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avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No 186 April - May 2001 Latest news on this year's Camps Bugsworth update Everything you always wanted to know about Transit vans... ...and the return of 'Bankside'!

waterway recovery group


Contents Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" 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 format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or e-mail to editor@navvies.demon.co.uk. Press date for No 187: May 1st.

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of ÂŁ1.50 (please add a donation if possible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorltoncum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. Visit

our

web

site

In this issue:

Chairman Book on a Canal Camp! Join the 4-5 IWA! Jump off the Anderton Lift!! Camps preview more on this summer's 6-9 Canal Camps Training the 2001 training weekend 10 Vans and how to look after them 11-13 Logistics Who ate all the Burcos? 14-15 Diary camps and working parties 16-18 Letters and WRG Boat Club news 19 Progress at Bugsworth Basin 20-21 Dig reports from the Basingstoke, 22-25 Wilts & Berks and Lichfield canals Bankside a feature-length episode! What have you done to deserve this? 26-28 Bits & Pieces more training opportunities 29-30 Noticeboard 31 Backfill 32

And next time... ...report and photographs from the Easter Camp - the first of six camps at Droitwich this year that should see Hanbury locks finished. Plus last-minute information of this summer's Camps, a Dig Deep update.... and whatever else you write!

http://www.wrg.org.uk

for

all

the

latest

news

Cover photo: with the Foot & Mouth problems on many other sites, the Basingstoke Canal Woodham backpumping scheme has had an unexpected amount of volunteer support recently. Here, another load of roadstone heads past Lock 3 on its way to help reinstate the towpath after the installation of the main backpump pipe by contractors early this year. Below: one of the sites that we had hoped to support as part of the Dig Deep Initiative, but which will have to wait. Summit Lock near Wootton Bassett on the Wilts & Berks Canal was flooded-out thanks to the wet winter weather when London WRG visited in February; then as soon as the water receded, the F&M arrived. Hopefully it will be possible to make some progress on rebuilding it later this year. (Photos by Martin Ludgate)

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Editorial

Editorial

The effects of Foot and Mouth disease in closing many of our regular worksites have been mentioned already in the letter that Mike Palmer sent out with the Canal Camps booklet that you received a few weeks ago, and Mike mentions the subject again in his Chairman's page overleaf. So I'll leave the major policy issues to him, and deal with the details here - always subject to the usual proviso that the situation can easily change either way in the few weeks between the magazine going off to the printers and you receiving it. As mentioned by Mike, some sites are being released so that work can begin again. In fact some never stopped work, because they happened to be in non-agricultural areas not affected by F&M. The Basingstoke Canal has been the main unaffected site and has made excellent progress recently thanks to extra visits by London WRG, Essex WRG, KESCRG, wrgBITM and NWPG, all of whom have had working parties elsewhere cancelled. Work has proceeded rapidly on one of the major jobs being done by volunteers in connection with the Woodham backpump project - reinstating the towpath up the flight after installation of the main pipe by contractors. Completion of the roadway to the pumping station and some fitting-out work in the pumphouse itself should see this job complete, the pumps in action this spring and work moving up to the next backpump scheme at St. Johns, near Woking. Contact Pete Redway on 01483 721710 for more details of the Basingstoke work. But just in case your regional group is getting sick of 'TBA' standing for 'The Basingstoke Again'... The Kennet & Avon Canal has opportunities for work on improvements to locks including installation of gate quadrants. London WRG re-located there in January and returned with tales of excellent accommodation at the Devizes Canal Centre (with many Wadworths pubs in staggering distance) and the work was OK too.... Seriously, they need volunteer work as part of the 'equivalent match funding' for their major Heritage Lottery Fund grant. If your group would like help, get in touch with BW volunteer coordinator Carl Whitehead on 01380 736 124 or e-mail carl.whitehead@britishwaterways.co.uk. Meanwhile up at Bugsworth Basin they're struggling with the difficult job of trying to make the basin complex hold water, and it looks like they might have more work for volunteers soon: phone Ian Edgar on 01663 732493 for information. Although the Lichfield Canal has been affected, they still have one work site at Tamworth Road that is available for visiting groups. Call John Horton on 01543 262466 for details. And on the Droitwich Junction Canal our chairman Mike Palmer himself has been doing his best to ensure that work can continue - and has plenty of jobs for visiting weekend groups - in addition to the six weeks of Canal Camps there this year. Phone him on 01564 785293 or e-mail mike.palmer@bbc.co.uk to volunteer your services. There - that should keep us all busy while we wait and hope for the Cotswolds, the Wilts & Berks, the Mont and the rest of the affected sites to get back to normal. Meanwhile, as you will notice from reading this issue of 'Navvies', the cancellations and relocated working parties aren't quite the only way that we have been affected... 'Navvies' itself has suffered somewhat: this is always a thin time for camp reports due to the lack of Canal Camps compared to other times of year - made worse this time by the decision not to hold a February Camp. This shortage is usually made up for by reports from the first big joint dig of the year - the Cleanup - and regional groups having probably their busiest time of year, as the Dig Deep schemes and many other projects make good progress. But not this time. Although several groups' reports are included, the magazine was ever-so-slightly lacking in content. We could have (a) reduced the size of the magazine or (b) filled it with near-identical reports of many weekends towpath-laying at Basingstoke or (c) rustled-up some different articles that aren't directly connected to working parties that have happened recently. We chose (c) and hope you like the assortment in this issue - a piece on how to look after WRG Vans, another Camps Preview with much more info on this year's Canal Camps, a bumper episode of 'Bankside' (sorry), an update from Bugsworth, a tale of the trials and tribulations of filling a restored lock with water on the Cotswolds etc. etc. If you like them, fine! If you don't - well, you know what to do... and once you've read this issue you'll realise that "But I haven't been on any digs recently!" is no longer a valid excuse for not writing me anything... Martin Ludgate

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Chairman "There is some light at the end of the tunnel..." Pant's off! It will not surprise you that I begin with mentioning Foot and Mouth. Like most responsible organisations we asked all our groups to suspend work on all projects unless permissions to work had been sought from the relevant authorities and due consideration given to all the issues. (For instance it is not just where the dig is held but also where the volunteers come from and where they pass through). The most immediate effect of this was that our second attack on the Pant dry section on the Montgomery had to be cancelled as several confirmed cases appeared in Shropshire. No-one can doubt that this is a very serious situation and it does look like some restoration projects may well be shut down for many more months. However there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Some sites are being released by the authorities as available for work. However on many sites this comes with conditions regarding disinfecting regimes, additional care, etc. Please, please do take these provisions seriously. There is not a restoration project in the country that isn’t heavily reliant on goodwill and co-operation from landowners. Progress on restoration schemes could be put back years if we are seen to be irresponsible. We need to be responsible but we also need to be optimistic. Please don’t hold back from booking on a Canal Camp because you are waiting to see if it goes ahead. Because if enough people do that then it definitely won’t go ahead. Every Canal Camp these days requires tremendous time and money spent on preparation. In order for us to commit to this it is necessary to know the volunteers will be there so please do assume all the Canal Camps will go ahead and book on as early as possible. If a Camp is cancelled due to Foot and Mouth then we will let you know as soon as possible and try to arrange an alternative booking or a refund.

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So what else is news? There was a not-especially-well-publicised conference in Birmingham recently that was run by the Dept. of Environment, Transport and Regions to further build on the work suggested by its policy document 'Waterways For Tomorrow'. A large gathering of the great and the good were there and yours truly found himself in the 'natural environment' group. A presentation was given by the team that are currently leading the work on the Rochdale. A particularly pleasing point was when they showed a familiar looking slide saying “this is what we hope to achieve - this is a very successful project.” Yes - last time I saw those gorse bushes they were in the front of Roger Burchett's dumper. That 'very successful project' was our very own Aston Nature Reserve. It does seem that Health and Safety is featuring in just about every 'Navvies' these days but here we go again. For years the Accident Book has been the main method of reporting accidents back to the Board so that appropriate action can be taken if deemed necessary. However canal restoration is now so technical that we felt a better system was necessary. This year the Canal Camps flight-cases will include copies of the wonderfully named RIDDOR/”near miss” form. The regulations concerning this bit are called the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations hence the acronym RIDDOR. So what is the point of this paperwork? Well, firstly under RIDDOR any of the above must be reported so that the WRG Board can check that appropriate action is being taken. (Please note that any actual injury still needs to be entered in the Accident Book). However we also wish people to fill in the form for something they felt was not an actual accident but may well have become one if we had not been so lucky. This is the “near miss” element of the form. The blank forms will also be circulated to the WRG regional groups and will also be available from Head Office or the web pages www.wrg.org.uk. As ever this is not just paperwork for paperwork's sake - by filling in this form you may well stop someone else injuring themselves as you have just done. Another subject a little bit closer to the hearts of the 'Navvies' production team is that attendance at Navvies Assembly has been dropping off recently. This is the magazine that keeps us all informed and entertained. Please if you can spare the time it will be very much appreciated.


The latest membership leaflet of WRG's parent body the Inland Waterways Association is enclosed with this 'Navvies'. This is because IWA is about to launch a new recruitment initiative. Okay, nothing new there. It is going to be based on the "member get member" technique. Again, nothing new there. What is new is that this time a very real incentive is being offered. For every new member that signs up by direct debit, £5 will be returned to the restoration group or project of the recruiter's choice. This is designed for individual IWA branches to get funds for their local restoration project. However, in this case WRG also qualifies i.e. for every membership form sent out with 'Navvies' that is fully completed and sent to Head Office, £5 will be returned to WRG for us to spend on our kit. Yes, you could just give all the money directly to us, but your membership of IWA is more valuable than just its cash value. IWA is a well respected and senior voice of the waterways and represents our interests at all levels. Every extra member IWA represents means that that voice gets louder. In addition it is IWA funds that are supporting almost all of the projects we are working on this year (so the other £14.50 will probably find it's way back to you as well!). This year alone, IWA supported schemes to the tune of £250,000 and its reserves are underwriting projects such as Anderton Boat Lift, Ribble Link, Montgomery, Droitwich, etc, etc. Speaking of the Anderton Boat lift the sponsored abseil is now confirmed . Spencer Collins is organising it and next 'Navvies' should contain a sponsorship form for the lucky 20 or so people who get to jump off the top. The date is fixed as the 7 th October and we have set a target of £10,000 to be raised between us. You will have the opportunity to sponsor the team or any of the individuals. This is yet again where we appeal to our armchair supporters (though I should say you are not the only target, the public at Milton Keynes this summer may well be asked to part with their cash). And finally our thanks to all those who have helped and supported us recently: here is a Roll of Honour. We are sorry if you have helped and yet don’t feature - it is not meant as an insult; it is purely due to incompetence on our part.... It is this support that keeps us going - our thanks to you all. But also remember the IWA support is crucial too. Canal associations especially: North Cheshire Cruising Club Thrupp Cruising Club London Canal Museum South Pennine Boat Club

Chairman "...the lucky twenty people who get to jump off the top..." Cutweb Internet Boating Group Stafford Boat Club Basingstoke Canal Boating Club Retford and Worksop Boat Club Greyhound Boat Club Companies especialy: Warwickshire Flyboat Co Shire Cruisers The pub in Crumpsall (whose name I've forgotten) for the paperchase Leighton Printers Waterways World Individuals especially: JJ Faulkner Brian Bayston and family R D Andrews S M Leach K W Johnson P Boeuf P G Turville M Webskoft R Fletcher D Fisher B Dean E H Pull A R Knight H Watts A Jervis P Seagrove IWA branches especially: Warwickshire Middlesex Hertfordshire London Kent & East Sussex Chester Mike Palmer

Contacting the Chairman: Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Road, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 e-mail: mike.palmer@bbc.co.uk page 5


Canal Camps update

Camps

Here another instalment of 'What you'll be doing for your holidays' (we hope!)

