Volunteers enforcing leisure
BACK IN 2012, we took our new narrowboat home. We were both newly retired and fuelled with enthusiasm for the beautiful, peaceful, easygoing, parallel universe that we loved.
At that time, we could not have conceived a time when our easygoing waterways would be so fundamentally changed. When they would be patrolled by “Volunteer Enforcers”, who watched and continuously scrutinised our every movement, ensuring we move on to their timetable and not to ours. That we would receive letters demanding movement, even when we were trapped behind yet another breach in the system.
We now spend our time on constant alert on the towpath, as cyclists whizz by, offering scant consideration for any other towpath users.
We, like many others, have only a limited budget to spend on leisure. Our boat this year has cost us over £3,500. One must ask, is this the best use of our money? Perhaps we should look further afield or have a foreign holiday.
Just imagine what would happen if all the boat owners sitting at home, nodding in agreement, decided to do likewise. The Canal & River Trust might find it considerably more difficult to market its linear park (even with Sustrans funding) without the pretty narrowboats to watch and inspire others.