avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No 181 June - July 2000
BCN Cleanup report Cotswold Camp report The 1990s: a look back Over Basin: the deadline looms...
waterway recovery group
Contents Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3Â˝" disk (please include hard-copy) or by e-mail. Photos also welcome: slides or colour or b/w prints. Please state whether you want your prints back; I assume that you want slides returned. Computer scanned photos also acceptable, either on disk or as e-mail attachments, preferably JPG or TIF format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or e-mail to email@example.com. Press date for No 182: July 1st. (but see 'And next time')
In this issue:
Chairman with info on the training weekend 3-4 Cleanup report from the Dudley No 2 Canal 5 WRGWorks! our 30th birthday celebration 6-7 wrgOver Latest news on the H&G project 8 Camp reports H&G and Cotswolds 9-11 Bookshop auction of old canal books 12-13 Directory of WRG and canal societies 14-15 Diary camp and working party dates 16-18 Letters to the editor 19 Progress the Dig Deep projects 20 Work party reports the Mont and the Louth, 21-23 plus news from the WRG Boat Club Kevin Angus an appreciation 24-25 Looking back remember the early 90s? 26-27 Logistics pack your trailer! 28-29 The 'National' plans for Waltham Abbey 30 Noticeboard West Felton on the Web! 31 Backfill Mrs. Smeaton answers your queries 32
And next time...
...more on WRG Works! Plus we hope to include A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a camp reports from the first of the summer Canal minimum of ÂŁ1.50 (please add a donation if pos- Camps. Don't worry if your camp ends a week or sible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton- so after the press date - send the report and phocum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to tos in sharpish and we'll try to include them, as the following special issue is going to be very full. "Waterway Recovery Group" please. Visit our web site: http://www.wrg.org.uk/index.htm for all the latest news Cover photo: One small-ish part of the 240 cubic metres of junk that the volunteers pulled out of the Dudley No 2 Canal during the BCN Cleanup weekend - see p5 for report. (Martin Ludgate) Below: The Easter weekend working party at Over on the Hereford & Gloucester Canal was attended by the entire WRG Transit fleet, plus the Beavertail truck, the excavator 'Blue' and the Case skid-steer loader... oh yes, and a few volunteers as well! See pages 8-10 for more news from Over. (Martin Ludgate)
Shrug at Shrewsbury On July 22/23rd the Shrewsbury River Users Group (SHRUG!) are having their “River and Launch” weekend. That particular part of the River Severn is a unique stretch which is largely unexplored and ignored by users of small pleasure craft. The river encircles the historic town of Shrewsbury offering a wonderful opportunity for craft to be moor and for visitors to explore the town. The river enjoys a Royal Charter which is open to “all free men” so no licences for the river or the free launch facilities. There will be a trade show in the “Quarry” waterside park, a huge natural amphitheatre with the river as its circular stage. They hope to have a wide variety of all craft to show that the river has many uses. Boats of all types; steam, electric, motor, canoes, coracles, punts, modern innovative craft, trail boats, sailing and dragon boats should all combine to make it a memorable weekend with a good campaign element. Contact Stewart Harbold-Suffield, 38a St Johns Hill, Shrewsbury. SY1 1JQ or email firstname.lastname@example.org or see the web site at http://www.shrewsburytourism.co.uk Organic excavators Note for any hippy navvies: JCB have moved into organic farming and are recruiting so if any of you fancy combining a couple of your interests then apply now, and don’t forget to bring the company car when you go digging at the weekend! Legislation spot The “consultation of the month” is 'Proposals for Regulations to Control Water Pollution From Oil Stores in England'.
Chairman "Adrian has offered to fill Gavin's boots" What with? New installations will need to comply within six months of the approval of the Statutory Order, installations “at significant risk” (within 10 meters of a watercourse) within two years and all other installations within 5 years. It’s good practice anyway and fuel stores are very visible - so any passer by can spot it and inform on you! Other news You may remember that Gavin Moor used to be quite dangerous towards the springtime as he started to try and recruit leaders and assistants for the Canal Camps. Well as you probably know, Gavin has had to lose this job while he tries to find paid employment that will actually give him time to do the things he wants to do (such as recruit people to lead Camps!). Anyway I am pleased to say that Adrian Fry has offered to fill Gavins boots. So beware of him buying you drinks and saying “so what are you doing this summer?” And if Adrian Fry doesn’t know about the problems of matching the right person for the right job, assembling enough skills and resources to complete the job properly, convincing people to give time and effort till it hurts, and dealing with locals, then who does? Food hygiene
The governments opinion is that over 30% of water pollution incidents are caused by such ad hoc storage and that prevention would be much cheaper that the fines and costs of clean up.
One of the things we have been very aware of recently is the increased focus on standards of hygiene in the accommodation and in particular food hygiene.
Basically all oil storage facilities over 200 litres (45 gallons) for commercial, industrial and other uses [Fried breakfast at the Reunion weekend? ...Ed] will need to be within a bund or catchment facilities to prevent environmental contamination.
So Fred Towey and Jude Moore volunteered to go on a course. It was a one day course done at their local technology college and cost about £40 (some colleges do evening classes) . So if anyone wishes to attend one of these courses then just to encourage them we will pay the fees. Jude and Fred said it was excellent, good fun, very informative and reassuring to know you had got all the info you need. It certainly seems a good idea so contact Jude (see Directory p14-15) for further details of how to go about it.
This will not affect domestic, farming or underground storage waste oils which are subject to different legislation anyway. But it could affect boatyards, boat clubs canal societies and - yes you guessed it - restoration organisations.
Chairman "...all waterways will be restored by BW..." Power to the People! The results of British Waterways “Partnership with the People” consultation have been published. This months competition is to try and get a quote from BW without the phrase “returning them to the people” somewhere in it - they must be furious that the IWA got there all those years ago with “Waterways for All”. Now from a quick glance I must admit I am intrigued by some of the conclusions they have reached, or more to the point how they have reached them. Still that’s the great thing about consultations - so long as the public provide a grey answer you can just as easily prove that they meant to say ‘black’ as you can ‘white’. However, lots of others will be debating the results and arguing about the exact interpretation of the evidence; what does this mean for all of us in the restoration business? Well, recent interviews with Dave Fletcher have ranged from the “all waterways will be restored by BW” to the slightly more conservative “in the next ten years BW will restore six major waterways” to the rather confusing “a dozen new waterways will be restored in the next ten years”. However what is certain is that with BW and others seriously entering the game things are going to speed up a bit.
But on to the most important bit for us: “The associated charitable trust needs to work out methods of working with development and funding organisations and in particular navigation authorities, existing charitable and voluntary groups across all interests. It should ensure that it works harmoniously with them to increase the total amount of funds raised for worthwhile waterway causes.” So that all seems all right then... however, as always with BW the real challenge is how this is going to be implemented on the ground. One of the most infuriating things about BW is how one waterway manager is totally different to another and how infrequently BW ‘top brass’ intervene in regional matters. (That is not really a complaint, the heritage buffs amongst us will always be hankering for individual canal management like in the olden days and you can’t really deny that the Mon & Brec needs a different type of management to the Aire & Calder). However it is amazing the way working in one BW region can be so different to another on such items as Health and Safety, Communication, Publicity, etc. It will be interesting to see how the “new BW” works with all these voluntary organisations in “returning the canals to the people” and how the national Waterways Trust will fit in with working with a regional BW. And finally for all those waterway restoration schemes who are not BW and have no expression of interest from BW I do apologise if we seems to be a bit obsessed with Watford. Rest assured our commitment to all waterways is as strong as ever, but having fought BW for so long it would be foolish of us not to put quite a bit of effort into ensuring this ‘sea change’ does benefit us. Mike Palmer
There are two points I feel I can get from the results straight away: Given the major changes between BW’s initial proposals and their final recommendations, there is no doubt that all those people who did reply and took the time to think of even cleverer answers to the clever questions and provided passionate and intelligent reasoning to back up their beliefs in the network did have an effect. Whereas all those people who said “what’s the point? It’s a set up.” do get a mention: “Some user groups expressed the view that the consultation itself was a sham and that British Waterways (and the government) had already decided what was going to happen.” So that’s the last time anyone will listen to them, isn’t it?
London WRG painting the Elsecar trip-boat. As usual they seem to have provided themselves with adequate beer supplies. (Aileen Butler)
The BCN Cleanup weekend For the fourth consecutive year BCNS, IWA & WRG got together to restore to safe navigation another length of BW ‘s apparently navigable canals back to navigation. Many volunteers, some of whom do not normally get involved with WRG type activities, turned up from the length and breadth of the Country. 2000 saw us move onto one of the most southerly sections of the BCN, the Dudley No 2, with the aim of encouraging local interest in the canal and raise awareness in the Lapal restoration project. Once again there was a considerable amount of local support for the weekend mainly from Coombeswood Canal Trust (who provided the signing on facilities and a large amount of person-power) plus a fair number of local residents. These days events of this nature cost a fair amount of money to run and so we must thank our sponsors who provided free overnight accommodation in the Malthouse Stables (Sandwell MBC), the roll-on, roll-off skips (S & B Skip Company), an electric tug plus hopper (Dudley Canal Trust), a work boat (BCNS) and most of the other hardware (British Waterways). Once again the local BW staff worked long hours in harmony alongside the volunteers and it is a credit to them that they still continue to appreciate the work that the voluntary groups can do to benefit the waterways and we have received a special letter of thanks from Chris Bailey, the Black Country Canals Manager
Cleanup Over 240 cubic metres of crap from the 'Number Two' canal... For those that love statistics we removed 240 cu metres of crap (1½ skips more than on the Wyrley & Essington in 1999) mainly consisting of what one would expect to find at the bottom of a canal in an old industrial area – bikes, tyres, car parts, road signs, motor cycles, domestic and factory rubbish. Items of specific interest this year were tubes from the old Coombeswood Tube Works (one of the last commercial users of the BCN) and a brand new damaged motor cycle with less than 100 miles on the clock, the owner is on record as not being too happy when it was returned to him personally by BW, so we can only speculate why it was in the canal... The lack of supermarket trolleys was particularly noticeable but with the nearest supermarket being several miles away and with some hills in between, perhaps that is not too surprising. The Dudley No 2 Canal runs from Windmill End, Netherton for some three or so miles to Coombeswood Basin in Halesowen. With some 200 volunteers on Saturday (and because of some confusion as to what remained to be done, about half that number on the Sunday) the results speak for themselves. Special thanks must go to Coombeswood Canal Trust who did an excellent job providing local support and providing temporary mooring for those coming by boat. Once again Ron and Sheila Cousens, ably assisted by Eric Foakes, provided a floating café on their boat Drusilla IV tirelessly handing out pop, tea, coffee and biscuits all day on Saturday. Finally I must convey my thanks to all those who turned up. For next year we are looking at something different so, as they say, watch this space...
Another load of rubbish heads for the skips, courtesy of the BCNS and their work-boat 'Phoenix'. (Martin Ludgate)
WRG Works! To mark our 30th Birthday, we’re planning a fortnight of work, openings and celebrations. The dates are September 16th to 30th and we’ll be including three separate projects within that time. This year will have been particularly successful with the completion of the Over project, the second largest sustained commitment we have ever made and the most critical in terms of timing; a project in which the credibility of the whole volunteer movement to deliver on its promises was at stake. Only WRG could have produced the resources to see this project to a successful conclusion. We have watched other organisations knowingly try to write the volunteer contribution out of the history of waterway restoration and our WRG Works! fortnight is designed to restore the balance, celebrating 30 years of success, achievement and leadership in waterway restoration.
