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Newsletter of IWA Lee & Stort Branch Winter 2011/12 We say Farewell...

During the Quiz Night at the Ware Festival in July John Shacklock as long-term Editor of this newsletter. 16 years and nearly 50 editions ago, John took on this very time consuming task, and appears to have contributed most of the articles himself! I have a lot to live up to, following in his footsteps, and I hope he will be able to continue to lend his support, and offer further contributions. Our newsletter is for all of us, and to maintain the personal touch, we must each consider anything we do, or anywhere we go, relating to the inland waterways, which would be of interest (and suitable) for us all to read about. Please send me any snippets and/or articles/pictures you might like to share with everyone. My details can be found on the back page.


From the Region Chairman

Paul Strudwick As your newly elected region chairperson, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce myself to you through your branch magazine. I am a previous chairperson of Chelmsford Branch and have been on its committee since the mid ‘80s. Between 2007 and 2010 I was a directly elected trustee, and already represent London on the National Navigation Committee and Promotions Committee. My love affair with boating began at the age of 11 when my uncle taught me to sail on the Norfolk Broads, and my wife and I have owned a boat on the canals for nearly thirty years. During most of this time, our boats have been moored on the River Stort, our present moorings being in Harlow. We have won the best decorated boat at Canalway Cavalcade and been runner up several times!! Next year is going to be a challenging one for IWA in general and London Region in particular. Firstly there are the problems we are facing due to the restrictions being imposed on us for the Olympics. There can be no argument that the proposed booking system along the Lee Navigation is sensible and appropriate. Similarly if the lower lock on the Hertford Union remained open boats would head directly into the Olympic site. However closing Commercial Road Lock, for 10 weeks makes it unsafe for boats travelling from the River Lee to the main canal network unless they have the experience, and equipment to make the trip along the tideway. It could also tempt inexperienced boaters to make the Brentford-Limehouse passage so that they could reach the Lee Navigation. Our North East Branch is leading the campaign to try and get the decision to close the lock reversed. This year, Cavalcade, with no National Festival being held, takes on special importance and we need to try and make it even more memorable than usual to make certain IWA's

campaigning message is heard by the widest possible audience. The money on offer from the government for the Canal and River Trust is well below that needed for a sustainable future. Whilst there might be some room for manoeuvre on the settlement on offer. The removal of the dead hand of the Treasury from BW will allow the trust to use its assets more profitably; the threat to the waterways caused by the economic situation is real and on-going. We have come a long way over the last few years, one of our long term aims, establishing a National Waterways Conservancy is nearly in our grasp. If you are a boat owner you should have received papers from the new Trust asking for nominations for their council. If you have decided to stand please let Head Office know so that we can see what support we can offer. They will also be contacting members in February, by e-mail, to let them know who our preferred candidates are. If we do not act together on this and get the maximum turnout for the IWA candidates there is a risk that well organised special interest groups will take all the boaters seats on the Trust’s council. I will try to write a few words for every future edition of your magazine but it is quite difficult to produce up to date and relevant reports as each branch magazine has a slightly different publishing schedule. Finally I would like to publicly thank Roger Squires for all the work he has done in looking after the region as acting chairperson, since the previous chairperson had to resign due to ill health. He will be a very hard act to follow. Paul.

IWA Best Amateur Boat Fit Out 2011 I am proud to announce that my husband, Richard, won the IWA Best Amateur Boat Fit Out 2011 at the National Festival held at Burton-upon-Trent. I had entered nb Magic into the competition, unbeknown to him. Someone came to inspect the craft, asking many questions as to how this was made, and why that was done. All competition prizes were to be presented on the Sunday. Being unfamiliar with these competitions, I thought they would inform the winners prior to the presentations, but they didn't. A friend who was in the marquee phoned Richard suggesting he went there ASAP. Now Richard is not one for being the centre of attention, so to his horror and embarrassment, but to much applause, he had to walk through the centre of the marquee, which probably had around 600 people in it, up onto the stage to meet the Mayor and other dignitaries. He gratefully received his prizes, certificate and shield, then had to give a speech. He knew the press were waiting outside for him but managed to escape through the back door! Later that day, Rupert Medley, writer for Waterways World visited the boat to conduct an interview and take photographs, which we understand will probably be published in the November issue. Richard, with help from his friend Roger, worked many long hours over a number of years fitting out the inside of the boat. There is hardly a thing which has not been hand made. The boat also houses a Gardner 3LW engine which was, when purchased, seized and sold as scrap. Richard, who is a highly skilled engineer, lovingly stripped and restored the engine, whilst keeping its originality. He has a great knowledge of the workings of Gardner engines. When the day came to start the engine, after many years of silence, it started first time. Such an achievement. Richard, well done - you so much deserved to win and please, bathe in the glory. Winner of the IWA Best Amateur Boat Fit Out 2011 by Mimi Alderman. Adapted from the Stort Recorder

