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Golden Duck

Golden Duck Naming Ceremony

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"Golden Duck" was visited by HRH Duchess of Gloucester today at Little Venice, where she met some of the blind and visually impaired children which use the craft and where she officially named the boat.

 

The "Golden Duck" is a 56ft wide beam which was custom built for the purpose by Stephen Goldsbrough Boats in 2004. She is owned by the Royal London Society for the Blind and was kindly donated by cricketing charity, the Primary Club.

 

The name which has cricketing associations, was chosen by the Primary Club and the ceremony was followed by a reception at the Long Room at Lords Cricket Ground.

In addition to HRH Duchess of Gloucester, the function was attended by RLSB supporters Anita Dobson of Eastenders fame and singing sisters, the Cheeky Girls.

 

The "Golden Duck" has many special features including disabled access, with wide gangways and a hydraulic lift at the bow.

 

Barry Jones

 

Skipper

 

M/V Golden Duck

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Have arrived back in home mooring upriver on the River Stort after a 2 day run from Little Venice.

We had a problem in the Ducketts Cut where one lock gate wouldn't open fully due to what felt like a paving slab being lodged behind it.

 

We phoned the BW emergency line. Firstly they couldn't be sure they had a waterway called the Hertford Union. Eventually, they decided it was in E8, so they did identify it and confirm responsibilty. Then they had to keep paging their engineer who didn't respond to the page.

Narrowboats could pass through the gap, but with us being wide beam, we couldn't.

 

 

We decided that even if he did turn up, he probably wouldn't be able to fix it on the spot.

We decided to go back up the lock in reverse, steer in astern back to the previous lock, go through that lock in reverse and then wind at the first opportunity.

We then re-entered the Regents Canal, motored down to the Limehouse Basin (the old Regents Canal Dock where ships used to unload into working boats) and came up on the semi-tidal Limehouse Cut into the lower reaches of the River Lee.

This put us about 3 hours behind schedule, but we managed to make the time up and arrived in Harlow at 2036 tonight (1 minute behind schedule).

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Imagine paying BW a 2.4 times increased licence because you are a multi-user boat, and then on top of other things (that I have mentioned elsewhere regarding disabilities and the waterways) you get this sort of service from BW, lets consider, will you be accepting such a poor level of showing for the increases in licences you could be facing?

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To put it into perspective, I don't think the service we got from BW was any worse than the level of service and resultant time delays incurred with many of the emergency and breakdown services that exist for road users.

The point I was trying to highlight is that I found it quite amusing that the man at the other end of the phone didn't seem to know which canals BW own.

He couldn't find the Hertford Union on his computer ("the computer says NO" - Little Britain).

I suspect that, as with many organisations today, in an effort to centralise their operations (presumerably to reduce costs), the people on the other end of the phone are a long way away geographically and have no local knowledge.

 

On the other hand, BW were very helpful when we were in Little Venice and helped us to find a mooring during our stay in London. Their maintenance men in blue shirts were also very friendly and accommodating.

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You miss my point! I somehow am not surprised! On another website (where I was surprised to find the information from!) there is some grumblings about multi users having to pay this exhortinate increase. Would you pay for a crap service and of course reduced access to the waterways compared to everyone else? Or maybe it is that you dont think there is a problem to be addressed? Us real disabled people have actually taken other disabled people (deaf-blind and mobility impaired) on the canals for holidays - and encountered the many problems that are present! Whats the use of a good towpath if it takes an obstacle course to reach? I do know some people in the boat project agreed that the DDA 1995 would mean BW has do do a lot more because the legislation is there. And one of the things is that there cannot be a excessive payment for a service that is reduced for disability users! If the service from BW is just as bad as it has usually been, then the payment for a increased licence is so much more severe than it appears becasue you are getting so much less!!! Organisations like yours should be doing their bit to ensure that the canals are much more accessible (and convincing others that it doesnt mean electric locks etc etc etc!!!) because there is a mind set on the waterways that is... (erm I wouldnt say it here because you'sd think I'd said it - so I'll just say that I read some comments on what some canallers think about minority groups using the waterways and I wouldnt want to repeat it!)

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There was a time when specialist boats for the the disabled were much more common that they are today, in my early days of boating I used to tell all who would listen how wonderful the canal system was for giving disabled people access to the countryside. How unlike any other mode of transport the pedestrian speed of a canal boat was the ultimate way enjoy at length the wildlife and the scenery which passes by.

 

Then came the Thatcher era, with the 'feather your own nest' and "There is no such thing as society" all forms of financial support was withdrawn from the many specialist boats that were around and few survived, now after more than two decades enlightened attitudes are returning and hopefully the curse of that damned woman is being exorcised.

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There was a time when specialist boats for the the disabled were much more common that they are today, in my early days of boating I used to tell all who would listen how wonderful the canal system was for giving disabled people access to the countryside.

25280[/snapback]

 

 

Yes there were more than today John. But I dont agree that it was all Thatcherism stuff the other problem was accesssibility again! Many community boats for the disabled could not cater for whom they were meant for because accessibility was a major problem. Despite having wheechair lifts and ramps and all the mod cons needed for safe and sensible access, the enjoyment of the canals proved to be a very limited one and most of these boats ended up with facilities that were useless and expensive to maintain!

