Victor: Dragged out at Christmas

Published: Friday, 25 December 2020

HERE it is Christmas Day and I'm dragged out to 'entertain' you—no peace for the you-know-what, eh?

So it just has to be that complete bog-up of the Aire & Calder breach, don't you think?  Talk about being on the back foot. From Canal & River Trust's first description of a 'structural failure' one can only assume that Canal & River Trust wasn't even aware of what had happened and the seriousness of the canal breach to homes and property or it was attempting another cover-up—take your pick.

In fact it was three days later when it came out with the strange message: 'We have taken the decision to keep the navigation closed until January 4th as a precaution.'

Of course you have to keep it closedit's breached! 

It being a Sunday Cart was missing when the breach was discovered, though the emergency services, Environmental Agency and even the military with a helicopter were quickly on hand.  Then it boasted on the Wednesday of 'the teams' bringing in the aggregates to plug the breach, but not 'our teams' as is usual, you may have noticed.

Enlightening explanation

I must congratulate Tony Dunkley on his most enlightening explanation of the cause of the breach, something we rarely get from those in charge, whose objective it seems is to cover-up their inadequacies.

The problem of course is that, with no one with any real experience patrolling the waterways these days, it is little wonder breaches and failures keep occurring. 

The only cure as so many of us know can only be the return of lengthsmen—but alas that is not going to happen, so breaches and failing culverts will continue.  I wonder how many there were this year?


Why not train those many boat licence checkers to investigate culverts and leaks?  After all, wooden steps were installed to allow easy access down to culverts, and it is easy to see water coming from a leaking canal bank...

After all CaRT are now almost completely without any employees, from engineers, lengthsmen and maintenance staff who actually have any real experience of or know anything about canals or river navigations.

The men whose knowledge and experience is now so sorely needed have all either been made redundant or have left to find jobs elsewhere through sheer disillusionment with how the job that most of them grew up with for their entire working lives has been degraded and largely destroyed.

There are four new cases

No visit to the boat this Christmas as the marina have now admitted to four new cases of coronavirus, making a total of eight, so we are being sensible and keeping away.

The victims have been told not to use shared facilities but can use the pump-out and the chemical toilet, but with some restrictions in place.

Good riddance

A bit of good news for you boaters who are absolutely fed up of treading in Canada Geese droppings that now adorn so many towpaths.

Authorities are taking advantage of the opportunity to obtain licences that sanctioned a cull of the damn things that are becoming so much of a menace with their high reproduction rate overcoming our native swans.

I'm away

So it's back to my Christmas pud and to try and convince dear Thomas that it is not a Sunday—he's so easy confused these days, don't you know.

And I hope you are managing to have a good one under so much adversity.  And all the best for 2021 and a earnest hope our waterways are not allowed to deteriorate any further...

Victor Swift