Thursday, 2 January 2014

Boating 2013 In Reflection (Jan - March)

2013 has been a year full of unexpected consequences for me. I started to do a bit more writing for Narrowboat World. The previous CEO of BW/CaRT went and a new man was to take charge of the Canal and River Trust. It seems that our paths were destined to cross several times during the year. Looking back over any year there are always high and low points and this year was to be no exception. This is the first in a series of four postings that is intended to reprise the year on the blog.

The start of the year coincided with a spell of particularly bad weather. The cold weather it seemed would be never ending. When spring arrived it was much later than normal. However it was to prove to be one of the best for a long time.

January 2013.

Technology is now coming to the aid of everyone. Now you can take advantage of most email systems on the internet. By using services that allow for messages to be delayed and then sent at some arbitrary date (say a birthday) sometime in the future. I did a similar thing with the auto reply function on my old works email address. That automatically used the out of office function for messages that arrived after my last day of toil. A message which pointed out that like "Elvis" I had now left the building. Click Here
Quote: "Thank you for your email. I have to let you know that I have been made redundant from my job. I was very happy to be made redundant. Redundancy has helped me to achieve a long held ambition which I had not expected to do before reaching retirement age. Unfortunately, there is no one left behind that I can direct you to. This is because there is no one left to cover the work that I have been doing for the last 25 years. So like the king of rock and roll - Mick and Elvis have both left the building. Regards. Mick"
It seems that the blog has been noted in the latest issue of Towpath Talk. Issue 87, on page 92. In the "Wet Web" section, Editor, Helen Gazeley browses the boating blogs. Quote: A ‘grumpy old curmudgeon’ is how Rose of Arden’s blogger describes himself. Mike’s Blog of the Month takes you to fascinating places you might not have found otherwise including Trying My Patients, a rather gripping account of the world of a paramedic. Full of groan-worthy jokes and puns, Mike also likes to express his opinion of the Canal and River Trust; you can guess what it is when you see he’s reassigned the letters to Conservation and Recreation Taliban. Click Here

Victor on Narrowboat World has taken a good old swipe at the IWA (Inland Waterways Association). Read the Story On NBW Here. Now that the IWA has thrown in its lot with CaRT and appears to all intents and purposes to be acting as a CaRT stooge. Is there a future for and is there any relevance in, being a member of the IWA. With the revelation that the IWA has at the behest of CaRT been employing its members to snoop on fellow boaters. As some sort of covert branch of the CaRT enforcement team. Is this something appropriate, is it proportionate, is it acceptable or is it morally repugnant. Click Here

The death of Sir Patrick Moore was in a way the end of an era of amateur astronomers of the old school. I loved his eccentric presentation of "The Sky at Night" an astronomical program which started on the 26th April 1957 on BBC television. It is the longest running television program in the world. In the case of Patrick he was also the presenter throughout. I can't remember exactly when I first started to watch the program on a regular basis, but it would have been before I left school so it was in the early 1960's. Without a doubt Patrick was the man who brought me to a life long interest in astronomy. Click Here

Capital FM newsreader Laura Safe is the one making headlines rather than breaking them after she strolls straight into a canal in Birmingham while engrossed in a text to her boyfriend. CCTV cameras in the Mailbox shopping district of Birmingham recorded the moment a radio newsreader walked straight into a freezing cold canal while composing a text to her boyfriend. Click Here

When the waterways were within the remit of British Waterways, most people were well aware of the gathering storm clouds and gloom towards the end of BW's tenure. Due in the main to a piss poor performance from a dire choice of investments. Divesting some of the family jewels, but most of all the deliberate underfunding of repairs and maintenance. After donning the new clothes (after the bonfire of quangos) the old British Waterways team became the wonderful sounding but quickly tarnishing Canal and Rivers Trust. In the run up to the change, it was a bit like looking forward to the excitement in the aftermath of the governments quango bonfire night. In this case however, bonfire night arrived under a cloud and it was cold and wet. The much looked forward to display of fireworks proved to be a box full of damp squibs. Back to the deliberate underfunding of repairs and maintenance.  Click Here


My reader John recently commented on A Licence to Procreate "And I thought this was going to be a blog about '12 good citizens and true'. Funnily enough that also includes an MP, sex, and family values with lies and stupidity (both the defendants and the jury) thrown in for good measure." This set me off thinking about Mr and Mrs Huhne and their current on-off, innocent-guilty in-out out of court case. (later spending more time in than out!)  Click Here

I can see it now, like the opening credit titles to a vintage episode of Ronnie Barkers porridge "Right Honourable prisoner at the bar Christopher Huhne, you have pleaded guilty to the charges brought by this court, and it is now my duty to pass sentence. You are a criminal of the political classes. Who accepts arrest, house flipping and expenses as an occupational hazard, and presumably accepts imprisonment and a second home in the same casual manner. We therefore feel constrained to commit you to the maximum term allowed for these offences. A get out of jail card just like our old friend Baron Lord Ahmed, who also had a problem with his driving."