 

A lot of them became white elephants, if they couldnt provide pleasure for those they were intended for then they were expensive projects and funding became a problem in supporting these projects so for a lot of projects funding from outside sources dired up. I can remember dozens and dozens of charity boats for the disabled and they have all gone, so few orignal projetcs remain. The earliest community boats for disability began in the 1970's and back then access was not even considered as a necessity it was just pure pot luck if there was a good bit of accessible towpath. (And in a lot of places towpaths were so bad they couldnt be used anyway!) So even though John says the canals were a delighful way of giving access to the countryside, i am sorry John it wasnt that briliant even back then!

 

It was just fortunate that in a few prime locations access proved to be easy in getting to and on/off these boats. Now access is a legal issue and BW is talking about increasing licences etc and I am sorry but that is not on when one considers the increased mobility and the increased demands for access coupled with the requirements about paying excessively for facilities that cant be used.

 

You see, even though there is a perception that accessibility is so much better, there are so many silly things like poorly placed bollards, badly done towpath edges, brick setts in towapths, steps leading down to or up from canal towpaths, railings that werent there before, railing along the towpaths, ramps with incremental step downs, etc etc there are many projects that have actually worsened access (and in some places even made it more dangerous for general users let alone disabled users! Let me give an example - Birmingham - its nearly all steps and steps onto the canals despite the improvements the best a wheelchair user could hope for would be to go through the ICC, over the bridge to Brindley Place and enjoy the view of the boats and water from that bit but they couldnt explore much further than that unless they choose to access from a different place which would mean going all the way back to that access point if they ventured far.) so one can overall say the access is no better than it was a couple of decades ago, the only difference is that legislation has given so many people with disabilites new found freedoms and a greater initiative to explore and enjoy their countryside and when it comes to the canals there are still huge barriers to overcome compared to other initiatives such as country parks etc.

Edited by roger

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Roger.

 

I don't think access to the canals was very much different 20 years ago. Are you saying that the almost overnight demise of the many boats for the disabled and the coming to power of Thatcher is a co-incidence.

 

A bit like saying the extinction of the dinosaurs just happened to coincide with a bloody great asteroid plunging the earth into a 10 year winter.

 

The more I think about it the better that analogy sounds.

Edited by John Orentas

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Yes I did miss your initial point.

I understand your anger at an increase in charges and a perceived reduction in the standard of services provided by BW.

Golden Duck is privately owned by the Royal London Society for the Blind and was built for use by blind or visually impaired children, some of whom may be wheelchair users.

 

I suspect you may be getting us confused with the Canal Boat Project, who is based at the same location, but is a totally independent organisation.

They have four community boats of their own and these are, I believe, available to external groups and organisations.

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Roger.

 

I don't think access to the canals was very much different 20 years ago. Are you saying that the almost overnight demise of the many boats for the disabled and the coming to power of Thatcher is a co-incidence.

 

A bit like saying the extinction of the dinosaurs just happened to coincide with a bloody great asteroid plunging the earth into a 10 year winter.

 

The more I think about it the better that analogy sounds.

25302[/snapback]

 

I didnt say its a co-incidence! May I point out that the dinosaurs probably werent oblierated by an asteroid as some new current theories show, so its an idea that could be on the way out (like other things such as the big bang didnt happen etc - and whatever this has to do with this subject i dont know but you imply that I said something as an absolute fact! I said the other problem was accessibility meaning there was a problem that existed even before thatcher arrived though Thatcher could have worsoned things in terms of her favourite pastime knitting into our social fabric those cuts where it hurt the most)

 

You said it! (Quote - "I don't think access to the canals was very much different 20 years ago.") Means there's so much still to be done if there's been little change!

Edited by roger

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You obviously feel very strongly about the subject.

You might like to start a separate thread on the subject of disabled access on our waterways, to encourage others to air their views.

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You obviously feel very strongly about the subject.

You might like to start a separate thread on the subject of disabled access on our waterways, to encourage others to air their views.

25309[/snapback]

 

Thanks for your suggestion, but there is another thread on this forum about the subject. Unfortunately I have been less than satisfied at the responses and attitudes that have been recieved from other forum members. It seems to be a general consensus from them that us disabled people should get off our arses (please excuse any possible puns here) and improve/sort out our own access problems to the waterways system!! Its not good enough especially when the law says it is BW who should be doing it!

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Hi Roger.

 

You say you have been less than satisfied the responses from the forum members, I for one have not picked up on any of the apathy that you clearly have detected.

What access problems are there on the system, getting onto the towpath or onto a boat, please let us know.

 

P.S.

 

I have gone back and re-read all the contributions, you have mentioned ACCESS about 20 times but you did not really define what problems there are, other than the complaint about the many steps in Birmingham.

 

Most people would go to great lengths to accommodate the needs of the disabled but we must bear in mind also that by the very nature of the canals free pedestrian movement will always be problem, steps, cobble stones and narrow pathways will always be there and no one in his right mind would suggest the modification of those historic features.

