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Arthur Marshall

Grumpy old man chunters on (and not in a short way)

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It was good to meet you and have a chat last week (we were both moored just south of Christleton).

 

I can empathise with you on many of the points you've raised. Probably the increasing lack of consideration and boating etiquette and the fact that CRT do nothing about 'continuous moorers' and licence evaders are my biggest gripes.

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We are 'off back to the sea', I said it a couple of years ago, I said it last year, but now we have our names down at 3 coastal marinas and quotes from 'boat movers' to get there.

 

Next year we will 'be gone'.

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Arthur, you are by no means alone. I was hooked as a lad in the early 60s, when a very different ethos prevailed among the boaters then. All of the old timers I speak with, many of whom are respected names in the boating world, hold similar views. Everything changes with time, I know, but for me many of them are retrograde steps on the cut. Inspired by “ Narrow Boat”

and intrigued by the traditions and Craftsmanship that Rolt extolled, I felt a sense of belonging that has endured for much of my adult life. This has diminished somewhat in recent years, fuelled both by boating experiences and some content expressed on forums such as this one. I’m still around, still working, though only, in the main for those with an appreciations of the traditions that drew me in more than half a century ago. It was this and health issues that led to the sale of our beloved boat last year. Fortunately, I’m able to keep my hand in, thanks to friends who still boat. I could go on.......

Dave

  • Greenie 2

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I sometimes feel as you do. Certainly the curse of the static running engines / generators is the single thing that spoils things most. And you do meet a few horrible, miserable, nasty people in amongst all the nice ones. The tiny minority are remembered vividly, whereas the nice ones fade.

 

We had a bad day a couple of days ago, a woman was really horrible to Jeff for absolutely no reason. He is the empathetic type, sensitive and hates conflict. After that encounter he just wanted to go home. But then we met some lovely people and shared many locks with them. Suddenly things seemed much better!

 

So hopefully you are just going through a bad patch and things will look up!

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My feeling is that number of bridge-hoppers has gone down from a few years ago in general, but not in London and the southern GU, which is increasingly resembling London. Engines at mooring are sometimes a pain, but we like to moor away from others., which solves that, Some bits of canal are in a worse state than they used to be. Some are better. My worry is that CRT will be overwhelmed by too many "big" failures: tunnels or embankments. No matter how routine maintenance you do, there are decay processes that work over the long term, and if they reach the critical point after 200 years in too many places, we're stuffed. I can imagine a big embankment failure killing people, and CRT being forced to drain every embankment that might have same problem.

 

MP.

 

ETA. Also, Arthur, the world of canals may be changing, and not to your liking, but it's still pretty sane compared to the world outside, which is definitely going to hell in a handbasket. Now is not the time to give up you place of retreat from the madness.

Edited by MoominPapa
  • Greenie 3

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Dis the T & M the other week with a mate. the paired locks were a bit grim but they all worked, they clearly could have done with a lot of work though. It makes me realise how good our northern system is in comparison

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6 minutes ago, MoominPapa said:

ETA. Also, Arthur, the world of canals may be changing, and not to your liking, but it's still pretty sane compared to the world outside, which is definitely going to hell in a handbasket. Now is not the time to give up you place of retreat from the madness.

Now, that's a GOOD point.

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As a relatively newcomer to the canals I have to agree that things are achanging. Not always for the better. Speaking to a fellow boater the other week, he was convinced that in 10-15 years time there will be hardly any boats moving about on the system with the freedom we all enjoy today. 

 

There are still fabulous people mucking about on boats. We still enjoy our experiences and look forward to tomorrow. We will enjoy today tomorrow and the future whatever that may bring. 

 

To be honest dont fancy bricks and mortar again, done that. Not really all that keen on campervans. If the canals last long enough perhaps my next move will be on a conveyor into a very very hot room that I won't know anything about. 

 

Chins up everybody. Mr CRT don't let us see the decline of the canals any longer.

  • Greenie 1

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Arthur, don't do it!

If you think the canals are going bad, look in the papers and on TV, the land is a minefield especially for the over 50s.

You will not last a month on the bank, its horrible.

 

We are never going back to bricks, its too scary out there.

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Ironically I preferred the good old days when you had to carry a tool kit, sand bags and a bag of sawdust just to get through a lock flight.

 

I started boating at the end of the "decline" and things got steadily better through the 80s but they were still great .

 

After a 5 year break working behind enemy lines in Europe I returned to boating at the beginning of the new "Golden Age" with functioning locks, bureaucracy, more and more sterile generic clonecrafts and less and less room for idiosyncrasy.

