Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Use it or lose it!

My dad called it a "black fingernail job" long before it was used as a character non de plume in the "Carry On" films. It has something of a convoluted meaning amongst the old miners. Essentially you get a black fingernail if you're doing something heroic which is however bound to end in failure. People would keep on do something either through love or bloody mindedness and kept going until it hurt. Like trying to empty the north sea with a bucket.

It's the same with the coal/diesel boats doing their rounds on the canals. No one in their right mind would do it as a job. But do it - they do. The boaters are certainly not going to make a fortune. I imagine they are going to find it very difficult to make a decent living. So they must be doing it for some form of love. Then on the freezing cold and icy grey mornings, they move along, ice breaking to their next customer. So they must be bloody minded as well.

We came across a couple of coal boats while we were out over the summer. It's almost a matter of principle with us that we have to stock up on whatever we can. On the understanding if you don't support the service and it becomes uneconomic continue. One day like the old coal carrying boats, it could be yet another service that will be gone forever. 

Use it or lose it is the watchword. Now, if only there was such a coal boat to support on the South Yorkshire Navigation


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