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avviÂ’s avvies N No 201 Oct - Nov 2003

waterway recovery group


Cover photos: as you will read


Contents

Contributions...

...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" floppy disk, CR-ROM or by email. 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. Digital / computer scanned photos also welcome, either on floppy / CD-ROM 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 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for No 202: November 1st.

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 (please add a donation if possible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorltoncum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Waterway Recovery Group" please.

In this issue:

Chairman’s page 4-5 Appeal news The Right Tool for the Right Job 6 Camp Reports from the Mon & Brec, Wilts & Berks, Basingstoke and the National Waterways 7-16 Festival at Beale Park Canal Camps in Colour four pages of colour 17-20 photographs of ‘what we did on our hols’ Logistics Restoration, the TV programme 21 Diary camps and working parties 22-24 Letters the National, the Basingstoke and a fate 25 worse than brick-cleaning Dig Deep progress update 26-27 WRG wear WRG logo clothing 28-29 WRGBC WRG Boat Club news 29-30 Navvies news including the Bonfire Bash 31-33 and Christmas Camps

Noticeboard Infill which is like Backfill but inside!

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And next time... ....we hope to bring you a couple of Camp Reports that didn’t quite make it into this issue, plus a report from the Bonfire Bash, the latest details of Christmas and New Year Camps... oh yes, and the 2004 Canal Camps programme. And maybe a pic a of WRGie abseiling down the Falkirk Wheel!

Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for all the latest news of WRG's activities

Editorial

Sorry there is no room for a proper Editorial column this time, but... Many thanks to Chris Spencer for generously sponsoring the colour printing of eight pages of this issue. We rely on sponsors like Chris to enable us to print one issue a year in full colour - otherwise it would be difficult for us to justify the extra cost, when there are so many other things we want to buy. (anyone mention vans?) If you think it’s worth it and you want to volunteer to sponsor a future colour issue, please contact the Chairman. Sorry that despite much frantic searching over the past weeks and months, we’re still not 100% certain as we go to press where the Bonfire Bash, KESCRG / London WRG Christmas dig and New Year Camp will be. Please see the insert, and our web site, for the latest. See you on the Bonfire Bash, or the London WRG /KESCRG Xmas dig, or the New Year Camp wherever they are! Martin Ludgate

Cover photos: opposite page top:The longawaited installation of the aqueduct trough that will carry the Lichfield Canal over the M6 Toll Motorway took place in August, thanks to the success of the David Suchet Appeal in raising the money to pay for it. (Jan Horton) Opposite bottom: At Beale Park, TV personality John Craven receives a cheque for £250 to the The Right Tool for the RIght Job Appeal from the Sankey Canal Restoration Society on behalf of WRG. (Martin Ludgate) Front cover: Steve drives the excavator during the Caldon Canal Camp at Froghall. (Mike Palmer) Back cover, top: Hanbury Locks on the Droitwich Canal, restored by volunteers and reopened last year, cannot be used regularly until the length of canal below them has been restored, but boats were using them during an Open Day organised by the Droitwich Canals Trust in September. (Martin Ludgate) Back cover, bottom: Chaddington Lock (or Summit Lock) on the Wilts & Berks Canal has been a regular worksite for the regional groups involved in Dig Deep for the last two years. Here it is seen with the lower wing walls and tailbridge complete and the scaffolding in the process of being dismantled, during a London WRG working party in July. (Martin Ludgate). Apologies that a few pictures in this issue aren’t credited - they were taken on the Camps digital cameras, I don’t know who by. Whoever you are, thanks for taking them.

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Chairman

MKP has been looking at your dirty photographs! Filthy pictures I know I say this every year but what a lot of digging has gone on! One of the things about having a digital camera with each Canal Camps kit is that I get to see lots more of what goes on. Now that it costs nothing to have the pictures developed, people don’t seem quite so bothered about taking lots of photographs of the mundane stuff - work in progress, walls half built, coping stones being laid, etc. So I get to see much more about the conditions people are working in and what they actually achieved, without having to get off my bum and go there! So what can I say? The quality of work is excellent and everybody seems to be smiling in those ‘not at all posed, casual, fly on the wall’ shots so it seems that we are still getting it right despite the work - both weekend and camps - needing more planning and involving more partners than ever before. Certainly the centre pages of this issue and the nice letters we have had from landowners, etc. seem to indicate that we are still getting things right. A very large part of this is down to the quality of volunteers we enjoyed this year - it seems we really are getting the mix right at the moment: a wide range of really hard working, groovy people.

Our thanks to all that have given, from all those that have mixed mortar, laid bricks, chilled food, chipped stone and cut concrete with all those ‘Right Tools’ we have already bought. More Committees Now while we were busy doing all this work our good friends in British Waterways have not been sitting on their backsides. Well, actually they have - but only because they were part of a committee. While we frolicked in the sun, the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group (comprising BW, Countryside Management Association, English Heritage, EA, Forestry Commission, RSPB, NT and Worcester County Council) have been drafting a report, imaginatively called ‘Managing Visitor Safety in the Countryside’. What has this got to do with the rest of us? Well, it’s a pretty balanced view of how to keep your site safe. Not whilst you are restoring it - as that is down to construction rules and regulations - but afterwards, when all is lovely. You would do well to read this report and use it as a basis for your site. Not only will it mean that the boaters and public will be safe, but also that if you are having a problem with a ‘fence everything and surround it with signs’ approach from an overzealous official you will be able to point to this best practice document and say ‘I think it is fine without the fence, mate’. For further details see www.vscg.org.uk. A date for your diary One thing that has shown through this summer is that the slightly more formal training sessions that we have been running with The Waterways Trust have been appreciated and the results have been put into practice on sites all over the country.

What is even more amazing is that during all this we have managed to run an Appeal. Somewhere in this issue is an update from Dr Liz. As mentioned in the paragraph above it has been busy lately and so for all those who have given, but not yet received our thanks, I apologise. (Sometimes when you are up to your bum in alligators it’s is a little difficult to remember that the original plan was to develop a holistic, sustainable, water management ethos that all the partners could buy into).

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Martin Ludgate

However it would be very remiss of me not to thank all the leaders and other members of the committee who manage all that behind-the-scenes organisation. My thanks to everyone who helped make this year a success - although 2003 may not be over we are now starting to plan 2004 so if you have a comment on what we should be doing now is the time to make it.

The fencing crew at Beale Park: see pages 15-16.


These are continuing this autumn (for details contact the TWT volunteer co-ordinator by email to mike.woodhead@thewaterwaystrust.co.uk). We shall definitely be running our main Training weekend next spring, the date is looking like May 8th9th but this will be confirmed next issue. So put the date in your diary now (but in pencil!) if you are interested in learning about dumpers, excavators, bricklaying, leadership or any of these sorts of things. New books for Old This issue’s Health and Safety item concerns our old friend the Accident Book (or BI 150 as the officials know it). Yes, for many years the source of amusement late at night in the Village Hall (I still smile when I remember the entry ‘pickaxe wound in back of head (self-inflicted)’, it is becoming obsolete at the end of the year. Why? Well, someone has realised that a big book that is freely available yet full of people’s names and details is rather in contravention of the Data Protection Act. So everyone will have to replace them with the new style book that has tear off pages you can send to your safety bloke as and when they are filled in. Oh no - more expense for everyone! However the WRG Board have agreed that we will provide a free replacement service for anyone in waterway restoration. Yes, send us an old book and we will send you a new one. In turn we will use your old books to contribute to our next Health and Safety Audit. We will keep all information confidential and we will not use names of individuals or organisations. We are only interested in the accidents themselves. By taking the widest view possible we can try and identify common problems and hopefully highlight possible solutions. For those that are sceptical, the Personal Protection Pack that all volunteers now get on Canal Camps was a direct result of the last Health and Safety Audit. So if you want to take part in this ‘new for old’ scheme please send your old book to Head Office with a note of where you would like the new one to go to.

It seems stone bridges over water are a bat’s favourite roost (as any boater will tell you). Bats are a protected species and this leaflet, called ‘Bats and Bridges’, gives guidance on how to make sure that (a) any bats are not disturbed while you do your repair work and (b) you are not disturbed by policemen coming round and saying ‘we believe you have been molesting bats’. As I write this they are reprinting this leaflet, but check the website www.bats.org.uk for details of how to get a copy. It’s best not to upset these people and by asking their advice you can actually get them on your side. Finally I have to go now as I have to write the report on the Caldon Camp with my excellent assistant Bex. It was truly a fantastic camp and , in the absence of a report, my thanks to all of those who worked so hard. I have to admit I’m having trouble writing this report. I just can’t find the words to make me look funny, handsome, witty and charming but make Chris look silly, plain and a bit of a berk. However the words will come I’m sure, in the mean time you can see some of the pictures in the colur pages in this issue. Hugs and Kisses Mike Palmer PS It looks as if the Bonfire Bash is going to be on the Basingstoke and the Christmas camp is going to be on the Mon and Brec. Hopefully this issue of Navvies will come with a flyer telling you this, but with lots more details. See also www.wrg.org.uk for the latest information.

One of the great things about being the Chairman is the interesting post that you get. Only the other day a copy of Bat News dropped through my letter box with a note saying ‘thought this might interest you’. Well it was definitely worth reading, as it included not only an article on Rabies (always handy during the Camps season) but it also included a briefing A BW expert searches the underside of the Lune Aqueduct for leaflet on ‘Bats and Bridges’. roosting bats: see Mike’s comments about bats and bridges.

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British Waterways

Bats?


The Right Tool for the Right Job! Appeal update

The appeal has had a fantastic month or so, mostly thanks to the efforts and generosity of people at the National Waterways Festival! In summary, the proceeds from that are:

. . . . . .

Panto: £1000 ‘Appealing Food’: £1800 ‘Worcester’ – the alcoholic bear: £400 Mrs. Bodgit in the vintage vehicle parade: £200 PLUS hopefully £1200 in matching funding from Vodafone. PLUS generous donations from WRG BC, the Sankey Canal Restoration Society, and several individuals.

...meaning that the appeal has been boosted by around £5000!!! Particular thanks must go to Viv West, who set up and ran the bhaji stand. The food was fantastic, and I overheard loads of comments from public and boaters about the quality. She and her team of onion-choppers worked incredibly hard all weekend. I just hope you’ve got the smell out of your hair now! Big thanks to Keith, and Bill & Ed’s Organic Adventure, who gave donations to fund the setup costs.

