No way José!

Published: Monday, 27 April 2020

IT IS just a few hours since we published the article from the Canal & river Trust, concerning extending boat licences that has already promoted responses.

The suggestion in the article (Coronavirus: Canal & River Trust to extend boat licences by one month) that boaters refund the month's payment to the Trust has obviously touched a raw nerve with continuous cruisers.

In the article it was asked: The Trust is facing significant financial challenges of our own, so whilst we’d invite those who can afford it to ‘donate’ their extra month licence fee back to the Trust.

In addition to the private messages we have received, here is a selection of those from known continuous cruisers, our giving pride of place to just about our second best known contributor, James Henry:

Sheer cheek

They [Canal & River Trust] cannot grumble as you published its propaganda (and I checked it with others who obviously rushed to promote it and it was all there) but what I had to read twice to take in was the sheer cheek of it asking for us to pay for the month's licence charge that they had to give up.

With other continuous cruisers I have been subjected for the past month to endless walkers and cyclists passing near my home, often in groups along the moorings, with CaRT just sticking up a few notices in what can only be described as a half-hearted attempt to control them, leaving us, its customers to fear the proximity of a carrier of coronavirus passing it on.

And it now expects us to forsake the month's licence fee that we have well earned.  As I said—the sheer cheek of it!  In case it is not understood that means no.

From a new contributor, Jessica Fairly, who writes:

It was horrendous

My husband and I were in one of the boats passed by the 3,700 people as recorded by a lady in a house at Bathampton nearby, who I actually spoke to, and it was horrendous as there was so much being written about the spread of coronavirus that most of us moored there were extremely worried.

What we all found so annoying is that allowing all those people, and I must not forget their animals, were there illegally as the towpath did not accede to the governments stringent distancing rules, as there was no way the mass of people could pass the require two metres, yet all Canal & River Trust did was stick up a single notice that was then ignored, and what is more to the point so were we, so there is no way they get their month's licence fee donation from us.

If I may I should also like to add that we were also ignored by the fiery National Bargees Association of which my husband is a member, but I read in your publication that it has joined up with the Canal & River Trust and its fire thus doused.  And may I further add, another member lost.

Get stuffed!

Another long standing contributor who has already written of being affected by the stay-put decision, T. Lang, writes:

I realise you have to give the 'other side' so read the missive from CaRT and its expected excuses for allowing all those visitors to pass close to our boats, but to me it did not mean a thing, for that's all it was, excuses.

But for it to have the temerity to ask us to forsake the month's licence fee that it was forced to relinquish is unbelievable after the way it treated us continuous cruisers.

I don't very often use such phrases, but in this case I feel I can make the exception and tell CART—get stuffed!

Another regular contributor, Helen Cripps, refers to that button:

Is it a joke?

So when we get our licence demand we are asked to press a button to signify that we wish the Canal & River Trust to retain it. Is this a joke?

The way it has spent money on such crazy things over its years in office as well as selling off its 'family silver', it surely must realise it has alienated so many boaters it will get few presses.

But worse, the way it has favoured its 'oh so special' visitors to its towpaths against all the rules and in detriment to us boaters during this dreadful virus is disgraceful, and there will be no button pressed by me, that's for sure.

Not trying too hard

Tom Redway draws attention to the packed car parks:

I have seen the notices now plastered all over the place, though somewhat confused by their varying instructions, but one place they are missing is the canal-side car parks.

I had to leave my boat for my shop, managing to dart into a nearby closed pub car park to escape the crowd on the Oxford to find it absolutely packed solid with cars as was the road outside, it being used of course for their occupants to exercise on the towpath.

But no notice in sight!  Only a very angry owner/landlord complaining of illegal use of his private parking.  I get the impression that the Trust is not trying too hard to limit the towpath visitors. 

If it wants buttons pressing it should ask all those visitors, not us long suffering boaters, which includes me!

Enough for now

As yet we have received no email from anyone stating they will donate their month's licence fee, though early days.  We shall see what tomorrow brings!