Sunday, December 08, 2019

The Most Important Decisions of the Year.

Well folks, here we are in decision week.  Where shall we put that X? I could decide not to decide, but that wouldn't be right, so without further ado I announce the opening of  . . .
The Annual Herbie Awards.  

Yes folks, it's time for the decisions that really matter - forget the B word, never mind the TV debates, let's get on to the serious stuff.  I mean what can be more important than the Best Cheap Pub Meal, or the Most Useful Boater's Gadget? Well we need something to cheer us up don't we? So tart up your tuxedo, slip into your slinky silk, break open the Bollinger, and we'll make a start.

This year, I thought we ought to get our grumbles out of the way first, so I'm introducing a new category -

the award for the Worst Piece of Canal Infrastructure.

Sadly, this year we have a number to choose from (bear in mind that to qualify for these awards, it has to be something seen or experienced on Herbie's travels this year.)

I don't know whether it's just the South Oxford that is falling to bits lately, but the list of things that need fixing down there seems to grow and grow.  However two particular objects are way out in front when it comes to sheer awfulness.

1. The top paddles at Somerton Deep Lock

These must be the stiffest ground paddles on the system - any stiffer and they would be impossible to shift.  I genuinely fear for my windlass handle on this lock, in fact one of them now looks decidedly bent.  One of these days these paddles are going to defeat me, and I wouldn't mind betting lots of other people feel the same.

2. Lift Bridge 233 Oxford Canal

This bridge (the one under the bypass flyover) did well to earn its nomination because the ones either side of it are bloody awful as well.  This bridge is a serious accident waiting to happen. It's surely only a matter of time before some poor boater does himself or herself an injury here.  The lock that should hold it down is bust so the balance weights have been taken off and it requires a superhuman effort to lift it, then of course it wont stay up.  Some boater has left a wooden post there to use as a prop, but since you require both hands to lift the bridge, you can't grab the post, and anyway it's too short. What really beggars belief is the little sign on it that says it's safe to use.  I think we should get Richard Parry to come and demonstrate. Or maybe we should invite Andrew Neil to interview him.

Well it's a tough choice and I'll sleep on it.  In Strictly fashion we'll announce the result tomorrow , no dance -off needed.  If you'd like to cast a vote for either -feel free to add a comment.

Plus tomorrow on a more cheerful note well take a look at nominations for Best Boating Gadget 2019.


Pip and Mick said...

Bridge 233 surely has to win, it requires two people to operate it and the landing for it overhangs so much it is a serious cabin side threat.
When we came through Somerton Deep a week ago I was braced and ready for serious exertion, it was surprisingly easy.
But the choice is yours. We await to hear your verdict
Pip and Mick

nb Bonjour said...

I agree with Pip, but it's hot competition as you said. The Somerton Deep paddles are ok if you have a long-handled windlass (or a fit younger person handy)!