Martin Ludgate

Appeal news

Thanks to all the bucket-shakers, t e d d y - c a r r i e r s, and bhaji-eaters who made it all happen and made sure we actually got the money! You know who you are, which is good, because it all seems a long time ago now.

So what next? Bush Baby (aka Helen Gardner, aka WRGwear) “Cleaning cake mix out of a has volunteered to cement mixer is not pleasant organise a Ceilidh with a hangover.” in the early spring. This should be a great opportunity to party and enjoy. Details not available yet, but we’ll let you know when we’ve planned it a little more. We are making great progress, and we will get to our target, but the sooner we do then the sooner we can go shopping! If you’ve been out recently on a dig you will probably have seen our new cement mixers (minus the cake mix) and stonemasonry kits. You will definitely have used the Person Protection Equipment and hard hats. And we are already planning the training programme for the next year. This appeal is to fund YOU as restoration volunteers. I’m still hoping some of you out there will come up with some ideas, even if you don’t think you can do anything more than suggest things. There is no obligation to end up smelling of onions or even put a costume on!

Martin Ludgate

Hopefully there is a report on the Panto elsewhere. What a team!! Cast, scenery, stage management, Keep up the good work, see you at the bonfire techies: you were all stars, and a personal thank bash... you to everyone who didn’t beat me to death with a script when I was being particularly stressed Love and kisses Liz Williamson about the whole thing. It is a shame the bar tent was so long, and so only 50% of the audience could hear us, but that half seemed to enjoy it. [we’re looking at how to organise the PA next year (assuming they want us to do a show again next year, that is) so that everyone who wants to can hear us, without us drowning-out conversation for those who just want a drink and a chat in the bar. ...Ed ] Thanks to NABO for sponsorship and Taskmaster for help setting the Panto up. Oh yes, a point to remember – cleaning cake mix out of a cement mixer is The bhaji stall was popular all weekend. not pleasant with a hangover!!

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Camp 0310: July 26th-August 2nd KESCRG and friends on the Mon & Brec Mud and Chocoloate Popular from the word go, Camp 0310 on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canals did not fail to disappoint. With numbers fluctuating around the 30-mark throughout the week, there were plenty of names to learn along with new skills for us all to pick up. The group dynamic was ideal with a good mix of first-time canal-campers and more experienced wrgies. The camp leader, Ian Williamson along with his trusty sidekicks Garry and Liz was able to delegate with confidence – after all, the hard work is all in the preparation! Our work site (having been moved from the famous Fourteen Locks) was the picturesque Ashtree stone bridge and spill weir. The tasks for the week included completing the jobs passed onto us from the week before (Camp 0308 - see last ‘Navvies’) such as finishing off the concrete capping on the bridge parapet and walls, excavating and repairing the wing-wall on the towpath side underneath the bridge, as well as excavating and repairing the adjacent spill weir.

Camp reports

The Mon & Brec: “enough mud to coat every volunteer” This is all fairly straightforward until you add mud into the equation. Did I mention the mud...? I think it’s worth a mention because there was enough of the stuff to liberally coat every volunteer on every camp this summer. And it was everywhere... in your boots, in your gloves, in your sandwiches, in your beard (if you happen to be Ian), on your face, in your hair and up your nose. Its redeeming feature was that it kept the horse-flies away (because they couldn’t get through it if you smeared enough on your skin), and that it was soft and squishy, providing a soft landing when you slipped over in it (which you were guaranteed to do at least twice a day). All this mud was the result of a very soggy camp the week prior to ours, so we were very pleased to welcome some sunshine on the first day. Throughout the week, the weather was pretty kind to us, which is a rare occurrence in South Wales, although the site continued to be a tad marshy! Despite the mud, the jobs for the week were completed to a high standard without any hiccups, aside from one of our more seasoned WRGies (clue: bigger beard than Ian...) taking the dumper for a swim in the stream, which was the only place that was muddier than the canal. The work on the spill weir was particularly impressive - the top end of the weir was completely restored in stone, and the rest was excavated and repaired. The walls were then backfilled with concrete for stability, with Alan making the (should have been obvious?!) point to someone offering him a fresh barrowful of concrete: ‘you can’t backfill a wall that hasn’t been built yet.’

Eddie tries not to get the dumper stuck in the mud.

The nearside wing-wall under the bridge was also completely restored and backfilled (again using Alan’s flawless logic) and a path laid underneath, which was immediately put to the test by a passing man and dog. The man seemed impressed with our work, but assured us that his dog was not happy with the surfacing. As his dog did not appear to have any specific grievances we didn’t lose much sleep over this. The general melée of dog walkers and cyclists who passed by the site were all impressed with the quality and quantity of the work we had done, so it was nice to see our efforts being appreciated before we had to leave.

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Incidentally, the aforementioned Alan is not to be confused with Unofficial Alan, the result of one of this summer’s seemingly never-ending succession of Sallys mishearing the name ‘Hannah’...

Eddie Jones

On the domestic and social side of the camp, there was also plenty to keep us occupied. The D of E-ers (spell checkers seem to have an issue with this very common term...) seemed particularly impressed with the food arrangements - some of them having only recently come back from their expeditions where they had to eat... well, Stuff They Cooked Themselves. Our camp cook Jenny Wilson provided all the good grub that a hungry volunteer could wish for and her homemade tiffin demanded an encore - not bad considering it was only Jenny’s first canal camp too! What with the ton of mud that followed us back from site every evening and the vast quantities of chocolate that passed through the kitchen, Jenny and her sidekick Mau- Rebuilding the weir walls in stone. reen didn’t know what they were cleaning off the utensils half the time. Mud and Chocolate certainly seemed to feature in abundance throughout the week. Despite the good food, an-old-hand-who-should-know-better decided that the excellent cherry bakewells were not quite up to his standard, and instead created the new and exotic sausage bakewell. When asked ‘How is your sausage bakewell?’ he solemnly replied, ‘Fine thanks - but don’t call me bakewell.’”

Eddie Jones

The evening entertainments included bowling, swimming (where there was a bizarre plastic fish which squirted water out of its facial orifices when pumped vigorously by hand), a slide show, lots of poolplaying and a few visits to the pub thrown in. The Eagle next door provided a cosy and friendly pool and drinking venue, but after a few days we discovered (in the wrgies’ never-ending quest for real ale) the delights of The Philanthropic, which was also known throughout the week as ‘The Philanderer’s Arms’, ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, ‘That Pub with the Dog’ and (if you were local) ‘The Traffic’.

The completed towpath wall.

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The week culminated in a mud-fight on site where there weren’t many winners (least of all Ian who was skilfully wrestled to the ground and got his weeks’ share of mud all at once), and an Italian feast in the evening followed by and end-of-camp party at the accommodation. All in all, a very successful and enjoyable week in a beautiful part of the Welsh countryside. Many of the volunteers were keen to come back for more mud and chocolate next year so if we can’t tempt you along to the Bonfire Bash in November, we hope to see you next summer! Liz Wilson


Camp 0313: August 9th-16th St Johns, Basingstoke Canal, aka The Hole. This isn’t a camp report, Ed’s doing that. This is more the random jottings of an old man who should have known better than to get conned by Matt and Ed. Whilst all the things below were going on you should remember that this week broke all the records for sunshine and heat. We actually went up to 36 degrees C on one day. It started with what appeared to be a friendly call from Matt, welcoming Colin and me to the camp. ‘How nice’ I thought until the conversation turned nasty. ‘By the way’ he said ‘could you bring a few tools along to help? Not much really, Colin’s bench saw, a couple of jigsaws, a circular saw, an SDS drill, a 24volt drill, a grinder and could you bring a 240/110 volt generator from the Ipswich IWA branch?’ Now I’ve just got a nice shiny new car and my wife drew the line at the generator. In any case where the **** were we supposed to put our personal gear. Then he threw in the killer line, ‘Oh and could you both get to site by 1100 on Saturday as I want to knock up about a cube of concrete for a blinding layer?’ Well we both fell for it. After all Matt knew we’re both getting on a bit, (well Colin is) and we reasoned he would look after us for the rest of the week and get the D of E’ers to do all the mucky jobs. How wrong can you be? So we left home at 0815 looking forward to a cardiac special at the Little Thief when we got to the M26/M25 junction and ground to a halt. 1 hour to go 2 miles!! Pulled onto the site at 1101 through a nifty bit of high speed motoring. Unfortunately (hoorah!!) we found that the hole wasn’t quite as big as it should have been and people were rushing around with machines moving muck about and putting it in piles. At the time we didn’t realise the significance of the 1-metre layer of soft blue clay overlaid with sandy loam and interspersed with water courses. It became quite important later on.

Camp reports

Basingstoke: building the St Johns Backpumping scheme So Colin’s OIC shuttering and I’m looking at drawings of reinforcing bar (also known as re-bar apparently) that leave me totally bewildered. ‘It’s easy’ he said. ‘All the bundles have got numbers, here’s the bending schedule’ (yeah, that’s what I thought as well) ‘and there’s the bundles of rebar.’ We opened all the bundles and made them into smaller bundles and then we moved them all to somewhere else. Eventually we found out what shape we needed and started work. Cable ties are wonderful things, but you try and buy 1000 on a Sunday morning. In the meantime the Basingstoke Canal is trying to get back into the hole so more digging out and more piling. Monday morning back on site and the canal is having another go at getting back into the hole. More digging, more piling. Eventually Matt reckons we can get the blinding layer in. That ‘we’ appears to be me and some willing volunteers. Think back to the description of the muck layers. We were, in effect, puddling the bottom of the hole with that lovely blue clay. Brindley would have been ecstatic. Every time anyone tried walking across the hole they were in danger of leaving their wellies behind. Then we discovered these springs producing about a gallon a minute. ‘Not a problem’ says Matt (is anything a problem to him, why is he always so damned cheerful!!?) ‘Get some pipes in to channel the water to a sump, put the pump in the sump, lay some polythene in the hole and get the concrete in.’ Sounds easy when you say it quickly.

