Another successful AGM at Wolverhampton Boat Club (many thanks for the excellent food and hospitality), with Stella taking over the reins from Mike and farewells to longstanding Council members Geoffrey Rogerson and Stephen Peters and London rep, Simon Robbins. It was good to meet Ken Hylins, who has a special interest in assisting boaters with disabilities. I also had a conversation with a continuous cruising member, who, when she stops at different places, helps ring the bells at the local church. She’d been moored up for a week or so at Brewood when the vicar asked if she could ring the bells at a wedding three weeks later. She replied that she would love to, but didn’t think that CRT would allow it. “I potter slowly around the system, doing no-one any harm and obeying the rules, and I don’t see why CRT should be allowed to dictate how I live or what I choose to do”. I agree with her, and I think a lot of other boaters would also. She could ask the local waterway manager for an exception to the 14-day rule on this occasion, but she would not automatically qualify (no illness, pregnancy or breakdown). But why should she? It is not the role of a navigation authority to give permission for someone to do something. She could also go somewhere else and return to Brewood in a couple of weeks time, but she risks falling foul of the ‘progressive journey’ rule – and again why should she have to do this?
We are all ‘customers’ now
Stella Ridgway looks forward to a better service
As this is my first column as Chair of NABO, I’ll begin with a short background: I live on a narrowboat on the Upper Peak Forest Canal with my husband Chris and two Labradors. My disability prevents us moving at present and we are now on a home mooring. I may not have lived on a boat all my life, but my family spent six weeks on one after they emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1960s, and I spent my teens crewing for friends who had yachts. I didn’t know about my great grandfather until after we had moved aboard, when my Mum told me that he was born on a narrowboat in Middlewich and was a flyboatman with his brothers and father. So, in a sense I have come home to my roots and, even with my illness, we have never once thought about moving back into bricks and mortar. We love this life and the strong community we have among boaters; something that escapes you outside of the towpath and certainly one that CRT still struggles to understand.
The Middle level Commssioner have issued this statement
Following our consultation on proposals to amend the Commissioners’ Navigation legislation in the first half of this year, consideration of the responses and subsequent discussions with Parliamentary Counsel, the Commissioners have now presented a private Bill to Parliament seeking the necessary legislative amendments.
Do you have canal boat ancestors?
‘Spellweaver’ is a website devoted to tracing ancestors who were boaters or those who worked on the canals. The creator of the website says: “One of the things I’ve found useful in tracing my canal boat ancestors is newspaper articles, which can be pretty informative, giving details such as who the individual worked for, where they were living, and so forth, the kind of information which wasn't really readily available elsewhere. Hence this site”. For more information, go to www.spellweaver-online.co.uk