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« Cropredy to Fenny Compton | Main | No more waterskiing on the Erie Canal »

Monday, 07 August 2006


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Nic Chilton

I suppose many people come across canal rage at some point, because everyone's opinions vary. You are obviously a thoughtful person and upset that someone has been enraged at your perceived impoliteness. You just have to put it behind you. I've a few times been told about my courteousness by the boatyard when returning (passed on from boater), but have also been at the end of the odd rant like when I entered a lock because a boat was topping up on water, but try to avoid ranting myself (such as boats pulling out from a mooring right infront of you whereby you have to go into reverse to slow down in case you end up colliding)

Alan Sawyer

Wow I had no idea. My wife and I have just bought our first narrowboat (Regine - moored on the GUC just south of Southall). We'd never been on a narrowboat before although have a lot of liveaboard experience on small racing yachts. I had no idea that canal rage existed even - it sounds dreadful. Also there seems to be a bit of snobbery or some kind of class structure depending whether you are a liveaboard or renting or sharing. Lots to learn obviously and I don't just mean about handling and pumping out! Maybe I'll buy a megaphone so that I can say sorry without shouting it!

Mike Wilcox

I remember mooring across the canal from "Black Swan" at Banbury last Monday night - my wife reported that they weren't very friendly. Then we were a boat away from "Granny" at Fenny on Tuesday night - but no-one around to chat to.

We came across a couple of cases of canal-rage at the end of last week - both speeding traffic, and locks being closed to approaching boats. I think the excess traffic and long queues, due to the Cropredy festival, were getting to people a bit. I don't think I've come across quite so many convoys of 4+ boats before either!

And yes - we're on an Ownership-managed boat too. I'm glad you defended "us" to the live-aboards - I don't recognise that attitude in ourselves or any of the other part-owners that I know about. There is truth in the fact that you care somewhat more for the boat than a hirer, and that you care for how you leave the boat for the other co-owners, but never at the expense of the other boaters around you. I'd love to know their experience that makes them believe otherwise.

I will say that instances of canal-rage (and river-rage) exists in all walks. We've come across it in full-owners, live-aboards, part-owners and hirers, and seen comments from all groups aimed at one-another. The one group I haven't had a bad experience from is a canaltime user!

The only generalisation I can make is that it always seems to be from someone in a hurry.

Raymond Harvey

If we don't get a personal reply then will you publish the "thund'rous face" photo please? Although I suppose it may just provoke a repeat of the gesture.
Could of course be a recognition sign between Ownership members in the same way that Masons have secret signs!
Any suggestions for appropriate gestures which could be unique to boat owners, hirers, fishermen, etc? Or am I being silly?

Raymond Harvey

Hi Andrew
So essentially we crop the photo and have a man making a rude gesture. By luck, or good management of the photographer, the identity is obscured. You have clearly explained your actions and expressed concern about the incident. Others (some with apparent axes to grind) have speculated and introduced irrelevances. I would be surprised if the photo subject was unaware of this discussion from his compatriots (who did not witness the incident) so come on lets have him on the stage to explain, justify or apologise for his (apparent)blatant rudeness
Oh and "hi" to Peter again

Peter Scott

Hello Andrew,
Very enjoyable merry banter here. If you're single handing again, and are content to trust me to wind a paddle for GrannyButtons, I'll be pleased to do so, and if it speeds the queue along, so much the better. We can smile and wave at one another if it's not raining (or even if it is) but that's not a compulsory part of the transaction :-)

You will of course be most welcome at the next Ownerships show. We will have our normal selection of the tall and the short, big and small, old and young, smiley and (perhaps occasionally) unsmiley owners who will be pleased to swap canalling stories and compare notes on whether that's a good place for a table-leg/cooker/
freezer/aerial/bath. With two thousand souls it's a brave generalisation to say we think 'this', or other people think 'that' of us all.


Phil Gallagher - NB Cookley

I do believe there are only 6 owners on Black Swan and not 12!

Alan Glass

Although there is no excuses for such a jesture I do admit to knowing two of the shared owners of 'BLACK SWAN' and am happy to report that neither of them are in your picture.

