Friday, 31 October 2014

Your Bedtime Routine (1)

Do you remember the old fire safety advert on television called 'Your Bedtime Routine' Where a couple did a singing and dancing act around their home closing doors and turning off electrical appliances before retiring for the night. The idea being to forestall any untoward incidences and risk of an electrical fire. 

Almost every month, the inland waterways media has a boat fire to report. This started me thinking about things on the boat. Most people should know where the battery isolators are located. (Ours are in the engine room) But what about other appliance and equipment isolators. On Rosie for instance we have a gas central heating boiler. Until I started thinking about this as a blog topic, I had no idea if it also had its own gas supply isolator. (It has but more worryingly it took me quite a while to locate it

So many bits of electrical equipment like television sets have a standby more. Initiated when turned off with a button on the controller. Mobile phone chargers are often left plugged into a socket. Where contrary to what you might think, they continue to operate and consume electrical power.

However on a boat, there are going to be more unique 'features' than we might have in our bricks and mortar homes. There are certainly many more reasons for making ourselves aware of the risks. 

I think the issues fall into three main categories. Every day things, leaving the boat for extended period and annual events.  An everyday thing might be to turn off any unwanted appliances at night. When leaving the boat for an extended period would be to turn off the water pump and isolate the diesel and gas supply. An annual event might be to change the battery in a smoke alarm.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Poll Tax for the Inland Waterways (2)

A Poll Tax for the Inland Waterways

Governments of all colours have from time to time come up with various bits of stupid legislation, that has eventually created the pit for their own downfall. 
  • For Thatcher is was the Poll Tax. 
  • For Major it was Family Values. 
  • For Cameron it was Big Society. 
  • For the Railways it was the wrong kind of Snow. 
  • For the Canal and River Trust its the wrong kind of Trustee.

There has been chapter and verse written over the last decade and longer, highlighting the distrust that many hold for the way that the waterways are being managed. What has become plain to see with the 20:20 vision provided by a decade or more of hindsight. Is that the quango charged to manage the waterways, was ill equipped with the right kind of personnel for the job. I'm not talking about the skill set of the general staff. The finger of responsibility has to be pointed much higher up the command structure.

Charitable Status

As a charitable trust, it seems strange that CaRT has deliberately taken on a stance that has put it even more at odds with its clientèle both on and off the bankside. CaRT needs the public and its direct paying customers to provide the money for the future. Rather than create a trust membership where people with a genuine interest in the canals can feel some ownership. The trust chose to ignore the advice given by the government minister and his adviser's and chose to go another route. The trust made the strange choice to only have a vague collection of 'friends'!

So how were this loose collection of waterways friends to be recruited. At a time when local authorities were clamping down on 'charity muggers' confronting people in the high streets. The trust chose to go that same confrontational route. Investing a significant portion of money into high street chugging. Friends were there few and the chuggers organisation soon went out of business. The fast dwindling resources like a leaking lock were drained further.  The trust seems to see its few friends as some sort of 'loss leader' for the future.

So where is the responsibility element?
Where was the oversight by the trustees?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Scottish Canals

While you might have thought that anything to do with the promotion of UK canals - especially if organised at an international level - would have been in the remit of the Canal and River Trust. After all - Birmingham is promoted as being the Venice of the UK. Birmingham also has several large venues where an International event intended to showcase the International canal network could easily be hosted.

However it seems that while CaRT has been concentrating on creating a map of places on the English canals. Scottish Canals has quietly got on with it and secured an international event in Inverness. Scottish Canals  will be hosting the prestigious international event on canals in September 2016.

Scottish Canals  says 'It will be a chance to promote Scotland's canal network and features. More than 150 canal Organisations, Societies and operators from across the world are expected to attend.' The World Canals Conference has previously been held in Montreal and also in New York and now Inverness will be added to the illustrious list of international locations. Scottish Canals has said.

I rather like the look and feel of the Scottish Canal website. It really does promote Scottish Canals very well. It is very easy to navigate and contains a great deal of interesting information.