Victor notices the contractors are dragging out their jobs again

Published: Sunday, 03 December 2023

I RECKON that most of you realise that the contractors working on the waterways like to drag their jobs out.

Not only often to make them last from Monday to Friday but having to come back to it a few days later or even making one job into two!

This seems to be the case with the repair to the collapsed wall at Worksop between locks 50 and 51 on the Chesterfield Canal.

Now completed

A notice tells the work has now been completed to the collapsed wall with the navigation cleared and made safe and is open.

Yet carries on to tell—'until a permanent repair of the retaining wall can be designed/constructed by a third party'.

Surely if the work has been completed and is safe, why does it need more work?  Or more to the point why was whatever was needed doing was not done at the same time—it took long enough from Wednesday 24th August. Three months!

There is definitely something wrong here and little wonder Canal & River Trust is so short of the readies.

Still they come

Yes, the winter works are still getting  cancelled, this time it's the repair to the culvert upstream of Smart's Bridge (24) on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union that required repairs and rebuilding.

This looks like being risky, as by the time it is attended, it will most likely have collapsed, and then take a few months—as it does—to repair,

So as cancelled, the navigation will now be open from the 8th January to 15th Marchjust under three months, that it would have taken, providing it holds, and then not a winter stoppage but more likely a summer one!

Going down

A publication tells that '124 lock gates are part of the winter works, a vital part of ensuring canals are kept open and safe for boaters'.

This of course refers to the winter works.  But with them still being cancelled, even though it is winter, what now of the many millions that were to be spent, eh?

Sounded good when first announced, but receding fast!

Exports galore

I see that once again, now that the cold weather is upon us, we get seemingly everybody with a web presence giving advice of how to survive it.

I really get the impression that they must think we are thick at being told to keep ourselves warm! After all we are adults and been around many years.

Telling us to make sure all windows are closed and to take hot food and drinks throughout the day, really takes the biscuit.

But to me, the most annoying, is to be told is to make sure your boat is warm particularly during the present very cold weather.

What do they think—that we will sit freezing in our boats?

Get real!

Boaters are sensible you know, and I always resent being told what anyone with an ounce of common sense is obviously well aware of, and I'm sure do many more.

The only warning

Still referring to the present freezing weather, search as I will, I can't find much told of the dangers of walking the towpaths from Canal & River Trust.

And the towpaths are very dangerous, especially the surfaced ones with their iced, and thus slippery surfaces, with our already reporting two deaths.

All I can discover from CaRT is—'It is much safer to walk with another person, in case you find yourself in trouble' and 'If you need to travel alone tell somebody where you are'.

I don't see that of any use whatsoever. Really it should tell people to keep away as the towpaths are now dangerous in this freezing weather, that has been proved.  But it seems the two deaths have not had any influence, as CaRT must not officially put anyone off walking the towpaths—ice or not..

But methinks most sensible people will have realised the danger and kept well away.

Victor Swift—telling tales for 23 years