All the latest news on this summer's Canal Camps

As you can see from the table, most of the leaders have already been chosen and most of the accommodation has been finalised. By the time you read this, the rest of the 'TBAs' ('To be arranged') should have been sorted out.

Camp

0102

0103

0104

Canal

Droitwich Junction

Droitwich Junction

Cotswold (Thames Montgomery & Severn)

Area

Worcestershire

Worcestershire

Gloucestershire

Shropshire

Dates

23.06 - 30.06

30.06 - 07.07

30.06 - 07.07

07.07 - 14.07

Leaders

Adrian Fry

Gavin Moor

Ian Williamson

Lou Kellett

e-mail: adrian.fry @orange.net

e-mail: Gavin@ Moor.org.uk

inwilliamson @lineone.net

e-mail: loukellett @mithras.fsnet.co.uk

Ian Wingfield

Zoe Rogers

Martin Ludgate

Andy Burrows

e-mail: project4 @waterways.org.uk

0105

e-mail: editor@ navvies.demon.co.uk

Cook

Matt Taylor

TBA

TBA

TBA

Van

VOJ

VOJ

RFB

VOJ

Minibus

NJF

NJF

GCW

NJF

Kit

B

B

A

B

Accommodation

Droitwich Sports Pavilion (probably)

Droitwich Sports Pavilion (probably)

TBA

West Felton Village Hall

Project

Junction Locks, Hanbury.

Junction Locks, Hanbury.

Valley Lock, Chalford.

Spillway, near Maesbury.

Work

Scaffolding of Lock 3 chamber. Stabilizing and realligning some huge coping stones. Demolition of life expired brickwork in the chamber of Lock 3. Repairs to stop plank cills on Locks 2 and 3.

Continuing on the work started on Camp 0102, demolishing more brickwork in the chamber of Lock 3, and repairing the stop plank cills. Bricklaying will begin in the chamber of Lock 3.

This is a new Dig Deep site for this year, and work will be progressing rapidly by July. Plenty of bricklaying at this very attractive site in the Cotswolds. Work also includes setting up a boat and beer festival at Saul.

Work continues this year with the restoration of the spillway weir, providing a new concrete base and then carefully restoring the stone side walls. There may be work elsewhere on the canal.

Skills & Training

scaffolding demolition manual skills

bricklaying demolition manual skills

bricklaying stonework scaffolding

concreting stonework machine work

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We are doing our best to bring you this information as soon as we can, so that you can have the benefit of as much information as possible to help you to decide which camps to go on. Please return the favour and help us to continue planning ahead for another successful season of Canal Camps by filling in and sending off your booking forms as soon as possible. (See the web site or contact head office (see top of page 9) if you need more booking forms).

Camps ...including leaders, vans, sites, work, cooks, accommodation...

0106

0107

0108

0110

0111

Wilts & Berks

Montgomery

Melton & Oakham

Montgomery

Sleaford Navigation

Wiltshire

Shropshire

Leicestershire

Shropshire

Lincolnshire

07.07 - 14.07

14.07 - 21.07

14.07 - 21.07

21.07 - 28.07

21.07 - 28.07

Rachael Banyard

TBA

Matt Taylor

Alan Jervis

Rachael Banyard

rachael.banyard @wrgBITM.org.uk

email: mttaylor2000 @yahoo.com

e-mail: aj@jervis.org.uk

rachael.banyard @wrgBITM.org.uk

Paul Mann

Marcus Jones

TBA

Di Smurthwaite

e-mail: jones.marcus @orange.net TBA

TBA

TBA

TBA

Miriam Barker

RFB

VOJ

RFB

VOJ

RFB

GCW

NJF

GCW

NJF

GCW

A

B

A

B

A

Foxham Reading Rooms

West Felton Village Hall

Melton Mowbray Cricket Club

West Felton Village Hall

Sleaford Rugby Club

Seven Locks, near Dauntsey.

Spillway, near Maesbury.

Slipway in Melton

Spillway, near Maesbury.

Cogglesford Lock.

This is predominantly a brick laying camp, building up the chamber walls of Lock 3. There will also be some dredging and excavation of the channel nearby, and stone facing of the towpath wall.

Work continues this year with the restoration of the spillway weir, providing a new concrete base and then carefully restoring the stone side walls. There may be work elsewhere on the canal.

WRG’s first ever camp on the Melton and Oakham Waterways will concentrate on building a brand new slipway in the centre of Melton Mowbray. Restoration of Eye Kettleby Lock may also start during the week.

Work continues this year with the restoration of the spillway weir, providing a new concrete base and then carefully restoring the stone side walls. There may be work elsewhere on the canal.

Construction of a dam across the head of the lock will enable the installation of stop plank sills and grooves during the week, to enable restoration of the chamber. Work will continue on the lock’s bywash channel.

bricklaying machine work stone facing

concreting stonework machine work

shuttering concreting bricklaying

concreting stonework machine work

manual skills stop planks getting muddy!

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Camps 0009, 0013 and 0016

Camps ..come on guys, what are you waiting for?

The more astute of readers (i.e. those who can count up to 23 without missing out any numbers) will notice that there are three Camps missing from this table. These are the 'Type 2' Camps i.e. those organised by other groups but for which WRG acts as booking agency: Camp 0009 (NWPG on the Cotswolds), 0013 (KESCRG on the Basingstoke) and 0016 (WACT on the Wey & Arun)....

0112

0114

0115

0117

0118

Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation

Droitwich Junction

Basingstoke

Droitwich Junction

Wendover Arm

Suffolk

Worcestershire

Surrey

Worcestershire

Buckinghamshire

28.07 - 04.08

04.08 - 11.08

04.08 - 11.08

11.08 - 18.08

11.08 - 18.08

Matt Taylor

Marcus Jones

TBA

Spencer Collins

TBA

e-mail mttaylor2000 @yahoo.com

email jones.marcus @orange.net

spencercollins @cwcom.net

TBA

Rick Barnes

Rob Daffern

e-mail rick.barnes @baesystems.com

e-mail: rgdaffern @hotmail.com

TBA

Matt Taylor

TBA

Jude Moore

TBA

RFB

VOJ

RFB

VOJ

RFB

GCW

NJF

GCW

NJF

GCW

A

B

A

B

A

Somersham Village Hall

Droitwich Sports pavilion

TBA

Droitwich Sports pavilion

Tring Park Cricket Club

Creeting Lock.

Junction Locks, Hanbury.

St Johns backpumping scheme.

Junction Locks, Hanbury.

Little Tring Bridge, near Tring.

Preparation for and pouring of a large amount of concrete will rectify the poor state of the chamber invert and the bottom gate recesses. The adjacent bridge’s parapet requires careful demolition and then rebuilding.

Once again concentrating on the chamber of Lock 3, with much patching of existing brickwork. Work will also start at BW’s Tardebigge Yard building the first set of lock gates. Plenty of coping stones to play with.

Construction of the inlet weir and housing for the submersible backpump. Total reconstruction of the damaged lock bywash culvert alongside Lock 11 is also required within the week.

Running on from the previous camp, this week will complete repairs to the chamber of Lock 3. Work continues building the lock gates, as well as with concrete, bricks, stones and ironwork around the locks.

With the bridge now reopened, work is concentrating on construction of a 153m long reinforced concrete retaining wall on the offside. Also there is backfilling, creation of an access road, and hedgelaying to do.

concreting brick laying demolition

bricklaying demolition carpentry

machine work concreting shuttering

bricklaying carpentry manual skills

concreting shuttering hedgelaying

page 8


....In 'Navvies' we're always happy to publicise anyone's canal work parties whether or not they're part of WRG, but as we aren't involved in planning 'Type 2' camps we don't have as much information at time of going to press. We hope to have more about these Camps next time. For more info on all Canal Camps see www.wrg.org.uk or contact WRG Canal Camps Bookings at PO Box 114 Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel 01923 711114, e-mail enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Camps ...get those booking forms filled in and sent off NOW!

0119

0120

0121

0122

0123

National Waterways Festival

National Waterways Festival

Droitwich Junction

Lichfield

Basingstoke

Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire

Worcestershire

Staffordshire

Surrey

20.08 - 28.08

23.08 - 31.08

08.09 - 15.09

20.10 - 27.10

26.12 - 01.01

TBA

TBA

Mike Palmer

TBA

Clive Alderman

e-mail: mike.palmer @bbc.co.uk Marcus Jones

TBA

email jones.marcus @orange.net TBA

TBA

TBA

TBA

TBA

VOJ, RFB

VOJ, RFB

RFB

VOJ

RFB

NJF, GCW

NJF, GCW

GCW

NJF

GCW

A, B, C

A, B, C

A

B

A

on site

on site

Droitwich Sports pavilion

Martin Heath Hall, Lichfield

TBA

NWF, Milton Keynes.

NWF, Milton Keynes.

Junction Locks, Hanbury.

Darnford Lane, near Lichfield.

Woking area.

The usual huge range of jobs involved in setting up and running the festival: erecting fencing and signs, laying out and managing car parks, installing water pipes, and providing all the site services required for the event.

Four days of running all the services required by the festival, followed by four days of removing all the previous camp’s hard work! Loads of contact with the public, and a huge variety of work and skills required.

BW will be teaching us how to install the lock gates built during the August camps on Lock 1. There’s loads of landscaping to do, both around the locks, and the nature reserve we will be building alongside.

The camp will continue the start made last autumn in installing an experimental lining, enabling the diversionary route to be filled with water. Piling beyond the liftbridge will continue, as will landscaping.

