Thursday, April 05, 2007

Caen Hill flight

We arrived to find the bottom pound full of boats waiting to go on down to Foxhangers but they were having their lunch. The lock keeper arrived to inform us that he was lowering the water level to investigate a leak. When the other boats moved on we tied up at the visitor mooring with slack ropes. Went down at least a foot over night but it was still deep enough to be floating!

Next day started misty which cleared as the sun came up. Set off together at about 10, Ann & Vic having got the first lock ready. Paul Balmer of 'Waterway Routes' seen walking down the flight to help. Another glorious day for travelling up through this famous flight of 16 closely spaced locks. Surprising being Easter that no other boats were passed on the way up and not many people watching our progress.


It was when we were at the top that the first pair of boats were seen coming out of a lock in front. We passed and watched them struggling to get in the lock almost one behind the other! Far easier to go in as a pair together. We had taken just over two hours from bottom to top of the flight. Stopped after doing a few more locks and thanked Paul for his help. Then we all enjoyed home made vegetable soup which Ann had made earlier.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A greater threat ?

We have been protesting about the governments failure to maintain investment in our waterways. The infrastructure needs regular maintenance to keep the system open. Canals and rivers could become un navigable which would be a disgrace after all the effort made to restore navigation. The waterways provide a wonderful natural environment for relaxation and holidays.

But it seems that there is an even greater threat to the well-being of our navigations. In 'the small print' of the last budget by Mr. Brown was the confirmation that all diesel fuel be taxed at the same rate. This means that our use of 'pink diesel' with a low duty can no longer be used for boat engines. It is not so much the cost but availability which will drastically slow down boat movements. There is very little profit in keeping it at boatyards or marinas. For some unknown reason even hire boat companies will not be able to use the 'pink'. They may decide not to supply the high taxed diesel to passing boaters by just storing enough for themselves.

However the de-regulation will not come into force until 1st. November 2008, so we will at least have this year and next to continue enjoying our life on the waterways.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bradford on Avon

The Kennet and Avon remains a very quiet pretty canal. It is a dead end at Bath unless you choose to go down on the river and out on the Bristol channel. As we have progressed westwards the number of old wrecks, floating sheds and rows of boats taking most of the available moorings has increased since we were here in 2004. The hirers of narrowboats must be put off by this lack of space. Especially at places like Bradford on Avon which is a lovely place to explore. It reminds me of Hebden Bridge with stone buildings, the river, road, rail and canal passing through its valley. We all enjoyed sitting in a café eating, drinking and watching the world go by.


The ancient and modern

DEFRA and the EU ??

DEFRA is a government department, which my MP agrees, is incompetent. It has also been referred to as being 'unfit for purpose'. It is this department which is responsible for NOT paying our farmers their 'Single payment' from the European Union. Therefore our farmers are suffering from lack of funds. It is no wonder that foreign food is cheaper in this country. The department is also responsible for cutting back on payments to the Environment Agency and British Waterways. Which is why we are still in protest mode. I cannot understand, realising the situation is so serious, why it is that the general public are not yet aware of it. After all a considerable amount of tax payers money is involved.