and now leaves boaters with little knowledge of the problem!

One of the most dangerous 'knee jerk' reactions of the then British Waterways was erecting an RSJ supporting a hand rail on the Staffs & Worcs Canal Falling Sands Lock after a boy had died falling from attempting to cycle over a narrow lock boaters' walkway.

guillotine RSJIt was our David Hymers who took the photograph we published showing the RSJ was installed at exactly head height of boaters, that was just right for decapitation!  Then our Pam Pickett spoke to Tony Stammers, British Waterways Head of Health & Safety, and reported that the offending girder at Falling Sands Lock and was told they would all be removed, and were rather quickly.

No other publication took such action in showing the sheer danger to boaters of these ill thought-out installations—there were others installed at dangerous heights.  Luckily BW took notice of our concern and they were quickly removed.

Beside the actual articles, it is our readers that take notice and report them both to various authorities and their MPs, that certainly get results.  An example was the so called 'poetry' on lock gates, with one enraged boater sending our report to MPs telling that this was going on whilst the paddles on the locks themselves were broken but money wasted on the 'daft' poetry.  It stopped!

floating forestThen there was the the idiotic scheme to bring the forest to the canals by filling old work boats with trees and towing them along the waterway from place to place—we soon stopped that when we informed the idiots that when the trees grow the 'forests' would not get under the bridges!  The picure shows we were correct!

There were other instances we were told, and not only of CaRT but the Environmental Agency too, with our support of its Thames lockies losing their cottages being passed to Agency, that from its response, it certainly did not care for!  But it gave in.

The thing is Bill, we have never 'blown our own trumpet', our Thomas being a great believer in the proverb that 'Self praise is no recommendation', so you do not read of the many successes, but they are there—your own included!  So keep it up, it is not wasted.

Better by water?

I would have thought that CaRT would have pulled back a little on its much vaunted 'Better by Water' campaign with thousands homeless and countless business ruined by the floods.

It is certainly not 'better by water' for them, or those tragically losing their lives by water...

Victor Swift