New blood to replace old friends

Editor, Peter Fellows, says that, with meetings held by phone or Zoom, it has never been easier to support NABO.

This is the first issue since lockdown ended and it features the widespread dismay by boaters at the state of the infrastructure that they encountered when they restarted cruising. Lack of maintenance and vegetation management were already features of the Boater Survey responses, summarised in this issue, which were given before Covid-19 struck. But Mark Tizard brings the problems up to date, comparing CRT’s PR spin with the reality on the ground. Mike Rodd’s regional report includes his first experience of e-scooters on the towpath and I’ve included a letter on this, written by NABO to CRT’s Chief Operating Officer. Helen Hutt has written her first regional report from the Avon and also reports on a recent elected reps. meeting with CRT’s Head of Boating. Howard Anguish, NABO’s shared ownership rep., has written the first part of an article on shared boating, together with his look back at NABO News 15 years ago. David Fletcher has also been busy while unable to cruise, describing new regulations on fuels for solid-fuel stoves, an update on proposed changes to regulations on the sale of red diesel, and delving into the mysteries of gas testing on boats for BSS certification. I spent part of my lockdown considering what owners might be really saying when they select a name for their boat, to be followed by a second part in December.

It’s coming up to the Association’s AGM in a few weeks’ time and Phil Goulding has described his experiences of being on NABO Council. I would endorse his and Mike Rodd’s comments in his Chair’s column, that the Council needs new, preferably younger, members to bring new ideas and experiences. If you can spare a morning six times a year, sitting at home with the phone for the foreseeable Covid future, your input into Council meetings will be highly appreciated. I have included nomination forms in this issue for you to apply. One member has responded to our request for help and we warmly welcome Peter Braley as the new East Midlands rep. Sadly, I end this with news of the deaths of two people who made an important contribution to NABO’s success over the years. Sadie Heritage was one of the first members to join NABO and our East Anglia rep. for 20 years, contributing regularly to NABO News. Geoffrey Rogerson was NABO’s Legal Affairs rep. for many years and, on a personal note, one of the Councillors who offered me great support when I started editing the newsletter nine years ago (not to mention his amusing, often acerbic, asides in Council meetings that regularly found their way into ‘Fly on the Wall’). As a tribute to his help, I have included one of the cartoons that he contributed to NABO News, drawn in Mel Calman’s simple evocative style, under the pseudonym ‘Canalman’.