Andrew Denny

Thanks for your comment Lorraine. (I'd better thank you, or I might be in trouble with you :-)

No, I've not "had my fun at Ownerships' expense". I've had my fun at Mr Black Swan/12's expense. I don't know any of the other co-owners - I'm sure they are very polite and tolerant.

You know, I've heard exactly the same argument advanced by hire boaters and 'sole-owners' against shared ownership, and against each other. In fact, chatting later that day to some liveaboards, I heard considerable vitriol against shared-ownership boats, and actually came to your defence! The argument (as I understand it) is that shared-ownership boaters worry about what the others in their syndicate might think of how they treat 'their' boat, so they take it out on other boaters. (I think this is unfair, but I heard them say it and I defended you).

I confess I'm a newcomer to the canals. I've only got about 15 years experience, and I've only had my own boat for about 7 years, so I guess I'm still learning, compared with you and Mr V-sign. But I'm very happy with being ignored by others, and I'm more than happy to do all the work for them, and it makes no difference to me if they don't thank me, just so long as they are happy with the way I help them.

I just don't like being sworn and screamed at, that's all.

Perhaps it's my autism and asperger's syndrome coming through, I don't know. ('Arrogant' is a loaded word that can't be used dispassionately, so not much point in discussing it)

I guess there'll be a fatwa out on me if I ever try to attend another Ownerships Show.

And I can't help seeing the irony that this whole episode arose because I spend the entire time at that lock saying thank-you. I was just saying it to the wrong person (the lady in the lock cottage, who's about to leave it), that's all.

Sam Tana

The two fingered salute came about (according to popular legend) at the battle of Agincourt, where English archers would wave two fingers (the fingers used to fire the bow, and which were routinely chopped off if captured) at the French as a show of defiance. As always, there's doubt over the truth of that origin, but enough people know the story that it's become if it wasn't always the true origin of the British V-sign, it is now!

With the hand reversed (palm outwards) it is indeed a "V for Victory" - although it's become a sort of all-purpose rock 'n' roll, counter-culture salute since the days of John Lennon.

Lorraine Sencicle

OK, so now you have had your fun at Ownerships expense. HOWEVER, perhaps you should take a long hard look at owners attitudes to those they perceive as hire boaters?
I say this as a typical Ownership owner who has had, typically, some 25+ years of canal cruising.
One thing I have notice over recent times is the increasing arrogant and aggressive behaviour of those who totally own their boats -not share holders like ourselves. This attitude is, with regular monotony aimed at anyone they perceive of as hire boaters, including us.
We have to put up with these people taking over locks which are against them - because they are owners so know best/ are in a hurry. Like you, they don't say thank you when we help them through locks. They drive past moored boats at high speeds and I could go on and on.
The man was wrong for putting two fingers up at you, I agree, but no doubt, like many of us, he was getting fed up of biting his lip when faced with yet another arrogant boat owner.

Steve Atty

I've met this boat this year somewhere - the name is pretty unique - and I seem to recall the people on it not being the most communicative people in the world. Having said that I dont remember them swearing at me so...


A bad experience to be assaulted verbally or physically, the more so when travelling alone.
Great picture though, a genuine candid, should make the Nationals! If the subject sees himself as others see him perhaps he will reflect on his gross behaviour? Calm down mate, you're on holiday!!

Andrew Denny

No, you've got it wrong. The context is that a two-finger salute is an insult if the back of the hand faces outward, and it's a victory sign if the palm faces outward.

The single finger is an alien custom that we should raise two fingers to!

Sam Tana

Further two finger salutes: surely he should have delivered a one finger salute (an insult) and you should have returned a two finger salute (a show of defiance)? Context, dear boy. Context! :-)

Andrew Denny

Well, the irony is I landed myself in this hot water because I was actually being polite and friendly to the lady in the lock cottage.

And my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (if you believe all that stuff!) meant that I wasn't able to pay attention to the others. Perhaps I shouldn't be allowed out in public on my own...


Please don't judge all Ownerships owners by this one unfortunate incident - I promise you that the majority of us aren't nearly so rude and unfriendly.


A Roman Centurion ordering five beers upstairs???

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