Victor asks if the two are really aware?

Published: Sunday, 09 January 2022

REFERRING to the two who want to know the best method of heating a narrowboat, I wonder if the pair changing from caravanning to narrowboating realise what they are letting themselves in for?

It seems that Tom & Sheila Turner have made the decision as the roads are too busy whilst the waterways, to their eyes, are virtually empty in comparison, but I wonder, have they looked further than this?

We all know that the waterways are far from an 'open road' as in caravanning, for there are locks, tunnels and rivers to contend with, and the working of the locks is becoming harder in two respects—lack of maintenance and people getting older.

The all too frequent lack of knowledge of contractors, all too often leaving such as locks far from easier to operate—balancing not being their strong forte.

Then there are boaters who just cannot venture into the tunnels—I know of crew members who actually walk over tunnels rather than go through.

And rivers. Our own Jan will now no longer tolerate the Trent below Cranfleet, admitting her fear in the past, especially on the tidal Trent, but keeping it to herself at the time so as not to spoil the pleasure of others in exploring the northern waterways.

But what of Tom and Sheila? Do they have any such aversions?  Or are they going to find out the hard way?  But we all know the solution, eh?  Hire a narrowboat first—and find out.

I don't believe it!

But, alas, I have to—the way that contractors are now dredging our poor canals. You will have the opportunity to judge for yourselves when you read boater Anne's report tomorrow of what she witnessed.

I've had a quick preview and was amazed at what the contractors are getting away with nowadays. Certainly not doing the job properly, and most certainly not up to the standard of Land & Water who were responsible for dredging before this lot was taken on.

It's a gem!

A gem indeed from John Coxon when he related in his recent article outlining the incompetence of these self same CaRT contractors.

He was telling of the contractors at Atherton Flight dropping a lock gate in the canal that closed the flight for a week, it requiring a special crane to get it out, but with CaRT in its wisdom blaming vandals being responsible for the gate dropping, to which John answered—'Well at least they got that bit right!'

A gem indeed!

But why contractors?

As this week seems to dwell on contractors, I have to tell it has always puzzled me why those people who understood the very specialised work of looking after and repairing the infrastructure of the waterways in the past were cast aside for contractors, who do not understand such infrastructure.

And at the same time costing inordinate sums of money in the process, surely much more than a permanent team as before that would always be available with none of this  'establish/investigate a method of repair' as we are so often told these days together with other such statements that clearly shows how it is.

Or perhaps, like other things, passing on to third parties, means less work for those at Ivory Towers, so of course less workers and more chiefs, that certainly seems to be the trend.

Victor Swift