Each weekend will have a party - the first two will be rehearsals for the real thing at Oxstalls School, Gloucester on Saturday 30th. This one will have live music and discos and will follow ‘The Restoration Game’ - an even sillier and more spectacular version of the WRG Boaters’ games held at the national. This will be held on the Over site on the Saturday afternoon and we’re hoping for a team from each of our regional groups plus other guest teams. Every site will have work during the week for smaller numbers, and (with the possible exception of Lichfield, where numbers may have to be limited) will need as many volunteers as possible. We’ll try to include full details in the next ‘Navvies’, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate that most of the people involved are too busy organising the work to have much time to write about it. In the mean time, now you know how to make good use of those last few days of holiday, look for the booking form in this issue and help us make our 30th birthday truly an occasion to remember. Alan Jervis
The first weekend (16-17th September) will be our 2000 annual Reunion on the Montgomery canal at Pant (see opposite page for full details). The second weekend (23rd-24th September) will be at Lichfield, celebrating the completion and re-watering of a reconstructed section of canal and the final weekend (29 th September - 1st October) will be at Over, co-ordinating the official opening and then celebrating the completion of the project in our own inimitable style. Official opening in three and a half months' time: Over basin. (Martin Ludgate)
WRG Reunion 2000: Pant, Shropshire, 16/17 September This year’s reunion will be on the Montgomery Canal at Pant (remember last year when it was “Pant’s off”?). We have a two-mile stretch of suitably spectacular impenetrable jungle, ranging from mangrove swamp (probably alligator free, though) to solid jungle of the ‘carve your way in and don’t stop ‘til you reach the other end’ type. We can accommodate all the volunteers who care to turn up, with lots of other work if you don’t fancy jungle-bashing. We have chosen September for this year’s reunion for a variety of reasons - it’s a big job and we’ll have more daylight time to complete it; we stand a (slightly) better chance of the canal bed being dry-ish than we would in November and it will provide a spectacular start to our two weeks of birthday celebrations 'WRG Works!' If you can bring your own tools, it will help: bowsaws, slashers, machetes etc. will be most of what we need. We shall need some (fully authorised and very careful) chainsaw operators - there’s lots of challenging real trees to be felled in interesting locations. We shall also need every Tirfor Winch we can lay hands on - the last time you’ll have seen anything like this (if you’ve a long memory...) was at Wantage in 1991. The dry section at Pant is a bit shorter and lots of the undergrowth is younger - it dates from 1936 rather than the turn of the nineteenth century - but we have two full miles of canal corridor, which is to be cleared from hedge-line to hedge-line (anyone who can do hedge-laying will be fully occupied!).
The purpose of this clearance is to allow engineering inspection of the section which has been notorious for leakage since the canal was built. When it is cleared, some thought can be given as to how to find the source of the leaks and how to treat them. If all this savagery’s not your style, we shall also be carrying out our annual maintenance work on Aston locks, which will involve cleaning, painting, grass-cutting etc. (and perhaps the chance to use one or two of the locks for our workboat..). There may also be work to be done on our summer Camp site at Maesbury where we’re rebuilding a storm water weir. Accommodation will be in a school in Oswestry and the weekend will also include a chance to attend the remarkable West Felton Harvest Festival on the Friday evening. If you’re wondering, it takes place in the local pub and is an auction of all the produce that normal harvest festivals use to decorate the church. Memorable events in past years include MKP being outbid by the vicar for a huge chocolate cake, Rhys buying a brace of very dead rabbits so that he could give them a decent burial and Angus being forcibly restrained from buying a sixth chunk of cheese the size of a con-block..... The weekend will also be the local IWA branch’s Head of Navigation Rally - so there’ll be some real boats too.... The booking form is included with this issue - part of the WRG Works! form – so send it in now to ensure you don’t miss out on the fun!! Alan Jervis
The site for the Reunion: two miles of 'spectacularly impenetrable jungle' at Pant. (Alan Jervis)
Over update Onlytwomonthstillthedeadline... Can we do it? Yes if you help! Over Update You probably don't need reminding about it, but just in case... Over is the name of the major worksite near Gloucester where our volunteers are working flat-out with the H&GCT volunteers to turn a derelict hospital site into a restored terminal basin for the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal. And if it isn't completed on schedule, the terms of the Planning Agreement say that instead of being opened up by the Canal Trust for everyone to enjoy, the whole site must be handed over to the neighbouring housing developer to do whatever they like with it. April and May have seen considerable progress at Over, with volunteers on site about one day in two, huge turnouts at weekends, and loads of really high quality work produced. Another two months of such progress will see not only a completed canal basin, but, we hope, an amazing flagship scheme that will show what volunteers and canal restoration can achieve. Which is why we are once again appealing (OK, so Martin’s got some photos that disprove it) for volunteers, because by the time you are reading the next copy of Navvies, we will have less than a week to complete the project before the legal deadline of late August. The last two months have seen:
· · · · · ·
The last straight sections of both limbs of the wharf wall constructed and then backfilled with compacted crushed brick. Mooring rings installed. Concrete pours and bricklaying on the curved section of wall that will link the wharf wall to the head of the lock. Removal of the old sewage works, greatly helped by the Army. Completion of the gabion retaining wall in the direction of the lock. Topsoiling and grass seeding on top of the gabions, and the huge area between the slipway and the old sewage works.
Excavation and grading of the canal beyond the sewage works, including raising the embankment between the canal and the flood plain. The first grass sprouting!
Swan Hill Homes have also made considerable progress, with four houses already up to roof height – a constant reminder of why we need your full support to carry out the following works required by the legal agreement: 1 – 2 July: Large concrete pours and some demolition around the head of the lock, which will enable the bricklaying of the wing walls and stopplank grooves, vital to allow rewatering of the basin. About 10 gabions also need to be filled and landscaped, completing the river-side of the basin. We need lots of people for what should be a very enjoyable weekend. 22 – 29 July: Camp 11, originally on the Derby Canal, has been moved to Over following difficulties with the work at Derby. Fred Towey and Tess Hawkins will be running this week, which will see the feature wall around the horse-chesnut tree built, and the wharf wall topped off with a finishing layer of stone. 5 – 12 August: Camp 15 will be completing the slipway with granite sets, as well as undertaking all the remaining landscaping, transforming Over from a construction site to a proper canal basin. 12 – 13 August: This weekend, supported by London WRG, but open to anyone, will see the last work on site, ten days before the legal deadline. See you all at Over! Marcus Jones
Over Contact details: WRG Organiser for all camps & weekends is Adrian Fry, phone 07976 640962, e-mail email@example.com Bookings for all weekends to Marcus Jones, phone 07968 334358, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Bookings for Canal Camps to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Phone 01923 711114 e-mail email@example.com
Canal Camp 0001他-ish: April 8th-16th Another extra camp on the Herefs. & Gloucs. As you are probably all heartily sick of reading my writings about the Over project, this time I'll make it a pictorial report and bore you with my photos instead...
I'm afraid I don't have any pics of the preliminaries on Thursday and Friday, because (a) I wasn't there and (b) according to my notes the only thing that happened was "John Palmer didn't arrive", which is not the easiest thing to illustrate.
Camps A'Navvies'withoutanOvercamp report? You've got to be joking! ...and I trained three new dumper operators...
Friday night saw the arrival of the NW and London contingents. Thanks to 'the late Rick Ansell' arriving on time for once, and myself being only slightly late, we managed to pick up the kit trailer at Eastington and still get to the pub in time for what is jokingly referred to as 'closing time', before retiring to the hall for griddle-cakes. (similar to pancakes, but... OK, you can probably guess...) On Saturday JP finally arrived and work started (are these two events related?) We assembled reinforcing mesh 'A-frames' ready for concreting the base for the next section of wharf wall - a 15 metre extension to the 'long limb'...
...all of whom were called Ian, to save confusion. To round off the day, Alan Lines got the JCB 805 so spectacularly stuck - while squaring-off the hole for the foundations for the extension of the other end of the wharf wall - that I had to be called back from the accommodation to photograph him...
...while NorthWest assembled gabions for the opposite bank of the basin...
...although as he modestly said when he'd finally extracted his machine, "Of course I wasn't really stuck - otherwise I'd still be in there."
Camps "...therainthathadlookedsoinnocent had altered the altered plan..."
Camp 0003: Cotswold Canals (in the broadest sense) The first omen I suppose was when Martin started (London) Priding himself on getting “the” change of plan in to Navvies at the last minute. Apparently the Cotswolds Camp was now to be working on a lock restoration on the Thames and Severn rather than reed clearance on the Stroudwater. I barely took it in. It all seemed so irrelevant as the rain poured down in London…
By Monday the long limb was ready for concrete...
…until the next morning, when I found that unique blend of self-contradictory e-mails originating from Pebble Mill, Rickmansworth, and East Dulwich that can only mean your services have been volunteered at short notice. Reading among the usual “Please ignore my previous diatribe”-type messages from MKP, it became apparent that the rain that had looked so innocent the previous evening had altered the altered plan. The Thames and Severn site had become flooded, so the revised plan was to work at Over, surprise surprise, for the first half of the camp, before moving to the Stroudwater.
...and by Wednesday, so was the short limb - once Marcus had tested out the concrete chute...
But first, before Ken Whapples points it out: a) This camp report is obviously a thinly disguised beg for more volunteers at Over. b) Yep, I wrote in the last Navvies that one of our objectives for this year was “Ensuring Camp Leaders are fully briefed well in advance of the Camp”.
By the end of the camp, the long limb extension had reached the bricklaying stage:
The awning in the background was so that we could bricklay when it rained, i.e. most of the time. Despite which it was a most productive week and kept the work moving towards the August target. Martin Ludgate
So once again I found myself awaiting a load of volunteers on the H&G. And waiting. And waiting. For Sam that is, who ended up in Cardiff, working on the premise that by the time Virgin Cross Country got him anywhere, the camp would have moved a couple more canals further west. While we waited, rivalry got the better part of JP and Bob, who spent the rest of the week trying to beat each other to refill the teapot. This procedure was occasionally replaced by formation Burco topping-up whenever a coffee drinker or gravy maker loomed on the horizon.
Camp 0003: shuttering-up for the final backfill pour on the long limb of the Over wharf wall. (Martin Ludgate)
For the first three days we stayed at Hartpury and worked at Over, alongside NA. We completed the gabion retaining wall in the direction of the lock. This will link in with the lock wing wall, and the work enabled North West to put in the clay cut-off wall behind the gabions the following weekend. We installed shuttering for the last backfill concrete pour on the long limb of the wharf wall. The retaining wall was living up to its name, so Jenny drew the short tie-rod and got to wear JP’s leaky waders. Elsewhere a grumble of bricklayers lived up to their collective noun, Spencer took his chainsaw to the “Do Not Cut” sign (and eventually took his tablets as well, much to Lady Penelope’s relief), and Jen went round the bend in a big bendy toy. For light relief, we went to look at Oxenhall, visited the Royal Exchange, had a tour of the Stroudwater with a certain well-known waterways journalist, organised a publicity photo and were almost ready for it by sunset, and studied David Penny’s behavioural modes and their associated walks. On Tuesday night we moved to Selsley, and spent the rest of the week working on the Stroudwater near Eastington. An early meeting with the landowner the next morning turned rather surreal, as he pointed out all the wet patches in his field during a huge rain storm. We set about creating two clay cut-off trenches across a breach on the embanked section of canal. Or rather we set about creating an access through the wood to the site for our excavator 'Blue', delayed while the flatbed underwent its MOT, and for the clay, delayed by the quarry being flooded, to be brought in by the power barrows which Ermin had quite literally dropped off their lorry.And Mark would have set about getting the shopping, but ended up taking a poorly NJF on one of several garage visits of the week.
The Stover Canal
and the Hackney Canal
"Spencer took his chainsaw to the 'do not cut' sign..." And rather than break with tradition, Friday also didn’t go to plan. Jenny fixed the power barrow that JP had had a disagreement with, the flailmower wouldn’t start, Dave found the carburettor no longer attached to his strimmer, neither of the lawnmowers would start, the tirfor needed to extract Blue was lacking in shearpins, the tug picked up something on its propeller, NJF needed another visit to the garage, and Neil broke down in his van. But by the end of the day we had everything working again, the lock flight looking really poncy, and several hours of peace when we couldn’t tell the whine of Richard and the Flymo apart. Many thanks to Mark Bennett for being a top assistant, Adrian and Neil for the work and those extra little jobs, everyone that cooked and / or put up with my cooking, Jenny for staying on after her first camp, Martin for thinking he’ll find something on the Stroudwater, Spence and all the NA lot for being so welcoming, and Richard for having a Maglite in his Goretex. Special thanks to David Penny for not being around as much as usual.
