Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Chuff Off

If you are something of a football fan - and you can cast your mind back to the late 80's early 90's. You might well remember 'Saint and Greavsie' on television. This was a light hearted sporting double act, consisting of a couple of ex-footballers Ian St John and Jimmy Greaves.  The two pundits had a great deal of fun while presenting the somewhat oddball football show. Like all good shows there was a catch phrase. Usually delivered by Jimmy Greaves about some unusual happening or unexpected triumph of a little team over a giant. The memorable phrase was 'Its a funny old game!

Its a funny old game! 
I feel the urge to use a similar phrase, when it comes to the Inland Waterways. This is because most of the time I'm perplexed about what's happening on the waterways. Everyday with unerring regularity some sort of unusual happening occurs. Which usually comes with something of a flourish - produced like a bunch of flowers from up a third rate magicians sleeve - When, for whatever reason another CaRT triumph over good sense, gets highlighted. It seems that the unusual is now becoming, increasingly more and more usual.

Dutton Breach Revisited!
Just after CaRT was launched the Dutton Breach hit the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. Seizing the opportunity and without delay for a moments thought - CaRT launched an emergency appeal for funds to repair the canal. That appeal raised just over £23,000. Like a portent for the future. The appeal was - frankly unappealing - and proved to be a dismal failure. Only having achieved a mere 1% of its target. In the time honoured way, the appeal was then encouraged to die by the simple expedient of being quietly dropped. Predicated on the understanding that the occurrence of such a disaster was a rare and unforeseeable event. Snatching disaster from the jaws of a triumph, within nine months there were a further eight rare and unforeseeable serious failures. Such as the embankment collapse at Rishton. 

Now we are back revisiting the Dutton Breach once more. It seems that the millions of pounds expended on the repair. Which was heralded by the fanfare and an award that CaRT unashamedly presented to itself. Now seem to be a bit tawdry and a little bit premature. The £2.5 millions repair was completed in September 2012. However, unknown to CaRT but visible to anyone passing by. The canal has carried on leaking where the repair meets the original bank. CaRT has now said that it will start work on the failure at Dutton during the first week of January, and expects to have it repaired by early Spring. With a definite date being given once the extent of the repair is known. 

Magic Memorable Moments!
There are of course those stunning and fast becoming memorable moments. Where there is an involuntary shake of the head. Which is closely followed by an involuntary covering of your face with your hand. Moments that can leave you both aghast - and embarrassed for - CaRT at the same time. The legendary poetry carved onto lock gates, done at a time of austerity. Demonstrating a complete lack of awareness of how such an absurdity would be seen as being ill judged.  Or my personal favourite - growing trees in a boat - creating a floating forest - only to realise later that the boat will never be able to pass under the bridges. This was not a shot in the foot moment - this was more like a shot to the head - and intended to do exactly what?

But it did not end there and trees certainly seem to play their part, because there was also the 'plant a tree campaign' where you could text a number and pay for an Ash tree to be planted. This memorable happening coincided with the huge publicity surrounding the dreadful Ash Die Back disease. You then begin to ask yourself - is this just happen stance or is someone inside Ivory Towers carefully choreographing these classic cock-ups.

Off The Rails.
Now we learn that another of the cohort of ex quango directors is about to take to the lifeboats. Simon Salem is going to do a Michael Portiloo and travel round the world by railway. I found out about this when a mutual friend said with a wry smile 'Simon says he is about to Chuff Off.' But there is always the chance that he might do a Tony Hales, who has announced his imminent departure from the platform, only to have more come-backs than Status Quo. 

The Villains
Which nicely leads me to a conclusion. You may have been wondering why the link to football. Well chairman Tony Hales is a football fan. He seems to have been just about as successful in his tenure at CaRT as his team of choice (The Villains) have been in the league. Whether the poor performance is in anyway a reflection of the make up of the clubs board, I will leave you to speculate. Jimmy Greaves was right you know, 'its a funny old game!' albeit on the pitch or on the towpath.

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