D G Just twelve more locks 'til we reach the top level D A Just twelve more locks, then we'll stop for the night D G Em Though lock walls are leaking and paddle gear's creaking D Em A D Through hell and low water, we'll get up this flight We've struggled through duckweed, deep silt and tall reed Removed poly bags and rope wrapped round the prop We've scraped and been scratched as we pushed through the bridge holes Despite all obstructions we'll get to the top Is this a song of canals in the sixties? Unfortunately not, it's a tale of today While towpaths are tarmacked so cyclists can fly past Boaters are struggling with stoppage delays Am I bitter and twisted with glasses rose-tinted? 'Cos I can't help but think how things were in the past Dereliction, restoration, a waterway salvation Now in decline, with repair list that's vast Where is the workforce that maintained the system? Now we only see those who work for no pay More public relations and pleas for donations The responses to crises occurring most days With a crumbling system near unfit for purpose Boaters and boats may soon disappear Heritage in distress, waterway SOS A plea for paid workers, don't exploit volunteers Just twelve more locks 'til we reach the top level Just twelve more locks to paint on this flight The locks are still leaking and paddle gears creaking But the balance beams shine - pristine, black and white
Waterway SOS
The diminution of a C&RT’s permanent paid work-force, the sale of their tools and the subsequent reliance on outside contractors to deal with an increasing amount of maintenance and repairs may make life easier for the accountants running the waterways but to many this seems short-sighted. Similarly, whilst it is a fact that it was enthusiastic volunteers who saved the canals from closure in the middle of the last century, the cynical use of non-paid volunteers by well-paid politicians and managers grates somewhat. There is an increasing amount of non-paid labour being used to carry out tasks previously done by the paid work-force. To my mind this is little more than a Con trick. Assurances that volunteers would do ‘additional work’ rather than the work done previously by paid employees seem to have been conveniently forgotten. While we see many volunteers painting lock gates the locks themselves are deteriorating rapidly and only seem to demand C&RT’s attention when a canal closure is imminent.
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