The usual Christmas slash and burn work, albeit on a canal with boats on it, will improve the eastern end of the canal, removing overhanging trees. Any work left over from the summer camp at St Johns will be completed.

manual skills machine work smiling!

manual skills machine work smiling!

carpentry manual skills landscaping

machine work manual skills piling

scrub-bashing bonfires manual skills

Thanks to Marcus Jones and Adrian Fry for supplying and collating the information in this table ...Ed

page 9


Training Announcing the 2001 WRG training weekend Training weekend 2001 If you are planning to go on a camp this season or if you would like to learn something new, or even if, like me, you have forgotten everything you once knew, why not come along to this year’s training weekend? Held over the last May Bank Holiday weekend, May 25th onwards, it will take place at Droitwich... just like everything else! We are hoping to offer instruction in the usual skills such as machine and plant operation, (dumpers, excavators, JCB 3CX), use of site hand tools, (breakers, tirfors, vibrators, bricksaws), bricklaying, stonework, first aid, food hygiene, levels and quantities and site safety & management. Obviously, availability will depend on cost and demand, so it helps to know early on what people would really like to learn. If what you are looking for is not listed, feel free to make (clean!) suggestions.

If you are an instructor for any of the above and I have not yet tracked and hunted you down, I would really appreciate offers of assistance and slave labour. The success of these weekends lies mostly with you, so if you are free that weekend, or even for the day, please give me a shout. Further details regarding accommodation, directions etc will be finalised nearer the time, but please indicate your interest now! The first step is to request a booking form either by phone, post or e-mail. Please note that if you e-mail after 6th April, I will not read it until the 23rd so depending on when you receive this 'Navvies' it might be better for you to write/phone. Ring/write/e-mail me: Ali Bottomley 27 Claremont Road Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4AN Tel: 0191 261 5913 (delightful answerphone available when I’m not!) e-mail a.bottomley1@gateshead.org Look forward to seeing you all there! Womble xx

Last year's Training Weekend: MKP explains an important aspect of JCB 803 driving - how to hide the machine in the long grass where nobody else will find it, so you'll get first turn on it in the morning! (Martin Ludgate)

page 10


"Have Van Will Travel": the WRG Transit fleet When it comes to wrg transport Roger’s your man (that’s Mr Burchett to those of you who don’t know him as “Dad” or “Father Christmas”!), but I thought I’d write a few helpful hints for you to keep our vehicles in good condition, and thereby keep Roger sweet(!), plus trailers are my concern anyway being of logistical ilk. If you are new to the world of wrg and “Navvies”, let me introduce you to a wrg tradition – we refer to our ‘fleet’ vehicles by the last three letters of their registration number. If you attend any wrg camp or weekend you will regularly hear things like “It’s in RFB,” and “Put the dinner in VOJ.”(No, it’s not a dog … dinner’s in …? Oh, well, never mind!) Which leads me to the introduction of said fleet, well, the Transit vans anyway! We have two minibuses, “GCW” and “NJF”, one panel van, “VOJ”, and our special half and half, minibus-cum-van (six-seater), “RFB”. At the risk of teaching a bit of egg-sucking to grandmothers, here is a rundown of things to check, general ‘care of’, and an insight to certain idiosyncrasies particular to vans we have. Here goes..... At the Hangar – General Maintenance All the usual checks should be done regularly, particularly before setting off on a long trip: Under the Bonnet – Oil, radiator water, brake fluid, and windscreen wash.

Vans Do you know the difference between GCW and NJF.... and MKP? The latter isn’t always thought of as that important but please ensure you keep it topped up. This is especially important in GCW as it has headlight washers too and gets through wash like nobody’s business! Exterior checks – Tyre pressures (PLEASE), when cold, and general tyre condition, i.e. tyre walls and treads. Please keep them clean too, inside and out. It is so much easier to clean them regularly than when they’ve been stood filthy for ages and the dirt’s built up. Lights should also be checked. You can adjust the height of the headlight beam on VOJ, particularly for use when the van is full/towing so you don’t blind other road users. There is a small rotating slide dial (for want of a much better description!!) located to the right of the steering wheel near to the main light switch, which incidentally pulls out (like a washing machine dial) to enable the fog lights – check for fog light warning light on dash display to the right-hand side.

RFB with trailer hitched up and cleared for take-off - but remember to remove the wheel-clamp! (Jen Leigh)

page 11


Vans "Please, no driving off with wheel clamps still attached." Pre-flight Checks – Before you set off Check you have enough fuel. Please note: it is SO much easier to keep track of who’s used how much fuel if you fill the vans at the end of each camp and when you return from weekends, and it also means they’re always full for whoever has to pick them up for whatever event. There’s nothing worse than going to pick up a van and trailer to take to the next camp and you have to seek out a petrol station to fill up (not that I’ve ever had to do that before, you understand!). [Sorry Jen ...Ed] Also, before driving anywhere, check you have your FULL driving licence (not just the photocard if you have one of that flavour) and your wrg insurance ticket with you. Assuming these checks are complete, start your engine and leave it running to warm up for a bit. You may then proceed with your journey. In-flight or Parking-up Miscalculations –Accidents They do happen, and are often through no fault of yours. We are quite aware of this so please do inform us (Roger should be your first port of call) if ‘something has occurred’ so we can get it dealt with. Don’t be shy or scared, even if it is your fault … like driving under a height barrier that’s too low for the rearend of the van (not that it’s ever happened before, you understand! Not guilty either, but someone was!!). [Not me this time ...Ed] Remember, the height of the van roof from the ground increases towards the back, particularly when empty.

Check the tyre pressures (36psi) and their condition, check the lights work when connected up (the interior one does too… yes, there is one in there!… the trailer has to be hitched up with the van lights on for it to work), and put the number plate on securely. So obviously when you’ve unhitched the trailer, remove the number plate and return it to the van immediately, regardless of whether you think the same van will be the next to pick that trailer up – it's odds on that it won’t be!! There is little more annoying than going to use the trailer plate and it has mysteriously vanished! (… Not that this mishap has ever occurred before, you understand!) [I'm beginning to regret ever asking Jen to write this article! ...Ed] All the towballs have been lovingly caked in gooey grease and their covers put back on – please put them on as soon as you’ve unhitched as dirt and grit stick to grease like a magnet. And please, no driving off with wheel clamps still attached… [mutter mutter ...EdI Landing – At your destination On arrival at a Camp, please record the mileage and either tell the camp leader or ask for the Logistics vehicle report and fill it in yourself in the ‘start mileage’ box (you’d never have guessed!). When parking up trailers, after reversing into a space, please pull forward before you unhitch because the brakes have a tendency to lock on, and likewise don’t leave the handbrake on for the same reason if the trailer’s to be stood for any length of time.

Excess Baggage – Trailers We have three Canal Camps trailers – two main kits, A and B, and one supplementary one, Kit C. If you are lucky enough to have the privilege of trailers on your wrg ticket, you should be aware of the following points. When we're not driving them, they're useful for sleeping in! (Martin LUdgate)

page 12


Hopefully, by the summer the trailers will have been serviced so this shouldn’t be such a problem but getting into the habit isn’t a bad thing. Just make sure the trailer isn’t about to roll away! A couple of bricks soon put pay to that. And now, a few VOJ oddities … VOJ, being the newest van on the fleet and of brand new Transit van flavour, has a varied selection of things specific to it.

Vans How to refuel VOJ with a coathanger and a screwdriver...

Firstly, it has a ‘zapper’ instead of using the keys to lock/unlock it, so please don’t use the key!

Unlike the other vans, this one has a turbo and because of this, when you’ve been on a long journey or been working the turbo fairly hard, please leave the engine running (idling) for about a minute or two to give it chance to cool down.

The keys do however unlock the bonnet, unlike the traditional Tranny that has an internal lever above the driver’s footwell. To ‘pop’ the bonnet, put the key in the central keyhole and turn it to the left. To release the catch, turn the key to the right and lift! All will become clear when you physically do it, honest!

Another change is the back door hinges. To completely open the back doors, press the yellow button to release them as opposed to lifting the catches out of their hole in the old style (there aren’t any on this one!).

A somewhat moot point with VOJ is its unleaded filler valve – curious on a diesel Tranny! … and a real pain in the ****!! I’m really hoping by the time the camp season comes this will be sorted, but as yet we still await the miracle that will be my local Ford dealer ringing me up to say the missing part has finally rolled in hot off the production line and ask when I want to book it in. I wait with baited breath … In the meantime, I’ve found the next best improvised solution which is to place a ‘shoulder’ of a coathanger (you will find one conveniently sat in the passenger door pocket, along with various other items previously used to prod open the valve!) into the hole which will enable comparatively easy filling. But BEWARE, the diesel will still gush back out if you attempt to fill too fast and extreme care is needed when reaching full as the trigger won’t cut out. When retracting the coathanger, take care not to snap off the annoying flap – just use the small screwdriver (in same passenger door pocket!) to push it out of the way. Not the ideal situation but it’s a temporary fix … we sincerely hope this problem will be swiftly sorted! When starting VOJ, turn the key to illuminate the warning lights on the dash display, including an amber glow lamp icon (like a filament/spiral) on the left-hand side. Wait for this to go out before turning the key fully to start the engine using NO accelerator please. Again, no revving the engine whilst it’s warming up.

I’ve already mentioned the lights so I think that may just be it … not many changes really!! General Sweep-up Whilst it’s the job of the leader (and assistant) to arrange the vehicle movements for their camp, I’m more than happy to help if I can. I have a short list of people who are willing to help throughout the summer [Thanks to Dr. Liz for conjuring up Italian Job-style logistics in my head!] – any more would be welcome. Just tell me what dates/ which camps you could help with. I’ve doubtless forgotten a few points but I know I’ll be reminded of them as quickly as it’ll take many to forget the rest of this article, but then that’s life, eh?! If, after all this, you would like to have vans/trailers on your wrg ticket, the best approach is to book on the Training Weekend (details somewhere in this Navvies, probably) [page 10 ...Ed], or alternatively, find a wrgie with instructor status on vans/trailers and get them to take you on a magical mystery tour around whichever village you may be in. If they see fit, they will then fill in a form to send to that nice Dr. Bridge who may, if he sees fit, send you your new wrg Driver Authorisation ticket. Simple! Well, I think that just about covers it … Phew! Just Jen logistics.jen@cwcom.net Tel. 0114 242 3789

page 13


Logistics Did someone eat a brand new Burco lid? Ou est-it all? One for the cooks this … Over the years, not much has happened to the catering equipment. In fact, I have to admit they have been somewhat neglected in recent years. When kits come in for a repaint there is often too little time to do more than just a few repairs and paint up the tools. Apart from the addition of the griddles (a fantastic idea!) and the ‘cream scoops – iced’ (see Navvies 181), little has changed and the list almost appears as it did in the mid-nineties! So this year I felt it was time to sort a few things out; there are new items that I thought we could try and see whether they’re helpful or not.

