Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Boating 2013 In Reflection (Oct - Dec)

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 last in a series of four postings that is intended to reprise the year on the blog.

The transition from autumn to winter has been slow. We started to light the boat stove towards the end of October. Even in November after the gales of October the trees had still a good number of leaves. The change from the green of summer to the gold and brown of autumn has been very gradual. The hedgerows are full of berries and we have had a few hedgerow pies. Blackberry and apple being my favourite.  


The Canal and River Trust has a bewildering number of people who are in one way or another tied into organising the future and direction of the trust. For each of the trust’s eleven waterway areas there is a Waterways Partnership allegedly drawn from local communities. In reality chosen by the chairman of the partnership. The role of Waterways Partnerships is completely advisory as are the roles of various other groups involved in the governance of CaRT. Plus a couple more extra partnerships thrown in for good luck.  Click Here

Sometimes to get a good perspective on how things are stacking up. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the recent past. Its called foresight or in some circles technology foresight. Much of the research into foresight techniques has been rather fuzzy work and has been very elitist. Foresight attempts to go beyond the normal and gather information from much more diverse sources. Foresight is intended to be used for long-range planning that's influenced by using a structured and systematic approach. Foresight is helpful to examine alternative paths and not just what is currently believed to be most likely or business as usual. Measuring how effective foresight is requires a benchmark. The benchmark to measure against, is what has taken place in the recent and distant past. Click Here

In a press release from CaRT 'Help us protect water voles' which you can view here. Click Me CaRT are seeking a donation of around £25,000. On the face of it, the project seems to be quite laudable. However, there is a caveat. Such a project needs two things if it is to prove successful. The first is that it has to be an open ended project. It's never going to be successful as a short term project. It has to have a plan for the long term future built in. This is going to require money year on year for the foreseeable future. The second problem is one for the voles and the conservationists. North American Mink  are now more widespread than ever.  Click Here

A picture sometimes is the best way to pass on a great deal of information at a glance. In this example we can see a potted version of the earth through all its time divisions. Starting with the 'Archean' to the 'Protozoic' where the first signs of life have been detected in the rocks from this time. Fossils of water living creatures highlight the 'Cambrian' to the 'Permian' era.  Click Here

I'm the first to admit that I'm not the most organised of people. Not only that, but since retirement I have noticed that I have now acquired a list of regular chores to do. I have taken on change as the world around me has changed. Changed from one of the working week with a bit of weekend leisure to one mainly of leisure with a bit of work. Click Here


It looks to me like CaRT had a narrow escape when during the planning stage the handover of sections of the EA was postponed. The poison chalice that could have been off loaded on CaRT are amongst the more expensive sections of the EA. I discovered an interesting whistle blower website that shines a light into some of the inner workings of the Environment Agency. But at the broad brush stroke level if the information is correct should be sounding the alarm bells within CaRT.  I was amazed to read some of the top line statistics comparing England's Environment Agency to it's European counterparts. Click Here

I have a question, is climate warming or the lack of climate warming anything to be concerned about. It might seem to be a strange question. Worrying is to strong a word to use. I think its more to do with if something is a concern or isn't a concern rather than a worry. For years I have read each side of the issue and to my crotchety mind I still don't have a clue. The concern is that there are so many factors to take into account. Broad brush strokes split into two areas, natural phenomena and man made. Click Here
The First Mate Guides were created by Carole Sampson. If you wanted to know how to contact a doctor, dentist, vet or chemist, or if you want to know where you can find a bank, post office, telephone or laundrette then these guides give you the peace of mind of knowing where they can be found. Carole Sampson has decided to cease publication of her extremely useful First Mate Guides, mainly because she is now based on the continent. However, she has made the Guides available for download in return for a donation to cover the costs of maintaining the site. Click Here

Collecting postcards, or Deltiology as it is known, is a fascinating hobby. Our recent history has to a point been documented by postcards. It's curious in a way even with all the wonderful advances in technology. It's hard to believe that the good old picture postcard is still with us and still going strong. I did a posting on collecting old photographic postcards. Which gives some simple background information about what is an interesting hobby. Click Here


Watching out for bats of an evening can be a bit of a dark art. I have technology in the form of an ultrasonic bat detector to tell us when they are about at night. Some bat species can be identified from their calls, but most of them require a sighting. So sometimes on a clear night you can see them going in and around building and trees. As for actually identifying a particular species in the old days you needed to catch one. Now to catch or handle a bat, you need to be trained, licenced and to have had a course of rabies injections. Even then a bat in the hand can still be very difficult to identify. Now the world of DNA analysis has changed all that. No longer do bats need to be caught to ascertain with some certainty a true identification. Click Here

Nia Griffith (Llanelli, Labour) Speaking in the debate about the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s report “Get Britain Cycling”. Which endorses the target of 10 per cent of all journeys being by bike by 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050; and calls on the Government to show strong political leadership, including an annual Cycling Action Plan and sustained funding for cycling. Click Here

For years there was a competition between the old lock keepers to keep their 'lock' area looking good. Cutting the grass and planting a few flowers was a common practice. Some lock keepers went the whole hog and the locks looked like something from a Chelsea flower show exhibit. CaRT in their desire to protect the heritage have apparently now started to use hydroponics. So instead of the old flower beds. Welcome to CaRT hydroponics. Click Here

The announcement of a new ethos for the trust presented by Richard Parry in his role as CEO was a welcome change. Which comes with a promise from the trust CEO to be 'open and transparent' in dealings with the public. I admit, easy words to bandy around, but I think that boaters should not expect it to be an overnight change. The trust is still peopled by the old guard and I am sure that there will be some deep resentment to such change. A change that might well have to be forced upon those who choose not to embrace the new ethos. 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.