This is dedicated to our Kieth, Who became an expert at vandal locks and started me thinking?????
Grumpy Old Boat Men
Now I am by nature an easygoing sort of person I have no hang ups, no, mental malfunctions, and quite independent. I did my 22 years in the army so I have seen it, done it, been there, fulfilled all my ambitions, and satisfied most of my curiosity. Therefore, the easy life of living afloat suits me fine.
However recently I have found myself becoming more and more annoyed with little grumps, having watch Grumpy old men on the tele I thought I would write my own Grumpy old Boat men, lets see if these basic ten gripes ring any bells with you.
These are in descending order number 1 being just a little niggle and number ten being my pet hate (at the moment)
- I tour mainly the north and come in contact with a lot of hire boats I find increasingly that these poor families on their hire boats have been told that the Cheshire ring is possible in seven days. Now this would entail apron 90 locks including the Manchester 8 and the Marple 16 both very busy places. Now for a family of four, Mum Dan two kids this cruise would mean starting at 6am and still cruising at 7pm. This with a small family is hell I have heard comments of never again, its too hard, the kids are board, holiday from hell So come on hire companies give these boaters routes to suit individual families, remember a dad mum and two kids means dad is almost single handed. They could enjoy a nice relaxed holiday with just a little thought by the hire companies. I believe that a lot of the trouble we encounter with hire boats could be alleviated by reducing the frustration of not meeting deadlines, who wants dead lines on a boating holiday.
- Visitors Moorings. I love visiting Towns and Villages along the canal and find that the history of the village or town normally corresponds with the history of the canal. I am finding more and more difficult to access these places because all the mooring are taken up with permanent linear moorings or even worse boats spending 10 weeks on a 24 hr visitors mooring. Last week I fell out with a boater who was doing a refit on a 24hr mooring because as he said “it was close to a DIY shop”. Come on spend some money you tight fisted begger and put it in a marina.
- Incorrect signage. Too many shops, pubs, and other traders are putting signs on the canal stating that their business is only 500 yards from bridge?? Well little do they know that for miles in each direction of their sign there are no appropriate moorings and even when there are you find that the 500 yards has miraculously turned into a Himalayan trek. On one canal I can not mention due to a restraining order (joke) there is a sign that says Ice cream ¼ mile, we did four fields, six stiles, a heard of cows and a brook. By the time we got there, I needed a ventilator not an ice cream.
- Intolerance of Hire Boaters. It is annoying when you moor up and the only topic of conversation is “damned hire boats”, some private owners seem to think that they are the only ones who have the nautical skill to run a boat. Let’s face it we have been doing it for a long time and have just about got the hang of it, my answer to all those private owners saying how they were rammed by a hire boat, is “how were you on your first week? Give them a break, friendly advice is far better than a bucket full of abuse. I know I have complained about hire boats’ ramming me but that was drunken crews that thankfully are rare and not restricted to hire boats, most of the trouble from hire boats is the fault of either bad or very poor instruction. Holiday boaters are fun to be around and I find them eager to learn, they only have the boat for a few days and just want to have fun so come on lighten up and do as I do give way, give them the water, I am in no rush I have mine on a permanent basis.
- Broken / damaged pump out stations. Having traveled three days with a loo that is almost over flowing only to find that the only one for miles is broken and has been for day’s even weeks. I have all the respect in the world for BW staff and consider they do a great job but please the most important job is to keep those pump out pumping. I know its sounds selfish but marina pump outs costing anything from ₤17.00 to ₤20.00 it is a cost I cannot afford.
- Gravel on service points. What a stupid thing to do, you have a service point that entails quite a bit of water being spilt and what do BW do cover the area in very fine gravel mixed with some sort of cement dust that, when wet makes the best paint stripper I know, its fantastic for stripping your deck down to its bear metal, Someone please explain this to me, But it doesn’t end there I know miles of tow path with the same material it looks great and is wonderful for push chairs, wheel chairs, and cycles but absolutely the worst thing ever for boaters. Now if you want Posh the Leigh branch of the Leeds and Liverpool has the tow path Tiled
- Anti vandal locks. Ok I know in some areas we need them to guard against the little people but let us put our heads together and design something more user friendly. After all most of the little villains I see on the canal have there own key or could make one at school in DT. Most cuffs are so old that they now often cross thread or some macho hunk decides to put 50lb torque when locking it. Or the barrel has worn out. So let us assign these antiquated cuffs to the history bin.
- Inconsiderate Mooring, I know we all want some kind of privacy when we moor up though if you wanted privacy you should have stayed at home, why! in lets say 600ft of good mooring space can you only get 4 boats moored, I will tell you why, because you get 6 x 60ft boats moor with 40ft of space between each boat WHY do the other boats smell? Have you fell out, or are you just unsociable. Come on give us all a chance moor up tight especially in busy areas.
- Inappropriate Mooring. People who moor close to bridges, so close you can not see other boats coming, or lining up is impossible, or so close that when through the bridge you have not enough length to get around the moored boat without scraping the trees on the non tow path side, My gripe is that most of these boats are continual cruiser’s that never move the only reason they moor near the bridges so their owners have an easy walk and no other reason. Are we going to have to go down the auto route and have double yellow lines around Bridges, Locks, swing bridges, lift bridges?
- Dog Poo. My number one pet hate. A beautiful day cruising ruined by throwing your rope off ready to moor up only to find it covered in dog poo or all over your shoes even worse bare feet. I advocate scooping it up and depositing it on the dog owner’s doorstep. Why do we have to put up with this disgusting, unsociable, habit, for that what it is a habit these people few though they are, but effective in the devistation that they bring, they must take a perverse pleasure in knowing they and ruining people day.