For those of you who have been digging for some time, you will be pleased to hear the bowls, plates and mugs have all been replaced with new ones that just happen to be colour co-ordinated to match each of the kits. Don’t forget - they are plastic (for weight reasons) and will melt if subjected to high temperatures! In the same vein, I have purchased some plastic “Fleximats” for all you budding chefs out there to try. They are basically chopping mats and can be ‘funnelled’ to tip chopped food into pans or notwanted-bits into the bin and the like. Bit of an experiment this one – we’ll see if they work … please let me have your opinions on them after use! But these will also melt if hot pans/tins are put on top of them so don’t use them as hot pot stands!! For many items, such as the Fleximats, it is impractical to engrave or to paint numbers on them so you can identify our (wrg’s) stuff and which kit it belongs to by holes drilled in such items; a ‘D’ in the ‘D/P’ column on the kit list denotes this. As with the cutlery, one hole is for Kit A, two for Kit B, and three for Kit C. Failing that, if it’s blue or lime green then you can be pretty confident it is in fact ours (they will be engraved somewhere or have a few bits of red paint on them somewhere!). Very few items of catering kit will have paint on them as it’s not terribly practical when using things in hot ovens, on the stove or just washing up, so when checking them in and out you will have to look for the engraved numbers. The accommodation boxes have been newly kitted out so please don’t add anything to these … like all the cleaning stuff and cloths – there’s a new ‘cleaning stuff’ holdall for that. Hopefully you will find the ‘stuff’ useful; there’s now a timer in each box. Another ‘new’ trial is the dedicated brew box. This should contain all the elements needed to ensure a full brew kit reaches site… but you can guarantee the milk will be forgotten!! The scales are very new and very sexy just you wait and see!

Whilst adding these new bits, we have to subtract something …comes from sitting through all those architecture lectures. For a long time I’ve been wondering about the usefulness and practicality of the deep fat fryers (chip pans), and to be honest kicking around in the back of a trailer is no life for them - they’re not as robust as some seem to think (and always end up the ‘spare part’ of the trailer pack!). We’ve now lost those, by decision not Repairing the Green Shed on the Mont (Martin Ludgate) carelessness, from the main kits.

page 14


My favourite new addition, which I’ve saved until last, is the sack barrow/truck. The fridge/freezers are always awkward to carry and just from a Health and Safety point of view it’s far better to use a sack barrow to move them from A to B (that’s place to place, not kit to kit!!). It should also be better for the fridges themselves because they won’t be jigged around as much. But please only use them for catering equipment – they are not for site use. Missing … whereabouts information required. Every year, certain bits of catering kit go walkabout and it’s usually lids from things or the odd utensil. In true tradition, Canal Camps last year managed to lose the new Kit B Burco (water boiler) lid within a couple of weeks of being taken out of it’s box! Yes, it really was that new!! Bright, shiny and all boxed up at the start of the summer camp season, and lost by the time September came if not before! Did someone eat it? Honestly, it’s no wonder we get very, very cross (we’ve even perfected that little dance where you stamp your feet … know the one?!). Information on the location of said lid would be very welcome, better still the return of said lid! Also on the subject of ‘lost stuff’, has anyone anywhere spotted those blue plastic mugs from the Mont? I have a handful of them but as yet the remainder of them are being as elusive as a very elusive thing! Answers on a postcard (a nice, bright, jolly one) please. And now for a plea … if your camp is isolated, i.e. Easter, September, October, Christmas, or the last one of the main season, please, please, please can you make sure everything on the catering side is not only clean but also dry, and doesn’t contain any foodstuffs which will inevitably evolve into objects for use in biological warfare! Things are far less likely to grow mould that way. Thank you. One exception is the griddle. Of course it should be clean but don’t wash it! When it’s still hot, scrape off all bits of food and excess fat to leave a thin, clean film of grease on the surface, otherwise it will rust and as I’m sure you’ll be aware that’s not good! And you are allowed to clean the Curver boxes instead of just leaving a note on the kit lists saying “dirty”!!! Talking of dirty things (steady!), I would be most grateful if someone would step forward to be “Volunteer in charge of Tea Towels” … always the bane of the camp kitchen. Throughout the summer, it would be better if people can organise it so that there are at least half the tea towels clean to use on the following camp.

Logistics ...and could you please pack the kit away without food in it? You may be wondering what is happening to the other half of the kits, i.e. the tools (but then you’re not all as sad as I!!). Things are still being repaired, replaced and repainted. And for 2001, Kit B has a new colour! You thought it had changed last year? Well, that was just to get you used to the idea of change but this year it really is LIME green! It’s a brilliant colour – if anyone begs to differ about this, or indeed any other logistical matter, please ring me – you are more than welcome. However, don’t be surprised if my response is somewhat icy. Since the last issue of Navvies, we’ve been back to the Green Shed at the Mont. The rest of it has been painted, the windows have been repaired and replaced, the racks inside have been started and things really have been thrown out this time. The result being we now have floor space, with floor rather than hole in one particular place(!), and a useable storage space, so thanks to everyone who helped out, including the wrg poetry class. Was there anything else? … Hmmm … ah yes. Does anyone have access to colourful polypropylene sheet/offcuts (around 1mm thick)? You know, the stuff they make trendy animal/odd shaped lights out of! Contact details as below. All that remains to be said is that we shall have to wait and see how much this ‘hoof and gob’ thing disrupts the camp season (sorry, sounds terribly selfish). Well, we do say the plan is all subject to change due to acts of God, plague and pestilence … Just Jen logistics.jen@cwcom.net Tel. 0114 242 3789 203, Abbeyfield Road, SHEFFIELD. S4 7AW Additional note: Sorry, it appears this is the “long boring articles from Just Jen” issue of Navvies!! … well, Martin did ask for lots of words!

page 15


Canal Camps cost £35 per week unless otherwise Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified camp number e.g. 'Camp 0102') should go to WRG Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.u

Diary

IMPORTANT NOTE: access to many sites is currently affected by Foot & Mouth Disease. Although we h this depends very much on developments over the next few weeks. Please check with work party orga Apr 21/22 wrgBITM Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project at Valley Lock. Note: may be move Apr 21/22

wrgNW

Cancelled

Apr 21/22

D&SCS

Derby & Sandiacre Canal: Borrowash Bottom Lock

Apr 22/23

London WRG

Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project at Woodham

May 1 Tue

Navvies

Press date for issue 187

May 5/6/7

NWPG

Wey & Arun Canal

May 5/6/7

KESCRG

Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade: providing site services for London IWA festi

May 5/6/7

wrgNW

To be arranged

May 5/6/7

Essex WRG

Hereford & Gloucester Canal Note: may be cancelled or moved due to Foot

May 12/13

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection (Sat) & Plant maintenance (Sun)

May 16-23

wrgNW

Cancelled

May 18/19/20 wrgBITM

Rickmansworth Canal Festival Site Services Fri, Sat & Sun and BITM Sales St

May 19/20

London WRG

Thames & Severn Canal Dig Deep project. Note: may be moved or cancelled d

May 19/20

D&SCS

Derby & Sandiacre Canal: Borrowash Bottom Lock

May 20 Sun

wrg

Committee & Board Meetings

May 25/26

wrgTrain

Training Weekend (Droitwich) See page 10 for info.

May 26/27/28 wrgBITM

Tring Canal Festival Wendover Arm. Site Services and BITM Sales Stand. Official Opening of Little Tring Bridge. Bulbourne lock-gate workshop open day

Jun 2/3

wrgNW

Droitwich Canals: To be confirmed

Jun 2/3

Essex WRG

Droitwich Canals: To be confirmed

Jun 9/10

NWPG

Thames & Severn Canal Dig Deep project Note: may be moved or cancelled d

Jun 9/10

KESCRG

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals

Jun 9/10

London WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal Dig Deep at Summit Lock Note: may be moved or cancelled d

Jun 16/17

wrgBITM

Sleaford Navigation(to be confirmed)

Jun 16/17

wrgNW

Middlewich Boat & Folk Festival wrgNW Sales Stand

Jun 16/17

D&SCS

Derby & Sandiacre Canal: Borrowash Bottom Lock

Jun 23/24

IWA/WRG

BCN Marathon Challenge: 24-hour marathon cruise on Birmingham’s canals

Jun 23/24

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection (Sat) & Plant maintenance (Sun)

Jun 23-30

Camp 0102

Droitwich Canal Camp: scaffolding, coping stones and stop-plank sills. Leader

Jun 30/Jul 1

London WRG

To be arranged

Jun 30-Jul 7 Camp 0103

Droitwich Canal Camp: lock chamber demolition and rebuilding. Leaders Gav

Jun 30-Jul 7 Camp 0104

Cotswolds Canal Camp: bricklaying at Valley Lock and setting up Saul Boat &

Jul 1 Sun

Navvies

Press date for issue 188

Jul 7/8

KESCRG

Wey & Arun Canal

Jul 7 Sat

Essex WRG

Stowmarket

Jul 7/8

wrgNW

To be arranged

page 16


e stated. by a G Canal

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

uk

have tried to indicate which working parties are most likely to be at risk of being cancelled or relocated anisers for ALL working parties to find out whether the details below are correct. ed to Droitwich Dave Wedd 01252-874437 bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Doug Flack

01332-576037

Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

wrgtim@netscapeonline.co.uk

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

editor@navvies.demon.co.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

graham.hawkes@talk21.com

Answerphone

01622-858329

Kescrg@btinternet.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

John Gale

01277-654683

EssexWRG@cs.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

tand Sat-Sun.