So a quiet start: grabbed the best spot for the bed, checked out the portable showers, had a Mandy special meal, got the safety talk, had a few beers (supplied by Matt because I forgot to buy any) - this is easy, we said. ‘Volunteers for breakfast please’ and Colin and I took one pace forward, working on the principle that doing it on Sunday morning means you don’t have to do it again for the rest of the week. Doh!! Sunday morning dawned bright and early (for me and Colin, anyway). Just after breakfast we got the killer punch from Matt. ‘As you’re old and decrepit and you’ve done it before, will you act as unofficial leaders?’ He didn’t actually put it like that but we’re no fools. He was looking for suckers to blame when it all went horribly wrong.

Basingstoke Hole No 1: the backpump chamber

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Camp reports

Ed & Spence go for the record for Navvies coverage of one camp... Tuesday morning and I seem to be cooking breakfast again. How did that happen? Back on site and yet again we need to dig out the hole. The geologists among you will of course know what was happening. The top layer was sliding past the bottom layer just like tectonic plates. (What??) Somebody suddenly realised that if things continued in that way we would eventually get the bridge sliding into the hole as well. We didn’t think the owners of the Basingstoke canal would be too happy about that so more piling was needed. We then started getting the shuttering in the hole whilst the steel work was being installed. They were building a three dimensional grid with 200mm centres and we were trying to walk through it with 250mm feet. Hours of fun for all the family. We’re going for a boat ride tonight on the Society’s trip boat so Mandy goes off ahead to get the Fish & Chips and we all meet at the boat. We’re hustled onto the boat and off we go. F&C are great but the tins of warm beer that I just paid £2.20 each for are awful. Somebody tried putting a few into a plastic bag and dragging them along in the cut but that didn’t work. This is where my story descends into the farcical.

We leave the trip boat and head up the hill to the pub where we are told some cock and bull story that the pub has an agreement with the trip boat not to serve passengers. Another version of the story is that they don’t serve parties after 10 o’clock. Whatever, we were asked to leave. A pox on them and I hope they go bankrupt. However, I’d seen Russell nip off to the toilet and hadn’t seen him come out. No problem I said to the last few people drifting back to the vans, I’ll go back and get him, you tell the drivers to wait for us. Hang your heads in shame, you people. As Russell and I walked up the road we saw the tail lights of RFB disappear into the distance. ‘That’s alright’ we said ‘they’ll quickly realise that there are 2 people missing.’ 30 minutes later it became apparent that they wouldn’t quickly realise. What to do? It’s 1045, we’re 20 miles from the Village Hall and we don’t have the camp mobile number with us. A taxi is the only answer, so up to the Chinese take away, phone a taxi, that’ll be £40 and he’ll be with you in 20 minutes. 10 minutes later out of the gloom comes James in RFB!! I have to say that my language left a lot to be desired and when we got to the pub that they’d stopped in, it quickly became apparent that I was none too happy!! To cap it all, I only managed to get one pint in before the landlord called ‘Last Orders’. Wednesday and Matt makes the momentous decision to go for a concrete pour at 1600 on Thursday. More rushing about putting steelwork in and erecting shuttering. A bus load went off to the cinema tonight but Colin and I went down the pub to recover.

Ed Walker

Back at HQ that evening Matt announces we’re all on site at 0730 tomorrow to get ready for the concrete pour. I forgot to mention that I’ve been using my car to get to site because this camp has so many volunteers there wasn’t enough room in the vans. By pure coincidence it also meant that I got back to the showers before everyone else but that’s another story. Matt wanted Colin to get the timber ready so we could form a ‘kicker’ above the 300mm concrete line and he wanted me and my team to fix it in position as soon as Matt and his team had finished Basingstoke Hole No 2: the washed-out ground around the bywash. the reinforcing.

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Unfortunately we ran out of time and both teams were down the hole installing re-bar and fixing the timber whilst 10 tonnes of wet concrete was being poured around us. But then, as Ed said, ‘Where’s the fun in doing it the easy way?’. Matt sent off a van full of people to the pre-arranged swimming at about 1830 and the remainder stayed on site till 1900 to finish the job. To say that I was completely knackered would be an understatement. But on the way back to HQ, Laura (or Daniel) had a brilliant idea. Call in at the chippy and the offie and have a mini-party. Never have a bag of chips and a bottle of Speckled Hen tasted so good. And we still had room for Mandy’s curry. Friday and I’m cooking breakfast again. Still today Matt says I can take it easy. Go up to the top site and be a dumper driver he said. It didn’t happen. I ended up shifting road stone with a rake so Steve could drive his road roller up and down. One highlight was the self appointed local guardian of wildlife and canal verges. He lived in a flat across the cut and some very naughty digger driver had bashed into a branch that was hanging across the towpath. According to this resident the tree was the only one of its kind in the whole world and excavator drivers should be more careful. Unfortunately the roll cage on one of the dumpers also hit the tree so he was really uptight. Just as we packing up out he comes again to complain about the fact that we have left some of the excavated soil from the towpath inside the tree line. I thought the best line was ‘I only work here guv, go and see Pete (the local society representative). He’s down the cut somewhere’. Apparently that didn’t do him a lot of good either. Saturday – you guessed – I’m cooking breakfast. Still it’s clear up time today. Volunteer to go back to site to clean tools and pack the trailer. (Note to Jen: I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed but I couldn’t get all the concrete off the barrows. I blame the people who were laying the concrete on Thursday for not cleaning up after themselves.) Finally got away about 1130 with Colin trying to keep me awake long enough to drive home. Mandy, let me know where you will be cooking next year and I’ll be there. Steve, without you jumping in to get the washing-up sorted out we wouldn’t have had anything to eat off the following day. Matt and Ed you make a great team. Despite me moaning about things you always saw the bright side. Let me know which camp you’re both leading next year and you never know, I might give it another try. By the way, as I failed to bring any beer to camp at all, thanks for the Hen et al. And to rest of the volunteers, it was great meeting a bunch of people who were prepared to work hard when it mattered. Spencer Greystrong

Now let’s hear from one of the leaders.... The camp started for me on the Wednesday evening as Matt came round to collect the ‘leaning tower of Pedi’, the leaders’ beer supply for the week. By Friday I was at the Wilts & Berks camp – enjoying a top end-of-camp party with Harry and Corrine. The next morning came round much to quickly and by midday Sal and I were on the M4 heading to Mayford. A quick hello/goodbye to Mandy (our cook for the week) and we were off to Tickners Heath farm on the Wey & Arun canal to collect a pump. Luckily we were back in time to meet the volunteers; unfortunately they decided to all turn up when I was testing the showers out! (Yes they worked and they were hot, a bit too hot as it was 32 °C outside!) Matt (our leader for the week) and co returned from a sneaky extra day on site to report problems with the cofferdam and the concomitant lack of a concrete pour. After a site visit, dinner and the safety talk we decamped to the local hostelry and sampled a few pints. Little did we know that it would be the only time that most of us made it to that pub... We had a wide variety of work to complete in the week, mainly focused on solving the canal’s chronic water problems. Despite the canal having been restored and opened a number of years ago, it is regularly closed over the summer due to a lack of water; this year was no exception! The work could be broken into three main areas: continuing to lay the pipe for the backpump, determine the cause and rectify the leaks in the lock 8 bywash and make a start on the backpump chamber below lock 7. With three separate sites running we were very glad for the large number of experienced volunteers who decided to join us, almost as glad as we were for the large amount of shade on site as temperatures cleared 30°C pretty much every day. Sunday: A crack team of Ian and Spencer cooked an excellent breakfast and we headed off to site after answering the question ‘where have all the volunteers gone?’ - the answer being: they were sleeping outside! As temperatures rose during the week, this seemed to be a more popular spot to throw down the sleeping bag. The first day was slow, as expected: more excavation was required to finish off the hole for the pump chamber and work was started on exposing the bywash pipe. After some digging, Steve exposed a hole with water in; much standing around and scratching of heads ensued - the problem being the water was at canal level!

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Camp reports

Four pages on and we’re still on the Basingstoke... Firtling around for the rest of the day showed the damp patch extended all the way around the inspection chamber. A small team consisting of Lee and Robert were also dispatched with saws to prune back the overhanging trees near the telephone cables, they seemed to enjoy this bit of destructive work so much that they volunteered to complete the job the next day. Another recurring job for the week was the construction of the various pieces of shuttering needed for the pump chamber, this job fell to Colin and helpers using possibly the greatest collection of power tools seen on a WRG camp before or since! After an extremely hot day on site we retired to the hall for showers, dinner and the evening entertainment - tag team back-massage, on Sal! As the temperature dropped below 30C a rounders game was played behind the hall, we can’t remember if anyone won or not. Monday: With the liberation of the large excavator from hole-digging duties, Mark Scoble and his pipe laying crew were able to start work; as they were still learning, only one section of pipe was laid. On the bywash job we spent the day leak-chasing and exposing more of the pipes; unfortunately we had to continue the hole through some concrete left by the original restoration but the application of Nick, Gordon and Keith with an air breaker soon sorted that. Nick Snow was also conned volunteered to point-up the joint between the pipe and the bywash inspection chamber, a very tight position! Back at lock 7 Matt was having more troubles, more ‘infalling cack’ meant the morning was spent digging the hole out to size and the afternoon laying Visqueen sheeting and drainage pipes. Probably to be expected for a camp organised by a bunch of London WRGies, the concrete blinding pour was started at 5pm and went on until 7.30pm, only stopping then as we had worn the mixer out! Back at the accom, Mandy’s curry disappeared extremely rapidly: the only hiatus was requests for ketchup with it by saucy Laura ‘the ketchup kid’. After a hard day on site, no one wanted to do anything much so the evening’s entertainment was all-in competitive snoring, apart from a select team who just had to go back to site to do a bit more work... well, their excuse was they had to pick up the cable scanner!

