Victor reckons 'A stoppage a day keeps the boaters away'!

Published: Saturday, 03 June 2023

YES, I know it should be a 'apple' a day, but for once please excuse my suspect wit and a little 'funny'.

Though not so funny for you boaters who are stopped.

I'm of course referring to the May stoppages—exactly 31 in the 31 days of the month, that must have caused problems for many, though we luckily escaped doing an hasty retreat on our cruise on the Caldon.

But June is starting worse—and yes it is possiblewith two stoppage for each of the first two days of the month!  This includes the Rochdale (five in May), the Leeds & Liverpool (four in May), New Junction and the Kennet & Avon (three in May).

Latest: Now two more stoppages today (Saturday) with the Huddersfield Narrow closed between locks 12E and 13E and Ripon Marina shut off again by the closure of Bellfurow Lock just a mile from its entrance.

This keeps up the new trend of two closures a day—six for the first three days of the month!

I don't usually give advice, leaving it to those who believe they know better! But it would be wise to give yourselves a little extra time these days for your cruises. Or a great deal of extra time if tackling either the Rochdale or Leeds & Liverpool canals.

Latest again: This is getting absolutely ludicrous with yet another stoppage today—and it's the Rochdale yet again with it closed at Hebden Bridge between Mayroyd Lock (9) and Blackpit Lock (8). So its now it's seven stoppges in the first three days of the monthand dare I tell it? Of coursestill counting!

Proved right

It was a few years ago that I was 'taken over the coals' by CaRT for daring to suggest that it had a 'Wait until it breaks' policy.

But what the hell is it?  31 stoppages then repaired. Though some are luckily repaired the same day but others—like the current 'blown' cilltake weeks.

Reckon I deserve an apology eh?

Too expensive

The Customer Service Facility on the Dudley Tunnel Branch needs two replacement showers heads, with both giving up the ghost, our Keith tells me.

CaRT tells that 'the problem with the showers is substantial, and they both require replacement. We don’t currently have the budget for this'.

So the facility is closed. But I have to agree with Keith asking just how much does a shower head cost, and he discovering £120 for the pair at Wicks.

Ah, but it needs the contractors to install. That most likely needs a couple of days for at least two people...

Ah, those were the days

Those days in the dim and distance past when all the waterways had people looking after sections of the canals—who would have obtained and fitted such as showers heads as a matter of course.

And not when they both broke, but as soon as one broke.

Then came the contractors, with even more now added to Keirthe company that overrun 15 months on the upgrading of the M1 in Derbyshire.  And then needed parts of the road resurfacing!

And upand up, go the costs.  As do CaRT's more and more executives and managers.

While our waterways and their services wither away.

prescott lockLThe lock that wasn't wanted

The mention of Prescott Lock, also known as Three Mills Lock, in narrowboatworld brought to mind one of the most expensive blunders of the former British Waterways.

Opened in June 1909 at £21.5 millions, twice its estimated cost, it was constructed to transport materials for the building of the 2012 Olympics, but it was soon discovered that the financial conditions of its use was 'making barge traffic unviable' compounded by the struggle of the high tide only allowing its use of a few hours a day.

The outcome that it only handled two loads, the materials then going by lorry direct to where they were required instead of having to be unloaded from barges into lorries. And hardly any use since.

It was the rush for the 'green' solution of delivering materials that prompted its build, but was obviously not really looked into, as proving, as narrowboatworld told at the time—a white elephant!

Oh not its not

Mike Stonehe of the Grantham Canaltells his readers that May has arrived but still too early to cast a clout.

But I shall have to put the lad right, as I so hate the wrong interpretations of the old English sayings, and he has certainly misinterpreted this one.

It was in the Enclosure Act 1750 to 1850 that an estimated 200,000 hawthorn trees were planted, that give their May blossom.

And came the saying 'N'er cast a clout 'till the May is out' referring of course to the May blossom and not the month of May as Mike would have it.  Perhaps he'll get it right next year!

Victor Swifttelling tales for 23 years