Saturday, August 06, 2016

Foreign Service

Such is the reputation of our towpath ranger volunteer team the WoWBoys aka the Way out West London team, that we have been called upon to undertake a hazardous mission in foreign parts. Well Rickmansworth to be exact, which is outside of the CRT London region.  Here be dragons, says the map. Today the WoWboys set up camp just north of Batchworth lock by erecting a gazebo over the towpath at a spot where there have been “incidents” involving cyclists and boaters of late. 

I was a bit nervous because CRT appeared to have forgotten to order our kevlar suits and riot shields so we had to make do with our blue volunteer T shirts and black baseball caps comforted by the fact that I had some sticking plasters and antiseptic cream in my rucksack. Kick off was scheduled for 11am.  The whistle blew and wishing each other good luck we went over the top to face our first adversaries, two old ladies out for a stroll, then a young cyclist couple who dismounted and showed polite interest in our work.  Maybe it was just our charm offensive, but in the three hours we spent there, the approx 50 each of cyclists and pedestrians were virtually all friendly and well behaved.  We didn’t know whether to feel pleased or disappointed.

We were led by Sarah from the Milton Keynes CRT office who had asked for our help and who brought along the South East region version of our little share the space maplets.  These were interesting to me because I hadn’t realised that the S.E region extended right up to Hawkesbury near Coventry and also over to Foxton.  Apparently the cyclist nuisance hot spot in the region right now is in Oxford where they come bowling down the towpath en route to the railway station, so if you are boating down there do look right and left before you step off your boat.  Sarah said there had also been botheration in Oxford from house owners by the canal trying to stop boaters from running their engines in the permitted hours of 8am to 8pm. Boaters will be well aware of similar situations where people buy canalside properties and then complain about canal activity. A bit like building a house next to a pig farm then complaining about the pong.

I also saw something today I hadn’t seen before (I’ve led a sheltered life).  We’ve often talked about getting a couple of mudweight anchors for Herbie.  How about a couple of these:


Of course we’d need to employ a Geoff Capes to fling ‘em overboard, but I reckon they’d hold the boat still.


Halfie said...

10 cwt - why, that's half a ton! Did you try lifting it? Is it in the bottom of a boat?

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

It's good to have confirmed, Neil, that most people are considerate in their habits, whether cycling or otherwise - it's quite easy to get the perception that ALL cyclists are speeding thoughtless oiks.
And I am always interested in how people's romantic view of the life/conditions they will have when they move into a canal-side home or a rural property amid farms comes solidly up against the reality of the noises and the smells once they have moved in. I guess the sound of an engine or generator running for a few hours every day wears pretty thin after a while - I know that here in Waikanae one of our neighbours (lovely chap) has his radio going all day when he is outside - drives me nuts - not a long trip, I grant you, but I do love to sit outside in the PEACE and QUIET of birdsong, not the damn radio!
When David and I lived in Church Enstone, we were about 250 yards from the airfield (old RAF base). The local aero club used it lots and we loved the sound of the pilots doing circuits and bumps in the weekends. Other neighbours were demented by it. However they were all very united in preferring that noise to the possibility of Jeremy Clarkson setting up a racing track on the airfield instead - planning permission granted: NO!! We all wondered why he didn't use the old Chipping Norton airfield over his back fence ...
Cheers, Marilyn

Herbie Neil said...

John, No I didn't try lifting it! Who do you think I am, the incredible hulk. I can just about manage a 56lb weight. Never seen such big ones before. Yes it is in the hold of a boat, two more were further back, all used as ballast to trim the boat.

Marilyn - quite. I am glad to say in this case that CRT are supporting the rights of the boaters who are doing nothing wrong.

Vallypee said...

It's not just canals (and farms). Here in Rotterdam, people buy river and harbour side apartments and the complain about the barges spoiling their view. They don't mind as long as they are moving, but perish the thought that a commercial barge should moor upmagainst the they have the right to do, Rotterdam being a...erm...rather well-known commercial port...