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It was around this evening that another volunteer joined the motley crew in Mayford village hall: a very skinny tabby cat! The cat adopted us for the rest of the week and was regularly found prowling around outside at night looking for a way into the hall. Tuesday: Pipes laid - 3. The crack team were getting into the swing of it, Natalie being in charge of greasing the ring and James training a number of people in using the level he’d retrieved from Reading the evening before. Even more muck was shifted out of Ed’s hole (the return of Ed’s hole, longer, wider but not as deep) and a start was made at supporting the pipe sections in preparation for the concrete pour. Gilly managed to plug the leak in the wingwall - hopefully that’s all the leaks! Matt’s hole was pumped down, the mixer was resuscitated and the blinding pour finished. The steelwork and carpentry teams were going great guns all day and a small team were trained in using the new WRG Stihl saw. We managed to be off site by 5pm as the evening entertainment was a boat trip on the Surrey & Hants trip boat ‘John Pinkerton’ from Odiham to the tunnel. Fish and chips and beer were shifted in pretty much equal quantities by everyone. Leaving the boat trip we adjourned for a pint in the ‘Water Witch’ only to be turned away as the management wouldn’t serve anyone from the trip boat! The decision being made to take our business elsewhere we headed back to the vans. During the ballast people-shuffling needed to get the vans under the height-barrier, we managed to leave Russ and Spence in the pub; on reaching the ‘Swan’ pub a few minutes down the road and having a quick head count we had to dispatch James to go and retrieve them. Wednesday: Pipes laid - a few; the large excavator decided to dump its hydraulic oil everywhere and the fitter had to be called out. On the bywash job it was concrete-pour day. (cue funeral music) With the hole dug out as much as possible by excavator, it was time for the crack team of Nick, Glen, Keith and Nick to clear the soil out from under the pipe, not the easiest of tasks! While this was going on, John started to expose the pipe further down the chamber to check up on a dropped pipe section we had seen with the inspection camera on Sunday. By 1.45pm we had the pipe cleaned off and while the digging crew had a late lunch Steve, John and I piled and Acrow propped the shuttering into position; just as I started my own lunch we heard the concrete wagon arrive so lunch ended up being eaten in stages around a 6m3 pour. This came off with absolutely no hitches (not sure what I did wrong there) and after a bit of tidying my team knocked off for a late lunch/tea break. Down in Matt’s hole the re-bar and shuttering teams had managed,


finally, to start work and the re-bar was going in at an impressive rate under the expert hands of Andy, Natalie and Gilly. Managing to get off site at a reasonable hour a large group of us headed to the cinema in Woking for a dose of heavy weaponry (Terminator 3) or swashbuckling action (Pirates of the Caribbean). Thursday: Pipes laid – 3? It was all getting a little vague by this point. With a lot of work still remaining to be done on Matt’s hole we were all on site by 7.30am! The same crack shuttering and steelwork teams were sent back to work while my bywash team headed back to lock 8 to determine the cause of the dropped pipe: on exposing the pipe there seemed to be nothing wrong - no sign of washout at all. Moving further down the lock we started to excavate by the lower lock quadrant (the site of the original sink hole) and soon exposed a 20in. void under the bywash pipes where a sprung joint had washed away the infill.

Friday: Pipes laid – 1. Last day on site and it was time to tidy up; the last pipe section went in and the towpath was re-laid; the last hole in lock 8 was extended to find the source of the void - it seems we got all of it with the concrete. Russ and Dan then led a team to fill all the holes in and ‘tart the place up a bit’ and more steel work was added to the pump chamber hole. Another small jobette completed was the pouring of the concrete electrical kiosk base, ably carried out by our resident mixer-god, Tim Snow. Off site and it was time for the obligatory end of camp BBQ, Andy and Spence did us proud with the food and more of Mandy’s curry was eaten followed by an absolutely superb key lime pie. Matt and I obviously managed to tire everyone out suitably during the week as they were all in bed by 2am! This night also saw the only rain of the week; well we assume it rained as everything got wet sometime between 2am and 7am but no one was up to witness it. It looks like we have finally managed to break the curse of Basingstoke canal camps: every other camp for the last 3 years has been a bit damp!

Ed Walker

Down on the pump chamber site they were not having a good day, the shiny new laser level had taken a dive for the canal leaving only a trail of very expensive bubbles, and the concrete had ar- By the end of the week we had laid about 15 pipe rived 10 minutes early while the steel fitters were sections for the backpumping scheme, found and still finishing off. Colin had rigged up an impres- patched a large number of leaks in the lock 8 bysive concrete chute and we soon had WRGies wash and - after a number of setbacks - got a lot wading around in the concrete fixing up the last of work done on the pump chamber. of the shuttering. A spare dumper-load of concrete was sent up to lock 8 and poured into the Thanks have to be given to a lot of people for the void under the bywash pipes - another problem smooth running of this week. Firstly to Pete Redfixed! The level was way and his team of locals soon fished out with a for making us so welcome grappling hook, it then and being able to sort alspent a pleasant most anything on zero noevening being dried tice. Secondly to Mandy out in Pete’s airing for all the wonderful food cupboard and was and to the various teams pronounced back in of people who got up to working order by the cook us breakfast all the next day. Phew! With way through the week. work pretty much finThirdly to Matt for being ished for the day, half possibly the best leader the camp headed off to you could have and last the Woking leisure labut not least all the volungoon for what was teers old and new who meant to be a swim but came along and made the ended up as a procamp a joy to assistant tracted soak in the lead, I’m assuming they Jacuzzis. The rest of can’t all be this easy! the camp headed back Thanks also to Robert for to the accom via the the daily model aeroplane chippy for a chilled out displays he put on outside beer-and-chips sesthe accommodation, alsion on the grass. By though I believe the Conthe time we had all got corde on Saturday was not back and had dinner it one of yours? was pretty much time to go to bed. Ed Walker Basingstoke Hole No 2: the backpump pipe trench.

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Camp reports

North Wilts: rebuilding River Key Aqueduct and digging up bombs! Canal Camp 0311: August 2nd - 9th North Wilts Canal: River Key Aqueduct

End of Term Camp Report Saturday: Arrived safely at Purton Stoke Young Farmers’ Club Accommodation. Could do better. Took a trip to the canal - it is obvious that the canal has been absent for quite some time. It must try harder to convince me that it actually knows what it is aiming for. Sunday: Weather was100% present, and of the hot type. Work: digging in various places, which managed to get everyone hot. Leaders, being sensible, had a water fight. It is really time they became more mature. Outing to the slides and swimming pool – much appreciated by all. Monday: Weather again turned up and was even hotter. Not only was the Inspector (Dave the local) around, but we also had another visitor, the digger. A few individuals went to get bricks: a good show on that front. Digger dug a big hole: an excellent effort. I was more impressed with its effort on lifting a large coping stone out of the river. A Gold Star for that one! Evening was spent hunting for a canal that looks like one. Eventually it turned up, looking good with a few locks (Caen Hill) - nice to see what it can do, but it needs to put in more effort at Cricklade. Tuesday: Shady at start, with drops of rain, but once again it turned out to be a scorcher. The bank we are digging took a real beating in the morning, those doing this have shown a very good effort. North Wall is now looking good: excellent work. Today’s work (shovelling mud in the oven, more mud in the culvert, and moving bricks) overshadowed by The Inspector finding a WWII bomb! (He was convinced it was a bedstead).

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Bomb squad were called out, and at least half of the leadership team was pleased to see a man in uniform. He let her press his buttons. SUPERB! It was also Robert’s birthday, so that certainly went with a bang - making up for lack of room on the cake for candles... Wednesday: Weather turned up again, even hotter. Someone needs to tell the caretaker to get the thermostat fixed. Most of the day spent cleaning the river of weed and muck, and the aqueduct of broken bricks. Too many bricks came out, and work had to stop, due to over-enthusiasm of the rest of the bricks in trying to fall on heads. Those on that job need to concentrate less on the task in hand. Evening outing: biology field trip, on a boat. The canal does actually contain water occasionally!! Due to large quantities of weed it was a long trip, as samples were collected and inspected on a propeller. Saw blanket weed, duck weed, Grebes, and met some pond life walking along the towpath. Redirection of the bomb detonation yesterday was suggested, an excellent suggestion. Thursday: Weather - hot AGAIN - this is getting tedious, and a change would be welcome. The slave Drivers, (leaders) allowed us a morning off, and then worked us until 8pm. A very good job. The bank of weeds has now been removed, and excellent effort from all those involved. Millions of bricks were taken for a trip across Wiltshire, and swapped for a different class of bricks. An exercise in giving the volunteers something to do?! Friday: Weather - well, no surprises there; a little truant from the sun would not be frowned upon. Lots of final finishing and tidying today, as well as a last opportunity for hippos to wallow in mud. Gold (with mud) star to Freya for all-over body mud pack, with silver stars to the rest of the crew who couldn’t hit the barrow with their mud. They all needed a brief cooling down in the river. All very end-of-term. Report Summary: Liz produced vast amount of excellent food. SUPERB. All male volunteers now bank with Barclays. The slave drivers gain an A* in laid back leadership. The slaves get an A** in working under hot and interesting conditions. This week was brought to you by the words ‘Superb’ ‘marvellous’ and ‘bollocks’, and by the number 6 (or was it 9). Iain Spencer


Camp 0315: August 18th - 28th National Waterways Festival, Beale Park It seems that Festival camps get longer every year. Instead of starting the weekend before the official camp, many brave souls had ventured into the depths of Berkshire over a week before. Consequently, by the time I arrived, much of the groundwork - especially the fencing - had been done. Tragic. Others had got bored with groundwork and tried to head for greater heights but sadly, their dumper left them behind. Never mind, Bungle. It seemed that the most pressing things left for us to do were to stuff our faces around a barbecue and drink Champagne to celebrate Kaye and Ralph’s Wedding anniversary, so we did. Some more than others... The following morning was not an easy one, nor was the afternoon. I can’t think why. By 4pm I felt able to stand up by myself and headed over to the Admin Village to attempt efficiency. It would seem that news travels fast in a field, and many felt it was their duty to mock the afflicted. I vowed to abstain from tonic water and such things for at least 3 days.

The ‘National’: Festival fun and fencing at Beale Park

On Monday the official camp started and many new and old and broken volunteers began to arrive. Throughout the week we did the usual festival jobs. Banners, digging trenches, burying cables, making signs, fencing, strimming moorings, craning-in boats and delivering tables, chairs and anything else people thought of. The most memorable job request for me, however, was for an aesthetically pleasing bike-stand to be constructed. If it hadn’t been for this particular request, The Crap Crew would never have been born, and there would have been less to laugh out when walking the site over the weekend. Maybe the cyclists thought it was something else – a piece of industrial sculpture perhaps? Whatever they thought, they preferred to secure their bikes to the fencing just behind the said stand! Over the weekend of the festival, we worked hard and played hard. The WRG panto was a great success and Vivvie’s ‘Appealing food’ drummedup a roaring trade, so much so that she was overwhelmed with customers at times. Money for the Appeal kept pouring in from all kinds of sources. Thank you to Lucy and the Lavender Boat Crew who cheered-up the boaters in their unique fashion, and to everyone else who gave up their cash to make sure we get the Right Tools for the Right Job. On Monday, the Ents team arranged a superb band that managed to get us all up dancing and a terrific night was had by all.