 

Roger:

 

What is this other thread you have mentioned a few times, I have no recollection of one.

Edited by John Orentas

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I quite understand your concern. I haven't seen the other thread yet, but will have a look. I don't really feel that this is the correct thread to air your grievance as the heading is waterways news.

 

A lot of people out there do lots of work (usually voluntary) to assist those who can't get themselves on to the canals unaided. Your comments are a bit of a generalisation. Don't shoot everybody down just because of the attitude of a few.

 

I had a verbal exchange with a fisherman at the weekend who couldn't understand how the boat could go over his line when he didn't retract it as we passed.

I don't have a down on all fisherman, just that one.

 

Charities all over the country are finding it increasingly difficult to get people to give up their time to volunteer for things. Don't shoot the converted.

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Fishermen like that are a problem. I have seen relations between canallers and fishermen so much better like 100% in recent years. Its sad that there will be a small minority still who dont understand how boats move through the water.

Edited by fender

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I quite understand your concern. I haven't seen the other thread yet, but will have a look. I don't really feel that this is the correct thread to air your grievance as the heading is waterways news.

 

A lot of people out there do lots of work (usually voluntary) to assist those who can't get themselves on to the canals unaided. Your comments are a bit of a generalisation. Don't shoot everybody down just because of the attitude of a few.

 

Charities all over the country are finding it increasingly difficult to get people to give up their time to volunteer for things. Don't shoot the converted.

25317[/snapback]

 

I am not shooting the converted. I am simply concerned that there will be a penalisation of disability users and community boats with BW's proposals for higher licence fees. I am just trying to point out that the law says this and BW is doing some other thing! I am not trying to disaffect volunteers and charities etc! I am sorry if that is the impression that is being conveyed.

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I have gone back and re-read all the contributions, you have mentioned ACCESS about 20 times but you did not really define what problems there are, other than the complaint about the many steps in Birmingham.

 

What is this other thread you have mentioned a few times, I have no recollection of one.

25312[/snapback]

 

John - How would you know I had mentioned access 20 times if you hadnt seen the other thread? (!) Therefore I cannot understand why you claim you have no recollection of such a thread if you have just been using it to ascertain how many times I have used that 'A' word??

 

When people stop jumping to conlcusions about this and that, I'll try to elaborate on what the problems are. Until then, i dont feel enamoured (spelling?) to have a liberty of delving into the details on access (because I fear someone will come up with assumptions which have no bearing at all - like this silly idea of electric locks etc and us getting off our backsides and providing our own improved access etc and waffling on about closing down access in order to provide it for the disabled, finding it patronising to be given access, etc etc. Its none of these and its obvious that the views that have been posted on the forum previously are so tirelessly cynical in their approach!

Edited by roger

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Roger.

 

I am losing the will to live here, why can't you make an effort to articulate your problems. I have not noticed anyone jumping to conclusions, no one but yourself has mentioned electric locks, nor have I detected a patronising or cynical attitude from anyone.

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I am losing the will to live here, why can't you make an effort to articulate your problems. I have not noticed anyone jumping to conclusions, no one but yourself has mentioned electric locks, nor have I detected a patronising or cynical attitude from anyone.

25341[/snapback]

 

SO I imagined these?? I dont suppose you have time to look at all the forums???

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Richard

 

Much of discussions seemed to centre around license costs and not getting value for money. Also styles and gates, I feel a bit uncomfortable saying this but I have some sympathy with BW, they do seem to have made a genuine effort in this area.

 

Perhaps Roger could come up with the design of a form of barrier that will allow free access to walkers, wheelchairs and sadly now bicycles but will barr the way to horse riders and a determined youth with his motorcycle.

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I'm not even sure that that is what he is complaining about and unless he can put something together saying exactly what he would like to change i can not see we can help anymore.

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I know many people who are disabled including relatives. The one thing they all say is that they want is to be treated like normal people and not like some kind of social outcast. I assume that all, or most, disabled people would say the same.

 

Well, Roger, when the licence fees are hiked beyond all reasonable levels normal people will bite the bullet and pay. Yes they will complain about the lack of improvements for their money but they will just accept the inevitability of it and get on with their lives.

 

Moves are being made to allow disabled access in all avenues of life. It won't be complete tomorrow or the next day but it is getting better all the time. I think it is unreal to expect our society to provide access to everything for everyone. I have accepted that I will never walk on the moon. I will never fly a Jumbo jet. Never be a rock star.

 

The thing to remember is that disabled access comes at a cost and someone has to put his hand in his pocket to pay for it. This society we live in is cursed with shorter and shorter pockets. BW has enough trouble maintaining the canals and keeping a reasonable level of access for able bodied boaters, there is just not the money available to comply with your demands without pricing most boaters off the water. Make all the laws you want, but, there has to come a time when we say enough is enough.

 

Everyone has their pet peeves, I have many, but I really do think you are wearing this one a bit thin. I wonder if you would be so vociferous if you were not disabled.

 

 

Edited by maffi mushkila

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