The plans of the Canal and River Trust to install CCTV into all of their moorings was revealed by Jenny Whitehall the national moorings manager at a recent meeting in South Yorkshire. Quotes have already been sought for initial CCTV installations. At a time of national austerity how can CaRT justify spending a huge amount of money on CCTV. It escapes me why CaRT are proceeding with this course of action. Whilst at the same time there are significant areas where infrastructure continues to slowly and inexorably fall apart. Click Here

Most of us must have watched with amazement the winter flocks of Starlings wheeling around in the sky before settling down to roost for the evening. The aerial display is often shown on television and those who are lucky enough to see it first hand, feel that it is something of a privilege to witness. On two occasions last year we saw such activities being done by birds. One was a huge flock of Starlings near the Dover Lock pub that roosted in some nearby trees. The second was a similar display by a smaller flock of Swallows before roosting for the night in a phragmites reed bed. Click Here

Hot on the heels of the trade in illegal horse and donkey meat that is being smuggled into your favourite supermarket burger or high street kebab - Comes the now infamous Garlic-Gate fiasco. A convicted garlic smuggler who is now on the run dodged over £2m in unpaid tax. This is not to be confused with businesses like Amazon and others who dodge tax on a much larger scale and snigger all the way to the bank. The Asian businessman who avoided paying £2 million in tax on garlic imported from China. Has now been sentenced to six years in jail. Click Here

I am continually surprised at the different kind of boat licence offerings that are currently available. These licences are apparently available to almost everyone. However, you will have to look around on the various forums to get factual insider information on the different licence types. I have garnered most of the information from the Canal World Forum - A place where information can be manipulated to meet your needs. Click Here

In a press release Nigel Moore has shared with everyone - Mr Moore has won his long drawn out case against BW/CaRT on appeal: "They used to boast that they had never lost a Section 8 case, but the Canal & River Trust now have suffered a significant setback with regard to the extent of their claimed powers over boaters." Lord Justice Mummery handed down the Appeal Court’s Judgement in the six year long case of Moore v British Waterways Board. The boards case had been, according to today’s judgement  “That it had power to require the removal of the claimant’s vessels, as they were permanently moored without any common law right to do so or without any permission granted by it and therefore ‘without lawful authority’.” Click Here

I have a bit of a concern about what is happening with Canal and Rivers Trust Moorings. I do not make any claim to understand the logic behind the way that the moorings are managed. What I am sure about however, is when a mooring stands empty it has to be a financial loss to the trust. The idea that the reserve price for a mooring is being set at a break even figure is I think being a bit economical with the truth. Click Here and Continues Here


I watched the last of the Time Team television broadcasts a few days ago. I shall miss the program because it first whetted my appetite for ancient technological history. But like all ancient historical events, Time Team has had its day. Man has come a long way in the last few thousand years. He has developed many practical technological skills. Prehistory comprises the time from the first appearance of modern man in Africa some 200,000 years ago. Up to the invention of writing and the beginning of recorded history. Click Here

Social-engineering threats are rapidly growing, courtesy of the security vulnerabilities of sites that regularly use abbreviated URLs. Anyone who's read any Twitter or Facebook posts is familiar with cryptic URLs such asbitly, tinyurl, and snipurl. Because they're shortened to seemingly random letters, numbers, and characters, you don't get any indication of where they're actually taking you. But all too often, we click them anyway. Click Here

I don't have much time for the Daily Mail - I have even less for Richard Littlejohn. Newspapers of all persuasions don't have a good standing with the British public. You might have thought that after the Leveson enquiry, any newspaper wanting to rebuild trust, would have kept its head down. Nathan Upton was a teacher at St Mary Magdalen's School in Accrington. Before the Christmas break the parents of that children at the school were informed in a newsletter that after the break Nathan Upton would be coming back to work after the holiday however this time as Lucy Meadows. Click Here
I like politicians, but looking at the size of some of them like Eric Pickles, I couldn't eat a whole one. I like them irrespective of their trading colour, red, blue or yellow. Though I must admit to having much more of a preference for the green variety. I listen to what they have to say, then when the glaze has gone from my eyes - I muse about which planet they are from. There is this constant theme - you ask a question of whoever is in power. Then, what is supposed to be an informative answer, always starts with how bad it was under the previous incumbents. In other words, all answers start with an excuse for not being able to put right a problem. I don't need a lecture on the performance of the previous government - I had a few years to absorb their level of performance. Tell me what you have achieved! Click Here

I read something a few days ago that made me stop and think. It was a throw away comment by a paramedic. It seems that one of the problems that they have is finding properties that do not have an easy to see door number. Imagine that an emergency call has been made. The ambulance is on site in good time - but time is wasted looking for the correct address. It could be a matter of life and death! Click Here

Now, lets suppose your out on your boat, moored up for the night and someone is taken ill. You need to make an emergency call. Could you describe your exact location. Could you describe the best route to get to your boat?
With all the rubbish being stirred up about constant cruising - constant mooring - bridge hopping - over staying - call it what you will. I would sooner just enjoy my boating and get on with it.  However, I was minded of a story. A boater walks into a canal side pub and the landlord says, "Hey Bill, I haven't seen you in a quite a while. Whatever happened, you look absolutely terrible!" "What do you mean?"Bill replies, "I'm feeling fine." The landlord pointing a bills leg says, "But what about that wooden leg. You didn't have that before." Click Here

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.