Bernd Schimansky

For the rest of the weekend we all pottered about doing our thing. Gav got the accommodation sorted, the chefs built their kitchen and Mitch arrived, making the team complete. I spent many long hours contemplating the whereabouts of Howard, a lost volunteer. Feeling relieved when he appeared, I assumed the worst was over. How wrong can a person be?

Camp reports

Wilts & Berks camp 0311 (see opposite page): repairing the brickwork after carefully supporting what remains of the arch of the aqueduct (left); taking a trip on a restored length of the canal (right).

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Big thanks to Gav for taking over so many roles and responsibilities during the camp, especially meeting and greeting the volunteers and ensuring they were safe for site. Thanks also to WRG3 and partner for taking on the role of (and all the abuse that went with) the night fence! And finally thanks to Mitch, for being such a wonderful partner in crime and a spectacular kinky lion tamer - you will no doubt live to regret those photos, my mate!! Martin Ludgate

So much happened over the weeks we were there that it is hard to put it all in one report. I am sure there is much I have missed out, but it is not forgotten.

I need to say an enormous thank you to Al Moore and Dr Liz and all those that helped them out, because it is probably true to say that they were catering for almost the entire festival site at one point. I don’t know how they did it but aside from keeping WRG well fed and watered, they also fed motorcycle teams, marching bands, exhibitors, IWA members and stray visitors at the drop of a hat and on a shoestring. You were truly amazing, as was the food!

Martin Ludgate

Above and below left: two traditional Festival jobs - the Lavender crew and the Fencing team. Below and below right: the WRG Panto: Bungle explains in song why Palmer’s not at work today, while Nina encourages audience participation.

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I had a wonderful time. I miss our field and would give anything to be back there, even with ‘Festival Foot’ and the voices in my head. Thank you all for a memorable time and I really hope to see you at the reunion when someone decides where it’s going to be!! Love & hugs Ali ‘Womble’ Bottomley

Martin Ludgate

Awards were presented to volunteers who had ‘stood out’ in some way. Some for their helpful attitude and good deeds, and some for their ability to be crap, loud or useless. Whatever you did, we loved you for it anyway.

One thing that was truly memorable though was the great team we had - red shirts and blue shirts alike. Without them, the festival would not have run so smoothly. Everything seemed easier than ever, and that was because everyone was willing to do anything to make it all work. This is only reinforced further by the number of complimentary letters and e-mails I have received lately asking me to pass on thanks to a superb WRG team, so THANK YOU!

Martin Ludgate

On Tuesday we had our traditional barbecue and the whole world came along. This was lovely though unexpected, but despite this the girls made sure there was plenty of gorgeous food for all, brilliantly cooked by Nigel and Alan. The party theme was ‘The Circus’ and many showed great creativity in making circus costumes out of bugger all. Earlier in the week we had had the opportunity to practise circus skills with the professionals who tried to teach us to tightrope walk, juggle, unicycle and spin plates. Some were brave enough to perform their newly learnt skills at the party. Others perfected the art of falling flat on their faces.


Canal Camps in Colour

Another Summer Canal Camps season has ended, so here are a selection of photos from the seven restoration projects and two festivals that we supported in the Summer of ’03...

...just in time because they were needed straight away on some of the restoration projects we were working on this summer. Starting on the Grand Western Canal , where a fortnight of Canal Camps turned a plain bit of canal bank into a brick-sided concrete-based slipway for trailboats - as well as rebuilding culverts under the canal and dismantling and reinstalling some fences. And a couple of weeks later, the first visiting boats were using the new slipway. Then it was down to South Wales for two Canal Camps on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canals. First there was a bridge with parapets that needed rebuilding, and a very muddy culvert and weir to clear out (in traditional Welsh wet weather). The weather improved the following week, but the mud didn’t get any less muddy, so everyone and everything got covered in it. But that didn’t prevent the work of rebuilding the spillweir and the towpath under the bridge from being completed to a high standard.

Mark Baker

Cath Coolican-Smith

It all started on the Cotswold Canals at Saul Canal Festival, with a week spent helping to set up and take down one of the largest regional waterways events, organised in aid of the Cotswold Canals Trust’s restoration project. And while we were there, a couple of our new tools from the ‘Right Tool’ appeal made their first appearance...


Sean Manners

Meanwhile on the Wey & Arun Canal, the work for this year’s camps was based around getting a section of the summit level of the canal in the Sidney Wood back in-water: the main job was building a new overflow weir structure, plus raising and surfacing the towpath, removing causeways that blocked the canal, and building a new dam at the end of this length to hold back the water when it is completed.

The historic stone-built Tewitfield flight of locks on the Lancaster Canal was the scene for some very careful restoration of the original stone bywash channels and culverts: by the end of the camp it was hard to tell the rebuilt walls from the parts of the original stonework that had survived in good condition.

Martin Ludgate

The Wilts & Berks Canal provided us with two of this summer’s worksites; the first was the River Key aqueduct near Cricklade, where (when we weren’t digging up unexploded World War 2 bombs) we worked on rebuilding the outside facing wall of the aqueduct, and also the inside of the arches.


Next, we headed for the Staffordshire moorlands and the first Canal Camp on a new restoration project that is just beginning: the far end of the Caldon Canal at Froghall Basin. Here, we are helping to restore the first lock and basin of the Uttoxeter Canal, an extension of the Caldon Canal that used to carry on for a further 13 miles and 17 locks to Uttoxeter.

We worked on repairing the walls of the stone-built lock-chamber, and excavating, recording and restoring a former horse-tramway cutting alongside. This project looks set to become a regular WRG work-site as work progresses on recreating the historic interchange basin, providing more mooring space for visiting boats, and eventually restoring the canal towards Uttoxeter.

And while one Camp was unearthing the past at Froghall, another was carrying out new construction work on the St Johns Backpumping Scheme that will help to provide a reliable water supply for the Basingstoke Canal, enabling it to stay open all year. The main work for the week was excavating and concrete-lining the pump chamber, plus continuing the installation of the pipeline.

Glen Peckett

Alan Lines

Most of the Uttoxeter Canal was closed in 1847 by the railway company that owned the canal, and parts the route of it were used for building a railway line. However a short section at Froghall including one lock survived until the early 20th century, as part of a complex of canal basins, tramways, lime-kilns and wharves that formed an interchange rather like a smaller version of the more famous Bugsworth Basin. (but without the leaks!)


The National Waterways Festival marked the end of the main season of camps running continuously through July and August, but a few weeks later the final camp of the summer took place, back on the Wilts & Berks Canal but this time at a different site: Pewsham Locks, near Chippenham.This flight of three locks has fared rather badly since the canal closed with one entire wall of Lock 2 completely demolished, but the camp made a good start on rebuilding it, and this site looks likely to become one of our ‘regulars’ over the next couple of years. So that’s it then - that was the summer of ’03. But it isn’t all over for this year.... Don’t forget the Reunion Bonfire Bash weekend on November 8th-9th on the Basingstoke Canal. See page 32 for more information, and send off the enclosed booking form as soon as possible to guarantee your place. And don’t forget the the Autumn Camp on Oct 25-Nov 1 on the Chichester, and the Christmas Camp: at time of going to press we’re still not entirely sure where it will be, but the ‘Mon & Brec’ is looking a likely candidate for some festive fun and scrub-bashing. And especially don’t forget we’ll be doing it all again next summer: with the next issue of ‘Navvies’ you’ll get the Canal Camps 2004 booklet with details of all next year’s camps.

Glen Peckett

Tim Lewis

The main summer camps programme ended as it began: with us supporting a major waterways festival. This time it was the IWA’s National Waterways Festival , at Beale Park, near Reading. Our volunteers helped with the preparations such as putting up fences, banners and signs, installing cables, delivering tables and chairs, and building a bike stand.Then during the festival we were involved in such diverse tasks as running the ‘lavender boat’, collecting litter, entertaining children with WoW (‘Wild over Waterways’) events, and entertaining the marginally-moregrownup people with the return of the WRG Panto.


Restoration Hello and welcome to ‘Restoration’, a new Navvies series to spotlight our threatened tools and catering equipment, inviting readers to help save those ‘at risk’. Despite all the enthusiasm our canals can evoke, we can be surprisingly negligent when it comes to looking after the tools that restore them and the equipment that ‘restores’ us! On camps it is estimated that, on average, 15 mugs are lost per camp season. Of all the many miles of canal we work on to bring them back into working order and thereby ‘life’ every year, the demise of what we use to restore them is underestimated. We’ve searched throughout the camps’ kits but had to whittle down the thirty contenders to just three. A difficult choice but that choice reflects each area of need. The first is from the tool section and is number 771, a pair of Kit B loppers. Here our resident experts Ptolemy Clean and Marianne Sure report on their condition: P: Oh, just look at these. Aren’t they wonderful? You can see where the thousands of hands have caressed the handles. M: And look, Ptolemy. You can see what vibrant colours were originally used to adorn these incredibly useful loppers (affectionately named castrators by us ... giggle giggle). P: But unfortunately the once strong pair of loppers have been rendered useless by neglect, leaving them with no blade, with no immediate sign of damage.You can imagine the masses of trees that have met their match with such a tool, can’t you? M: It wouldn’t take much to restore these and it is perfectly feasible. For every contender there is also a celebrity advocate who will highlight why each thing should be rescued. So here to highlight the plight of Kit B’s loppers is Bertie Bowsaw:

Logistics M:Ptolemy, can you see anything? P: No - nothing at all... wait a mo... I can see something peeping out from under that yard bag. Let’s pull this away. M:It’s a solitary hard hat, with attachments. But there should be four of them. Where are the others? A very good question! Here to stand up for the PPE category is Gordon Goggles: G: These hats are so much more practical when using a Stihl saw. And with one of these in each of the kits they are a must. We are looking in the region of £100 to replace the three missing sets. Vote for safer saw use! And finally we have our catering equipment contender, 447, Kit B toaster: P: This is a marvellous object. Toast for a party of hundreds! M: The detail is incredible. And you can even make out some ancient markings on the front... Look, Ptolemy, it says ‘Not to be used by Bill Crockett’. P: You can just imagine he was a noble toast baron who journeyed far and wide, pillaging toasters at will. Do you think it works? M:Let’s plug it in. <pause> Yes, it does, but two of the elements don’t seem to work. It shows signs of many years of continuous repair due to people sticking metal implements into it to retrieve distorted toast or bread. With some careful attention it would be in perfect working order again. And now, here’s Tina Toast to rally your spirits (vodka?) for 447:

B: 771 must be repaired because it saves me an awful lot of work, getting rid of all the awkward smaller branches. To repair these loppers would cost in the region of £15 to replace the blade, which is a small price to pay for something so useful. Vote for 771!

