Monday, August 10, 2009

And running water

Day 9, Langley Mill back to Gallows Lock

We got off to a slow start, this drizzly morning, starting with being shown around the site by another very longstanding member of the ECP&DA. We started in the beautifully restored toll office, and Mick tolk us far more than we could take in about the Erewash, Cromford and Nottingham Canals. Then we went right up to the end of the navigation where the association is working on the link to a new basin - it was like seeing the next phase of history in the making. We also purchased a souvenir Erewash guide, and our end of navigation plaque.

Then we had a trip to Lidl - my first. Jim said I had to come because I would hate it, but I loved it. It was clean, and above all quiet - no piped music or constant advertising videos. The displays weren't oppressive either and I liked the honesty of the slogan Lidl Is Cheaper! What you can actually buy is a bit random of course, but I was delighted to get a new shower hose to take home and a pair of shorts for Jim (despite bringing the entire contents of his wardrobe, apparently he doesn't have enough shorts). Plus I just loved looking at all the strange and foreign things I could have bought if I had wanted to. Got a litre bucket of yogurt on the basis that even if it wasn't very nice (it was though!), £1.49 wasn't a bad price for a paint kettle. Plus lots of decent beers at four bottles for £5, so the drinks cabinet is now restocked.

So we didn't start the engine until two o'clock, and by the time we had got water it was half past when we left and raining in earnest. Still, we bravely slogged on for three hours and polished off eight locks before stopping just in time to see it start tipping down; the the sun came out for a bit.

Following our encounter with the Flood Officer on the Soar the other day, I am beginning to detect a trend in BW's attitude. I was reading (online) the Waterscape guide to the Trent. One of the things it lists as essential equipment is VHF radio. Then it says that if you haven't got VHF, a mobile phone will do. But goes on to say that you should be aware that there may not be network coverage. So do you bloody need it or don't you? It seems their attitude when asked, is it safe to do x, or is it permitted to do y, is to just sort of shrug and say, I dunno, what do you think? Worse than useless, really.


Dr Duct said...

I suppose the BW attitude/performance does bring it home to you. What is the justification for a monopoly? If they exercise self-confident judgement. If they display their expertise, then that's useful and has a benefit for the public. But, when they turn into bureaucratic wimps, well, you'd rather buy somebody else's water management services, wouldn't you?

Jim said..., not really. There are too many "water management services" (if by that you mean "Navigation Authorities") already. (BW, EA, Bridgewater Canal Co, Avon Navigation Trust etc..... each one with its own way of doing things and each one demanding a separate access charge!

Waterways are one instance where there would be a public benefit from a monopoly.


S said...

If they kept the staff that know the waterways, and if they had the nerve to give useful, decisive advice, yes. I suspect it would be even worse in a competitive environment, where employees would be even thinner on the ground, worse paid and less committed than they are now.