 

Eventually after my boat and home was torched I left the canals and went to sea (my OH swearing she would never return after being upset by nasty minded folk who revelled in our misfortune).

 

A return to the years of "waterways dystopia" might just see me move inland again.

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My memory only - Back in the 70’s Canals in towns were the preserve of those that liked canals and a few that liked the privacy that run down areas offered for their various activities.  The regeneration and development around canals, the worsening roads, especially for cyclists and a better understanding that a walk in a green space is good or you,  not to mention unaffordable housing in certain cities has consequently attracted a lot more people onto canals.  Unfortunately for every 20(?) decent people now using the canals there are a couple of selfish people and one unpleasant person.   At least on the water you can move on, living in a house, means neighbours, and if you get a bad one, life is not good.  So whilst it may have got worse for you, the alternative may be much worse.....

Edited by Chewbacka

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Never have I read a series of comments with which I have agreed more. Arthur captured most of my views and Nightwatch's coments regarding the life expectancy of the network reflect mine.

I do not live on my boat but spend a fair amount of time on it. A 'refugee' from Rickmansworth area I had intended to return there as time went by. That is no longer realistic as the area is now full of CMs, bridge hoppers, aircraft carriers, sorry, wide beams etc. To counter any 'where's your proof' merchants I ĺive there and walk the towpaths .  

There that's my rant over

Frank

  • Greenie 1

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33 minutes ago, dogless said:

Keep the boat ... where else are you going to practice the trombone and banjo :)

 

Rog

 

 

Given up the banjo, to everyone's relief. 

 

I used to worry that people would get upset if I just upped sticks and moved to the other end of a mooring to get away frlm their exhaust fumes. It always seemed a bit rude. Then I realised that if they were bothered what anyone else thought of them they wouldn't actually be trying to kill me, so, yes, now I just shift . But it is annoying to have to keep doing it (twice, one evening last week) when you really just want to settle down and enjoy the day. Although the upside is, it means I don't have to worry about waking the inconsiderate buggers up when I kick off at six in the morning... 

  • Happy 1

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48 minutes ago, carlt said:

Ironically I preferred the good old days when you had to carry a tool kit, sand bags and a bag of sawdust........

I remember when motoring was like that..

 

 

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Arthur, I sympathise with your predicament. Chewbacka in #17 has summed up my feelings. Bad neighbours could spell disaster when in a static home, and not much you can do about it, except move (probably at a serious loss in value).

Many of your gripes about mooring are 'see-able/hear-able' when looking for somewhere to moor - so pick one that suits (and like us, you probably do anyway).

Unfortunately we have to take a chance on noisy/smelly engines  being run during unsociable hours - albeit a nuisance, but we have the option of moving on.

I wouldn't give up boating just for the reasons you give. 

Notwithstanding, most of your the gripes are valid, but probably of less concern to us, because we are faced with the prospect of giving up boating ourselves due to various physical limitations that have crept up on us in our old age.

Handling a 15 ton boat itself, along with lock gates, paddles, lift/swing bridges, etc, (not helped by poor maintenance). 

We have to recognise that it puts us at risk of serious harm in an accident due to our weakness when  sudden calls for extra strength are  required.

 


 

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Age is a factor for me too, 70 this year with a dodgy back and angina. Most of my boating is solo as my wife can't get away much, and while I manage OK so far, it don't get easier. I gave up a trip up Wigan this year as wide locks are a bit of an effort - even the few on the run to Chester tired me more than I expected. It all, slowly but surely, detracts from the joy of it until, maybe, I should just muck about in the garden, annoy people with strange songs (finally, maybe, finish  the CD of canal ones) and entertain the neighbours with the trombone. 

But not this year... quite. 

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I too find a stationary running engine insanely intrusive, even when a long distance away. When I moan on here about boaters running their engines whilst moored up peeps (usually Naughty Cal) tell me to moor somewhere else, but all too often all the 'somewhere elses' have their engine-runners too.

 

But on your other point of dumpers blocking up all the best moorings, I too suffer a bit from this too but at least a row of dumpers is QUIET, thank gawd for small mercies...

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
Add a bit

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Arthur's comments along with those by Dave Moore have pretty well summed up why we decided to sell Helvetia two years ago. I am still interested in Canals and Boats, and still get the occassional feelings of regret, but five minutes on the forum reading about rhe latest problems being experience by posters, confirms that we made the correct decision.

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