IWA Lee & Stort Branch Help Tidy Up River Stort Tidy Up Bishop's Stortford (TUBS) volunteers met on the 12th November, opposite South Mill lock on a cloudy but warm Saturday morning. There were about 20 litter pickers there. They were mostly members of the TUBS group who meet up every month or so and tidy up Bishop's Stortford. They were a friendly group and we were soon equipped with a long armed litter picker and a luminous waistcoat with TUBS emblazoned on it. Then there was the litter boat, the 'Pride of Bishop's Stortford', with its 2 BW employees all ready with its large scoop and 2 bins on the front, moored outside the canoe club, along with members of the canoe club and their canoes. We were all ready to spend the morning clearing the towpath and river between South Mill lock and Bishop's Stortford! We were then given our instructions. The advanced party were sent off to start outside Lussmans and work back, and then there were us who took it slowly picking up litter on the way. We were all accompanied by the canoeists who picked up the litter we could not reach in the river and amongst the reeds. Everyone was given a pink bag for recycling and a black bag for rubbish. These were quickly filled up with all the drinks cans and other rubbish which seems to collect along the towpath. They were then left on the edge of the river for the 'Pride of Bishop's Stortford' to pick up. We were finished about 12 and the river bank and towpath looked much better, and several passers-by commented on the difference it made, and a job well done. We walked back to the car enthused with the TUBS organisation and carrying a mooring pin which was found! Re-use always better than recycling!!! With the Canal and River Trust looking to engage with wider participation, groups like TUBS and the canoe club are already off to a flying start. The more we do, the more influence we might have in the newly formed waterways charity, let’s not be left behind. Helen Smith.

Man Overboard is the Man Overboard Picture, if you will, a pleasant London evening in Limehouse Basin, autumnal sun has set on a line of boats lining the eastern wall. Double, triple, quintruple and even more, abreast.

On the north wall a huge Thames Barge, the 'Cabby', resplendent with sprite sails tightly furled, neatly brailed main, Red Duster1 twitching lazily

at the stern, serenely awaiting Saturday's tide. Behind the entrance to the now deserted and abandoned Regent's Canal Dock, the newly acquired2 'Grapes' historic pub is disgorging its evening revellers. What a calming scene, soon to be shattered by the Lee & Stort Branch's very own MoB. No need for quayside ladders, courtesy of LOCOG3, ready for 2012, a newly installed ramp and floating pontoon provides easy access to the serried ranks of the Stort Boat Club's craft. But wait, one is moored stern first to the pontoon neatly using spare water between two horizontal rows. Clearly an escapee from Cavalcade. Intrepid Ware Festival, 'Man Overboard' man (MoB), approaches the stern fender (and shortly to be more than stern, more akin to hopping mad fender!) of a long, black as Welsh Steam Coal, narrow boat. Lightly step from dark black pontoon onto anthracite rear fender. Fender chain snaps and man transmogrifies into unexpected unwelcome MoB with a screech and a splash. Quick-witted youth leaps from quayside onto pontoon and yanks MoB back to being a MoP (Man on Pontoon). Could this

be youth's revenge for all those years he had been told by his parents, not to splash his wellies in muddy puddles, before being hauled unceremoniously upwards out of the damp? And all this before 'Cabby' had a chance to run up his main mast, the International Code of Signal Flags 'O'4. Much beloved wife was, however, reliably reported to have said, “If they'd left him down there, he could have been a Man Under Board”. Questionable as to whether MuB has a signal flag. One has no doubt that if any of the assembled throng saw the idiot disappearing into the dock, and then subsequently sees MiP (Man in Pub5) a mere hint, a tad of a raised eyebrow, would suffice for the blackmailer being bought a pint. All this so as not to announce, with accusative pointed finger and blazing eyes, “You that bloke that snapped a fender chain in Limehouse, then dun a runner to hospital so as not to have to recompense Welsh skipper for the loss?”. Well I for one will be the first, indeed am already practising the extended index finger, and hired the best voice coach money can buy. An anonymous contribution [Ed - believed to be from Lord Elf of Safety - alias Banny!]

