... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Anger management

I do try not to get cross, I really do. Even when people slew across the canal in front of me, or try to come through a bridge that is clearly mine, thinking that if they toot their little horn enough I'll get out of the way, or when a man in mirrored sunglasses is standing on his boat, arms folded across his chest, watching my approach, just waiting.... waiting... until we pass, to ask sarcastically 'Don't you slow down for boats then?' - which I wouldn't mind so much (because sometimes it's a fair cop) if we hadn't been absolutely crawling (what else can you do on most of the North Oxford) and his boat didn't move an inch as we approached.

I try, but I don't always succeed. Any little annoyance is magnified by the circumstances of boating - you may want to try and communicate; to explain that actually, this isn't fast, to suggest to people that it's usually better to keep going and steer rather than try to stop dead - but the noise of the engine and the increasing distance means that any communication has to be conducted at shouting pitch, and that not only sounds aggressive, but also engenders aggression and even in the few seconds available things quickly escalate as each participant seeks a quick and snappy putdown to get their message across. Sometimes with hindsight I wish I'd stopped and reversed back, and had a proper conversation.

I especially don't like exchanging cross words with fellow bloggers. Despite the obvious fact that boating bloggers are as varied as boaters themselves, and of course I couldn't possibly get on with all of them, it still feels as if we should be some sort of community. And especially when it's a blog I've read and enjoyed in the past (even though I didn't recognise the boat, which I am not going to name). That man was still wrong, but I wish I'd gone back and had a chat rather than shouting.


  1. Hi

    In one of his books, David Blagrove recounts Joe Skinner making up with another boater after a contretemps with the words "Ah, that's all right, all of us gets cross sometimes."

    Funny how some days I can lest things like that go by without a murmur and at others it really gets through to me…

    All the best


  2. What people don't realise is that older, heavy draughted and - especially - loaded boats move a LOT of water even at low speed. An awful lot of people tie on stupidly slack lines, don't use springs or triangular moorings, and (sometimes fatally for their crockery) use their roof-mounted centre lines to moor, which of course makes the boat heel alarmingly as water is sucked out from under it by passing boats.

    Perhaps there's an information campaign along the lines of "Tie up properly - here's why and how" to be hatched?

  3. But Chertsey unladen hardly moves any water, certainly less than many a modern boat.
    I am generally of the view that if you tie up online then you must expect the boat to move, and store crockery etc accordingly. People would save themselves so much stress if they could just come to terms with that. If you don't want it to move, get it craned onto the bank.
    BUT on this occasion we were going very slowly and the moored boats weren't moving, and the bloke in question was looking for it before he could have felt anything.

    Sarah, but anon is easier on the iPad

  4. We have an online mooring and agree we have a responsibility to make sure we are moored correctly. i don't mind a bit of boat movement, as we are close to a lock we get washes that move the boat. We also understand the different impacts we get from old working boats as well as cruisers, plus all between. What does pee me off is those who charge up to the lock, sometimes behind another boat and then drop to tickover as they approach the landing then great gobs of reverse to trim off all the speed. Having said that I have never as yet challenged a fast boat, like children and animals ignoring them gives me all the redress I want.

    I go to the cut to relax, too many bring their 'day job' to the canals and a worse place it is for it !

  5. You did not say what we met coming the other way - Nuneaton and Brighton loaded with Brighton on a long line. I bet that put a smile on his face :)