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

ue to Foot & Mouth

Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

wrgtim@netscapeonline.co.uk

Doug Flack

01332-576037

Mike Palmer

01564 785293

mike.palmer@bbc.co.uk

Ali Bottomley

0191 261 5913

a.bottomley1@gateshead.org

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

John Gale

01277-654683

EssexWRG@cs.com

0118-941-0586

graham.hawkes@talk21.com

Answerphone

01622-858329

Kescrg@btinternet.com

Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

wrgtim@netscapeonline.co.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Doug Flack

01332-576037

Helen Davey

01730-814670

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

val

t & Mouth

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

y.

due to Foot & Mouth Graham Hawkes

due to Foot & Mouth

helen@c-h-davey.demon.co.uk

rs: Adrian Fry and Ian Wingfield. Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

wrgtim@netscapeonline.co.uk

Moor and Zoe Rogers. Beer Festival Leaders: Ian WIlliamson and Martin Ludgate. Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

editor@navvies.demon.co.uk

Answerphone

01622-858329

Kescrg@btinternet.com

John Gale

01277-654683

EssexWRG@cs.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

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. Usually at the Jugged Hare, Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, but please check with Tim Lewis 020-8367 6227 or e-mail wrgtim@netscapeonline.co.uk. NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the Hope Tap, West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586

NOTE: many work sitea are currently affected by Foot and Mouth: please check with organisers. 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 ChCT Various sites 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 & 3rd Sundays GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox Wednesdays H&GCT Over Ted Beagles Saturdays H&GCT Over Maggie Jones 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 / Foxham Rachael Banyard

0114-285-3044 01543-373284 01908-661217 01288-353273 01246-454163 01285-861639 020-7625-7376 0121-608 0296 0115-989-2248 01823-661653 01432-358628 01452-522648 01452-618010 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 ChCT CCT CMT DCT D&SCS GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWA SBC IWPS

page 18

Barnsley Canal Group Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust 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 , Could you please print this as a THANK YOU to wrgNW as well as Jan & John Horton , for the excellent weekend on the Lichfield Canal . As ever we were not disappointed - Jan bought over various cakes: a real bonus to tired navvies! Hope this Foot & Mouth doesn’t stop too many WRG activities in the near future... Say a big thanks also to Luke Walker (Young (Sky)Walker) of the W&BCAG, for his patience, having to put up with my phone calls about work parties etc. - Can’t help it if I’m keen, mate! Hopefully things will get sorted soon, then it’s WRGing as usual.... Ken Whapples Dear Martin My gast was flabbered when I read John Cheesbrough’s sanctimonious epistle to you in Navvies 185. ‘What dire offence from am’rous causes springs - what mighty causes rise from trivial things’ - Alexander Pope. WRGBC has now been flourishing for a mere three years and nb ‘Blackadder’ has been proudly flying a burgee for that time, there is also a WRG sticker on my car and my broomstick flies a red pennant ie a red Turks Head enclosing a book of spells (veggie, naturally). So I for one am not invisible. Mr. Cheesbrough may be confused about the wyrd WRG Boat Club: the (B)BC News? I may be up to my ears in boatwork but I’d better write something or people might think we are a secret society or some such... I must say it amused me to find, from a letter in the last Navvies, that someone took my incompetent disorganisation to be a Machiavellian Plot! Still it’s an ill wind that blows so hard you can’t get off the pub moorings I say, as publishing my name and number has brought in applications for boat club membership, and hopefully did NOT contribute to the anonymous phone calls I’ve received at about 1.30 in the morning! Still enough of this, what is going on with the boat club is what you want to know (maybe). We are having a ‘Get your boat to it’ initiative, to encourage members to plan their boat movements so that they include digs and work parties where they can participate. It seems a good idea to let it be known that some of the restoration work is near navigable waterways: some restored bits are navigable: and along some, people are even encouraged to bring their boats! (for a fee). There is plenty of work to be done on the Droitwich, right near to Hanburv Wharf, which is a good place to moor. You can get to Queen’s Head on the Montgomery Canal. It’s a bit far from Maesbury but I am told that arrangements can be made....

Letters ...and the latest news from the WRG Boat Club sisters, Nanny Ogg (Gytha), Granny Weatherwax (Esme) and Magrat Garlick who do dance about the Burco (fully clothed) with a glass of something in each hand when preparing dinner for hungry WRGies - we dance around in a ring and suppose - but the secret sits in the middle and knows. This is a very small coven! Sister Sadie’s phone number is everywhere, well maybe not exactly everywhere but the AWCC booklet has her home as the WRGBC’s clubhouse- howzatt for comfort.Also Sister Sue is well plastered about ( I mean her phone number). Nobody wants mine - Boo Hoo. As to the last paragraph in John Cheesbrough’s letter I can only think of a Beattieism to say what a **** cheap remark! Get a life Mr. Cheesbrough- lighten up! Love and kisses

Claire Moynihan I'd better say 'this correspondece is now closed' before somebody gets turned into a frog! ...Ed ...as they can for any work party on the Lichfield & Hatherton restoration. You’ll need an extra licence to take your boat to anything on the Basingstoke, but the chance to attend one of the camps there may be just the incentive you need to visit this waterway. Wendover offers a chance of working in August, when on the way to the 'National at Milton Keynes. There is also work at various rallies / festivals. It would be good to see club members helping and supporting ‘those that support us’ at : Rickmansworth May 19/20 Wendover May 26/27/28 Northampton May 5/6 Milton Keynes August 24-27 and before/after. The Bring a Boat weekend will be September 15/16 at the Selly Oak end of the Lapal (Dudley No 2) canal. This has not covered all the opportunities there are for ‘boating to wrg’. Please will people let me know of camps, digs, work parties... any kind of parties... where boats can get near and wrg boaters are welcome. Anyone planning to attend any of the above must let the organisers know and book in. As I write this I am frozen in, but who cares as all boat movement is banned because of the foot & mouth problem. I do hope it is a thing of the past by the time you read this. XXX Sadie phone: 07748 186867

page 19


Because of public danger this void had to receive attention right away and BW looked after the job of engaging a contractor to do this work within 10 days. Since Canal House was shut off during this period urgency was of the essence.

Progress Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest Canal It has been a while since ‘Navvies’ last reported from the major canal interchange basin complex at the Peak Forest Canal’s terminus at Bugsworth, and there hasn’t been any WRG weekend work there for quite some time. You might have thought that nothing had been happening there in the last couple of years - but you would be wrong. You might even have thought that the troublesome leaks had all been cured and the canal was simply open for business with no work needed on it any more: sadly you’d be wrong on that one, too! Ian Edgar brings the Bugsworth Basin story up to date..... We opened the basins with a flourish at Easter 1999 and had an excellent season with 2000-plus boats in to the Basin up to October - when we had to put the planks in again due to excessive water loss. Where this water was leaving the Basins was not known, and so it had to be investigated. Obvious leaks to the Blackbrook were not the only problem and there were probably others which were contributing to this massive loss.

Whilst the contractor was on site driving deep piling another hole opened up by Bridge 58. Not so big but serious nevertheless. This begged the question - How many more like this? In fact in the past few weeks another large one has since shown further up the Lower Basin Arm. This was clearly not a problem we could tackle. We cannot wait for these voids and leaks to show themselves and then have to close the Basins and take weeks to cure the problems. That is just not on. All the land on which the Basins are built is built up and on glacial drift - equally as unstable as the site of the A6 by-pass on which the Department of Transport spent millions. We are now working with British Waterways on the first step to formulate a solution which is to find out the ground conditions. To this end Consulting Engineers Mott MacDonald have been engaged with the summary brief: ‘An investigation using a number of techniques, including window sampling, dynamic probing, cable percussive boring and rotary coring. Information from the investigation, along with in-situ and laboratory testing and the results of groundwater monitoring will increase the understanding of the ground and groundwater conditions at the Basin site, which will assist in the preparation of proposals for remedial works. The remedial works are required to allow the site to be restored to full working use, whilst ensuring that the safety and stability of the canal and its associated structures are not compromised’.

The situation now is that the Basins are in water to a level about 18" below normal water level and being gravity-fed by a 6" pipe from the Blackbrook. This is Peak Forest Canal: considered by the EA as Bugsworth Basin complex ‘through flow’. In times of heavy rain run-off from the A6 SIlk Hill Bridge by-pass and increased flow Entrance Lower Basin from incoming streams can basin Lower Basin Arm 'The Navigation' bring the level back up but it Middle Basin will always fall back to that 18" below NWL. Blackb rook

Shortly after we put the planks back in we had a major collapse of the bank and towpath near to Canal House. The towpath and track had been eroded to a depth of at least six feet and there was a huge void (which could have accommodated a SWB Land Rover!)

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'The Wide' Upper Basin

A6 bypass


English Heritage have already approved the above works in double-quick time and the CCTV Survey of the underground trunk system has already been completed. One of the problems here will be to identify which water is leaving the Basin and which water is coming from underground streams and water flows which were diverted by engineer Benjamin Outram when he originally built Bugsworth and later when it was expanded. History and on-theground volunteer knowledge all has to be fed in to the investigation to come to a workable and realistic conclusion. In the meantime our own volunteers are undertaking maintenance to ensure the good work done over the past many years by so many people (including WRG) does not deteriorate. Bridges 58 and 59, built in the Community Programme years, formerly decked with softwood which rotted have been redecked with ekki hardwood and the refurbishment of the railings is now underway. Our advertised working parties are on the following Sundays: 29 April, 13 May, 27 May, 10 June, 24 June, 8 July. However there is work going on virtually every Sunday and volunteers are welcome. I hope Bugsworth has not been entirely forgotten because WRG's help could yet prove useful.

Progress Bugsworth basin: when will it hold water? The days when we could use dozens of volunteers there are probably gone, but I can foresee a possibility that when we know how we are going to solve this big problem we may need some ‘one-off’ week end camps. I hope we can call on WRG for assistance when that comes about. Ian Edgar Volunteer Site Manager, Bugsworth Basin Restoration Scheme. I have spoken to Ian since receiving this article and he has confirmed to me that at time of going to press, work on this site is unaffected by Foot and Mouth disease. Any regional groups whose planned working parties have had to be cancelled due to F&M risks may like to consider Bugsworth as an alternative. Please contact Ian on 01663 732493. ...Ed

Boats moored in the Middle Basin in 1999, seen from Silk Hill Bridge. How long before they can come back? Current target is spring 2003.

