IT'S OUR boating time again, but this time somewhat apprehensive.
Of course we are apprehensive with stoppages after stoppage piling up on the waterways and contractors needing its teams 'to plan repairs', then a week later 'continue to plan repairs'—as in the case of Upper Lode Lock on the Severn.
Anyway, we are away with the site closed until around the 21st of this month, but perhaps there will be a tale or two from yours truly in the meantime!
The blame game
Most stoppages now are blamed on either boaters or vandals with new excuses coming fast and furious!
Yet all of us know that it's the worn-out and maintain-less policy by Canal & River Trust that is to blame, but after the spate of bad publicity on both the television and press it is doing all it can to shift the blame onto either us boaters or vandals.
But what a craven way to treat its actual customers, making them take the blame for its own inadequacy.
The latest excuse, without actually naming the boaters is 'sustained damage', taking the blame off itself. This is the excuse for Benham Lock on the Kennet & Avon being closed, with a lock gate having its quoin, collar and anchor all having 'sustained damage'!
It is not stated if it is individual damage or all done at once! It is just ridiculous and hardly worthy of the trust for blaming such extensive major failings as 'sustained damaged'.
We are picking our boat up on the Shroppie today, Sunday, but seeing Brian Jarrett's photograph of the top gate of a lock on the Audlem Flight it is doubtful that we will be risking the flight this time.
I agree with Brian, he telling 'What a shame. I remember when this flight was a pleasure to use in the dim and distant past of BWB. Now it’s a lottery. Will it be this lock or the blown cill at Hack Green locks that closes the Shroppie?'
The lock is obviously in bad shape, that must have occurred over many months, but you can bet when it does fail—as it surely must—it will be 'boater damage' or words to that effect.
Another recent failure is Old Ford Lock on the Regent's, that rather proves the point. The breast post for the lock has snapped following an 'impact', with it now closed until a formal assessment can be made. The reason CaRT give?—'Boat damage'!
A boater snapping a massive breast post? Who is going to believe that? No sensible person, that's for sure.
And just had another email from Brian who tells he never knew we had a 'closed period' on the canals with 'out of season' being his understanding. Obviously not so CaRT in their comment on the closure of some northern canals with its sentence—'we will provide updates on the water position throughout the closed period'!
Mind you, with the three major waterways closed for one reason or another for all the boating season. 'closed season' is just about right. But leaves me to ask—when is the 'open season'?
A bit of dredging
Good news for a change—there's to be dredging below Foxton Flight on the Leicester Section..
This will be from the flight to the winding hole at Debdale Wharf—all of one mile and will take a week!
And why? I reckon it's because that is the cruise distance of the trip boat, that has been getting grounded in the silt!
Not very accommodating
In the 25 years we have been moored at Sawley Marina on the Trent there have been no less than four owners.
But this latest is a bit keen, now only allowing two cars to be registered with its parking system, which means when someone takes the boat for you leaving a vehicle parked there will get a walloping great parking fee to pay on return. Not very nice eh?
'Useless' hardly covers it
For the very first time we will be on a cruise with no licence showing, needless to add by courtesy of that obviously useless licencing department of CaRT.
As the image from a bank statement shows we paid for our licence way back on 14th August, yet yesterday we were bombarded with not one but three demands to pay our licence on three separate sheets in the same envelope!
Really, 'useless' hardly covers it, but clearly shows that CaRT is broken all the way througjh.