Victor: Hoping for better things

Published: Sunday, 13 May 2018

SO IT'S time for our usual May cruise again, and here's hoping we don't get the stoppages that we hit last September.

It was then we were held up by contractors taking five days to attach strips to the bottom gate of a Leicester Section lock, then unable to get up the Foxton Flight as it was closed to boaters as being used to give trips to visitors, then we were stuck at another lock on the way back as the gates would not close and panicking as Cart was about close the Section 'indefinitely' but we just managed to escape.

So hoping for better things this time, but alas as things stand, not too confident.

Jobs for the boys?

So Cart has given itself six more directors, but I really have ask—what for? They certainly do not seem to be waterway orientated.

We have one with 'extensive experience of the heritage and tourism sector'.  Another who has had 'senior positions in local government, regeneration and economic development'.

Then there is one who is 'currently Chief Executive of the British Muslim Heritage Centre'. Another who was the 'Chief Executive of the Landscape Institute, Executive Director of the United Nations Association UK, and Chief Executive of Environmental Protection UK'.  And finally, one 'who joins the Trust following a long and successful career in the Royal Navy'.

Make of that lot what you will. But I can tell you that with most being ex executive directors and such like they are going to cost a packet, and no doubt want their support staff—but to do what?

Better spent

It just makes you wonder what new silly schemes are being conjured-up to want such people, but one thing for sure: it will not be for the benefit of the ever failing waterways.

It would have been better if they had spent the money on repairing the breaches, the closed locks, broken bridges etc. that are festooning the system at the moment. Then perhaps we would have the benefit of the two Rings that are closed and the Leeds & Liverpool in proper working order to give the people the opportunity to use the system for what it was actually built for.

As it is obvious these people have left very well paid executive jobs to take up positions with Canal & River Trust, I have to wonder just where the money—that hasn't been available for proper maintenance—is coming from?

Ahh, but I remember, Cart borrowed quite a few millions not so long back... 

God help our waterways when it's pay-back time.

More practical

Instead of these weird and wonderful new directors, I reckon it would have been more practical—I won't use the word sensible—as that has long gone out of the window, to appoint a permanent swing bridge repairer on the aforementioned Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Such an appointment is surely needed in view of their constant breakdowns, and would not only have the advantage of costing peanuts in comparison, but actually doing something towards the benefit of the waterways.

Or better still

Or better still indeed, instead of spending the millions on those directors, using the money for something that would really benefit the waterways—bringing back those essential lengthsmen that with failure after failure following their departure, has proven beyond any shadow of doubt what a bad decision it was to dispense with their services.

Such people regularly tramping their sections of the waterways would have seen such as the many breaches in the making, and would have been able to make sure action was taken in time to prevent them.

Why so stiff?

Many boaters attending the festival at the top of the Erewash Canal have remarked how stiff were many paddles to operate, and we too had difficulty with the bottom gates paddles on Trent Lock that were extremely difficult to wind.

My thinking is that it is fairly strong men who tighten the things up, but whoever is in charge hasn't the gumption to realise that a lot of not-so-strong woman use them, and just don't allow for it.


No 'normal service' over the next couple of weeks I'm afraid, and no one to answer emails, but you will perhaps hear from me...

Victor Swift