My ten New Year res­o­lu­tions

Canal Boat - - Me & My Boats -

I’m still stranded in the floods around York. It’s not just that we can’t cruise, we’ve barely been able to get on to dry land for weeks now. So, be­ing the sea­son it is, I started fram­ing a few New Year’s res­o­lu­tions to pass the time.

1. I have vowed for 2016 never again to get en­gaged in heated de­bates with other boaters about bow thrusters. I can’t see the use of them and think they sig­nify some­one who can’t steer. But I recog­nise that those who have them swear by them. They claim they can get into moor­ing spots I can’t and cruise in high winds that would de­feat the rest of us. We are never go­ing to agree. Pax?

2. I have pledged never to pass a fish­er­man with­out ex­chang­ing a few cheery words. To that end, I’ve de­cided that if they don’t do the same, I shall de­liver them again. And again – only this time in a voice loud enough to scare the fish for miles around.

3. I have re­alised that the con­fronta­tional ap­proach will get me nowhere and have promised my­self that never again will I cuss at speed­ing Ly­cra louts on bi­cy­cles on the tow­path, the mis­er­able, self- cen­tred, self-right­eous, shiny-ar**d b*******s.

4. I have sworn that this year, when I am pot­ter­ing up the tow­path on my own bike to get my morn­ing pa­per, I will never again get im­pa­tient at dozy boaters who step off their craft with­out look­ing. Boaters who – af­ter I’ve nearly knocked them down – have the ef­fron­tery to ac­cuse me of go­ing too fast. Don’t they re­alise this is the 21st Cen­tury? Cy­clists OWN the towpaths.

5. I have re­solved that never again will I fol­low a tow­path dog walker with a bag of poo I have picked up from the tow­path out­side my boat, rant­ing at them. They never take any no­tice, any­how. And be­sides, it’s much bet­ter to fol­low them home and drop it on their doorstep.

6. I have vowed never to pass an El­san or wa­ter point with­out stop­ping. First of all, I might need to use the fa­cil­i­ties. But if I don’t, I might find some wide-eyed new­bie moored there I can have a go at. Bet­ter still, I might dis­cover the fa­cil­ity out of or­der, which will give me some­thing to hap­pily grum­ble to the Canal & River Trust about for months on end.

7. I have made an oath not to get riled by the in­creas­ing num­ber of ‘new mod­ernists’ who seem to be­lieve that, just be­cause they’ve passed one boat with a dirty and noisy trad en­gine, ALL trad en­gines are noisy and dirty. (And while we’re on the topic, the side doors to a trad en­gine room aren’t open to show off the en­gine. They’re open be­cause older en­gines run at a higher tem­per­a­ture than mod­ern ones and need the air.)

8. This is the year I give up with peo­ple who cruise with their fend­ers down. They know they risk of get­ting hung up in locks, but they don’t care. Nei­ther do they care about other boaters who get torn- off ones foul­ing their props, or who are held up at locks when they jam gates. Th­ese peo­ple don’t even care that just one pipe fender to ‘pro­tect’ their hull costs more than a tin of black­ing which would do the job just as well for a year. I mean, a boater who doesn’t care about what they spend? How can you ar­gue with peo­ple like that?

9. How­ever, de­spite all this, I have de­cided to put all th­ese petty ir­ri­ta­tions to one side and re­mind my­self ev­ery day just what an ex­tra­or­di­nary en­vi­ron­ment the cut is. Canals are close to na­ture, a part of the sea­sons, and they pass through some of our most mag­nif­i­cent coun­try­side, and towns and cities. Along the wa­ter­ways of Bri­tain you’ll find the best of what’s Bri­tish from our fauna to our food, our beer to our birdlife. And I wish you all the joy of it in 2016.

10. And fi­nally, I have made a res­o­lu­tion NEVER to re­turn to the River Ouse in win­ter when it’s so vul­ner­a­ble to flood. Well, not for a year or two, at least...

‘I might dis­cover the fa­cil­ity out of or­der, which will give me some­thing to hap­pily grum­ble to CRT about for months on end’

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