T: This toaster is worthy of the great meals - the Last Supper, a Henry VIII banquet. Please support this ongoing restoration project. At the cost of £6 for a new element it is an expensive business when a piece of cutlery enters a slot. Please vote for 447.

Thank you, Bertie. And whilst on the subject of thanks that’s exactly what should go to people such as Alan Lines, who provide research and archive material. They record vital evidence during camps, and send it to Logistics HQ. Now to our second contender, from our PPE (personal protective equipment) section, the Hard Hat/Visor/Ear Defender sets:

So there you have it. Tools can pass away in the line of duty but so many others fall foul of neglect and destructive damage. So please write in and vote (donate!) to our appeal, saying who you are donating, oops, voting for. Our tools need your support - your vote (donation) counts! Just Jen logistics@wrg.org.uk

RESTORATION

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Diary

Canal Camps cost £35 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0313') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Oct 18/19

wrgBITM

Lapal Canal: Jungle bashing in Selly Oak. Leader: Alec Gunner.

Oct 18/19

wrgNW

Cromford Canal: Cleanup (provisional) at Sawmills, near Ambergate.

Oct 18/19

London WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project

Oct 19 Sun

IWPS

Bugsworth Basin

Oct 25-Nov 1 Camp 0317

Chichester Canal: Clearing trees & vegetation. Leaders: Joanne Smith & Steve Davis

Oct 26 Sun

EAWA

North Walsham & Dilham Canal

Nov 1/2

Essex WRG

To be arranged: Bonfire Bash (will need to be moved to Nov 8/9)

Nov 1 Sat

Navvies

Press date for issue 202

Nov 2 Sun

IWPS

Bugsworth Basin

Nov 8/9

WRG

Reunion Bonfire Bash: Basingstoke Canal - see p31. Booking form enclosed.

Nov 8/9

KESCRG

Bonfire Bash: see p31

Nov 8/9

wrgNW

Bonfire Bash: see p31

Nov 8/9

London WRG

Bonfire Bash: see p31

Nov 8/9

NWPG

Wey & Arun Canal: Sidney Wood &/or clearance work on the summit.

Nov 15/16

wrgBITM

Wendover Arm

Nov 15 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Nov 16 Sun

IWPS

Bugsworth Basin

Nov 16 Sun

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings

Nov 30 Sun

EAWA

North Walsham & Dilham Canal

Dec 6/7

wrgNW

Uttoxeter Canal: Froghall. (plus Xmas Dinner if accom is suitable)

Dec 6/7

Essex WRG

Foxton Inclined Plane and Christmas Dinner Weekend

Dec 7 Sun

IWPS

Bugsworth Basin

Dec 13/14

London WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Xmas party with KESCRG at Dauntsey Lock. See p31

Dec 13/14

KESCRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dauntsey Lock Xmas Party with London WRG. See p31

Dec 13/14

wrgBITM

Chichester Canal: Xmas Work Party. Hedgelaying and other towpath repairs.

Dec 13/14

NWPG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Double Bridge, nr. Laycock (accommodation: Devizes)

Dec 16 Tue

Navvies

Issue 202 Assembly (or Dec 17 or 18): London Canal Museum 7pm onwards

Dec 20 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Dec 21 Sun

IWPS

Bugsworth Basin

Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 0318

New Year Canal Camp: Venue to be arranged, possibly Mon & Brec

Dec 24-31

W&BCCo

Christmas Canal Campat Dauntsey

Jan 1 Thu

Navvies

Press date for issue 203: including Canal Societies directory

Jan 10/11

KESCRG

Chichester Ship Canal: Scrub bashing.

Jan 17/18

London WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Double Bridge or Pewsham Locks (Dig Deep)

Jan 17/18

wrgBITM

To be arranged

Feb 7/8

London WRG

To be arranged

Feb 7/8

KESCRG

Basingstoke Canal: Backpump project at St Johns flight. (Dig Deep)

page 22


Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. e-mail: dave.wedd@wrg.org.uk. Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

london@wrg.org.uk

Ian Edgar

01663-732493 enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Kevin Baker

01362-699855

John Gale

01277-654683

essex@wrg.org.uk

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

Ian Edgar

01663-732493

WRG Enquiries

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Answerphone

01622-858329

Kescrg@btinternet.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

london@wrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Ian Edgar

01663-732493

Kevin Baker

01362-699855

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

John Gale

01277-654683

essex@wrg.org.uk

Ian Edgar

01663-732493

Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

london@wrg.org.uk

Answerphone

01622-858329

Kescrg@btinternet.com

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

John Hawkins

01923-448559

hawkins@jote.fsnet.co.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Ian Edgar

01663-732493 enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Rachael Banyard

01249-892289

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

Answerphone

01622-858329

Kescrg@btinternet.com

Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

london@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Tim Lewis

020-8367-6227

london@wrg.org.uk

Answerphone

01622-858329

Kescrg@btinternet.com

page 23


Diary

Canal society regular working parties

Mobile groups' social evenings (please phone to confirm before turning up) London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before each dig. Usually at 'Jugged Hare', Vauxhall Bridge Rd, London. Tim Lewis 020-8367 6227 or e-mail tim@timlewis.org.uk.

NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586 Regular monthly or weekly working parties: 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 01543-373284 2nd Sunday & following Wed. BCS Cosgrove Athina Beckett 01908-661217 Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry 01288-353273 Every Sunday ChCT Various sites Mick Hodgetts 01246-620695 Mon & Wed mornings CCT Cotswolds Dudley Greenslade 01453 825515 Every weekend (Sat OR Sun) CCT Cotswolds Neil Ritchie 01452-854057 1st Sunday of month CCT Cotswolds: summit Mark Welton 01453-872405 Wednesday evenings CCT Cotswolds: East end Keith Harding 01451-860181 Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe 0121-608 0296 Last Sunday of month EAWA N Walsham & Dilham Kevin Baker 01362-699855 4th Sunday of month ECPDA Langley Mill Michael Golds 0115-932-8042 Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined PlaneMike Beech 0116-279-2657 1st & 3rd Sundays GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 0115-989-2248 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd 01823-661653 Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox 01432-358628 Wednesdays H&GCT Over Ted Beagles 01452-522648 Saturdays H&GCT Over Maggie Jones 01452-618010 Over wharf house fitout Nigel Bailey 01452-533835 Occasional Sundays H&GCT Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 01663-732493 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 01473-730586 01691-670826/49 2nd weekend of month IWA SBC Maesbury, Mont. Barry Tuffin 2nd weekend of month K&ACT John Rolls 01189-666316 1st Sunday of month LHCRT Lichfield Peter Matthews 01543-318933 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 01543-374370 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 01757-638027 2nd Sunday of month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 01744-731746 1st Sunday of month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell 01225-428055 Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 01483-721710 Last Sunday of month SNT Haverholme Lock Dave Pullen 01673-862278 3rd Sunday of month TMCA David Rouse 01474-362861 Approx 15th of month WACT Mid-Week group Colin Gibbs 020-82417736 Every Sunday & Thursday WACT Devils Hole Lock Eric Walker 023-9246-3025 Thursdays fortnightly WACT Maintenance Unit Peter Wilding 01483-422519 or for general information on Wey & Arun contact their office on 01403-752403 1st weekend of month WAT Little Tring Roger Leishman 01442-874536 Every weekend WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Peter Smith 01793-852883 Every Sunday W&BCC Dauntsey / Foxham Rachael Banyard 01249-892289 Please send any amendments, additions and deletions to Dave Wedd (address on previous page)

Abbreviations used in Diary BCNS BCS BCT ChCT CCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT D&SCS GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWA SBC

page 24

Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Cotswolds Canals Trust Droitwich Canals Trust East Anglian Waterways Association Erewash Canal Pres. & Devt. Assoc. Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society Grantham Canal Restoration Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust IWA Shrewsbury & Border Counties

IWPS K&ACT KESCRG LHCRT NWPG PCAS SCARS SCCS SHCS SNT TMCA WBCT W&BCC WACT WAT

Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust Newbury Working Party Group Pocklington Canal Amenity Society Sankey Canal Restoration Society Somersetshire Coal Canal Society Surrey & Hants Canal Society Sleaford Navigation Trust Thames & Medway Canal Association Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Company Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust


Dear All, I have always (well at least since last November!) regarded being National Chairman of IWA as a privileged position. After Beale Park I am overwhelmingly proud - not just of IWA, but especially of two significant parts of the whole - National Waterways Festivals and WRG. This note is just to thank you all for your wonderful efforts which made Beale Park such a wonderful and happy and successful event. I am sorry that I missed the pantomime, but I was forced to slum it at Newbury Hilton and the Canal Boatbuilders Association dinner that night. Being national chairman is so hard! I was a little worried about a WRGie from the North West, with initials not dissimilar from my own, normally well known for his subservient position when greeting the national chairman in public. He was so anxious to part with crinklies to the IWA / WRG appeal that he persuaded (bribed) my wife to attack me with a water pistol at my penultimate appearance on Sunday evening. That resulted in me then appearing at the commercial traders’ reception looking like a wet tea-shirt fetishist. I trust that when next he offers to ‘kiss the ground on which I walk’ that it will, in true Wakefield style, be as wet as my clothing at afore-mentioned reception! Seriously though, the event was great; you were great! Many, many thanks. John Fletcher IWA Chairman

Letters

A fate worse than brickcleaning? The work camp was very successful achieving all that Matt, Ed and I had programmed, and a fantastic effort considering the temperature was in the 30s for at least three days Can I, through Navvies, thank everyone involved with the camp for their efforts and the hard work carried out during the week? Well done all, and thank you! The project has moved forward and I anticipate being able to complete the inlet structure this autumn. Yours sincerely Pete Redway Chair SHCS; work party co-ordinator Dear Martin Re: Brian Bayston’s puzzle Thanks for adjudicating in the above competition. I am very pleased to have won. However I am not impressed with the prize. [In case you’ve forgotten, I gave Graham the first prize (a week in the cab of the WRG beavertail truck with Bungle) and Bungle the second prize (a week in the cab with Graham) ...Ed] A week's brick cleaning would be more interesting, enjoyable and useful.

