So said the sign beside one of the largest hire-fleet builders on the Grand Union Canal, that we used to pass each summer on our way to the Thames and the Oxford Ring. It was a sentiment with which we heartily agreed and it came to mind as I watched a BBC documentary charting a dispute between boat dwellers and flat dwellers. The dispute became so heated that a public inquiry
The documentary was a perfect piece of scheduling coming so soon after the Less We Forget
day in London. Flat dwellers were not united in their campaign and could raise only 120 signatures to their petition. Patrick Stewart, who owns a flat there, spoke eloquently about the diversity that makes London such a great city; widely differing life styles and culture living beside one another - it has been this way for generations. The bargees gathered over 1600 signatures as they opened their homes to the public to show that they weren't aliens from outer space but ordinary people who chose to live on the water rather than beside it.
And the outcome of the inquiry - firmly granting planning permission for the moorings. The barge dwellers may be different, and the overall look of the mooring may be unexpected, said the report, but they are not unreasonable.
If you want a clear view of a stretch of water from your home, buy one on the seashore, or lakeside. Even then there's no guarantee your view won't be spoiled
by ships and other nautical craft. Better still, buy a house with a garden and dig a pond.