It was to be one of those days. We set about digging the first of the trenches across the breach, which filled with water as fast as it could be bucketed out. By early afternoon we had done as much as could be done without 'Blue' and without the clay, so moved down to Newtown and Blunder Locks. Here a broken ground paddle had to be removed, which involved bringing the tug up the locks to provide a working platform. Thursday didn’t go much more smoothly, despite the early arrival of Blue and 20 tonnes of clay. Bob spent his 35th anniversary with Coca Cola Schweppes fixing the Burco. The first trench was quickly filled with clay providing some additional freeboard and theoretically reducing the leakage. We then set about digging the second trench with 'Blue'.The idea was for this to be about 7 ft deep so that the new clay would seal on to already solid and impermeable ground. At 9 ft we were still digging out gravel, the trench was full of water, and Blue wasn’t “moving freely” (it wasn’t stuck or it’d still be in there). No amount of clay was going to solve leakage on a gravel embankment, so we diverted our attention to maintenance of the area around the three locks. In the evening we went boating on the new CCT trip boat (well, we couldn’t have gone on the old one, could we, Martin?) [That's not fair, Marcus - it was due to be scrapped anyway. ...Ed] up to Bonds Mill.
Camp 0003 in cluded a boat trip to Bonds Mill, site of the famous plastic liftbridge (Mark Bennett)
The 11th WRG Auction of Old Canal Books
Over the past few months we collected more waterway books for fund-raising. As usual, we have decided that the best way to sell them off is to auction them through the pages of Navvies - with all the proceeds going to help fund WRG’s Canal Camps. All the books (except where stated) are in good condition. The reserves suggested are the minimum that we would accept and are approximately half the price you might see from a specialised book dealer. You are invited to make your bids (in multiples of 50p please). Simply list down the Lot number (the number on the left hand side) and the price you are prepared to pay for each book or other item being auctioned. The bidder offering the highest price for each lot gets the goods at the price bid. In the event of two equal bids, the first one received wins. All proceeds go to WRG, so you can afford to be generous. All bids should be sent to Neil Edwards (WRG Auction), WRG/ IWA, PO Box 114, RICKMANSWORTH, WD3 1ZY to be received no later than July 15, 2000. Successful bidders will be notified shortly afterwards. Delivery / Postage and packing is extra, at cost. Lot Title / Author (or other description) Pages Date Reserve 1. The Royal River (The Thames from Source to Sea) (Hardback) 368 1985 £8.00 First published in 1885, with many line drawings. Large format. As new. 2. The Guinness Guide to Waterways of Western Europe / Hugh McKnight 239 1978 £10.00 Review of European waterways with many colour & b+w photos. 3. Canals and their Architecture / Robert Harris (Hardback) 2nd edition. 222 1980 £12.00 Review of waterway architecture with many large format photos. 4. The Archaeology of Canals / P J G Ransom (Hardback) 231 1979 £15.00 Large format heavy book with many photos and much detailed text 5. The Rivers of Great Britain / Rivers of the South and West Coasts 376 1897 £15.00 Prestigious production with many line engravings and gilt pages. Faded. 6. The Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and Robert Mylne / C Gotch 102 1993 £8.00 Account of the building of the canal. Softback. Near as new. 7. Carte Guide – Navigation Fluviale. Voies Navigables du Midi 72 c1980 £4.00 Navigation guide to the Canal du Midi – in French and English 8. North Brittany Pilot / K Adlard Coles (subsequently revised). 4th edition 290 1979 £6.00 Thorough guide to the waters along the north west coast of France (h/b) 9. The Mighty Soo / Clara Ingram Judson (Hardback – tatty dust jacket) 192 1955 £4.00 500 years ‘educational’ history of waterway between USA and Canada 10. How They Were Built – Canals / J S Murphy and Charles Keeping 32 1961 £4.00 Junior educational book on waterway history. Large format. 11. Channel Crossings around Britain for Power + Sail / Peter Cumberlidge 148 1990 £5.00 Standard text book of sea crossings from the UK to the continent (s/b) 12. Narrow Boats at Work / Michael E Ware (Hardback) c130 1980 £7.00 212 black & white photos and detailed captions of working boats 13. North Biscay Pilot / K Adlard Coles and A N Black (4th edition) h/b 326 1990 £6.00 Definitive reference book for the waters along the west coast of France 14. Normandy and Channel Island Pilot / Mark Brackenbury (7th edition) 183 1988 £5.00 Definitive reference book for the waters along the north east coast of France 15. Fenland Waterways / Alan & Michael Roulstone (Hardback – as new) 96 1974 £5.00 Exploration of the Fenland waterways with watercolours (in colour) 16. The Great Canal / Roderick Grant (Hardback). Some sepia photos. 156 1978 £5.00 Account of the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. 17. Thames Portrait / E Arnot Robertson and photos by H E Turner 174 1937 £8.00 Review of the Thames with 51 near full-page b&w photos 18. Towpath Trails / Niall Allsop and Michael Pearson (softback) 124 1986 £5.00 Practical guide to 43 walks around the waterways. As new. 19. Britain’s Lost Waterways – Volume 1 (Hardback – as new) c100 1979 £6.00 141 historic photos of inland canals and navigations, mostly now disused 20. Britain’s Lost Waterways – Volume 2 (Hardback – as new) c100 1979 £6.00 137 historic photos of coastal navigations, particularly in the South West 21. Idle Women / Susan Woolfitt (M & M Baldwin Hardback) 223 1986 £8.00 Arguably the most graphic account of trainee life on narrow boats in the war
Another auction of second-hand canal books for WRG funds
22. The New Navvies / Roger W Squires (Hardback) Near as new condition - the most up-to-date of the restoration histories 23. The Shell Book of Inland Waterways / Hugh McKnight (1st edition) Encyclopaedia and gazetteer of the inland waterways 24. Canals Revived / Roger Squires (Hardback – near as new) History of the first 20 years of waterway restoration. [2 copies available] 25. Exploring Britain’s Canals / Paul Atterbury (large format hardback) Sumptuous large-scale ‘coffee-table’ style, originally cost £17.99. As new. 26. Canal People / Anthony J Pearce (Hardback). Good photos Junior Educational book about the people who worked on canals. 27. Canals – A New Look (edited by Mark Baldwin & Anthony Burton) Collection of waterway studies to celebrate the writings of Charles Hadfield 28. The Archaeology of the Montgomeryshire Canal / Stephen Hughes Study of buildings along the Montgomery Canal. As new. Softback 29. London & S E England (Historic Waterway Scenes) / Martyn Denney Collection of 168 waterway photos from S E England and detailed captions 30. English Rivers & Canals / Paul Atterbury (English Tourist Board) Colour photos and summary text for the tourist. 31. Britain’s Holiday Waterways / Roy J Westlake (Green dust jacket) Study of Britain’s waterways in black & white photos. As new. 32. Steam on Canals / C P and C R Weaver (Hardback) Detailed work, with many photos, of steam on Britain’s waterways 33. Canal Walks / Roger W Squires and Gareth Lovett Jones (Hardback) 17 different waterways and their walks, with good photos. As new 34. The Inland Waterways of Holland / W Eric Wilson (with map – no d/j) 1st edition of this comprehensive guide to dutch waterways. A bit tatty. 35. A Canalside Camera 1845 to 1930 / Michael E Ware (Hardback) 115 early waterway photos and detailed captions 36. Inland Cruising / Tom Willis (Hardback). As new. Large format A comprehensive guide of nearly every aspect of inland boating. 37. Canal / Anthony Burton and Derek Pratt (Softback) Large format, large photos and descriptive appreciation of Britain’s canals 38. Canal and River Craft in Pictures / Hugh McKnight (slightly tatty) Collection of old photos on diverse aspects of the inland waterways 39. Canal Cruising / John Hankinson (3rd edition). Softback. As new. Summary information for those going boating. Good colour photos. 40. The Thames Book (Navigator Guide Directory) 1968 / Geoffrey Dibb Detailed guide with maps and masses of information and data. 41. The Narrow Boat Book / Tom Chaplin (Softback) An excellent account of narrow boats, their construction and operation 42. The Country Canal / Ronald Russell (Hardback). As new. An appreciation of rural waterways 43. Lure and Lore of London’s River / A G Linney (no dust jacket) An appreciation of the River Thames. Mostly text. Some b & w photos 44. The Water Gipsies / A P Herbert (no dust jacket) 10th (cheap) edition Waterways fictions from IWA’s first President 45. The Complete Yachtsman – A cruising manual / Bobby Schenk. H/b Comprehensive guide for those venturing to sea. Near as new. 46. The Lee Moor Tramway / R M S Hall (Oakwood Press Booklet) Small history of the tramway, associated with the Cann Quarry Canal 47. Introducing Canals / Charles Hadfield (badly torn dust jacket) 1st edition of Hadfield’s popular introduction to the waterways 48. World Canals: Inland Navigation Past and Present / Charles Hadfield Charles Hadfield’s weighty world history. Hardback. As new. 49. Fenland River / Rodney Tibbs (Hardback). As new Appreciation of the Fenland waterways with good selection of photos 50. Voyage into England / John Seymour (Hardback) Classic exploration of Britain’s waterways and the author’s encounters
Directory WRG and canal society working party contact details Please send any updates to the editor HIGHER/UPPER AVON David Hutchings Station House, Anchor Lane Harvington, Evesham, Worcs. WR11 5NJ Evesham (01386) 870526 BARNSLEY CANAL GRP Spencer Collins 9 Thrush Street Walkley Sheffield S6 5BQ 0114 2853 044 BIRMINGHAM CANAL NAVIGATIONS SOCIETY Jeff Barley 17 Sunniside Walsall Wood, W Midlands 01543 373284 Web site: http://www.bcnsociety.demon.co.uk BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOC Steve Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090 Web: http://www.olio.demon. co.uk/BCSoverview.html BUDE CANAL SOCIETY Gerald Fry 18 Valley Road, Bude Cornwall TR16 5HJ 01288 353273 BUGSWORTH (IWPS) Ian Edgar Browside Farm Mudhurst Lane Lyme Handley Whaley Bridge High Peak SK23 7BT 01663 732493 Web site: http://www. blacksheep.org/canals/iwps.htm CALDER NAVIGATION SOC David Ingleby 34 Longmoor La, Sandiacre Notts NG10 5JJ 0115 949 9087 CHESTERFIELD CT Mick Hodgetts 31 Pottery Lane Whittington Moor, Chesterfield. Derbyshire S41 9BH 01246 454163
CHICHESTER CS John Cooper Jaspers, Coney Road East Wittering, Chichester West Sussex PO21 8DA 01243 671051 COTSWOLD CT Neil Ritchie The Chapel House Sandford Rd, Churchdown Gloucestershire GL3 2HD 01452 854057 e-mail: NeilSigns@aol.com Web site: http://www. cotswoldcanals.mcmail.com DERBY & SANDIACRE CANAL SOCIETY Doug Flack 23 Thoresby Crescent Draycott, Derby 01332 874239 DIG DEEP INITIATIVE Alan Cavender 10 Vicarage Road Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 7DS 01628 629033 DORSET & SOMERSET CANAL STUDY GROUP Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon Wilts BA15 1BL 01225 863066 e-mail: derrick@carlingcott7. freeserve.co.uk DROITWICH CANALS TRUST Vaughan Welch 29 Dice Pleck Northfield, Birmingham B31 3XW 0121 477 9782 EREWASH CANAL P&DA Mick Golds 73 Sudbury Avenue Larklands, Ilkeston Derbys DE7 5EA Notts (0115) 9328042 FOXTON INCLINED PLANE TRUST Trevor Towers 42 Whiles Lane, Birstall Leicester. LE4 4EE. Leicester (0116) 2675966