Dear Martin, Bungle has asked me to write on his behalf (which is a damn cheek after some of the things he called me at the Saul camp) as he is unavailable to write an article this month. He is still recovering from the National (he said something about Vodka and Orange Juice - doesn’t do you any good that Orange Juice!) and hasn’t even seen the crane since he took the pictures for the last issue... However he has asked me to assure everyone that he will be back to bore you all again in the next issue.

Perhaps you can find a reason for disqualifying me from the competition? Then Bungle could be awarded both the first and second prizes, thereby spending a week by himself in the Beavertail, preferably in some distant lorry park. If you disqualify me I will make a donation of £100 to the ‘Right Tool for the Right Job’ appeal. The cheque is signed and awaiting posting. Your move. Graham Fitt

Yours sincerely Bungle’s Computer Dear Martin Re: Basingstoke Canal Camp Having returned from holiday, its back to reality and follow up letters post work camp.

As I’m sure that all competitors are aware, the rules concerning this type of puzzle always include something along the lines of ‘The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entere into.’ Therefore by writing the above letter, Graham has broken the rules of the competition and is hereby disqualified. OK will that do? ...Ed

page 25


Progress

The Dig Deep initiative looks for new projects Dig Deep update: September 2003

We have not been totally idle though. On the Wilts & Berks Dig Deep have been working on two separate sites. At Chaddington (Summit) lock we have helping the local team with the completion of work on the lower wing walls, thus finishing our commitment to this site. We may get asked to help again on a one-off basis should John and his team require any specific help with the upper wing walls. Most of our efforts on the W & B have been at Pewsham Locks and Double Bridge where we have helped scrub-bash the two bottom locks and bridge and have carried out a number of exploratory excavations at the locks prior to decisions being taken on methods of restoration. We await a formal submission by W & B Trust as to which (if either?) of these two structures they wish Dig Deep to tackle.

Martin Ludgate

The Dig Deep Initiative involves five mobile working party groups (London WRG, KESCRG, Essex WRG, NWPG and WRG BITM) committing themselves to carrying out a certain amount of volunteer work (whether in the form of Canal Camps or weekend working parties) on certain restoration projects in southern England that have been adopted as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Dig Deep Projectsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. And thereby hopefully enabling the local canal societies that we are supporting on these projects to be able to commit funds and materials to them in the knowledge that there will be the labour to complete them.

2003 has been perhaps the quietest year for Dig Deep since it started it 1992. This has not been through a lack of willing volunteers, as each of the five visiting groups remains committed to the concept. Rather it has been a year where there seems to have been a dearth of suitable work sites requiring regular input from visiting groups and which offer the range of construction work which a Dig Deep project needs.

Dig Deep on the Wilts & Berks: one project at Chaddington (Summit) lock comes to an end...

page 26


In the meantime further clearance working parties have been arranged over the forthcoming winter months. Dig Deep has also been working on the Wey & Arun (see NWPG camp report in the last Navvies). This work has involved the construction of a new overflow weir, causeway removal and towpath surfacing on the summit section in Sidney Wood. Two more weekend working parties have been arranged for the autumn when it is hoped to install the stop planks and railings on the weir, to place an earth dam above Lock 16 and to complete towpath surfacing from the compound to Lock 16. This will hopefully result in another showpiece length of canal, which should be in water during the winter and spring months at least.

Bravely Dig Deep have committed themselves to dates for next year on the Basingstoke, W & A and W & B canals without knowing exactly what we’ll be doing. I’m sure that our confidence will be shortly rewarded with details of some exciting work, which will keep us busy for the next two years at least. However, it is not an exclusive club and if you’re involved with a local canal society and think that you may have a suitable project then we’d be very keen to hear from you, by phone, letter or e-mail. Alternatively if you want to know more about Dig Deep then browse our web site www.dig-deep.org.uk. Alan Cavender (01628 629033) can provide more details. Bill Nicholson

Martin Ludgate

On the Basingstoke Canal Dig Deep has continued to support SHCS volunteers in the installation of the back pump pipe at St Johns. With the efforts of a summer camp the pipe is now about half way between locks 9 and 8 (we’re working downhill!) and the groups will continue to help through to next Easter when it’s hoped the pipe will reach the bottom of Lock 7. This can either be very satisfying or totally disheartening work depending on how many pipes get laid. On some weekends as many as 8 pipes go in on others we have struggled to lay a single pipe. Pick your dates carefully!

The Dig Deep groups met recently to discuss current progress and future plans. We are hopeful that two significant projects will materialise on both the Wilts & Berks and the Wey & Arun starting soon in 2004. We agreed that other suitable projects are likely to be short supply in view of the need for accessibility from the South of England where the majority of the volunteers live. We miss the opportunities of good work that the Cotswolds Canals used to offer, and hope that future work will come from there once the Heritage/Conservation Survey has been completed. Our discussions also centred on safety issues and how we should work together with WRG/IWA to improve the sharing of information following incidents such as that in Sidney Wood this summer.

...as another one at Pewsham Locksbegins, wirth initial clearnace including uncovering this dry-dock.

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WRG Wear

Be properly dressed in your WRG designer clothing...

Printed vest tops £7 Size:

Sml Med Lge

XL

XXL

XL

XXL

XL

XXL

XL

XXL

Black large logo Black small logo Navy large logo Navy small logo

WRG Wear Back from the Himalayas and back in motion – there’s not been a WRG Wear article in Navvies for ages so I thought I’d shock Martin by submitting something by the press date. Unfortunately WRG Wear prices have gone up slightly due to a rise in postage costs, however, they haven’t gone up in the last three years. To order WRG Wear at the new price - just fill in the number of each item you want - add up the total and send the form to me. (A photocopy will be fine if you can’t bear to cut up Navvies). n.b. the t-shirts DO NOT have the list of camps on the back - if your want these, you’ll need to order the 2004 ones from head office next year as 2003 ones are sold out.

Printed polo shirts £10 Size:

Sml Med Lge

Red Black Navy White

Please allow 4 weeks for delivery but if it takes longer then please please contact me asap. All items are printed/embroidered with the standard waterway recovery group logo.

Printed sweat shirts £12.50

Please note my phone number, the London landline hasn’t been reconnected yet so use the mobile – and I’m much more reliable on email at the moment.

Red

Size:

Sml Med Lge

Black Navy

New applications forms with the full range at new prices should be around soon and (at time of writing) Julian from Jancraft will be at the bonfire bash.

Grey

Helen Gardner Embroidered polo shirts £11 Printed t-shirts £7.50 Size:

Sml Med Lge

XL

XXL

Size:

Red large logo

Red

Red small logo

Black

Black large logo

Navy

Black small logo

White

page 28

Sml Med Lge


Embroidered sweat shirts (with ‘waterway recovery group’) £13.50 Size:

Sml Med Lge

XL

XXL

Red

WRG BC

Latest news from WRG’s own Boat Club

Black Navy

WRG Boat Club News Sept 2003

Grey

Embroidered rugby shirts £23.50 Size:

Sml Med Lge

XL

XXL

Red

Total:

Name:

Address (to be delivered to):

Contact phone Number:

I think that we had the greatest number of boat club boats ever gathered together, at Beale Park this year. I hope that other club members enjoyed it all as much as I did; I’m just sorry that being involved in The Historic Boat Parade each day took up so much time, all that boat shuffling before and after, I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked to be involved with other things. There was some measure of confusion over ‘The Cake Plan’, as when I knew that WRG needed a new mixer I did think that it might be ‘A bit small and a tight job’ making cement in a cake mixer, but I could understand that it would be easy to transport to sites. Still if that was what was wanted we could buy it, use it for our cake and then hand it over. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it was in fact a CEMENT MIXER that was wanted despite any transport difficulties. Not only that, but it had already been purchased and used for mixing cement, whatever next?! I am writing the truth (and it is not often that I am accused of that) when I tell you that I did go to King Alfred’s College, I did not do the cake making course, my cakes are not often burned but people have remarked on the similarity to cement in their texture. So undaunted and in front of witnesses a cake was mixed in the cement mixer. Here is my public apology to Dr Liz for the awful mess we made of it. I am so sorry for all the work we caused in cleaning it up. I would have helped, honest, had I known at the time...

Email Address: .

