Victor is pleased we moved

Published: Saturday, 06 January 2024

VERY pleased indeed that we moved from Sawley to Mercia Marina—a very calm environment with no flooding rivers.

We were at Sawley in the 2000 flood, and wouldn't like to experience that again. Luckily, the then British Waterways had lock keepers and lengthsmen, so there were plenty of people making sure every single boat was safe—not so sure about now, though the present owner had a boat checking the boats in the marina.

In the 2000 flood boats were sunk at Red Hill on the Soar, four at Derby Boat Club on Sawley Cut, with the then locky getting the boats that had drifted on to land off Sawley Cut moved back to where they should be moored. And yes, two sunk at Chapel Farm Marina above Derwent Mouth Lock.

Eventually the water went over the lock beam (pictured) in the 2000 flood.

It wasn't so much the rain that time that caused the flood but allowing tons of water out of the Derwent reservoirs to save an embankment that was constructed on the cheap.

I wonder

I wonder indeed, that when the previous owner flogged Sawley Marina and King's Marina at Newark to Aquavista, if it mentioned that they were both subject to flooding? 

And not a 'normal' flood but around 20ft according to the Met Office at the time, with water well over the piers and jetties.

I reckon, as in 2000, there is going to be a mass exodusfrom both!  As everyone concerned seems to be forecasting more of the wet stuff.

Power problems

Mentioning our old marina of 20 odd years, Sawley, though it does not compare with our present one, Mercia, in what it offers to its boaters there is one thing that Sawley does havean excellent power system. (That I could have mentioned previously!)

In this sort of temperature, when we visited and stayed the night at Sawley we would simply use a mobile phone to switch on the power and so the heating, hours before we got to the boat, it then being nice and warm when we arrived.

Alas nothing like this at Mercia, our arriving last Monday afternoon to a very cold boat, and as there was no way we were going to sit there shivering, we switched the heat on and buggered off to Willington to the Dragon for a meal, eventually arriving back, to a warmer boat.

But worse was to come, for In this cold weather we leave an electric heater on to  keep the boat aired—and the dog warm during the night!  So imagine our feelings when woken up by the cold in the middle of the night to find the power had bust! Yes my friendsnowt! But a shivering dog.

But then an apologetic fella telling the system had failed! He swapped something in a box and we had power back,

No way José

I'm afraid its power/lighting needs something to be desired and brought up to date. At the same time installing a light in our  jetty's car park, as its in total darkness this time of year, would be most helpful.

As to tomorrow afternoon, it's no way José! Not with a freezing boat awaiting with the temperature forecast down to minus!  As gathered, we're getting on a bit, so are somewhat nesh!and I've already explained that word!

Makes a mockery

The continuing cancellation of the winter works make a mockery of that promise from Canal & River Trust of all those millions that are going to be spent on repairing the waterways system over the winter.

It sounded fantastic, all that work being done.

But alas it isn't.

Need to be inspected

All these culverts failing must surely show that it will be of much less expense if they were all inspected.

Why? Because it is pretty obvious that they are reaching the end of their lives. It has long been realised that such as lock gates have a life span, and so do culverts, for they are carrying anything that is in the stream flowing through, that can be causing damage, as well as leakage from the canal above, that can easily be seen upon inspection.

We get 'em called sinkholes nowadays—there's at least two now. One over the week-end on the Staffs & Worcs and another on the Macc.

Examination means the possibility of a fairly simple job instead of the waterway being out of action for weeks and tremendous costs to repair by contractors. What was one? Seven weeks I remember, what with one thing and another.

And locks

Not only culverts that now need regular inspecting but locks too, with another beam broken off a lock that wasn't even flagged-up on the winter works list, our Keith tells.

So Spon Lane Lock 1 on Birmingham's New Main Line has a broken beam, and I see there's been one or two in the same condition over the past year.

So I hate to think how many stoppages will be caused by one thing or another through lack of inspection this year as  everything is getting older,  Might even beat the record of 38 stoppages in one month.

So don't plan your cruise/s yet.

Most annoyed

One George Drum was most annoyed that dear Thomas quoted the Express concerning his boat being alleged to be unlicenced for three years, with the trust eventually running out of patience. It then whipped his boat and butty off the Kennet & Avon and off to be sold. As to all this I've no comment. (Makes a change!—Editor.)

He then sent us the most filthily worded emails/letters ever seen, in fact we had enough of it after the first few lines—I can't tell 'sentences', as there weren't any, just one long, long diatribe of 'dirty' words, that will of course never see the light of day.  Even dear Thomas was shocked, and that's after 27 years as a newspaper editor in the past.

Anywayor 'any-road-up' as we tell hereit ain't going to see the light of day.

Victor Swifttelling tales for 24 years