GRAND WESTERN CANAL TRUST Denis Dodd, Wharf Cottage Nynehead, Wellington Somerset TA21 0BU 01823 661653 GRANTHAM CANAL RESTORATION SOC Colin Bryan 113 Hoe View Road Cropwell Bishop Nottingham NG12 3DJ 01159 892248 HEREFS & GLOUCS CT c/o The Lock Cottage Over, Gloucester GL2 8DB 01452 332900
NEATH & TENNANT CS Malcolm Smith 37, Blaen Cwm, Llansamlet Swansea. SA7 9NL Swansea (01792) 74991 Web site: www.compulink .co.uk/~bwthyn.ncan/htm NWPG Graham Hawkes 27 Lawrence Rd, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks RG30 6BH 0118 941 0586 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org POCKLINGTON C.A.S. Paul Waddington Church House, Main St. Hemingborough, Selby N. Yorks YO8 7QE 01757 638027 (eves) 01405 763985 (days) Web site: www.pocklington. gov.uk/PCAS/index.html
HUDDERSFIELD CS Trevor Ellis 20 Batley Avenue, Marsh Huddersfield. HD1 4NA 01484 534666 e-mail: email@example.com RIBBLE LINK TRUST Cliff Fazackerley KENT & EAST SUSSEX 48 St James Gardens CANAL REST. GROUP Leyland, Preston Ken Parish 01772 433273 Eastwood Farmhouse Web site: http://golden. Ulcombe Road argonet.co.uk/www-site/ Ulcombe, Maidstone users/jclegg/rlthome.html Kent. ME17 1ET 01622 850378 ROCHDALE CANAL SOC e-mail: Brian Holden ParishK@btinternet.com 3 The Broad Ing, Passmonds Rochdale OL12 7AR LAPAL CANAL TRUST 01706 46132 PO Box 5236, Halesowen W Midlands B63 3NN SCARS (SANKEY CANAL) Web site: http:// www.eaap. Colin Greenall aston.ac.uk/pjb/lapal/ 16 Bleak Hill Road Eccleston, St. Helens LICHFIELD & HATHERTON Merseyside WA10 4RW CANALS REST'N TRUST 01744 731746 John Horton, Web site: http://www. 32 London Road, Lichfield scars.org.uk/index.html Staffs WS14 9EJ. SHROPSHIRE UNION CS 01543 262466 Geoff Munro or Denis Cooper 198, Oldbury Road Gorsey Lane Farm Rowley Regis, Warley Gorsey Lane West Midlands B65 0NW Little Wyrley, Pelsall 0121-561 5747 Walsall WS3 5AJ Web site: http://www. 01543 374370 shropshireunion.freeserve.co.uk/ Web site: http:// www.alma.co.uk/bps/lah SLEAFORD NAV SOC MANCHESTER BOLTON & Steve Hayes 10 Chelmer Clo, BURY CANAL SOCIETY N Hykeham Lincs LN8 8TH Margaret Fletcher 36 Trawden Avenue SOMERSET COAL CS Smithills Roger Halse Bolton BL1 6JB 4 Westminster Gardens 01204 844671 Chippenham Wiltshire 01249 652846 MELTON AND OAKHAM Web site: http://homepages. WATERWAYS SOCIETY enterprise.net/rtj/SCC2.html Paul Terry 30 Trent Road, STAFFS & WORCS CS Oakham Frazer Dukes Rutland LE15 6HF 17 Heron Clo, 01572 755235 Coven, Wolverhampton Web site: http://www. systemed.u-net.com/canals/ 01902 791312
RIVER STOUR TRUST David Rayner 26 Underhill Rd, Benfleet Essex. SS7 1EP. 01268 753245 STRATFORD CS Arthur Beeston 42 Woodlands Road Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 0DH 01789 294519 SWANSEA CANAL SOC Clive Reed 34 Ynysmeudwy Road Ynysmeudwy Pontardawe Swansea. SA8 4QD 01792 864637 SURREY & HANTS CS Peter Redway 1 Redway Cottages St. John's Lye, Woking. GU21 1SL 01483 721710 Web site: http://www.basingstokecanal1 .freeserve.co.uk/ THAMES & MEDWAY CANAL ASSOCIATION David Rouse, 60 Sun Lane, Gravesend Kent DA12 5HL 01474 362861
IWA IPSWICH Chard Wadley Crossways, Birchwood Rd Langham, Colchester CO4 5QG 01206 322475 Web site: http://www. purbrook.demon.co.uk/iwa/ IWA SHREWSBURY & BORDER COUNTIES Barry Tuffin, 7 Fernhill Lane Gobowen, Oswestry Shropshire SY11 3PP 01691 670826 IWA WARWICKSHIRE Doug Smith Kingswood Cottage Dicks Lane Wharf, Rowington, Warwick CV35 7DN 015643 3233 WRG: GENERAL ENQUIRIES PO Box 114, Rickmansworth Herts WD3 1ZY 019232 711114 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: http://www.wrg.org.uk WRG NORTH WEST MANCHESTER Malcolm Bridge (see below)
WENDOVER ARM TRUST Roger Leishman 7 Hall Park, Berkhamsted Herts HP4 2NU 01442 874536
WRG NW - LIVERPOOL Roger Evans 10 Long Lane, Middlewich Cheshire CW10 0BL 01606 834471
WEY & ARUN CT John Ward South Lodge, Albury Park Guildford GU5 9DF 01403 268833 07971 336535 (mobile) Web site: http://www.weyandarun.co.uk
WRG NW - ENQUIRIES/ PAPERCHASES David McCarthy Woodstock, 14 Crumpsall La. Manchester. M8 5FB 0161-740 2179 Web site: http://www.downstream. mcmail.com/wrgnw.htm
WILTS & BERKS C.A.G. Peter Smith 76 Dunnington Road Wootton Bassett Wilts SN4 7EL 01793 852883 e-mail: pasmith@wbcanal. demon.co.uk Web site: http:// web.ukonline.co.uk/Members /dg.small/index.htm WOODEN CANAL CRAFT TRUST 33 Beauchamp Street Ashton-under-Lyne Tameside OL6 8LF IWA CHELMSFORD Doug Beard Shipwrights, 241 Benfleet Rd, Benfleet Essex SS7 1QG 01702 554492
WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis (see below) WRG BITM & DIARY David Wedd 7 Ringwood Road Blackwater, Camberley Surrey GU17 0EY 01252 874437 e-mail: Dave@BITM.freeserve.co.uk Web site: http:// www.angelos.demon.co.uk/ Narrowboat/BITM WRG NA (1) Ian Nelson 6 Lahn Drive Droitwich Spa Worcs WR9 8TQ. 01905 798 676 0973 640611 (mobile) e-mail: email@example.com Web site: http://www. wrgna.mcmail.com/
WRG NA (2) Spencer Collins 9 Thrush Street, Walkley Sheffield S6 5BQ 0114 2853 044 e-mail: 100725.2472 @compuserve.com LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 6 Downs Road, Enfield Middlesex EN1 IPA 020 8367 6227 Web site: http://www. danevans.demon.co.uk/lwrg/ LONDON WRG: ENQUIRIES Lesley McFadyen (as per Martin Ludgate below) ESSEX WRG John Gale, 12 Wakefield Ave, Billericay, Essex CM12 9DN 01277 654683 WRG MONTGOMERY Mike Palmer (see below) WRG BOAT CLUB Sue Burchett 152 Great Knollys St Reading RG1 7HB 01189 503268 Fax. 07970 099052 e-mail: Sue@navvy.freeserve.co.uk IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090
CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 29 Cecil Road, Selly Park Birmingham B29 7QG 0121-472 2882 e-mail: Mike.Palmer@bbc.co.uk SECRETARY Chris Davey 5 Heathfield Close, Midhurst W Sussex GU29 9PS 01730 814670 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org CANAL CAMP BOOKINGS Neil Edwards 24A Avenue Rd, Witham Essex CM8 2DT 01376 512977 e-mail: email@example.com WRGPRINT John & Tess Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn, Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 TRANSPORT MANAGER Roger Burchett (See Sue Burchett above) PUBLICITY & CENTRALLY BOOKED WEEKENDS Helen Davey 5 Heathfield Close, Midhurst W Sussex GU29 9PS 01730 814670 SITES GROUP Judith Moore 99 Shrubland St, Leamington Spa CV31 2AR 01926 332745 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
'NAVVIES' EDITOR Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Rd, E. Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020 8693 3266 DRIVER AUTHORISATION 0777 947 8629 (mobile) Malcolm Bridge e-mail: email@example.com 3 Heather Bank, Littleborough Lancashire OL15 0JQ WRG PLANT 01706 378582 Malcolm Bridge (see below) IWA CHAIRMAN OR John Palmer Richard Drake 53 Southwood Road c/o IWA, PO Box 114 Stockport, Cheshire Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY CANAL CAMPS MOBILES 0151 608 4562 (A) 0850 422156 OTHER DIRECTORS (B) 0850 422157 WRG LOGISTICS Lou Kellett Ashlawn, Melling Carnforth Lancashire LA6 2RE. 015242 21518 EMail: wrglogistics@ goldfish21.freeserve.co.uk
Ray Carter 56 Oakdene Drive, Tolworth Surbiton, Surrey KT5 9NH
John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd West, Forest Town, Mansfield, Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895
TREASURER Roger Day, 5 Merton Road, Slough Berks SL1 1QW
Jonathan Smith 23 Hardings, Chalgrove Oxford OX44 7TJ 01865 891 370
Diary Canal Camp and weekend working party dates
Canal Camps cost £35 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0002') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jun 24/25 IWA/WRG
BCN Marathon Challenge Helen Davey 24-hour marathon cruise on Birmingham’s canals
Jun 24/25 NWPG
Jun 24-Jul 1 Camp 0004
Sleaford Navigation Camp: Dam building, and installation of stop-plank base & grooves, plus bywash. Leaders: Rachael Banyard & Di Smurthwaite.
Wey & Arun Canal Answerphone Dig Deep project at Rowner Lock
London WRG Hereford & Gloucester Canal Over. Accom at Hartpury.
Jul 1 Sat
Ipswich & Stowmarket NavigationJohn Gale Creeting Lock
Hereford & Gloucester Canal Marcus Jones 07968-334358 Extra volunteers wanted to join London WRG at Over. Accom at Hartpury
Droitwich Canal Camp: Demolition, excavation and rebuilding on the Junction Canal. Lots of brickwork.
Barnsley Canal Camp: Major dredging programme on Pound 3. Dumper drivers required. Also stonework & pointing plus other skilled work. Leaders: Spencer Collins & Rob Daffern.
Jul 1 Sat
Press date for issue 182
Hereford & Gloucester Canal Over. Accom at Hartpury
Hereford & Gloucester Canal Marcus Jones 07968-334358 Extra volunteers wanted to join WRG North West at Over. Accom at Hartpury
Droitwich Canal Camp Demolition, excavation and rebuilding. Lots of brickwork. Beer & Jazz Festival on the first Sat. Leaders: Martin Ludgate, Ian & Liz Williamson
Barnsley Canal Camp Major dredging programme on Pound 3. Dumper drivers required. Also stonework & pointing plus other skilled work. Leader: Rob Daffern.
Wey & Arun Canal John Ward Pre-planning weekend for WACT summer canal camp
Lichfield Canal: Darnford site
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper David McCarthy collection (Sat) & Plant maintenance (Sun)
River Severn Canal Campm, Worcester. Continuing installing moorings on the riverbank. It will probably be very machine intensive - lots of excavators and dumpers with potential for training. Leaders: Roger Burchett & Jen Leigh.
Wey & Arun Canal Camp Graham Hawkes 0118-941-0586 Dig Deep project at Rowner Lock (organised by NWPG) Leaders: Bill Nicholson & Graham Hawkes.
01622-858329 020-8367-6227 01277-654683
Jul 16 Sun wrg
Committee & Board Meetings
London WRG Basingstoke Canal Dig Deep project at Woodham
Hereford & Gloucester Canal Camp: Now at Over, moved from Derby, which has been cancelled. Leaders: Fred Towey & Tess Hawkins.
Montgomery Canal Camp: Restoration of Maesbury weir & tail race, and various maintenance jobs. Leaders: Andy Burrows & Lou Kellett.
Jul 29-Aug 5 Camp 0013
Basingstoke Canal Camp: Dig Deep backpump project at Woodham (Camp organised by KESCRG)
Jul 29-Aug 5 Camp 0014
Montgomery Canal Camp: Restoration of Maesbury weir & tail race. Leaders: Alan Jervis & Lou Kellett, and cooking by Harri T.
Aug 4/5/6/7 wrgBITM
Stover Canal Dave Wedd 01252-874437 Long weekend, starting on Thursday evening. Chamber clearance.
Montgomery Canal Graham Hawkes Brynderwen and Newhouse Locks
Aug 5 Sat Essex WRG
Ipswich & Stowmarket NavigationJohn Gale Creeting Lock
Scotland or Over: to be confirmed David McCarthy
Hereford & Gloucester Canal Camp Conclusion of the massive Over basin project. By then hopefully it will be looking like a canal basin, but there will still be lots of good jobs to do. Accommodation at Hartpury Village Hall.