Red Ensign; by Sir Ian McKellan CH CBE; 3 London Organising Committee Olympic Games; 4 Man Overboard single value flag; 1



Not to be confused with Millions of Instructions per second.

The New Inn at Roydon At our 2011 AGM, the Branch presented landlady Mary with a scale model of the New Inn.

This was presented as a mark of appreciation of the welcome our Branch, and River Society, as we were previously known, has enjoyed for more than 12 years. The model was made and painted by the same (modest!) person, and is believed to be 1/75th scale. .........................................................................................

Waterways Howlers

The following notices on BW waterways caused surprise in 2011 mainly because they were not appropriate for their location:

'Please share locks' (Seen on the Oxford Canal which has locks just 7 feet wide.) 'Before leaving the lock please close gates' (And presumably stay in the lock indefinitely.) 'Do not open the gate paddles until the lock is half full' (Seen on a lock which was only equipped with gate paddles.)

Nature Notes Red Kites - Welcome Back Less than 10 years ago, the sighting of a single Red Kite midway down the Thames, would have stopped people in their tracks to stare in amazement. Yet last summer, in the same area, I watched no less than nine Red Kites circling and searching over one small wood. After more than a hundred years absence, Red Kites were introduced into the Chilterns and they are now a thriving population in what is their natural and rightful habitat. In the 16th Century, Vermin Acts required the extermination of Red Kites which were perceived as a threat to agriculture. Gamekeepers drastically targeted Red Kites particularly at the end of 18th Century until only a few pairs survived in MidWales. Years ago Red Kites acted as scavengers in medieval streets and were comparable, to some extent, to vultures. Possibly superstition helped to give them a poor image. In flight Red Kites are a magnificent sight with dark red bodies which are complemented by bands of white and dark wing feathers. They float on thermal air currents for very long periods with the minimum of wing beating. Adults are huge with a wingspan of nearly 6 feet yet they weigh only about the same as a pair of adult human hands. (If you wish to weigh your own hands, without chopping them off, please send a stamped, addressed envelope for guidance on a satisfactory procedure.) Being very light Red Kites are not very strong and so are incapable of tearing a carcass apart like a true bird of prey. They will feed on the carcass of a sheep only if it has been torn open by a stronger bird or animal. However Red Kites are predators and will tackle small live mammals, amphibians, birds and earthworms. They build their nests between 12 feet and 90 feet above the ground mostly in hardwood trees such as Oak. Red Kites are very welcome back as long as their appetite for smaller birds and a possible population explosion does not create a threat to vulnerable and endangered species. JS.

Meet Your Current Committee - Who We All Are Craig Haslam


John Shacklock

Les Hunt

Vice Chairman, Publicity Officer Secretary, Navigation/Planning Officer

Carole Beeton Banny Banyard

Terry Stembridge

Joint Events Officers

Membership Secretary, Treasurer

Frank Wallder Monica Hawes

Newsletter Editor

John Barfoot

Characters of our Waterways Spotlight on Alfie Saggs The Lee Navigation downstream of Ponders End may not be very inspiring even on a sunny day. There is not much to look at other than the banks of the reservoirs, numerous giant national grid pylons, a tall incinerator chimney and the boxy outline of Ikea. Well perhaps there is a fair bit of greenery in the Lee Valley Park to sooth the senses. For many of us who have made this trip over several years, the highlight is to meet Alfie who lives in the bungalow alongside Pickett’s Lock. On the gate outside the bungalow a fan has presented Alfie with a sign which states 'The Best Man On The Lee’! Pickett’s Lock is the only lock on the Lower Lee which can still only be operated by hand, and Alfie toiled here as Lockkeeper for many years until the 1980s. Now 82 years young, Alfie still comes out to greet the infrequent passing boaters with friendly Alfie Saggs advice on the best way The Best Man on the Lee to operate the dauntingly heavy gates. Visiting Pickett's Lock used to be a popular outing for local schools, and I have been told that Alfie used to set a team of the girls on one gate to compete with a team of boys on the opposite side. Until recently Alfie used to keep about a dozen white geese which provided another focus of interest above the top gates. He told me that he has given up smoking and drinking

which may help to explain why a well-wisher has recently attached a collecting box and sign on the bungalow fence: 'NOTICE In accordance with:The British Waterways Act 1839 every boat navigating this lock shall provide Alfie Saggs Lock Keeper with a BOUNTY BAR placed in the box above. BY ORDER' Until recently Alfie used to collect his geese eggs each morning and evening. His new routine is to check his Bounty Box. Could you dare to sneak through his lock and then cruise on without a guilty conscience? JS *********************************************

