British Waterways disappeared in 2012 and responsibility for the waterways was taken over by the Canal and River Trust. C&RT has not been universally popular, particularly with some of the boating community who think that not enough is being done to keep the waterways in a navigable state. I was particularly incensed when one of their first acts was a fund-raising campaign which involved notices on towpaths asking passers-by to text on their phones to donate £3 for the establishment of bird boxes, for the planting of trees, and to create habitats for voles. The public didn’t think much of this scheme and the money raised was insignificant. In the summer of 2013 I travelled through many locks which had walls which leaked and showed signs of potential collapse. Anger directed at the C&RT led to the creation of the chorus of this song and the verses followed. Initially C&RT changed all the old BW signs to ones which featured a bridge and a swan - hence the song’s title. Since then a huge amount of money has been spent on another rebranding and blue signs featuring what looks like a ‘sinking tyre’ have appeared absolutely everywhere.
Em D Em D As I cruise the canals their needs are apparent Em C D Em Locks leaking, gates creaking, towpaths overgrown D C D Hopes sink like an anchor, we've been scuppered by bankers Em D C Em It'll take more than they'll raise from some texts on the phone Chorus : G D C D I won't send a text to raise money for orchards G D C Em A house for a dormouse, holes for the voles G D C D Canals that hold water are all that I'm wanting Em D C Em The birds and the bees will find their own homes The canals built by man for industrial transport A new dawn, barges horse drawn distribution achieved No more rutted cart tracks, goods slung on horse's backs As throughout the country waterways weaved Iron horses then galloped over all of the country Steam and smoke, coal and coke, a railway stampede When navvies laid rail lines, canal haulage soon declined The boaties’ life vanished, beaten by speed The canals were once saved by amateur enthusiasts Boating pleasure, enjoying leisure, a new fashionable creed 'Til professionals' conceit, their God now the spreadsheet Let the system decline through incompetence and greed We're now asked to trust that the system's in safe hands Workers disappear, more volunteers, a government con Boaters, their views ignored, by friend-seeking charity board Reflect on the curse of the bridge and the swan Repeat verse 1 © I H Bruce 2013
The Bridge and the Swan
Capo 1
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