Wey & Arun Canal Camp: Organised by WACT. Building a new larger slipway at Barnsill Bridge, plus quadrants at Baldwin’s Knob lock and sheet piling near Drungewick Aqueduct. Leaders: Roy Broadhead & Stuart O’Hara; Cook: Vivienne Marriott
Aug 12/13 London WRG Hereford & Gloucester Canal Tim Lewis 020-8367-6227 Final scheduled working party at Over before Aug 24th deadline for completion of work. Jobs are likely to include: panicking, having kittens, running around like blue-arsed flies etc. etc. Aug 12/13 wrgOver
Hereford & Gloucester Canal Marcus Jones 07968-334358 Extra volunteers wanted to join London WRG at Over. Accom at Hartpury
Aug 12-19 Camp 0017
Wilts & Berks Canal Camp: Construction of a bridge, plus towpath works.
Aug 12-19 Camp 0018
Basingstoke Canal Camp Backpumping project at Woodham. Accommodation: Winston Churchill School, in St Johns. Leaders: Helen Gardner & Paul Cattermole.
Aug 15 Tue Navvies
Issue 182 Assembly Provisional date 15th or 16th
Aug 19/20 wrgNW
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper David McCarthy collection (Sat) & Plant maintenance (Sun)
Aug 21-29 Camp 0019
Waltham Abbey Festival Canal Camp: Site Services for the IWA National Waterways Festival. Leaders: Michelle Parsons & Jude Moore, with cooking by Ali Moore & Jenny Worthington. Setting up and then running the largest inland waterways festival in the world.
Aug 24-Sep 1 Camp 0020
Waltham Abbey Festival Canal Camp: details as per Camp 0019.
Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. e-mail: Dave@BITM.freeserve.co.uk. Fax: 0870-063-3713 page 17
Diary Canal society regular working parties These working parties take place regularly on a weekly/monthly basis
Mobile groups' social evenings (please phone to confirm before turning up) London WRG: 7:30pm on Wed 10 days before each dig at The Mad Hatter pub, in Stamford Street, London SE1. Tim Lewis 020-8367 6227. Venue subject to alteration at short notice - please check. NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the Hope Tap, West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586
1st & 3rd Sunday of month BCG Elsecar Spencer Collins 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 2nd Sunday & following Wed. BCS Cosgrove Athina Beckett Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry Every Sunday CCS Dixon's Lock Mick Hodgetts 2nd & 4th Saturdays CCT Thames End George Smith 4th Mon of month, 6pm CMT London Canal Mus. Martin Sach Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe 1st weekend of month D&SCS Various sites Doug Flack 1st & 3rd Sundays GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox Wed/Thu/Fri H&GCT Over Paul Brown 2nd & 4th Sundays H&GCT Over Paul Brown Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 2nd weekend of month IWA SBC Maesbury, Mont. Barry Tuffin 2nd weekend of month K&ACT John Rolls 1st Sunday of month LHCRT Lichfield John Horton 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 2nd Sunday of Month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 1st Sunday of Month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 3rd Sunday of month TMCA David Rouse Approx 15th of month WACT Mid-Week group Colin Gibbs Every Sunday & Thursday WACT Devils Hole Lock Eric Walker Thursdays fortnightly WACT Maintenance Unit Peter Wilding or for general information on Wey & Arun contact their office on 01403-752403 1st weekend of month WAT Little Tring Roger Leishman Every weekend W&BCAG Peter Smith Every Sunday W&BCC Dauntsey Lock Rachael Banyard
0114-285-3044 01543-373284 01908-661217 01288-353273 01246-454163 01285-861639 020-7625-7376 0121-608 0296 01332-874239 0115-989-2248 01823-661653 01432-358628 01386-443826 01386-443826 01663-732493 01473-730586 01691-670826/49 01189-666316 01543 262466 01543-374370 01757-638027 01744-731746 01225-428055 01483-721710 01474-362861 020-82417736 023-9246-3025 01483-422519 01442-874536 01793-852883 01249-892289
Please send any amendments, additions and deletions to Dave Wedd (address on previous page)
Abbreviations used in Diary BCG BCNS BCS BCT CCS CCT CMT DCT D&SCS GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWA SBC IWPS
Barnsley Canal Group Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Society Cotswolds Canals Trust Canal Museum Trust (London) Droitwich Canals Trust Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society Grantham Canal Restoration Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust IWA Shrewsbury & Border Counties Inland Waterways Protection Society
K&ACT Kennet & Avon Canal Trust KESCRG Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group LHCRT Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust LWRG London Waterway Recovery Group NWPG Newbury Working Party Group PCAS Pocklington Canal Amenity Society SCARS Sankey Canal Restoration Society SCCS Somersetshire Coal Canal Society SHCS Surrey & Hants Canal Society TMCA Thames & Medway Canal Association W&BCAG Wilts & Berks Canal Amenity Group W&BCC Wilts & Berks Canal Company WACT Wey & Arun Canal Trust WAT Wendover Arm Trust
Dear Martin, OVERTHANKED I appreciate that a minority of your readers are getting fed up with the 'Over' word. So I will keep this brief. The Council of Management of the H&G Canal Trust paid an official visit to the Over site yesterday evening (in the pouring rain – some things never change!). However, even when soaking wet, the progress that has been made (at the end of April) - and the standards of work achieved - exceedingly impressed everyone concerned. Like all of you WRGies, we are all volunteers, and we try not to take anything, or anyone, for granted. So here is a very sincere “thank you” for all of the work that has so far been achieved by WRG volunteers (from all over the country) at Over. BUT, we cannot relax just yet! In order to get the legal transfer of the land etc. (almost 50% of the whole development site!) we have to meet that August deadline for the completion of the phase one works. Understandably, Swan Hill Homes want to sell their new properties with The Wharf wall completed and a water frontage – not a muddy hole! So please, everyone, don’t get fed up with Over. We need (and really do appreciate) all of your help – together we can show the local authorities and developers what we volunteers are capable of. Yours sincerely, Cliff Penny, C.Eng., FICE., MRTPI., MIMgt. H&GCT Voluntary Planning Liaison Officer Editor, The Wharfinger.
Letters "...we try not to take anthing or anyone for granted..." Dear Martin, Those of us involved in the Escargot pedal cruiser project were greatly saddened to hear of the untimely death of Kevin Angus. Although our acquaintance with Kevin was brief, he came across as a tower of strength who, in both physical and organisational terms, moved the boat on from the building stage to launching, trials and the memorable expedition from Dudley to Henley. Along the way, he provided valuable liaison with IWA and WRG. His humour and optimism gave a great boost to an exhausted boat building team and we were extremely grateful. We can appreciate how he will be sadly missed. Our deepest sympathy to his friends and especially to his family. Yours sincerely, Jon Sims Colin Jones and all involved in Southampton.
Kevin Angus pedalling 'Escargot' on its way from Henley to Dudley - see John Sims' letter. (Sue Burchett)
Progress The Dig Deep projects in the south of England Dig Deep Update - May 2000 The Dig Deep Initiative is a scheme involving four mobile working party groups – KESCRG, WRG BITM, London WRG and NWPG – operating mainly in the South of England. The idea is that by adopting certain projects on various canals, we can co-ordinate our efforts and give a joint commitment to a certain number of working parties on each project, which will help enable the local canal societies to commit the necessary resources to the projects. My pessimism in the last but one Navvies regarding new projects was unfounded. We have had four proposals for schemes to start in 2001. These are summarised: Basingstoke Canal: Work for back pump scheme on St Johns flight of locks. Proposal would be smaller scale than the current project at Woodham but would enable greater use of these locks. Thames & Severn Canal: Repair and reconstruction of a lock at Chalford in the Golden Valley.
Who says nobody reads these notes? Certainly not the Kent & East Sussex IWA who have most generously responded to my appeal for funds by donating £1100 towards equipment. Thanks to them and to the Southampton Canal Society for their help. We have used the money to buy a Bosch hammer drill and a concrete vibrator and poker unit both of which have been recently been put into use at Rowner Lock (W&A). All we need now is a diamond disc for the disc saw and we’ll have an almost complete set of regularly-used small plant items. Progress continues on the current Dig Deep sites. On the Basingstoke, all the work on the weirs and by washes at Woodham is finished. Effort is now being focused on widening the road to the pumping station at Lock 1 ready for pipe laying to commence during the summer. This will be carried out both by contractor and by this summer’s Canal Camps. On the Wey &Arun, despite the wet weather in April postponing planned dredging, progress continues to be made at Rowner Lock. The pump outfall is complete and both top ground paddle holes have been re-instated up to coping level. During the winter, tree clearance was undertaken on the Rowner to Newbridge length in preparation for dredging. On the Hereford & Gloucester a small amount of work has been done at Oxenhall to keep this site ticking Over…..! Need I say more? Details of all Dig Deep dates are given in the Navvies Diary. Bill Nicholson
Wey & Arun Canal: Construction of three lock heads (locks 9,10,11) to retain water on the Gennetts Wood length, the water being used to supply the operational Loxwood Link length of the canal. Wilts & Berks Canal: Reconstruction of a brick accommodation bridge on the Shrivenham section of the canal. All four promoters have been asked to supply additional information relating to the funding, organisation and most importantly how the project fits into the strategy for restoring the canal. Dig Deep meets again on 13th June to Dig Deep on the Basingstoke: KESCRG and London WRG volunteers installdiscuss the proposals further. ing a tap-water main to supply the Woodham pumping station. (Martin Ludgate)
More Fun, Frolics and Cake at the Mont It was all going to be so simple after a week of hell on toast at work. Why then, did I find myself on Friday night stood in a pizza shop in Shrewsbury with one train rescuee, discussing the somewhat questionable joys of peas, bananas and artichokes as pizza ingredients, while Jen and Ali were sitting in the car park in West Felton. Yes, I had the hall keys. Yes, they had the food and kit. Oops. Some organisation later, lots of people turned up, we drank the odd pint, the even odder bottle of wine, and suddenly it was Saturday morning. Despite not knowing we were there for the weekend, BW had supplied lots of fencing stuff, so we pointed Ralph, Clive, Daddy Cool, Rhys, Jen, Rick and others at the posts and wire, Spence at the trees, Anna, Jude and John at the concrete fillet, and lots of other useful people in various directions. Having declared it summer, I proceeded to freeze in my shorts, but lots of work got done, although I can’t speak for Saturday afternoon, when Mike, Jude, Mole and I shrugged at a slipway in Shrewsbury. Meanwhile, Harry installed my new second new car stereo in as many months, cheers to H and AJ, and lets hope this one doesn’t get nicked by some thieving scumbag in Oxenhall, and Al and Izzy pureed 4 mangoes through a garlic press, not knowing that there were 3 sieves in the back of my car which Harry was in…
WRG Boat Club news By now all members should have received their membership card and the latest update of the AWCC handbook. If you haven’t, check up with me to find out why... and hear my list of excuses for inefficiency. We now have some large (8" by 6") stickers (free) but as there aren’t enough for everyone I will send them to any member who asks for one. Money: we now have our own bank account, so why not take all your worries from your life by paying your subs by standing orded? The account details are: A/c name: Waterway Recovery Group Boat Club; Sort code: 40-47-11; A/c no: 51868861. We are thinking of moving from the London region of AWCC to the Midland one; logically because the meetings will be more central so hopefully we can have a member attending them. Any offers? The Grand Fishing Match (aka the BCN Cleanup) Every year I try to get to this event, by boat if possible. Hoorah! The accommodation is to be at Hawne Basin, home of the Coombeswood Canal Trust. They are a friendly and welcoming group so I contacted them about mooring there, and made my plans. If you read you ‘Navvies’ with care and attention (there may be a short quiz later!), you will know of my experiences with the Gosty Hill Tunnel earlier this year.
