The Bridge and the Swanby Ian H Bruce (2013)As I cruise the canals their needs are apparentLocks leaking, gates creaking, towpaths overgrownHopes sink like an anchor, we've been scuppered by bankersIt'll take more than they'll raise from some texts on the phoneChorus :I won't send a text to raise money for orchardsA house for a dormouse, holes for the volesCanals that hold water are all that I'm wantingThe birds and the bees will find their own homesThe canals built by man for industrial transportA new dawn, barges horse drawn distribution achievedNo more rutted cart tracks, goods slung on horses' backsAs throughout the country waterways weavedIron horses then galloped over all of the countrySteam and smoke, coal and coke, a railway stampedeWhen navvies laid rail lines, canal haulage soon declinedThe boatie's life vanished, beaten by speedThe canals were once saved by amateur enthusiastsBoating pleasure, enjoying leisure, a new fashionable creed'Til professionals' conceit, their God now the spreadsheetLet the system decline through incompetence and greedWe're now asked to trust that the system's in safe handsWorkers disappear, more volunteers, a government conBoaters, their views ignored, by 'friend-seeking' charity boardReflect on the curse of the bridge and the swanRepeat verse 1 “Major disruptions to the canal system seem to have been increasing during 2013 and evidence of future problems is plain to see. The new body entrusted with keeping the system in good order, the Canal and River Trust, got off to a poor start when they introduced schemes where members of the public could text a number and donate £3 towards trees to be planted, bird boxes to be installed and habitats to be created for voles. Voles which may well be undermining canal banks and causing some of the failures. I doubt the money raised paid for the signage or the refreshments at the executive meeting where the scheme was dreamt up. These factors combined to lead to the chorus of this song and the verses followed.” - Ian H Bruce (written in 2013)As I update this website in 2021 the canal network is in a dreadful state with the number of major repairs underway at the start of the boating season at the highest level for many years. Though this protest song’s reference to the ‘bridge and the swan’ is no longer relevant the criticism of those in charge of our canals certainly is. I think we now need a song about the ‘sinking tyre’.Recorded on :
When the Canal & River Trust took over responsibility for the canal system from British Waterways in 2013 their new logo featuring the ‘bridge and the swan’ was a modification of the BW logo which had been in use on signage for many years.Five years later the Canal & River Trust decided to ‘reposition their brand’ as a ‘waterways and well being charity’. After six to nine months work a new logo was developed at a cost of £60,000.