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Dig Report WRG Navvies Anonymous at Lichfield The NA play host to Mr & Mrs Cock-up Lichfield, 10th – 11th February 2001 You know those weekends that everyone has at some time where you get the feeling you shouldn’t have left the house, or at the very least arranged to go somewhere completely different? Well, this was one such weekend! The location was Lichfield, the weekend was 10th/ 11th February, and the work was more piling and earth shifting as usual – they just keep on asking us to go back and do more! The guest room was well prepared for Mr & Mrs Cock-up, who checked in early on Friday night. Unlike the rest of us, they found the accommodation with apparent ease and didn’t have to do many laps of the Bowling Green roundabout in order to a) guess where the hall was, or b) try to catch sight of a certain red van that was allegedly on the other side of said roundabout! [For those of you unfamiliar with Lichfield, the Bowling Green roundabout is HUGE and you find yourself circling around a large pub, cunningly named The Bowling Green (!), complete with expansive car park … so it is extremely easy to be unaware of a bright red brick flying across the opposite side!!] After many distress(ed) calls and a few wheel spins (no, not in the vans, Rog! Poor EFL!) all twenty or so of us managed to meet up in true tradition at the pub – strangely enough the one previously mentioned! A few chickens and glasses of fizzy pop were consumed and we wandered back to the elusive hall. Mr & Mrs Cock-up had opted for an early night and were fast asleep on our return. Saturday arrived rather sharpish and Eli was confronted in the kitchen… we all concluded, on Eli’s behalf naturally, that mice had invaded overnight and had been at the Birthday cake and the cheese in particular (the mice are all very sorry)!! Mr & Mrs Cock-up got a head start and made sure they were at Darnford Lane in plenty of time to set up. Meanwhile, back at the hall the chickens were getting their own back …

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Our ‘local’ man, John Horton, opened up the dirt track gates for us all to practise our skid control... and then we mysteriously found we were on site after coming out the other side – how convenient?! Apart from filling the previously-lined section of ‘cut’ (wrg WORKS, Sept. 2000) with water, the first job of the day was to get the compressor up over the built-up bank … a simple task you would think but when you have a selection of dumpers that ‘wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding’ combined with a slippy-slidey and narrow ramp to get up, the task becomes a little more complex. That said, with Blue (our small excavator) being the only machine on site with even the remotest bit of clout, the compressor was “over the top” which meant the piling team could get on with their task - Well, after a minor jump-start or three anyway! Ralph was at the helm of the excellent team, with the Big Boy Barrett at the controls of the knackered 3CX – for he is master of such beasts! Good job, Guys! - Mr Collins said they’re the straightest piles in the whole section!!! Blue’s tracks were brought back to the land of usefulness and earth shifting started with a vengeance (if a little later than planned!). This didn’t last however as it wasn’t long before a new slope of shallow gradient was required because one of the dumpers was really struggling to get up the other ramp. This in turn didn’t last as the spoil was very soft indeed and it became apparent that Mr & Mrs Cock-up had arranged ‘Sticky Dumper Relays’ for our entertainment. Blue got bored of playing ‘Rescue Truck’ and threw its driver out (not literally!). Our resident snooker player (sorry, Mr Davis!) took over and had a good long practise session, continuing to work his way along the brook for the rest of the weekend, moving… um… the earth! After several other hiccups to do with starter handles things finally settled down and we all got on with the job in hand. Meanwhile, up on Tamworth Road, our surveying team were on the level and we also had a traditional ‘moving stuff around’ team who shifted, amongst other things, many bricks for lock 27. Thankfully, Mr & Mrs Cock-up wandered off to see some other sights in Lichfield and left us alone for the afternoon. Eli made a wonderful dinner for us (Huge thanks!), and we made a rather sizeable contribution to the local economy just down the road from the hall. Some found a curious game whose point appeared to be to puncture the walls, floor and … basically anything that wasn’t that round thing with the target on!! … whilst a certain whizzy person displayed her aptitude at dispensing fizzy drinks from the other side of the bar with nothing but encouragement from Mr Landlord.


Back at the hall, several ‘hatted’ bottles (bottles with hats on!) of water (I’m sure that’s what it was!) appeared neatly presented with salt and slices of lime – needless to say, I’ve never known anyone have such an adverse reaction to lime as Geeza Chris! But the mice slept through it and Sunday sprang into existence … Mr & Mrs Cock-up liked their room and the hospitality so much they decided to stay another day and got up even earlier just to make extra-specially certain that everything was in order for the day ahead. A mass hall-clearing session was on the cards as it was to be used for ‘worship’ that morning and there was need to rid the hall of a certain aroma not conducive to said worship! Amidst the hurry, various things were overlooked, including Blue’s keys, the coffee, starter handles, and tie-backs (no, not the curtain variety!) for the piling. Whatever did we do before mobile phones? I think we were probably far more organised!! But eventually stuff happened as on the previous day, we ate Jan’s obligatory cake (yum) and Mr & Mrs Cock-up saw fit to pack up and leave us to it at lunchtime. Work carried on until everyone declared it was time to go home, packed up on site and returned back to the hall where Eli had cleaned everything else.

Dig Report "Mr Collins said they’re the straightest piles in the whole section!" Everyone and everything was bundled off into various cars and vans and departed in all directions away from Lichfield. I have to say that in terms of car-sharing it has to be one of the greenest weekends I’ve been to for a while where more or less everyone turned up with at least one other person – makes a huge difference in a small car park too – and we played ‘swapsies’ for the journey home. So with Mr & Mrs Cock-up safely away, everyone (to my knowledge) got home without mishap and we left John and Jan to recover from yet another weekend. Just Jen (helped and hindered by chickens and mice)

The section of canal that WRG NA (and WRG Works! last year) worked on has not only been filled with water, it's also seen its first boats for nearly 50 years! (Harry Arnold)

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Dig report London WRG on the Wilts & Berks.... London WRG Wilts & Berks weekend: Feb 10-11 Many moons ago, there was a time before the Foot and Mouth started when we used to work somewhere other than Basingstoke. Dave 'Moose' Hearndon reports from those distant times... Everyone that was expected turned up on the Friday night, strange that we all met in a pub! Pete Smith and his lovely wife were there to greet us. After sampling the local tipples, Maria & I were suffering - we had just stuffed ourselves with Indian Cuisine up on the high street, (very recommended). We adjourned to the Hall, nice clean hall with mod cons like flushing loos etc. After the normal round of toast etc off we went to bed. The central heating was roaring, no problem, until during the night someone decided that the heating was making too much noise and turned it down. (Beside the point that he had put himself beside the quiet heating and our hero Marcus was sleeping next to the loud one!) Saturday Morning bright and bushy, and B****dy cold, we find that during the night as people got colder and colder they actually started to put their clothes on. After a lovely cooked breakfast with the added goodies of mushrooms we were all set. Off we went to site.

The lock we should have been fixing...

This dig was supposed to be a part of the Dig Deep project, working on the Summit lock. But would you believe it the lock was under water, more rain had been forecast for the weekend, and the decision was taken that it would be waste of time in pumping the water out for it to fill up again as the water table is still so high. So we were found a bit of scrub bashing, which when you looked at it for the more hardened members of LWRG, who worked on Dauntsey in the early days, was nothing... a few little saplings etc... nothing much... It is so easy to be taken in by nature! The saplings had thorns 4 to 5 inches long and they hurt, the brambles were just as vicious, the Day of the Triffids again! By the end of play Saturday, the fires had roared (big mound of ash, good sign), a large portion of the scrub had been sorted and some very weary battle-hardened troops went back to the hall. 'Scoff' on Saturday was going to be special: it was Peter Smith’s birthday and his wife was going to roast the meat and we were to supply the Veg. With our Martin cooking the veg and Nadia (Pete’s Wife) cooking the meat and supplying a very nice selection of red and white wines - a merry meal was had by all. After the washing up we all adjourned to the pub. A few more beers etc. later back to the hall, to sleep, the heating was left on all night (surprising that). It was cosier. Again after a lovely breakfast with even more mushrooms, we set out to site, and carried on with scrub bashing. By afternoon tea break all the scrub was down on the towpath side and burnt very nicely, Maria & I had decided that this was our time to leave. And started the long road home. All had a very enjoyable weekend; I had some very pretty scratches on my arms and legs. Now raring to go on the Thames and Severn. Peter carves his Birthday Joint. Photos: Martin Ludgate 'Moose' & Maria

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'The Basingstoke Again': March...April...May... The report on the last page ends on an optimistic note, looking forward to the Thames & Severn. But it was not to be: 24 hours before we were due to head for the Cotswolds and our first work party on the other new Dig Deep site at Valley Lock, Gloucestershire closed all its footpaths on account of the risks of spreading Foot & Mouth Disease. So it was back to the Basingstoke where Pete Redway had plenty of work for us: loading, transporting, tipping, spreading, levelling and rolling a large amount or roadstone in an attempt to turn the quagmire left by the contractors who installed the Woodham Backpump pipe back into a towpath again.

Dig Report ...and on 'The Basingstoke Again'...

It's just as well that he had plenty of work: it ended up as a joint dig by three groups, with London and KESCRG concentrating on the towpath work while several of the Essex contingent dealt with a tree that was growing in a rather inconvenient place. We still had enough people left over that we managed to get a serious amount of training done, with volunteers being instructed on dumpers, excavators, rollers and vans during the weekend. And 'Thank You' to Jenni for not managing to get all of us all barred from the pub... only herself! Three weeks later and it was going to be a major dig at Pant on the Mont to finish the work left over last autumn - which also happened to be the Cleanup dig relocated from Ashton.... whatever it Above: first job for the excavator - loading dumpers was supposed to be, it didn't happen due to Foot with roadstone. Below: second job for the excavator & Mouth, so instead London WRG joined BITM extricating the roller from the mud. (Martin Ludgate) on.... you guessed it, the Basingstoke! After a slow start [I gather that's what you're supposed to say when you spend Saturday morning using all the machines to rescue each other from the mud] we had another successful weekend of towpath-laying and machinery training and once again large quantities of roadstone were laid and rolled. And 'Thank You' to Mike Paice for not managing to get us all barred from the pub... only himself! By way of a change, our next outing is actually scheduled for the Basingstoke - thereby saving us the bother of moving it there! Hopefully we'll finally be able to go somewhere different for our May 19-20 and June 9-10 digs: if the Foot and Mouth restrictions have been lifted by then they'll be on the Cotswold and Wilts & Berks Dig Deep lock restoration projects respectively; if the restrictions haven't been lifted we hope to try Lichfield or Droitwich or maybe the Kennet and Avon... But failing that, there's always The Basingstoke Again. Martin Ludgate New volunteers welcome on London WRG digs - contact Tim Lewis (see Diary) or the Editor.

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Bankside

Bankside Moorings

written written by by Bruce Bruce Tunnel Tunnel

Henry Banks, chairman of the Thames Berks and Andover Canal Society was not looking forward to his part of the Canal Camp Introduction and Safety Talk just starting in Sodding Chipbury Village Hall, in which his contribution was to describe the particular hazards of the Spaglingworth Locks work site and the precautions that the campers should take to prevent a mishap. It wasn’t that he didn’t take site safety precautions seriously. (unlike one or two of his older Thames Berks and Andover Canal Society volunteers who regarded a Case skidsteer loader with four loose wheels all of different sizes as a challenge rather than a problem, and thought brakes on dumpers were a namby-pamby modern-day luxury that nobody really needed if they had a few trees to run into... but they had their own worksite elsewhere so it didn't affect the Camp) Nor was he at all worried about the safety aspects of the work-site for the week’s camp ahead. There were no more serious concerns than the typical hazards of any site: just the usual stuff about avoiding falling into the deep mud, the need to wear protective clothing to prevent concrete-burns, the tiny risk of contracting Weil’s disease from stagnant water and so on. As far as he knew, the escaped lunatics had all been captured in the woods by the top lock and returned to Bolminster asylum, the army had cleared the land-mines from the canal bed and he thought he’d heard that the last of the tigers that had got out of Spaglingworth Safari Park had just been shot. All in all, it was a pretty safe site - even the scare about the possibility of there being an old 17th Century mass burial site dating from the Black Death located right next to the canal had proved to be a myth that had been traced to a misprint in the local paper: it should have said “Boaters reaching Head of Navigation get plaque” not “Boaters reaching Head of Navigation get Plague”.

