Waterway SOS by Ian H Bruce (2015) Just twelve more locks 'til we reach the top level Just twelve more locks, then we'll stop for the night Though lock walls are leaking, paddle gear's creaking 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 Ian H Bruce writes : A modern canal protest song which, I would like to make clear, is not 'anti-volunteers', many of whom do a very valuable job. However, there is a huge list of significant repairs needed to be done on the waterways and insufficient funds and workforce to carry them out. The idea that honest working men and women should lose their jobs as a result of the greed of bankers and financiers (who seem to have suffered little during the current austerity measures), and that a lot of the work previously done by this workforce should then be done for no pay by volunteers seems incredible. How do the politicians get away with it? In 2019 I re-wrote a couple of verses. This came about after the near collapse of the reservoir dam above Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire. This potential tragedy clearly revealed the stupidity of transferring the running of the waterway infrastructure to a poorly funded charity primarily concerned with public relations and image. Where is the workforce to maintain the system? Now we only see those who work for no pay More public relations and pleas for donations And more shiny blue signs appearing each day With a crumbling system near unfit for purpose Managing crises is all they can do Heritage in distress, waterway SOS The next system failure may be CaRT's Waterloo
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