Dig Report ...from the Montgomery... plus the latest from the WRG Boat Club Mass balloon buying on almost everyone’s part ensured that the hall was very festive on Saturday night, a top meal (without a hint of garlic in the mango) followed by the becoming obligatory cake in the form of a marzipan beehive construction, free kit bees to Dr. Liz, Ralph, Dave W, Eli and Izzy, who were all celebrating being older. Incidentally,aNobelPrizetowhoeverinventedBubbleGuns, and another to Jude for finding them. Sunday we sorted lots more stuff, at least until the weather threatened, and the fence and gate were finished. All the preparation should hopefully mean that the summer camps go well, and there’s one more weekend before then, every one is welcome to come along and reap just what they’ve sown, bearing in mind that Mr. Watts has sown a Talisker cork somewhere on site… Hugs and thank yous to everyone who was there, bits of NA, some of London WRG and a bunch of the WRG Availables, plus some of the original Mont Random Tangent Crew (hello - nice aardvark) all added to Martin's WRGometer. Yours having given up whisky,
Well, I had no problem with the tunnel, but caught a home-made grappling hook - with rope attached around my prop just before I reached it. (Was I cleaning up after a cleanup?) Oh, the joys of weed-hatches and freezing water. Things really looked up when I arrived at Hawne Basin to discover that the accommodation wasn’t there after all, but at Malthouse Stables some few miles away too far to go for breakfast. Luckily I had the van with me so was able to get over on Friday evening, hopefully to find out what was going on, going to go on, and where. Having recently damaged a ligament in my shoulder, I wasn’t too sure I would be much use at dragging stuff out of the cut so when I was told someone was needed to man the caravan, I jumped at the chance. Imagine my amazement when I discovered I was ‘in Control’! What an exalted post, and all this in a ‘Grime Prevention’ caravan.... I should have been suspicious of the name as the job involved a lot of washing up! Luckily Mr Mac was there to show me how things were done. Mostly it involved pointing people in the right direction and dishing up tea and some of Mr Mac’s famous broken biscuits. In fact these were poor quality ‘do it yourself’ ones as many weren’t broken at all.... That’s all for now XXX Sadie Dean
WRG BITM A milestone in the history of canal restoration? The Great Milestone Race. When the Louth Navigation Trust approached us in late ’99 asking if we could help them install 11 milestones in a weekend, after about 10 seconds we said "no chance"... but we would like to try, even though it is a long way away. LNT had provided maps and drawings showing the design of the stones and we talked around it over multiple pints, the conclusion being the same. The normal sort of volunteer was appointed, and as I had work in the area, it was me. I thought some more and reached the conclusion that if we had enough people, plant and transport we could do it; 25 – 30 WRGies (50% more than the normal wrg BITM turnout), 2 miniexcavators, a couple of vans and a four wheel drive. So a site visit was arranged on 17th March, good old Paddy. One of the sites was viewed as typical and new drawings were produced by LNT, the stone 30% smaller and 50% less digging... better and better. LNT also said they could provide lots of people to act as guides and to work.
The only way to achieve the objective was to divide the available people into 3 digging (2 machine, 1 hand), 2 transport and 1 concrete mixing teams and to try to plan the work so the people, plant and materials got to the right place at the right time. I was in my element, lots of paper! LNT could find the 2 mini diggers. We had access to the 2 vans and Kevin (R.I.P.) could bring his 4-wheel drive. The booking list reached 21 with LNT members adding another 7 for Saturday. The monumental mason who was making the stones could lend us a specialist barrow; things were looking great. First disaster: Kevin had to drive WNE (BITM’s van) so no 4-wheel drive. Could LNT help? The owner of a local engineering works (John MacDonald) could help but his vehicle was not off-road... never mind, yes please! Come the day, everybody arrived in Louth earlier than usual on Friday – most people in the pub drinking beer laid on by a LNT member by ten o’clock. Let us not forget the day – 1st April. Bright and early on a beautiful spring morning (well, 9.15) we’re in the plant hire yard checking we have everything. By this time, LNT and John MacDonald’s flat bed Transit had collected the mileposts and the barrow from the masons. A quick briefing and allocation into teams, each with a LNT guide – the race commences. A difficulty now arose, exactly how many leaders did we have on site, a figure of between 19 and 27 was agreed. The plans were all changed, and changed back again and everybody went off to do their own thing. Second disaster, the second minidigger trailer has a bearing in a somewhat poor condition – the fitter intermittently working on it until midday, when Rachel and her van were able to get it on the way to MS2. By this time Rachel and her team helped by the MacDonald van had delivered materials to four sites and the other two digging teams had installed MS1 and MS9.
Installation of milestone 11 near Tetney Lock. (Dave Wedd)
The æther is now running hot, Retha Angus and “je suis” (the HQ team) are using 3 mobile telephones, whilst I’m delivering lunches to the whole of Lincolnshire. At this rate, it will take till Tuesday.
It begins to take shape, Mike Paice and his concrete mixing team have knocked up and bagged all the dry mix we need and are sent out to reinforce the hand and machine teams. With Mike’s help our friends from wrgNW in the hand digging team accelerate and are installing a stone every 105 minutes.
WRG BITM "...howmanyleadersdidwehave on site... between 19 and 27..."
The machine teams are slower; taking about 145 minutes each, moving the machines between sites being the important factor, although John MacDonald in his Volvo is doing great things.
Much diverting of teams and people to the best places, some people have not been seen all day, but the work is getting done. Major decision – should we finish today or leave something to do for tomorrow? No argument, everyone has a long journey on Sunday; we can have a gentle morning sorting out tools and the accommodation. The last stone is in place by 18:30 (by the hand digging team) and we’re all back for dinner at 19:00. After dinner the LNT historian, Stuart Sizer, gives us an interesting talk with slides on the history of the canal, and we adjourn to the pub. A great night was had by all, no problems with being thrown out at 23:00. Sunday morning, as promised on the wireless murky and raining Milestone 1 installed, with the derelict Ticklepenny lock behind it. (Stella Wentworth) - glad we are not digging out on the fen bank. Clean and sort tools, clear the accommodation and away home. Altogether a highly successful (if the mile-posts don’t fall over) and interesting weekend. Does anyone else want some mile-posts installed? Tony Hinsley
The Louth Navigation The Louth Navigation was opened in 1770, linking the Lincolnshire town of Louth to the North Sea near to the Humber mouth. Based on the River Lud, it was 11¾ miles long with 8 locks; an unusual feature of 6 locks being that the chamber walls are not straight, but formed of a series of concave curves - sometimes referred to as 'barrel-sided' - apparently because it was believed that this would better withstand ground pressure. Not hugely prosperous, the canal carried a respectable trade that was typical of rural canals - coal inwards and agricultural produce outwards. Less typical was the use of sailing vessels to carry the cargo. Later in the 19th century, the navigation suffered from railway competition, and from being leased for a number of years to a railway company that had no interest in encouraging waterway trade. The decline in trade continued in the early 20th century, it was virtually unused after the First World War and it was closed in 1924. The Louth Navigation Trust are involved with plans for the regeneration of 50 acres of the derelict and decaying Riverhead area in Louth, and are currently negotiating the purchase of a second old warehouse, opposite the Navigation Warehouse (the Trust’s HQ) at the Riverhead. They plan to restore the first ¼ mile of the canal to navigation in the hope of attracting support for further restoration work. Funding is being raised for a canal corridor study, as a preliminary to the full restoration of the entire length of the waterway. Meanwhile, work parties will continue work on towpath and channel clearance.
Kevin Angus ...an appreciation of the WRG BITM chairman
Kevin Angus: an appreciation The afternoon I first met Kevin, he was one of a group engaged in the (to me) Herculean task of removing a substantial tree-trunk from the approach to Bosmere Lock on the Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation. They were using a Tirfor winch, mattocks and brawn - and I remember the general sense of satisfaction when the last of the roots was finally severed.
Looking back, this was typical of Kevin. So many of my memories include him there in the thick of a tough or tricky task. Reconstructing towpaths, operating a piling hammer or a Tirfor, demolishing concrete, chugging around on a dumper (and a ‘dozer, one weekend!) or standing there indicating precisely where the next load of scalpins, concrete or whatever should be tipped. Any task he undertook was done thoroughly and if Kevin was site leader that went for the group’s work too. And yet provided the work generally was going OK he would always have time to stop to talk over a problem or just chat about waterways in general. Kevin was always alert for potential safety issues (on or off site - at my second “dig” he pointed out quietly that my rear near-side tyre was illegal!) and if he became aware of a problem he would do something about it. He kept a close eye on our winches to make sure they were correctly used, serviced regularly (often seeing to this himself) and that the cables were properly stowed at the end of the day’s work. He shared the general concern that our small van was operating perilously close to its loading limit and did much of the behind-the-scenes work to find a suitable replacement, arrange painting (in wrg red) and signwriting, and take needful action as time went by to keep the new van in good condition. I suspect only his family were really aware just how much he did for us - I only began to realise it when the pedal-boat “Escargot UK” was launched. Lots of people were enthusiastic and willing to take part in the sponsored trip from Dudley to Henley but it was Kevin who sorted out many of the practical details including towing the boat from Southampton to Dudley in the first place. He said afterwards that was an expensive trip: as a result his Metro was transformed into a Discovery. None of us who were there will forget the sight of Kevin stripping off his muddy outer clothes after a day working on the H&G and driving back to the hall in his new 4x4 somewhat lightly clad - he hadn’t had time to get the protective seat covers he wanted for his new pride and joy before the “dig”. We never heard what his female passenger thought of the proceedings! Despite his own considerable experience and judgement which most of us would have backed without question Kevin was always scrupulous in canvassing the opinion of other members of the group before taking action, whether it was about sites for future “digs”, the need (or otherwise) for a new piece of equipment or the wording on our new hi-vis jackets. He brought a very professional approach to our work and was continually looking for ways in which we could improve the way we were operating. I am quite sure the success of so many of our weekends in recent years has been due to Kevin’s ability to put across to local work-party organisers quite what we are capable of as a group and what might be needed for us to achieve the work they had in mind. Natural leader as he was, Kevin was by no means somewhere up on a pedestal or one to stand on his own dignity. He was endearingly human - among the last few of us to be ready for breakfast, one of the snorers we complained about in the mornings, and regularly teased about his builder’s cleavage. He was fun to be with: easy-going, witty, a tease, patient, considerate, reliable, conscientious and thoroughly trustworthy. With his untimely death the waterway recovery movement has lost a valued member and those of us in BITM a much-loved friend. As I mourn his passing and grieve for his family in their greater loss I look back with gratitude for Kevin’s friendship and all I learned from him, and carry forward the memory of his dedicated, humourous, thoughtful and inclusive approach to our work as an inspiration for the future. “Hold fast to the dream”. Stella Wentworth
Dig report from the Thames & Heaven, some time in Eternity. Dedicated to the memory of Kevin Angus, BITM. April 2000.Just inside the Pearly Gates, at the admissions desk, a gnarled old farmer is talking earnestly to St. Peter: “Thank you so much for letting me in. It was so good of you to forgive me for everything that I’d done wrong in my life- especially for not letting those canal restorers onto my land. You know, I just couldn’t bear the thought of all those anglers and cyclists on the towpath if it had been restored...”. The old farmer shuddered at the thought. St. Peter patted his shoulder in reassurance. “Never mind, you don’t have to worry now. At least you left the land to the Canal Conservation Trust in your will...” A few miles away, one of Kevin (second from right) on his last BITM dig at Louth. (Clive Horton) Heaven’s many mansions bears a striking resemblance to a village hall. Inside, WRG (Heaven) Unlimited’s newest recruit kicks off his unmuddy work boots and collapses onto a kingsize deluxe mattress. A jacuzzi can be heard softly bubbling away in the bathroom down the hall and the smell of dinner cooking wafts through the air. As the recruit lies back, a cup of tea appears at his side. “Mmm. I could get used to this. Pubs that don’t close; a cooked breakfast at 10am- well we’ve got the whole of eternity now, so we don’t have to start so early...” As he reaches for his pen, he casts his mind back to the day’s digging, and starts to write. “...a wonderful sight. Not a cloud in the sky...and snow everywhere. Sun sparkling off the snow; birds swooping low to look for breakfast. Blue was chasing rabbits through the undergrowth, while we tirfored old tree trunks out of the cut. By the time the sun slipped below the horizon, we’d unearthed a lock chamber from under an eternity of bushes. I’ve never seen a lock mechanism like it- it must have been designed by a genius..” He smiles at the thought. “Mind you, I miss the mud though.” The shout of “Tea’s up, come and get it”, from an angel in an apron, interrupts his writing. Fortunately, some angels’ ideas of heaven don’t revolve around hard hats and dumpers; she seems much happier to be cooking for a hoard of hungry navvies. After a good meal, rounded off with a baked pud, the new recruit pushes back his chair and volunteers to wash up. “Oh, there’s no need for that, the dirty pots get washed ‘downstairs’ “ he’s told with a grimace. “Imagine spending eternity in hell, washing dirty porridge pans and frying pans, but never getting to eat the breakfast.” “That’s not all,” adds another navvy. “Canal digs down there are blisteringly hot, but with no cups of tea and with no chance of ever getting the canals opened for navigation. The water all evaporates, you see. Even the natural heritage lot’s Great Crested Newt population don’t stand a chance. The tirfors all have broken shear pins, the diggers have punctures, and the dumpers won’t start. And the canal’s owned by landowners who won’t give you access...” The hall door opens, and St Peter and the old farmer walk in. “Evening” says the farmer. “St. Peter told me you’d be here. I’d really like to buy you all some beers next door...” Written by Mattt Wilson published with the kind permission of Tina Angus Retha and Gordon Angus would like me to pass on their thanks to everyone in WRG for all the cards and letters they have received since their son's death. ...The Editor
Looking back Thirty years of WRG - part one: The early 1990s.... As you are no doubt aware, WRG is 30 years old this year. Issue 183 of 'Navvies' will be a 'special', with a supplement celebrating our past and present successes and looking forward to future ones. But in a slightly less serious vein, your editor's assistant Lesley has been trawling through the archives to give you a selection from 30 years of 'Navvies' magazine, in no particular order and beginning this time with the early 1990s... The '90s began with the thinnest-ever issue 118 only 4 pages! Editor Bill Thomson made up for a lack of quantity with a high-quality stroppy editorial about the IWA and 'development-led restoration', and duly departed for pastures new, replaced by Alan Jervis in issue 119. (I'm not going to drag it all up again here Feel free to buy the back-issues from Neil Edwards all proceeds to WRG - and read the full story) Issue 119 also featured a photo of Jude Moore apparently doing the splits (caption 'extracting tree-stumps and navvies' from the Mont); also a sad departure... "...VRK, our diesel Transit was finally sent to the great scrapyard in the sky, following diagnosis of terminal engine failure plus tinworm..." Issue 120 featured a novel apology: "...to Dave Wedd, who took most of the photos in 119, but who managed to disguise his handwriting and cause all his photos to be credited to John Palmer." ...and an unusual item in the 'Canal Camps News': "...the Gloucester Rally camp is full for girls."