Ware Town Festival... ...once again played host to a large number of boats for the weekend back in July. Over 80 boats had to be accommodated this year, 22 of which were from the Lea & Stort CC, and overall they took some accommodating. The junketings began for us, (boaters), on the Friday with the usual welcoming BBQ, followed by a singing duo to entertain us throughout the evening. IWA Gazebos at Ware This year's theme was Sci-Fi, and on Saturday, some of the children in the town were silver face-painted and fancy-dressed, mostly in tin foil. Some of our boats were similarly adorned (but without the face paint), and were cheered as the procession appeared under the town bridge and past the 'Saracen's Head', where the

judges were positioned, the winning entry being a nifty little UFO skimming very effectively over the water. The carnival procession through the town, and the stalls and activities in the Priory, were very well supported, as were the river trips on 'Dawn Treader', run by the Canal Boat Project. It was a bit windy for the Boat Handling, but the Man Overboard was fun to watch, as well as showing us just how heavy a saturated man is, and the effort it takes for him to clamber back on board. As for the quiz night...well! We've never had one quite like it. It was a most wonderful evening. For those who were unable to be there, it had a high musical content, leading to several communal sing-songs, and a version of the 'conga' around the tables. Our quizmaster, Craig, gave a full length solo of a Tom Jones hit; and one very chivalrous gentleman invited a number of the ladies to waltz with him. Numerous smartly dressed teddies enjoyed their 'Teddy Bears Picnic', basking in the Sunday afternoon sun on the island, while their respective pets enjoyed their packed lunches.

We give our thanks to Kieran and Debbie at 'The Victoria' for once again providing good beer, and allowing us the use of their water and facilities.

Some of the teddies were masquerading as owls, wombles and otters, and some hadn't bothered to put in an appearance at all!


Urgent Urgent Urgent Urgent Appeal For Storage Space Next summer, due to a Branch member’s planned move away from the area, we will be loosing the storage space essential for running the Ware Boat Festival. There isn’t much gear and it’s mainly gazebos and fold-up barbecues. Commercial storage is extremely expensive and if anyone could offer some space in a garage or shed it would make a great contribution to our Branch, even from the comfort of your armchair. If we have to take the commercial option it has been calculated that the Branch funds will be completely exhausted within less than 3 years! It would be a great pity if the very successful Ware Boat Festival had to be abandoned for such a small reason. Can you help or make any suggestions for cheap or free storage space? For more information on this, please contact Branch Secretary, John Shacklock.

Urgent Urgent Urgent Boating into London in 2012 For details of the restrictions in Central London during the summer of 2012, please visit: articles/news/3190/plan-ahead-for-your-olympicboating-summer Or by e-mail to: Or by phone: 020 7985 7315

Pterodactyls seen in East London

For November’s talk the old lags emerged from their favourite spot behind the picture frame to listen to Mark’s fascinating report on the Olympic legacy. Thankfully, no reported progress on the traffic lights at Islington Tunnel (no doubt policed by Camden traffic wardens). Good news is the acre upon acre of green space that will be left behind (just behind West Ham’s controversial stadium). Bad news is the demolition of the facilities designed just for the games, will have to take place first. Odd that no one has ever mentioned the demolition phase, a kind of retro building site, obvious when you know. You can expect wider towpaths, BW have fought hard to stop the navigation being fenced in to stop the Elfs from Safety falling into the three foot cut and not remembering to stand up and wade ashore (okay, so when your three foot it’s not so easy). Soon the smell of dredging will be finished. I kid you not, the smell was awful, decades of dumping any old noxious waste you didn’t want, went in and sunk to the bottom. Millions have been spent removing the debris and tidal silt from the good old days when you could slip unannounced up Bow Creek on the flood, and ease your way through the sea lock gates as they swung, into half-tidal calm waters. The factual slides were fascinating, the artists impressions were hilarious, one a narrow boat with its bow clear of the water and another with a pair (well they might have been two individuals) of pterodactyls swooping over the new park. All in all a

grand legacy so be thankful next time you slip down the Lower Lea and Duckett's without grounding. The photo is of Lisa and Mark who are both ex BWL of course, although Mark will cling on in the new carrot (C&RT) when it gets going in the summer, to hopefully be on our side for another decade1. PS No one from Hertford Emeritus Branch this month. 1

