We were let down by the Canal and River Trust (CRT) this week. After a lovely weekend on the Montgomery Canal in Wales, we set off back along the Lllangollen with the aim to get to a mooring in Chester this Saturday. Unfortunately, when we got to Grindley Brook locks on Monday afternoon, we received this email from CRT:
There is a reality that with a 250 year old canal network, there will be times when things break unexpectedly. But in this case it was planned work, and we should have been notified well in advance. I am set up so that I get emails about any stoppages on the canals we travel, so that we can plan around them, and if this notice had been issued on 17th March, as it should have, we would have been well beyond the area before work started. But apparently they had a “system issue” which I suspect was more likely a “forgot to press the button issue”, so we did not know until too late.
This gave me two challenges. Firstly how to react to the CRT cock up. Should I get angry and shout at the poor agent on the end of the CRT helpline? Should I move the boat up to the stoppage area and shout at the workmen to work faster? Neither would have any impact except perhaps to make me feel better. No, after reflection we decided to treat the incident as one of those things that happens when you live on a narrowboat, and to make the most of it.
So my second challenge was how to make the most of it. I have been able to get a few jobs done on the boat – touching up some scratched paint, adding diesel bug inhibitor to my fuel tank, checking my weed hatch, getting a load of shopping. But much more fun has been a couple of bus adventures to local towns – Whitchurch and Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury in particular is a really lovely town, with Roman remains, a Norman mott and bailey castle, Medieval and Tudor shop fronts, and a bustling indoor market full of craft and food stalls.
The way I look at it is that if CRT had not made their mistake, I would never have had these extra few days, and to have had my adventures.
But I still hope that the work completes this afternoon and we can get back on our way. Living on a narrowboat is fun. Travelling on a narrowboat is more fun.