Issue 124 in early 1991 included a serious allegation concerning the decline of local canal societies: "The past membership of these groups has swindled..." ...but it would appear that it was actually a typo and should have said 'dwindled'! Issue 125 contained a fan-mail letter praising John Palmer's legendary 'Palmer on Pumps' series, and asking for pictures of pumps and maybe a 'readers' pumps' section. It was written by one Ron J Pelham (of Stockport) which seems to be some kind of anagram... In issues 126 and 127 preparations were well in hand for the Big Dig at Wantage, with a target of attracting 1000 volunteers. Meanwhile, John Greenway reminisced: "I can remember lock beams being replaced by volunteers on the Marple flight and BW taking the credit in print." I can think of one or two people I've met on canal digs who would be considerably more use as balance beams than as volunteers, but I don't think that's what he meant. Navvies 128 was a special issue with colour cover, commemorating 21 years of WRG and 25 years of 'Navvies' - and included as its centre 8 pages a facsimile of the very first issue. It also featured a letter from Steve Morley speculating on whether WRG could benefit from the threatened closure of London Zoo: "...we wondered about WRG buying a used low-mileage elephant... ideal for all sorts of jobs... jungle bashing... an extendable hose at the front, ideal for pumping out that last bit of water from the lock... we were not sure whether a re-spray in WRG red would be necessary..." ...plus a photo of MKP sat in a cardboard box. No, he wasn't re-enacting a Monty Python sketch ("Luxury! We used to dream of having a cardboard box...") he was wiring up a rally, it was raining and the marquees were late... 1000 people turned out for the biggest ever big dig (so far!) and an appropriately large proportion of issues 129 and 130 was taken up with reports from Wantage. Every aspect was covered: the catering... "...we pushed 15 trolleys through the checkout and signed the cheque for ÂŁ2,500... one ton of milk... 4000 teabags, 2000 sausages and 12 gallons of whipping cream..."
In issue 121 the Driver Authorisation Scheme was launched, with immediate effect, as WRG NW reported:
...the work on site...
"SomeonehasstolenourtrustyvanGloria. Howevertheymust havebeencarefulthievesastheyabandonedher200yardsdown the road, obviously realising that not holding WRG driving certificates they were not allowed to drive the vehicle..."
Meanwhile IWA and the Countryside Commission had made generous grants to help ensure that 'unsafe and unreliable vehicles will be a thing of the past' by enabling us to buy a fleet of new-ish Transits. One of these - ADX - featured in the next issue, being fitted-out with seats at Chichester by the newlyformed 'Navvies Anonymous' group. Another van got a mention in issue 123 when MKP and 'friend' awoke one morning at the Gloucester festival to find that the sleeping space that they had chosen (in preference to the crowded official WRG accommodation) was on the move around the site. The driver was a little surprised too - but he didn't let two unexpected stowaways stop him from going about his business on-site...
"117 bonfires... a 2Â˝ mile curtain of smoke... two weeks after the event the bed of the canal is still burning..." "...a Tory minister... two registered blind... [to provide the Tory minister with some leadership? ...Ed] a couple who postponed their honeymoon... an 83 year old who had just returned from the Arctic Circle... over half of the original London & Home Counties working party..." ...the equipment... "...one box was labelled '17.5kg sheaths'. The mind boggles..." ...and one or two oddities... "Tim scored a duck, but Mike didn't score." A new site for 1992 - clearing out the old ice-pits under the London Canal Museum - offered an unusual opportunity for indoor digging...
"...Iamreliablyinformed thatthecommentmadeby the Ladies' shower attendant at Kings Cross station when she saw the state of the showers afterwards cannot be printed in this magazine." In issue 132 we read of Mike Palmer's appointment as vice-chairman. Or "Chairman of Vice" as he preferred to style himself. Also the details of the Aston Nature Reserve, to be built by WRG alongside the Montgomery canal, and some unusual 'finds' on the national canal cleanup weekend, including a postman's uniform, mail bag and bike, and a telephone kiosk. In 133 we read that Neil Edwards had 'outgrown his computer' (gosh, it must have been a small one!) and some 'explanations' of in-jokes that prompted more questions than they answered: "Palmerettehadhisbuminthesinktowashoffthegoldensyrup." Issue 134 included an all-purpose camp report template: "The camp got off to a good start despite the (accommodation keys / food / organiser) having inadvertently become (lost / stolen / strayed) and the (van / trailer / site canteen / chemical closet ) having been (stolen from outside the leader's house / wrecked on the motorway / condemned with terminal rust and woodworm)..." In issue 135 Dig Deep was launched, as a way of attempting to get the southern mobile groups doing the sort of well-organised, regular, productive work parties that they had enjoyed on the Basingstoke before its completion but that were proving difficult to continue elsewhere without more co-ordination. (Ironically one of the current Dig Deep projects is... the Basingstoke!) 1993's first issue reported a Sleaford Camp where they had managed to break the drum of the concrete mixer by working it too hard! Meanwhile Neil Edwards instigated the export of navvies to Ireland. Then in the next issue a lesson was learned on the Mont: never leave the dumper engine running while you're hand-loading it with clods of earth, especially if you're not terribly confident of your aim - you might just hit the gear-lever! Oh yes, and a legend (and a nickname) was born:
Looking back "...or 'Chairman of Vice' as he preferred to style himself..." "Helen wandered off... a soggy bush... rescued by Timmy Trainspotter..." Much of the rest of 1993 was taken up by the Aston Nature Reserve - a project similar in size to the present job atover-buttherewereothersitestoo,includingtheawardwinning Chelmer & Blackwater Springfield Basin restoration, which later led to the birth of Essex WRG. Issue 139 reported Steve Paice's live radio broadcast, in which he gave his name as "Steve Bollocks"; fortunately it was hospital radio, not the BBC! Also a 'next year's news' column which included the following: "December: KESCRG Christmas party and sponsored shave. Eddie has his left leg shaved. Rachel has her right leg shaved. George Stephenson has his Bit in the Middle shaved..." As far as we know, neither this prediction nor any of the others actually came true? Did it, George? Issue 140 announced the imminent arrival of a new editor, and in issue 141 in late 1993 some bloke called Ludgate arrived. (along with a new front cover logo that made it look like the magazine was called 'Nawies'). But you've probably heard enough from him already in this issue, so we'll stop there. Martin Ludgate Lesley McFadyen
Popular early '90s sites:Aston on the Mont, Elsecar on the Barnsley (by a popular early 90s photographer: Tim Lewis)
… Perhaps not quite so quick!
Lessons from LET. (Logistics Enforcement team)
the "Martin Ludgate Gross Abuse of Equipment Award"... Canal Camps Logistics section
Another camp season draws ever closer (by the time you receive this it will be mere days away) and things have been particularly hectic in our maintenance period - September to June – due not least of all to so much extra time (and kit!) being spent on our project at Over.
…purveyors of high quality tactical equipment, fine and unusual artwork and providers of a new home for Logistics. Whilst not ideal, the new home in question will allow me a brief respite from further searching whilst Jen and I get the kits up an running for the season. Please keep those offers of land flooding in as I transfer to my gothic splendour….
It’s also not been an easy time for us as only having virtual space to work in isn’t terribly helpful when it comes to painting and mending kit. I would like to express my thanks to Lou’s friends who have agreed to ‘house’ Logistics for the time being (do they know what they’re letting themselves in for I wonder?! Hmmm....). Greatly appreciated. That aside, we will hopefully have sorted the major things out in time and, as Lou says, we hope you all have a totally fab time out on a canal camp near (or far from!) you!
Now I’ve got somewhere to put stuff, I’ve been shopping for various bits of replacement kit, and if anyone knows how you can lose 3 giant mixing bowls, answers on a postcard please. All this notwithstanding, expect to see sparkly newly painted kits buzzing there way round a camp circuit near you soon.
I’d like to take this opportunity, and a few moments of your time if I may, to reveal to you all what we at LET are expecting (well, hoping – fingers crossed!) from you this year. There is nothing new save a few exceptions so don’t be alarmed.
A couple of new additions to the kits; mainly in a bid to prevent further contenders for the Martin Ludgate Gross Abuse of Equipment Award. In the Brick Kit you will now find a Stanley knife. Please feel free to use it to cut Terram, but think carefully before taking it back to the accommodation to slice cake with. In the Catering Kit, you’ll find a lovely new ice cream scoop, don’t use it for scooping mud, and don’t think you’ll ever again have an excuse for bending a big spoon in your rabid pursuit of frozen dairy products. Note:- the number that has been used for the new items was formerly ascribed to the corer and wedger; the list being alphabetical you will find the new items under “cream scoop - iced”.
I’d hate to be accused of not giving people a fair chance so I thought a bit of enlightenment might help in the form of the main pointers we’d like you to take note of and hopefully act on during the coming camp season. Remember- we rely on you to keep us informed so please help us to help you.
Three Cheers for my mates Liz and Animal….
While I’m here, I’ll just take the opportunity to wish you all a happy season of kit usage, I’ll be in touch mid-camp to check it’s all ok, meantime complaints and queries to me at the usual number. Big Fat Cheers, Lou Kellett ps - I’m all in favour of recycling and sustainability, but if that camp that follows yours isn’t happening for a couple of months, please don’t send them your spare food, we will return it to you as an item of biological warfare. And now I think Jen would like a quick word…..
[I appreciate that leaders may feel they have an awful lot to do but it is to make your job easier that we do a lot of the things and don’t forget: you always have the power to delegate!] I think the following point has to be the most important – please, please, PLEASE will leaders ensure that they arrange how their allotted vans and trailer are to get to them. The vehicle movements were printed in the last issue of Navvies (180) and there should be a copy in each van too. If you’re at all unsure let me know and I’ll enlighten you! I have a few bods who have volunteered their services in the driving department so again I may be able to help. [If anyone else thinks they might be able to help and you haven’t already offered please tell me which weekends you are free to help and whether you’re going from camp to camp. A huge thanks to the handful that already have.] It is up to you to sort it out – they will not magically appear like the shopkeeper in Mr. Benn!!