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No, the reason Henry wasn’t looking forward to the Introductory Talk was that he had had a very busy previous 48 hours and he really couldn’t face the idea of a whole evening talking to Camp Leader Oz Collingwood, his small group of WRG regulars and his 20 new recruits: much as Henry enjoyed their company, all he really wanted to do was go home and catch up on some sleep. First there had been his quick trip to Bavaria to attend the official Reception marking the Twinning arrangement between the Thames Berks and Andover Canal and the German Stinkenditschenkanal, also under restoration. This had been particularly fraught, as he had done his best to struggle through his hastilyprepared speech and the questions afterwards while avoiding any potentially-embarrassing mentions of the Second World War. This would have been difficult enough, given that he suffereed from the common tendency whereby any Englishman who was brought up on a diet of war films and comics in the 1950s and 1960s finds the subject of his conversation irresistibly wandering towards the 1939-45 period in our nation’s history whenever any Germans enter the room. But the fact that the Stinkenditschenkanal only needed restoring at all thanks to the RAF’s attention in 1943 did make things rather more difficult. He managed some waffle about the ‘unfortunate circumstances surrounding the closure’, but in fact he needn’t have bothered... Not only was most of Henry’s speech drownedout by the oompah band tuning-up in a field half a mile away, but when the time came for Herr Doktor Friedrich Lõwenbrãu of the Stinkenditschenkanalwiederherstellunggesellschaft to reply, he suffered from no such embarrassment about the reason for his waterway’s demise, and indeed offered three reasons why the Luftwaffe hadn’t returned the favour.... Firstly, most of the TBA had already been derelict for some years and wasn’t worth bothering with; secondly a number of the German pilots refused to target it when they saw how small it was - they couldn’t believe that a canal could be that tiny and thought it was inhumane to bomb what was obviously some kind of primitive open sewer; finally when German Bomber Command saw the photos of diminutive British canals that their pilots brought back and compared them to the mighty water highways of mainland Europe they realised that the best way to cripple Britain’s transport capabilities was to make sure that its canals stayed open...


Finally, having enjoyed far too much German hospitality culminating in the toasting of the success of both waterways in 3-litre glasses of fullstrength German lager, Henry had departed with a headache, a queasy stomach and a commemorative pair of ‘save the Stinkenditschenkanal’ lederhosen stuffed in his bag. On arrival back in England, he had immediately had to attend the TBA Canal Society’s Fund-raising Committee meeting - most of which he spent talking the rest of the committee members out of the more far-fetched ideas that they had come up with in his absence. “We’ve got to raise £250 to overhaul the pump. We’re going to do it by getting a new trip-boat going on the BolminsterSpaglingworth pound - it’s bound to be popular with the public”, explained Jane Elgood, the committee secretary “That’s fine - but the trip-boat’s been sat on the bottom of the canal since you used it for that ‘Titanic’ stunt that raised £50 at the boat festival last summer. It will cost at least £5,000 to raise it and re-fit it,” pointed-out Henry. “That’s OK - we’ve got a plan for a publicity stunt that will raise £5,000 in no time”, said Terry Morland, the canal society’s paid parttime fundraiser, “here, look at this Artist’s Impression we’ve commissioned from the Bolminster design studio...” Henry examined the glossy sheet of paper that Terry proferred. “Yes I’m sure you’re right, a sponsored abseil down a boat-lift will raise thousands in no time. But has it ever crossed your mind that we haven’t got any boat lifts on the TBA?” “But we can always build one”, pointed out Jane Elgood, the committee secretary. “Have you any idea what it would cost?” “Yes - at least £10 million,” put in Hugh Wells. “Exactly”, said Henry, “now how are you going to raise the £10 million?” “Well they managed it with that Falkirk Wheel thing in Scotland” “What? That thing that appeared in the April issue of ‘Canal and River Boat and Inland Waterways World’ a couple of years ago? I assumed it was an April Fool!”

“Precisely.” replied Terry, “Originally it was intended as an April Fool, but the Millennium Lottery Fund liked it so much that they stumped-up forty million quid to restore the entire canal before they realised it was a joke, and so the Canal Trust had to go ahead and design the damn thing sharpish before the dosh started rolling in. And that’s exactly my point - it’s far easier to raise large sums than small ones. The big funders like the National Lottery and the Waterways Trust aren’t looking for piddling little projects to give a few bob to they’re looking for big schemes with flair, imagination, strategic thinking, credibility and confidence, lots of photo-opportunities and most importantly an 8-figure price tag! If we’re looking for £250 to fix a pump we stand more chance of getting it by buying a Lottery ticket than making a Lottery funding bid....” “So you’re saying that the best way to get major funders to cough up is by turning our small bills into great big ones?” Henry could see some logic in this idea, in the arse-about-face world of canal restoration funding, but he thought it was a bit of a highrisk strategy. Also, given that they needed the pump for the start of the following week’s Canal Camp, it seemed unlikely that a major funding bid for a Lottery grant could be assembled, approved and find its matching funding within the available timescale. In the end Henry brought the discussion to a close by getting out his personal chequebook and writing out a cheque for £250 to mend the pump - and left the meeting with a distinct feeling that that was what the committee had been planning all along... After another rather shorter meeting of the publicity committee, whose main purpose had been to decide on a Mission Statement for the Canal Society (they had settled for “Can we restore it? Yes we can!”) he had finally arrived at the Canal Camp accommodation completely exhausted and more ready for bed than for a Safety Talk. Eventually it came to his part of the Introductory Talk: he gave a passable presentation, explaining the details of the site without at Spaglingworth Locks without two many mistakes and no real howlers - like forgetting the Camp Leader’s name or whether or not there was an ‘s’ on the end of the word ‘Waterway’ in WRG’s name. He impressed upon the campers the need that there was no real danger on site so long as they followed a few simple rules, took their time and did their best to ‘stay alert and aware at all times on site’.

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Then it was time to hand-over to Janet Shipstone of WRG Logistics who was sitting next to him. She began to explain about the vans, trailers and tool kit that were to be used for the forthcoming camp.

At that point there was a gentle ‘thump’ from outside the open front door and Henry saw to his amazement a shiny red Transit van and trailer appearing out of nowhere, right in front of the village hall.

Henry was not paying any great attention: he was happy enough that he had got through his part of the talk without mishap and anyway he had heard several of these talks before, and knew how to tell a kit 'A' shovel from a kit 'B' shovel. (It was telling the difference between a shovel and a spade that was the problem)

“That’s incredible!” he exclaimed. “No more delivering vans around the country just move them with a computer mouse pointer. But we need to fetch the minibus ‘JGF’ from London WRG too. Here, can I move it for you?” he asked, as he grabbed hold of the computer mouse.

However he couldn’t help thinking a few minutes later that the whole of WRG and the logistical part in particular had become a lot more ‘high-tech’ lately - he remembered when they used to make do with a few tools to wave around and a trailer parked outside; these days it appeared that a desk-top computer wired to an overhead projector was an absolute minimum requirement. Even so, he was impressed at how things had moved on recently....

“Yes OK, but first, before you bring JGF here....” But Henry was already dragging the ‘JGF’ icon onto ‘Sodding Chipbury’. “...you’ll need to move NBG and the Kit 'B' trailer out of the way, to make room for it!” It was too late. Instead of a gentle ‘thump’ there came a loud ‘crash’.... *

“I’ve already covered the computerised tool numbering system, now I’m going to tell you about vans for windows,” explained Janet “Don’t you mean windows for vans?” asked camp leader Oz, “I’ve already explained about the Autoglass and the insurance cover for broken windscreens...” “No - Vans for Microsoft Windows ™ on the computer. Of course in the old days we actually used to drive around in vans towing kit trailers from one camp to another. These days we use the Vans for Windows ™ software to do it for us. Watch: first we hitch up the transit van ‘NBG’ onto the Kit ‘B’ trailer...” She put her hand on the computer ‘mouse’, moved it to the ‘van’ icon with the registration ‘V767NBG’ on it and dragged it to the ‘trailer’ icon marked ‘B’.

* *

“Henry - are you OK?” “Errr yes”, said Henry as he opened his eyes and looked blearily around at the several rather blurred faces surrounding him, “what on earth happened?” “You fell asleep during the Introductory Talk” replied Jill McEwan, the Canal Camp’s FirstAider, “and as you slumped over, you bashed your head and concussed yourself on Janet’s computer. It didn’t half make a loud crash we were worried the Logistics computer might be damaged!” (In the background one of the old-timers who knew about computers made a terribly witty remark about ‘head-crashes’ at this point, but to no good effect as most of the assembled throng were either not interested in computers or not old enough to remember head crashes)

“Next we do a lighting test” She double-clicked the mouse button and all the lights on the trailer icon flashed on and off, to show that they were all functioning. “Then we deliver it to the camp,” she said, hitting the right-hand button to switch to the ‘canal map’ screen and dragging the van and trailer icons from ‘Droitwich’ on the map to ‘Sodding Chipbury’.

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“Oh dear, I suppose I must have dreamed all that stuff about virtual Logistics moving Transits around by computer... Anyway, whereabouts were we in the Introductory talk?” “You’d just told us how important it was to ‘stay alert and aware at all times’...”

To be continued...


Heritage Training Programme Those nice people at BWs Heritage Training Team have prepared a series of short courses covering the following aspects of waterways restoration. Basic Masonry Repairs: Practical techniques for conserving, repairing and replacing stone masonry (sandstone & limestone) Brick Repairs & Repointing: Basic investigation, tools, techniques, mortar design and selection of materials for repair work Historic Metalwork: General repair, monitoring and maintenance of historic metalwork Heritage & Engineering: Conservation awareness when dealing with historic structures Conservation Works Management: Planning, specifying and managing small conservation projects WRG would like to send a number of volunteers to attend these courses, and sees this as an ideal opportunity for individuals to improve their own skills whilst broadening WRGs own skills base. If you are interested and can spare 1 or 2 weekdays later in the year please contact Matt Taylor for further details. Tel: 01924 258216 Email: mttaylor2000@yahoo.com

Meanwhile down on the Cotswolds... The hiatus in restoration work thanks to F&M. gave local volunteers a chance for a bit of maintenance... "We were asked by the Bell Inn at Wallbridge to try and refill the top lock. Rising to the challenge on 24 March were Dave Northcott, Pat Pewsey, Bill Evill and Neil Ritchie - with moral support from Lolita Howes. Bear in mind the lock has not been filled for over a year...

