With the recent devastating flooding across the south of England, the Waterways Agency have requested help from the government to locate hundreds of miles of missing canals.
"We thought we knew where they were," said Walter Way, head of Canal maintenance at the Waterways Agency. "We have maps with them on and everything."
However, when coming down one particular canal, the canal vanished and was replaced by Sutton Coldfield high street.
"The first we knew," said Way, "was when we saw a thirty speed limit sign, shortly followed by a set of traffic lights. They were on red, but a barge is hard to stop."
Way recalls telling his passengers that traffic lights aren't normal on a canal.
"What was worse," said Way, "was that the red light camera flashed, so I'll probably get a ticket now."
With the canals seemingly vanished, Way has requested help from the government's new flood fund to help locate all the missing canals.
"We've got no idea where they are," said Way. "We've had boats all around most of the towns in the South of England, but they can find no trace of the canals."
The canal network is a major source of tourist revenue in some areas, and the loss of the canals could impact on the tourists. Not to mention the fact that all the places the tourists would visit are underwater. In an inventive move, in case the government cannot help locate the canals, the Waterways Agency are hoping to advertise taking a canal barge right up to the pub and shop doorways as a more convenient holiday.
"That's a last resort," said Way. "We're sure that government will have the tools we need to find out missing canals."