At the start of your camp, write down the mileage of the vans as soon as you get them – perhaps the drivers could make a note when you arrive to assist the leader – as it is so easy for several journeys to be done before the vehicle checks have been made. New for this year is the checking of the psi values on the vans and trailers. Hopefully, this will enable us to ascertain whether tyres have slow punctures. Next, check the kit in. Now this task is a simple one and not rocket science as the kit lists are really quite comprehensive! You may think differently if you were on the receiving end of them though!! The main camp season hasn’t even started and I’ve already had several back with a plethora of incomprehensible marks! Lou decided they must be runes but the flaw in her idea is that we can both read runic and these were indecipherable!!! I’ve concluded they must be hieroglyphs – translators welcome! When filling kit lists in, check items in with a ‘X’ , not a tick, as it clearly states on the front page and where there is no item leave a blank space and not a dash (I can only assume that’s what it meant!). Next time you feel like whinging about the state of the kit think how informative your kit-list-filling-in has been! Whilst you’re unpacking the kit, you’ll find it easier if you completely undo the ratchet straps into their two parts and neatly fold the strap up then hang it on the rail. This should ensure no tangles, muddy straps, or a huge bundle of strap wound through the ratchet which is a nightmare to undo so DON’T DO IT!!!! During the camp, if the work involves concrete or cement it is much easier to wash shovels and other items off every day (more often if it’s hot weather) rather than at the end of the week when it will have ‘gone off’! Have a bucket of water to hand so they can be dipped as soon as you finished shovelling/mixing. Lou and I have better things to do than spending hours grinding concrete off shovels! You will also receive a Logistics courtesy call mid-week so if there’s anything you wish to tell us feel free. When repacking and checking in the kit at the end of the camp make sure it’s clean and you’ve also included any broken items regardless of whether they may be in kit form! Cleaning the vans and kit is very important – just think of the people on the receiving end of it all and how difficult it is for a leader to motivate their ‘troops’ to clean them when they arrived filthy! When putting the ratchet straps back in, pull as much of the slack through the middle before using the ratchet action to secure the objects. Another ‘new for this year’ thing is the chance we may have managed to mark up the inside of the trailer so you know where to put things which should be of help to you.
Logistics ...and the "Which camp packed the worst trailer Award" If, after checking in the kit, you find there are missing items don’t blissfully ignore them and assume ‘those nice people at Logistics’ will replace them as those ‘nice’ people could turn very nasty and not be responsible for their actions!! Please try to pack up the kit and have it ready for the driver by midday as they will have quite a drive ahead of them and the vans are often needed to do station pick ups on the next camp. Fill the vans with fuel and record the mileage. Drivers beware – take a look in the trailer (go on, go on, go on!) if you’ve not already seen it as it’s your responsibility when you’re driving it around the country. I’m setting a competition for this year – “Which camp packed the worst trailer” award. So I want you to take a photo when you open the trailer on receipt! Then when they’ve been developed send or hand them to me with which camp you received it on and we’ll judge it at the end of the season. Last but by no means least – can we have kit lists and vehicle reports sent back on the same day as the camp finishes please? Forgive me if I’ve overlooked something obvious but I cannot see any reason why this can’t happen. It is especially important during the main camp season because with the kit being constantly used we need to know if things need replacing for further camps. I do send an sae for ease so please return them promptly – there should be nothing to add when it’s been packed up so what’s stopping you? It’s not much to ask really, is it?! Oh, and an additional note from Lou – “Wash the [expletive] tea towels!!!!” Seems fair! Have fun. 'Just Jen' Leigh email@example.com “Lou and me, me and Lou, Lots and lots … for us to do, Lots and lots … for us to see, Me and Lou, Lou and me. Oo-ooh, oo-ooh (x2)”
Coming soon Waltham Abbey Woolloomooloo!
‘Mitch and Jude go Down Under’: Announcing the Site Services Canal Camp at the National Waterways Festival, Waltham Abbey... G’Day! It’s that time of the year again.... almost..... this year’s ‘National’.... as if you didn’t know..... will be held at Waltham Abbey on the River Lee, as usual over the August Bank holiday weekend. This year the canal camps to provide all the site services needed to support the world's biggest canal festival are running in the "Outback" of the Lee Valley Park, the dates being 21-29 August and 24 August-1 September. Accommodation will be our very own marquee with en-suite facilites (well almost). However, we need your help: The week before, commencing the 14th August we’re in need of some strong "Bruces" and "Sheilas" to help with some heavy lifting work. This is to erect the fence line and lay tracking prior to everything else arriving!! If you have any incapacity that stops you doing heavy work eg a bad back, then no offence, but we don’t need you until the following weekend.
Additional "hoons" and "wallabies" are also required after the festival to collect up all the tracking and fencing. Please let Mitch or Jude know if you are available. As usual there will be a small area within the WRG compound for those of you who have "RVs" and "Winnebagos" (Campervans and Caravans). This space is limited so again please let Mitch or Jude know, to avoid disappointment. "Dingos" - If you intend to bring your Dingo along, please note, Lee Valley Parks have strict byelaws about fouling. You will be expected to clear up after your dog, or risk a heavy fine. If you haven’t already guessed, the theme this year’s canal camps will be “Australia”. Why? Because Mitch has just come back from there, and Jude would like to go down there!! So you have been warned: Tuesday’s end-of-camp-bash after the festival will be a good ol’ fashioned Aussie BBQ (accompanied by plenty of ‘tinnies’ no doubt), with the odd bit of alligator-wrestling, boomerang-throwing and the usual games and merriment. Please bring a Shrimp or Fizzy Custard. Fancy dress will be required - so get gluing those corks to an ol’ hard hat and join us Down Under in Essex in August. Please Contact WRG 1 - Mitch on 01934 842918 (Home), 0468 525469 (Mobile) or WRG 2 - Jude on 01926 332745 (Home), 0411 058898 (Mobile). See you there! Mitch Parsons and Jude Moore
Festival Fun at Worcester last year: the victorious WRG team in the dragon boat racing (Paula Kiernan) and (inset) John Palmer lets his hair down at the end-of-camp party. (Lesley McFadyen)
The WRG Canal Camps mobile phones: 07850 422156 (A) and 07850 422157 (B)
London Canal Museum have a Late 19th / early 20th century R. Thames punt, 8m by 0.8m, free to a museum or similar good home. It's in one piece but probably needs some restoration work. Contact Tim Lewis (see directory)
Moving house... Marcus Jones has moved to: Riverside Court - Flat 15, 121 St George's Square, London SW1V 3QP. New mobile phone: 07968 334358 New e-mail address: Marcus.Jones@btinternet.com Helen Gardner can now receive mail on her boat: NB Sussex, The Boatyard, Rowdell Road, Northolt, Middlesex UB5 6AG
For up-to-date information by e-mail about the H&G Over Project and other canal restoration matters, subscribe to the:
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Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 Subscriptions / circulation Sue Watts 15 Eleanor Road Chorlton-cum-Hardy Manchester M21 9FZ Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ Watford (01923) 448559
Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group Ltd, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conservation of inland waterways by voluntary effort in Great Britain. Articles may be reproduced in allied magazines provided that the source is acknowledged. WRG may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of in-
Elvis lives! West Felton hall has a webite! Free punt!
1 1 9 1 person-days work by WRG so far this year
If you don't think your group's numbers have been included, contact the Editor
ELVIS lives! (in Cornwall) East Looe Valley Improvement Society are going to restore part of the Liskeard and Looe Canal. To join them, send ÂŁ5 to Mr R D S Fisher, Well Croft, Morval, Cornwall PL13 1PR.
Noticeboard For an explanation of the WRGometer see the last 2 issues
Give the punters what they want!
NEW ON THE 'NET... WRGNorthWesthaveanewwebsite: http://www.downstream.mcmail.com/wrgnw.htm ...asdoJancraft,whomakeourT-shirts: http://www.jancraft.com ...nottomentionWestFeltonVillageHallontheMont: http://www.west-felton.freeserve.co.uk EntertainmentsnewsfortheCotswoldsfestivalatSaul: http://www.entsweb.com/folk Therearesomepicsof2newly-restoredGranthamlocksat: http://www.grantham-canal.co.uk ...andtheWey&Arunsitehasmoved-seeDirectorypages. terest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine.
Registered in England no 1599204 Directors :
John Baylis, Malcolm Bridge, Roger Burchett, Ray Carter, Christopher Davey, Helen Davey, ÂŠ 2000 WRG ltd Roger Day, Richard ISSN 0953-6655 Drake, Neil Edwards, Waterway Recovery Group John Hawkins, Judith Ltd is a subsidiary of the InMoore, Michael Palmer, land WaterwaysAssociation Jonathan Smith. (a registered charity). Secretary: Registered office: 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Christopher Davey Rickmansworth WD3 1LT VAT reg. no : 285 1387 37 tel : 01923 711114
Backfill New Tax Takes The Strain The latest offering from the small room in Whitehall responsibleforinnovationsinstealthtaxesshould come as a welcome relief for all navvies who have ever put their foot in it. TheTransitional Uniform Response for Dogs Tax (TURD Tax for short) is to be fazed in over the next few years in order to encourage responsible dog ownership and reduce the incidence of unaccompanied faeces being deposited in public places. As Lord Whiffy, minister with special responsibility for Doggy Doos, announced to a packed House, “ we all know of someone who has stepped in a portion and now this government is taking firm action to stamp out this problem. The great British public want to see a clean pair of heels and no slip ups. The TURD Tax is just what the doctor ordered.” The level of taxation is to be varied according to size of dog, average deposit size and placement. No allowances will be made for special dietary needs but a rebate system is being considered for owners who can provide evidence of a regular collection service being carried out. An annual return being required in early April with records to be kept for five years. The Inland Revenue will be responsible for catching evaders so dog owners won’t be surprisedtofindaninspectorwatching their fourlegged friends every movement. There is also a research programme underway to create an electronic measuring device that can be retro-fitted to all canines but making the mechanism tamperproof has proven difficult. There will be an appeals system for those who feel overtaxed, independently adjudicated by Offpoop. So we can all expect cleaner towpaths in years to come and be able to step out in style with confidence. Dorian Mead
Sorry no (a) Bankside and (b) Last Ditch this time due to lack of (a) space and (b) inspiration. I promise both will be back in 182. In the meantime, to go with our 'early 90s' archive piece, here's a reprint of a cartoon from issue 118 in Jan '90:
It says "Won't the neighbours be surprised, MR BYWASH , to find not one but two super vehicles parked outside 32 DIGLEY RD Return your lucky numbers to WRG SALES and who knows? A pre-owned transit van plus a dumper full of sludge could be parked outside the BYWASH household within 7 days."
Mrs. Smeaton’s Guidance for Correct Comportment of Ladies and Gentlemen attending Voluntary Working Parties onthe Inland Waterways of these Islands of Ours Numerous are the social pitfalls into which the unwary voluntary Navigator (or ‘Navvy’ as I believe they are nowadays colloquially known) may fall. A strict dress code should be adhered to at all times in the enforced proximity of the Canal Camp’s living accommodation. Gentlemen - or even ladies - should not parade themselves around the hall, attired only in their drawers or ‘smalls’ as I have been informed that this may frighten the cook; and thereby throw good mealtimeplanning into unnecessary disarray. Even more importantly they should not promenade around without any nether garments at all, as I know for a certainty that this disturbed one lady cook of my acquaintance in the ‘wee small hours’ at a Festival of Inland Navigation to such an extent that sausages vanished forthwith from the breakfast menu! Dear ‘Stifled of Gloucester’: In response to your letter concerning the inhospitable nature of the sleeping quarters provided, I can only advise that a monitor be appointed to ensure that all windows and doors are tightly closed before retiring. This should correct any of the problems with wind that you complain of. (I am afraid I fail to understand the relevance of your cook Mr Jones’s provision of spicy Empire foods such as the Vindaloo curry.) I am always happy to answer such queries as any of the subscribers to this periodical may wish to raise from time to time. Simply address your question to myself and send it care of our ever-helpful and efficient editor, whose address is printed on the Frontispiece of this edition. Yours ever,