Saturday 31 December 2011

2011 - A Very Good Boating Year

(Boats Chalice & Sickle - posted by Alan)

David & Charlie survey the Thames as we turn at Lechlade
So 2011 has drawn to a close, and we are pleased to report a very much fuller boating year than 2010, which was dogged by me breaking my pelvis early in the year, the urgent need to repaint Chalice in the Summer holiday, and my Mum falling ill, and passing away just after Christmas.


"Sickle" at Hawkesbury, soon after purchase.
Not that 2011 has not also had its issues.  I knew he would be having cataract surgery early in the year, and have since  suffered visual disturbances in both eyes, (apparently unrelated).  Plus the aftermath of that smashed hip means I still don't leap from boat to bank as reliably as I might like.  But these are small annoyances rather than show-stoppers, and in a year where my closest friend died suddenly of a heart attack, I am supremely grateful to have the health and the time to (very) regularly be out boating.

This was the year in which "Sickle" joined "Chalice", and our boating time started to be divided between the two.

"Chalice" makes its first visit to The Bratch

The 2011 stats are as follows.....

Days boated: 87
Miles covered: 1198
Locks worked: 917

Biggest surprise of 2011 - "Chalice" makes it through Froghall!
Waterways visited:

Birmingham & Fazeley
Droitwich Barge
Droitwich Junction
Grand Union Birmingham Line
Grand Union South
Northern Oxford
River Severn
River Thames : Upper
River Thames : Lower
River Thames: Tidal
Shropshire Union : Main Line
Shropshire Union : Middlewich Branch
Southern Oxford
Staffs & Worcs
Trent & Mersey : Main line
Trent & Mersey : Caldon Branch
Trent & Mersey : Leek Branch
Worcester & Birmingham

"Sickle" at Braunston Historic Boat event
Boating events with Sickle

Stoke Bruerne Gala
Braunston Historic Boats
Linslade / Leighton Buzzard Festival
Stoke Bruerne Village at War

We have also had several opportunities to meet up with our many boating friends, the last as recently as a very large gathering in Loughborough, just before the New Year.


Little could I have realised that within a couple of months of writing this synopsis of 2011 we would be without Charlie, ("the best dog in the world"), and constantly part of our boating life since he joined us from the rescue centre less than 2 years previously.

Of course we are sad now to look back at the pictures in which he features so much, but far from wanting to erase his memory, we never want to forget the very happy, (but far too short), time he was part of the family.  Yes, there is still a tear welling in my eye as I type this, but for a while he gave us so much, and we all absolutely adored him.  A very sad loss!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

What do I expect from the Canal & River Trust council members?

(posted by Cath)
Not surprisingly we've been discussing what the 'boater on the canal' needs  from the 'boater representatives' on the Canal and River Trust Council.  This is my take on it, Sarah (Chertsey) has her own points.
  • Understand that the role is to represent the needs of boaters first and foremost
  • Be available to the boaters that he/she represents
  • Be able to appreciate and understand the different needs of the people that he/she represents
  • Be able and willing to broker a solution to difficult problems
  • Be clear headed and able to see the long term implications of policies
  • Not be afraid to disagree if it is clear that a policy is unwise, or not adequately thought through
  • Be able to fairly weigh the disparate needs of the people that he/she represents, and give appropriate weight to those needs
  • Be able to bring considerable boating experience to the table
  • Have an appreciation of the history and heritage of the canal and a wish to preserve it in an appropriate manner
  • The representative cannot be a member of all boating groups, that is impossible, but the representative must be able to appreciate their needs and represent them fairly
This is what I want to see in the 'boater representatives'.  The representatives may also be walkers, cyclists, anglers, or whatever, but their prime role is to represent the boaters.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Alan Is Standing For A "Boater" place on the Canal and River Trust Council

Most British waterways boat licence holders will by now have received a letter entitled "Would you like to get involved with the Canal & River Trust".  It is calling for candidates to stand for election, (in what will be just 7 elected positions out of a total of 35 positions in total), on the Council for the new Canal & River Trust.  (I still want to abbreviate it CART, but CRT seems to be winning the day).  Of those just 4 positions are for private boat owners, and I suspect many boating organisations and clubs will be trying hard to promote their preferred candidates for these roles - why wouldn't they ?!?.

But each boat owner with a BW licence will get the chance to cast a vote in an election where they may be able to ensure that people with a real commitment to boating generally get elected, rather than those with perhaps a much more  specific agenda.

I have been persuaded by quite a number of people to put myself up as a candidate, and as I feel I'm ready for a new challenge, am very happy to do so.

You are allowed by the process to make an "Election Statement" that will be very strictly enforced as limited to 150 words only.  I can understand the logic for this, but it is a considerable challenge in only a few sentences to try and state your reasons for wanting to take on the role, and the experience and qualities that might make a complete stranger wish to vote for you above other comers.

Anyway, I'm standing, and here are my 150 words.

Just four elected council positions must represent the disparate needs of all boaters.  I am independent, love boats and boating, and am already well networked with many boaters countrywide.  My first boats were forty years ago, and I now boat at every opportunity, covering large distances and regularly attend boating events. 
Although deeply protective of the history and heritage of the waterways, I am fully realistic that people own boats for many reasons, often with very different ideas of what is important.  Categorising boaters into particular groupings is unhelpful and divisive, and I would aim to fairly represent everybody whatever their reasons for boat ownership.
In my role within a large multinational I was particularly recognised as someone able to broker the best solutions to complex problems that had eluded others.   Early retirement allows me to commit the necessary time, and to be easily contacted by those I represent.