Bits & Pieces ...including a chance to help at one of the best boat festivals.... Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade 2001 Just a reminder KESCRG is looking after the Site and Services at LV2001 festival over the May Day Bank Holiday as described in Navvies 185 . Accommodation is available from the Friday morning on board the two Princes boats. Sadly Tarporley is unavailable as she is with Warwickshire Fly having a new bottom (ooh err missus!) We are still looking for volunteers to help during Wednesday, Thursday and the following Tuesday rigging/de-rigging the Marquees etc. Accommodation can be arranged if necessary. Canalway Cavalcade is a fantastic event - and in my mind signifies the start of the summer season - to which all are welcome BUT… please please let me know if you intend to turn up (especially if you want somewhere to stay) because catering and sleeping facilities are limited. You can leave a message on the machine at home on 020 8684 7741, drop me an ‘e’ at eddie@jazzfm.com. If you want further info try the mobile 07850 889 249 but please don’t call the mobile to book on because my memory is useless and I can’t always write things down when out and about. Work allowing, I hope to be on site from the Wednesday so call the mobile if you need to contact me close to the event.

"The bottom gates were swung shut. Then opened again to try to clear what we thought was an obstruction. Dave drew the short straw and boarded the work punt armed with a long handled keb. At 8' long, there was only 6" showing above water when he began trawling. No fear of running a narrow boat aground on this section! Found nothing of any note. Pat sorted out the mitre seal by sitting astride the balance beam near the point of contact. Brave man. Opened top paddle. Gagged on foul smelling bubbles rising from the depths. Watched water pouring through the dried-out bottom gates almost as fast as it was coming in at the top end. Gave up and went home.

Looking forward to another LV CC and hope to see you there.

"Bill returned a few times through the week and filled the lock each time, with a marked improvement on the bottom gate seal each time. By 31 March, the leaks were reduced to nothing worse than big dribbles. I suppose we can count this a success after all."

Now he's leading the David Suchet Appeal which needs to raise £200,000 to make provision for future navigation where the BNRR motorway will cut both canals. Not the full navigation that should really have been provided by the road-builders - but enough to provide a basis for future restoration, so that our work on the canals will not have been wasted.

This comes from the monthly CCT Volunteer News, available free to volunteers either by post or by email from Neil Ritchie. Tel: 01452 854057 or e-mail NeilSigns@aol.com if you want to receive it.

Cheers, Eddie Jones KESCRG

The David Suchet Appeal Mr Suchet is well-known as the actor who played Hercule Poirot on TV, but is also doing his best to become famous for his support of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

Please give generously - phone 01543 671427 or see http://www.lhcrt.org.uk.

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Bits & Pieces How we bring 'Navvies' to you... and how you can help! w.r.g. Print. w.r.g. Print was originally set up quite a few years ago to print 'Navvies' and other associated leaflets and booklets. We also print leaflets etc for other organisations in order to raise money, any profits going towards canal restoration. Over the years we have collected quite a few different types of printing machinery; an off-set litho printing machine, collating machine, a power guilotine, a small folding machine for leaflets etc.-all of which are second-hand. Our most recent acquisition folds and staples the collated sets into booklets. This machine is the only piece of equipment that has been purchased new and greatly improves the look of 'Navvies' with, generally, the staples and fold being in the right place! This means that more of the process is undertaken at our home. We are the only house in the street that has had an extension to the shed in order to accommodate all of the machines. The editor of 'Navvies', Martin Ludgate sets all of the artwork using a desk-top publishing programme which is then down-loaded onto a zip disk and posted to the platemakers (S.M.J. in Watford-to whom many thanks for the advice over the years and the understanding of our ‘situation’). These plates are the masters that are used on the print machine and can print over 40,000 copies should the need ever arise. We purchase all of our paper from another Watford based company - Inplant Print Supplies. Once all of the printing, collating and folding has been completed we arrange for the use of the London Canal Museum so that we can put the finished Navvies, complete with any inserts and renewal forms into their respective envelopes. The envelopes having already been ’addressed’ by Dennis Cozens. These days we have gone really high-tech and use ready gummed envelopes and the franking facilities at I.W.A. office in Rickmansworth; so no more licking. We always need people to assist at these evenings at the London Canal Museum – with 'Navvies' now ready for ‘stuffing’ the time spent is now greatly reduced. Should anybody be willing to help on these evenings then please give us a ring or e-mail, all addresses are in 'Navvies' (see opposite page). I try to give about 7 to 10 days prior notice (although this can alter) either by ‘phone, e-mail or snail mailwhich ever is preferable. I try to get to the museum by 7pm-traffic and work permitting and you are welcome to arrive at any time after this. We provide drinks and crisps; and you will get to read 'Navvies' before anybody else! Our thanks to the London Canal Museum for the continuing use of the building.

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And so, if you receive a copy of 'Navvies', or even if you don’t, that has a blank page, or it has the pages are in the wrong order etc. please remember that we are all only human and may have had a busy day at work before carrying out these tasks, and of course you could always come and help. If you need a replacement copy of 'Navvies' then just give me a ring, or if you move house don’t forget to notify Sue Watts:address in 'Navvies'. A few 'Navvies' facts: ·

We use over 120,000 sheets of paper a year just to print Navvies.

·

It is distributed as far as Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada.

·

It is distributed to the Royal Family... and to prisons.

·

With some subscribers receiving multiple copies for ‘hand-outs’ at talks etc. the total number of copies mailed out is just over 2100.

·

w.r.g. Print uses 20,000 envelopes annually for posting Navvies and other publications

John Hawkins

The Stover Canal: where is it? Even with the benefit of the map in the last issue, apparently it's still pretty tricky to track down on the ground. So IWA South West produce a handy leaflet, No 6 in their series about West Country waterways, available from Bob Dukes, 50 West Way, Broadstone, Dorset BH11 9AH. Tel 01202 694830.

New on the 'Net... Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust: http://www.lhcrt.org.uk Canal & Riverboat magazine's new web site: http://www.canalandriverboat.com Cotswold Canals Trust's Saul Junction boat festival - which Canal Camp 0104 will be helping with: http://www.saulboatgathering.org.uk Web-cams of the Falkirk Wheel. Follow links from: http://www.scottishcanals.co.uk

Trailer for sale: David Harman of IWA Kent & East Sussex Branch has an 8' x 5' curtain sided trailer plus 850lb crane and ramp available for sale. GTWt 1500kg. Blue. £750 plus VAT. Tel 01892 832418.

Calling all WRG instructors: Malcolm Bridge can now produce temporary Driver Authorisation cards again and will print and supply them to order.

Thank you... ...to IWA Chester & District for a donation of £500 from the proceeds of their rally at Norton Priory. We're buying a new surveyor's level. ...and to IWA and The Waterways Trust for £1000 each towards the WRG Safety Video.


Stamps wanted The WRG Canal Camps mobile phones: 07850 422156 (A) and 07850 422157 (B)

Send all your used postage stamps, cigarette and petrol coupons and old phone cards to IWA/ WRG Stamp Bank, 33, Hambleton Grove, Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS. All proceeds to canal restoration.

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS JACKET? Lost by Viv Thorpe: one dark slate grey/almost black fleece jacket, with a full length front zip. Went missing sometime in the last year, possibly the 2000 w/e. If you find it please e-mail Viv on vthor@cwcom.net or contact the editor.

MAGAZINES For back-issues of all canal magazines including 'Canal Boat', 'Canal and Riverboat', 'Waterways World', 'Navvies' and 'Waterways' (all proceeds to WRG) contact Sheelah Lockwood: phone 01908 675255.

Welcome Back! Matt & Andi have returned from their year-long round-the-world trip. (They flew direct from India to the London WRG AGM!) Permanent address in due course, but for now they are both contactable via their parents' addresses: Matt Taylor, 9 Otters Holt, Durkar, Wakefield EF4 3QE. Tel: 01924 258216. mttaylor2000@yahoo.com AndiKewley,102PaisleyAve,Blackbrook,StHelensWA11 9QP. Tel: 01744 731 951. andi.kewley@hotmail.com

Navvies Production

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 01923 448559 hawkins@jote.fsnet.co.uk

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-

Noticeboard Change of (e-)address... Rick Ansell has moved to: nb 'Invincible', Scotland Bridge, New Haw, Addlestone Surrey KT15 3HL Phone: 01932 336465 Mobile: 07773 952989 email: rick@nb-invincible.org.uk1 Dan Evans has a new mobile phone: 07866 312182 So has Dave 'Moose' Hearndon: 07963 922153 Marcus Jones has a new e-mail address: jones.marcus@orange.net Dave Wedd's e-mail address is: david.wedd@wrgBITM.org.uk. His other addresses remain valid except anything ending in 'clara.net' which will no longer work. Use bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk for BITM bookings as it goes to both Dave and Graham Hotham to avoid problems if one of them is away. Ian & Dr. Liz Williamson are on-line at home: inwilliamson@lineone.net and drliz@doctors.org.uk

Congratulations! ...to Adrian Fry on winning the IWA Christopher Power Prize for his work at Over. 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, Š 2001 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

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Backfill Do WRG BITM really go over the top? Spotted on the 'Net....

Meanwhile in Melton Mowbray... In the last issue the author of the Camps Preview expressed the hope that the cook on Canal Camp 0108 on the Melton and Oakham waterways at Melton Mowbray would be able to find something more varied than a diet of the pork pies for which the town is famous. I am indebted to Neil Evans for pointing out that there is another food product for which the town of Melton Mowbray is also renowned - but cautioning against over-reliance on that product for Canal Camps catering too. That other food product is of course Pedigree Chum.

Wen who? My computer has taken a further step in what is becoming increasingly obvious is a campaign to take over production of the magazine and render the editor superfluous.

Thank you to Eddie Jones for spotting the above web site - something to do with the older Palmer brother? And thank you to Marcus Jones for spotting the web site below - more likely to be concerned with the younger Palmer brother?

Having come up with the "undersexed" waterways of the BCN and the DETR minister "John Persecute" and the remarkable insight into canal history that in the days of the cargo-carrying narrow boat, "whole families lived on oats", it has now started inventing characters for the 'Bankside' serial... Thanks to the super-duper fax-to-text-file conversion software, it would appear that Oz Collingwood and Janet Shipstone are about to be joined by.... Miss Wen Dover.

And on the subject of Wendover... My spies in BITM tell me that having disgraced themselves by getting one of their male members banned from a pub in Woking for wearing too few clothes, BITM went one better at Wendover and locked one of their female members in the bogs, and she had to go 'over the top' to get out... They're obviously a bunch of trouble makers in BITM - I'm going to steer clear of them and hang around with sober, sensible, quiet people like WRG NA instead in future...

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