Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Back to Hoddesdon

There was a water meadow adjacent to last night’s mooring and I happened to notice more of those square concrete columns running across it in a line.  This time I could see over the top and confirm there was a grate with vent holes.

The red arrows mark the furthest two columns and the line of trees marks the River Stort.  The columns continue on the other side of the river.  It is a pipeline and with the holes in the grate I suspect it’s not for fresh water.  When I smelt the air from the vent it seemed to be stale water.  I think this might be a stormwater or drainage pipeline.  There was a fourth column in overgrown shrubs beside the river.  I managed to take a photo of a concrete sign beside the column.

“WATER CP”   I understand the water but what do the initials CP mean?

The shop in the lock side cottage at Roydon Lock was closed. Perhaps we were too early!

The CRT contractors were busily working below the lock.  Jan asked them what they were doing only to see four blank faces.  Eventually one slowly said “I……speak……no……English!”  A fifth worker arrived and explained they were strengthening the lower lock approach wall and footbridge abutments.

If you look closely at the above photo you can see the threaded steel rods that have been grouted into the lock approach wall.  My assumption is a large steel plate will be placed over each rod and then a nut added.  By tightening the nut the cracked and sagging approach wall with be secured.  I found it interesting that only one of the workers spoke English.  The other four were east european.  It appears companies find it cheaper to import skilled labour rather than going to the expense of training them.  Something similar exists in Australia with employers allowed to import “skilled employees” on temporary 457 visas.  My personal opinion is that if a company has to import skilled labour they they should pay a training levy (a percentage of the company annual payroll) to assist in the training of suitable nationals. 

We moved on slowly with locks passing at regular intervals eventually arriving at the junction of the Lee & Stort.  Jan was about to open both gates at our first lock on the Lee when she realised we were back to wide double locks and Waiouru would fit through one gate.

The plan was to stop for the day on the moorings above Dobbs Weir Lock but they were full.  Probably because there is an adjacent pub and it’s the closest location to the supermarkets in Hoddesdon.  We carried on to the next lock (Carthagena) where there is a water tap in the lock.  A kind local boater arrived to help Jan with the lock.  Well he wasn’t that local being another of those Aussies who owns a boat in the UK and a home in the Blue Mountains behind Sydney.  Another of those antipodeans who gets two summers each year. Smile

Still no sign of that forecast rain.  If it is fine tomorrow we will probably keep going.


Peter and Margaret said...

CP = something all of us steel narrow boaters should know about, and me more than most! The sign you photographed, being attached to what you now think is a pipeline, if constructed of a metallic material will most likely stand for "Cathode Protection". The place where the sign is hung will mark the location of this device, installed to protect the pipeline, so that periodic inspection and maintenance can take place. Without cathode protection in metal pipelines premature corrosion can cause early and catastrophic failure. That is my view anyway.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Peter,

It is the most plausible reason to date!

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hope Jan is recovering from her bronchitis and being cared for lovingly by you, Tom!
We've just come back from a weekend in Sydney and the Blue Mountains with our daughter - the Blue Mountains area is lovely but too many scary high bits for me ...
Lovely to know that we were close to the residence of another antipodean fair weather boater! Almost time to leave NZ for 5 months - it's due to be 5 degrees here tonight although the sun is shining and it's lovely and warm at the moment. Cheers, Marilyn

John said...

My initial thought was CP = Control Point, I'm not an expert (less than a novice really) but if it means Cathode Protection unless they are every few feet how will they protect the whole pipe line?

There used to be a training levy in this country. When I started working in the 6o's for Harland & Wolff in Southampton they used to take on dozens of apprentices every year. Companies who paid into the levy could claim the cost of training apprentices from it. At the end of the five year apprenticeship H&W would offer employment to the best and the rest would find jobs elsewhere. H&W made some money (or at worst broke even) from the training they provided and small firms that didn't have the resources to train staff could employ skilled workers.

Once the levy stopped, firms who offered apprenticeships were at a competitive disadvantage and so either only provided apprenticeships to cover their own needs or stopped altogether. The country is now in the sorry state where we have to import skilled labour, because Governments and Companies only look at the short term.

I'll let you guess which tax cutting, business friendly political party seeking votes thought it was a good idea to do away with the levy.

Tom and Jan said...

Lock work and heaving on mooring lines is good healthy outdoor exercise. Plenty of crisp fresh air will fix her!
So you are the one who bought all the bad weather to NSW?

Tom and Jan said...

The same happened in Australia John. The party of business removed the training levy. The country now has a skills shortage and rather than train them they get imported.

Carol said...

Perhaps, Tom, the eastern Europeans have come to the UK to settle of their own volition and find work to suit their skills and have not actually been ‘imported! specifically to do the job that you encountered.
Hope Han is feeling better.

Tom and Jan said...

Quite possibily the case Carol. But havingworked for large corporations I know many ofthem are adverse to training finding it cheaper to use imported labour. That results in a de-skilled local issue and high youth unemployment. In some cases it also results in exploitation and reduced wages.

Not all my grandchildren will go to university and end up as highly paid professionals. But I do want my country to provide a environment where they havd the opportunity to have a better life than my own!

Marilyn McDonald said...

Nah, Tom, the bad weather was there before we got there, in fact flying across the Tasman was fairly lumpy because of it. The huge hailstorm in Sydney happened while we were up in the BMs, but on our return on Sunday Kirsty said there were still piles of hailstones still in her street!
Good to see the school of hard knocks is still functioning as nb Waiouru's own little branch of NHS ...