You're not supposed to take sides – Ed

/ / / / / / / / / / / / /\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \

Next Year's Ware Festival At the Ware Town Council Festival Meeting it was decided that the theme for 2012 will be:

SPORT FOR ALL. It seems that with the Olympic torch passing through Ware on Saturday 7th a sporting theme was unavoidable, and this was felt to give scope for interpretation. Unfortunately the Ware Festival Committee are currently finding it frustratingly difficult to get any information about the exact route through Ware that the torch will take, where it will enter and leave, the expected time of arrival etc. This means that the time of the Carnival Procession, Boat Parade, and the Town Fair itself may be subject to change next year. This has an impact on road closures, stallholders setting up times etc. Rosalyn will press the organisers for more information, as without this nothing else can be planned and the timetable, programme etc produced. Les.

Inland Waterways Association Annual General Meeting of Lee & Stort Branch Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Lee & Stort Branch of the Inland Waterways Assocation, will take place on: Monday 12th March 2012, at 8.00pm, at the New Inn, Roydon, Essex, CM19 5EE.

Annual General Meeting of IWA London Region Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the London Region of the Inland Waterways Association, will take place on: Monday 12th March 2012, at 8.00pm, at the New Inn, Roydon, Essex, CM19 5EE.

Agenda For BOTH Meetings is as Follows: 1. Apologies for Absence. 2. Approval of Minutes of the 2011 AGM. 3. Matters Arising from these Minutes. 4. Chairman's Report. 5. Presentation of Accounts. 6. Business of the meeting notified under byelaw 1. 3.* 7. Election to fill posts on the relevant Committee.** 8. Questions from the Floor.

* Byelaw 1. 3 provides that any member of Region or Branch may propose any business to appear on the agenda of an AGM of their Region or Branch, provided that notice of such business is delivered in writing to the Chairman of Region or Branch at least six weeks before that meeting. If any such items are received, a revised agenda for the relevant meeting will be issued. ** Nominations for the Branch or Region Committees, should be made to the Branch or Region Secretary before or at the AGM. Committees may vary in size according to the numbers elected. All candidates and their proposers must be paid-up members of the Branch or Region, and the candidate must indicate his/her willingness to serve. Branch Secretary: John Shacklock, 5 Roselands Avenue, Hoddesdon, Herts, EN11 9AH. e-mail: Region Secretary: Robin Bishop, 11 Lichfield Rd, Cricklewood, London, NW2 2RE. e-mail:

Nominations for Election to IWA Lee & Stort Branch Committee at AGM 12th March 2012 Name



Nominee Signature

Nominations for Election to IWA London Region Committee at AGM 12th March 2012 Name



Nominee Signature

Committee Members Chairman

Vice Chairman, Publicity Officer

Craig Haslam m: 07956 848 025 e:

Les Hunt h: 01279 860 507 m: 07801 260 579 e:

Secretary, Navigation/ Planning Officer

John Shacklock 5 Roselands Avenue Hoddesdon, Herts, EN11 9AH h: 01992 465 643 m: 07979 801 487 e: Joint Events Officer

Banny Banyard h: 01279 771 552 m: 07860 669 279 e:

Membership Secretary, Treasurer

Carole Beeton h: 01992 468 435 e: Joint Events Officer

Terry Stembridge h: 01992 575 702 m: 07709 205 498 e:

Newsletter Editor

Monica Hawes h: 020 8520 0461 m: 07943 169 800 e: Frank Wallder tel/fax: 01992 636 164 m: 07985 013 032 e: John Barfoot The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in this newsletter, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless otherwise stated. IWA accepts no liability for any matter in this newsletter. Registered Charity No. 212342

IWA Lee & Stort Branch Newsletter, Recorder, January 2012  
IWA Lee & Stort Branch Newsletter, Recorder, January 2012  

IWA Lee & Stort Branch Newsletter, Recorder, January 2012