Victor finds tempers fray at Fradley

Published: Monday, 21 September 2020

NO, NO, NO, not my temper I hasten to add, I'm way past all that.

The tempers of two boat owners who had been waiting and waiting for a boat to move from the water point at Fradley, where it had been moored for over half hour with no one in sight and not even a hosepipe attached.

Eventually one of the owners found the culprits having a pleasant picnic, and 'heated words' were exchanged resulting in the crew scurrying back to their boat making a rather quick getaway.

KingsBromleyAll boaters who have used that tap know it is a slow filler and there has been more than one deep draughted boat stuck in the silt—as in fact I once told with a photograph, so it's not one to leave a boat.

Vast open area

We are always somewhat wary of going into a strange marina for services, especially when there is a bit of a wind blowing, and it was with some trepidation that we entered King's Bromley Marina for a pump-out. 

But we need not have been concerned for unlike so many, taken up with jetties on all available space, there was a vast open area before the facilities allowing room for maneuver.  And the bonus of a good pump-out with two buckets of washing thrown in.

It's the HS2

Boaters were asking what was that vast area fenced off just above Wood End Lock, thinking it was yet another housing estate, but for some, alas no, it is part of a junction for the HS2 railway, that has been evoking some complaints from boating associations, somewhat alarmed at its progress.

WoodendWhat particularly amused me was the 'climate brigade' objecting to a fast railway powered by electricity rather than the present slow ones mostly powered by diesel!

As to being a problem to boaters, I just don't see it.  They don't have to moor by the line side, and as to a train passing, if it is like those our pair have ridden in France it will be there and gone in seconds at up to 200mph.  Or if like Spain's 'Platypus' at 222mph, even quicker.  A damn sight better that ours at a struggle to get to 125mph.  We are so far behind yet invented the thing.  Little wonder that George, outside Chesterfield Station, looks a little happier!

AlrewasMooringsTerrible etiquette

But the standard of etiquette, as I have previously mentioned, has been terrible this time, ourselves at Wychnor Lock going forward to assist a crew member who immediately stepped back on the boat to leave us to itthough we were not even the next boat in the queue.  Then a fella came up the lock in his boat, and didn't even offer to lower his offside paddle when exiting the lock.  Most of us stand at the offside, lower the paddle then walk across the lock gate to open the gate, but too much effort for him.

And the choice of mooring, dead opposite severe vegetation, smack up to bridge holes and on hidden bends.  And many on lock moorings, that I thought was long gone after the demise of Canaltime.  How about the boater in the cruiser well settled in for a Sunday on Alrewas Lock moorings on the river?

The worst of it all was that it was private owners who were the culpritsthe hirers were much too keen to help.

Stenson again

So again to Stenson, and opening the gate paddles discovered they let even less water through, so I timed how long it took to fill—exact;ly 18 minutes!  And the last few inches, with of course reducing pressure, really did seem like forever.  All because whoever is responsible is either not bothered or too idle to do anything about it.  Why they took the other two paddles off I just cannot understand as such a large lock, and other broad locks still have four gate paddles...

StensonNotCutAnd the gates.  After seeing it needed two people to move the offside bottom gate, both the other boaters sharing the lock and ourselves decided if was a one gate only escape, and even that required the two to move.  Oh yes!  Not a volunteer in sight, and told volunteers just don't want the hard work of Stensonand who can blame 'em?

An unusual September cruise, that has shown the difference in the upkeep of the various areas.  Those looking after the Staffs & Worcs keeping it as best they can, but those in charge of the Trent & Mersey obviously not caring, as the lack of towpath vegetation on the Staffs & Worcs and so much on most of the Trent & Mersey shows—as the example at Stenson.

Victor Swift

The site will be back to normal this week