Please make cheque payable to ‘WRG Canal Camps’. Do not send cash. Send completed form to: Helen Gardner, WRGWear Orders, NB Sussex, The Boatyard, Rowdell Road, Northolt, UB5 6AG Enquiries / suggestions to: Helen Gardner 07989 425346. email wrgwear@wrg.org.uk

The good news is that lots of club members had made cakes on their boats which we collected and assembled into ‘The Great Wall of Cake’. It was suitably decorated with graffiti and then displayed, with tools and leaflets, at the awards ceremony. Many thanks to Dave Dent (MIP) for his patience and the publicity he gave us for ‘The Right Tool for the Right Job’ appeal. After that we sold off the cakes and made over £60 for the appeal! A happy ending to the tale: WRG got the cement mixer and some money and it all went well, very chaotic and great fun. Well done everyone and thank you all for being so supportive and helpful

page 29


WRG BC

“We are proud that the Lavender boatsflewtheWRGBCburgee...” Now for the AGM: despite having to constantly change the venue right up until it was happening, lots of members managed to track it down and join in. As WRG supper was late that night we had to start the social gathering before some could get there. Lots of nibbles appeared and Roger Jeffries not only managed the impromptu seating but did sterling work opening the bubbly which Fred & I had provided to enable all to toast LYNX built in 1913 so celebrating 90 years on the cut! (For any that were confused the boat is 90 years old not me!) Eventually we had to start the business side of the meeting before the late diners arrived, they came as soon as they could, some even missing their pudding to get there, what dedication! A few members who were unable to come to the meeting had kindly sent their apologies. One member had even sent a donation* towards the funding for the Great Wall of Cake. I think this is a trend to be encouraged. ‘We are sorry if you can’t make it but will accept presents (donations) in lieu of your presence’! The minutes of last year’s meeting were discussed and matters arising included showing the certificate the club had received from L&H David Suchet appeal for the £500 donation. The good news, that the troughs for the aqueduct have just been put into place, was greeted with cheers and toasting. The Commode Door reported that it had been a busy year with special mention of the opening of Aston Locks. As well as fulfilling the packed calendar of social events that the club has, she managed to find a Commodore’s cruise to go on and joined the one run by Acton Bridge CC on the river Weaver. The treasurer reported that we had enough money in the account to pay for the cement mixer and more. She gave out a provisional sheet of accounts and it was agreed that one previously unidentified payment was for AWCC burgees for resale to club members. It was agreed to keep subs at the existing bargain rate of £10 a year. The club rep was still busy wrging so hadn’t yet arrived at the meeting. Sue said that as Vice she had not heard of any this year, relating to the club anyway. There were murmers of something like ‘We don’t tell everyone everything’ from a corner.

page 30

The secretary reported that membership was up this year, with everyone paying up and a few new members. She managed to keep in touch with the membership, mostly by ‘snail mail’. A number of members were happy to receive information by email but she has had no luck in getting information from AWCC that way yet. She asked for help doing the boat club bit for Navvies every issue, as she is sure the readership will get fed up with hearing just from her. When it came to elections it was so difficult sorting out the shouting scrum of volunteers pushing themselves forward in the rush to take on the posts, that David Smith managed to calm them down by pointing out that in view of the good job the existing officers were doing, it would be a pity to change them. What a relief it was to the incumbents when Vaughan Welsh seconded this and all agreed! Places where boats can get near to restoration work were discussed and Mike Chessher said that WAT would be most pleased to see us at a dig on the Wendover. The venue for this AGM was not satisfactory and Sadie explained that the problem was mostly because all the places she had requested were in security areas and not available in the evening. Ian West happened to be passing so the idea, of a suitable marquee or tent area being made available to groups wishing to hold evening meetings during The National, was suggested and will go forward to those that can arrange such things. Lynne has taken on the job of holding our stock of burgees etc so any requests and payments need to go to her. Plans for assembling the cake were sorted and there being no other business the secretary pointed out, to those that don’t pay by standing order, the advantage of paying subs then and there to save postage. The social side of the evening continued around the queue of willing members eagerly paying up. We are very proud that BOTH Lavender boats flew the WRG BC burgee throughout the whole weekend at Beale Park. *As those dedicated folk that helped with the cake were happy to donate their contributions this money will go direct to the RTftRJ appeal. XXX Sadie Dean 07748186867 sadiedean@vodafone.net Lynne: 01159661233


Bonfire Bash on the what? ... on the Cotswolds... No, the Wilts & Berks... errr... make that the Mon & Brec... As you may have gathered, we’ve been having a spot of bother finding a location for the biggest weekend work party of the year, the Reunion Bonfire Bash Weekend on November 8th-9th. Well, after much searching, and having to reject several sites because we couldn’t find enough work for 100+ volunteers, or we couldn’t find enough accommodation for them, or both... We hope that we have finally found a suitable location, at... wait for it... ...the Basingstoke Canal. The work will be based around Ash Embankment, removing trees and scrub that might if left uncontrolled threaten the stability of the banks. And if enough experienced volunteers book in, we might also carry out some more work on the St Johns back-pumping scheme where the summer Canal Camp made great progress, but there’s still a bit left to do. So hopefully there will be work to suit everyone, whether your forte is operating plant or chopping down and burning plants. All being well, the accommodation will be in the Malta Barracks, a Territorial Army base, complete with parade ground for parking vehicles in. As I write, local organiser Pete Redway is gradually working his way up the ranks, from Major to Colonel to Brigadeer trying to get to the person who can give it his official approval - hopefully by the time you read this the Commander-in-Chief of HM Armed Forces will have decided whether it’s OK for a crowd of WRGies to kip in a row of Army huts in Aldershot... Seriously, the final approval for the accommodation is still awaited as we go to press, but we’re hopeful. Anyway, there should be an insert in this issue with a booking form and details (OK, I know we said that last time!) and if there isn’t, just contact our head office address (see the top of page 23) or see www.wrg.org.uk. And SEND YOUR FORM IN AS SOON AS YOU CAN! Please note: as with last year’s event, assuming we get permission (and we’re hopeful) for a proper Guy Fawkes Night ‘do’ on the Saturday evening, the organisers will be buying all the fireworks ourselves beforehand - please don’t bring your own fireworks: it’s not covered by our insurance, and anyway a contribution towards the cost of fireworks has already been included in the cost of the weekend.

Navvies news

Do we know where the Bonfire Bash is yet? London WRG / KESCRG Christmas dig Another favourite annual event on the digging calendar, and - I’m afraid - another case of us not being absolutely 100% sure where it’s going to be. One thing that we do know for sure is that it has had to be moved a week to 13-14 December. Assuming that the accommodation can be sorted (which looks likely), we’ll be back at Dauntsey on the Wilts & Berks Canal, doing some scrub-bashing, hedge-laying, and possibly also some construction work at Seven Locks. One thing that is decided is the theme for the Saturday night Christmas Party fancy dress and silly games - ‘Stations on the London Underground’. Surprisingly, it was actually KESCRG rather than London WRG who came up with this idea - maybe they’re giving us a sporting chance after thrashing us most years in the past! Anyway that gives you around 300 different ones to choose from for your fancy dress - some of them easy (Victoria, Angel, Paddington etc.), some of them a little harder (St Pauls, Heathrow Terminal 4, Parsons Green...), some of them requiring you to be seriously inventive (Totteridge & Whetstone, Chalfont & Latimer...) and some about which the less said the better (Arsenal, Cockfosters...) Once again Brian & Maureen Amos will be providing us with their delicious catering, and as usual London WRG are expected to be in charge of the supply of Real Ale. The price will be £12 - to book, please send a cheque (pay KESCRG) to Brian and Maureen Amos, 13 Trosley Avenue, Dartford DA11 7QN. Please also send them your name, address and phone number, and any special dietary requirements. For the latest information contact Eddie Jones on 07850 89249, email eddiejones@jazzfm.com, or see the London WRG web site www.london. wrg.org.uk or the KESCRG web site www.kescrg.org.uk. And don’t forget - MIND THE GAP!

page 31


Navvies news

Christmas and New Year Canal Camps New Year Canal Camp If you’ve just read about the Bonfire Bash and the London WRG / KESCRG Christmas party dig on the previous page, then I bet you can guess what I’m about to say about the New Year Camp... That’s right - we’re not 100% sure exactly where it’s going to be yet.

One Christmas event that is definitely happening is the Wilts & Berks Canal Co’s Christmas Camp at Dauntsey, carrying out scrub-clearance, hedgelaying, towpath work and possibly some bricklaying at Seven Locks. Accommodation is likely to be Foxham Reading Rooms, and the contact is Rachael Banyard on 01249-892289.

The Right Bear for the Right Job? Throughout the weekend of the National Waterways Festival at Beale Park, visitors were invited to Name the Bear and to make a £1 donation to the WRG Right Tools for the Right Job appeal (See Navvies 200). The Bear – a hand crafted collectors item generously donated by Sharon McCormack Spencer of Box Bears – was clearly much sought after and raised over £400 for the appeal. A big thanks to all who donated and to Ann, Chris, Barry, Dave and all on the WRG stand for generating so much interest. The Bear is called WORCESTER and he has been welcomed into the home of the Cox Family from Reading who named him correctly.

IWPS

But it’s looking likely to be the Mon & Brec, so if you fancy some scrub-bashing and festivities in South Wales, write down the dates 26 December to 1 January in your diary and check the website to see where the camp’s going to be.

Christmas at Dauntsey

Recognise it? Yes., that’s right, it’s Bugsworth Basin with boats in it, in the all-too-brief period a few years ago when it was open to boats before it had to shut again because the leaks got too bad. Hopefully it will be open again permanently in 2004, but in the meantime IWPS are looking for regional groups with bricklaying / stonemasonry skills and/or forestry skills to help them. If your group can help, please get in touch and volunteer your services to Ian Edgar: email ian@browside.co.uk.

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Navvies news

Cotswold Canals mailing list If you’re on email and you’re interested in the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn Canals restoration, why not subscribe to the Cotswold Canals mailing list and receive information by email about working parties etc on the Cotswolds? To subscribe, simply send a blank email to: cotswoldcanals-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

“Why Palmer’s not at work today”

Palmer’s sicknote: the song

Dear Sir I write this note to you to tell you of my plight For at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight My body it is black and blue, my face is deathly grey And I write this to say why Palmer’s not at work today

Well when these bricks had fallen from the barrel to the floor Then I outweighed the barrel and so started down once more Still clinging tightly to the rope, me body racked with pain When halfway down I met the bloody barrel once again

Whilst working down at Mortice Lock some bricks I had to clear But to throw them down from such a height was not a good idea The Leader wasn’t very pleased, him being an awkward sod He said I’d have to carry them down the ladder in me hod

The force of this collision in the midst of Mortice Lock Caused multiple abrasions and a nasty case of shock Still clinging tightly to the rope I sped toward the ground And landed in the broken bricks that were all scattered round

To carry all these bricks by hand it was so very slow So I hoisted up a barrel and secured a rope below. But in my haste to do the job I was too blind to see That a barrel full of building bricks was heavier than me

Well as I lay upon the ground I thought I’d passed the worst But the barrel hit the pulley wheel and then the bottom burst A shower of bricks rained down on me, I didn’t stand a hope As I lay there bleeding on the ground I let go the bloody rope

And so when I untied the rope the barrel fell like lead And clinging tightly to the rope I stated up instead I shot up like a rocket til to my dismay I found That half-way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

The barrel now being heavier it started down once more And landed right across me as I lay upon the floor It broke 3 ribs and my left arm and I can only say Sure I’ll hope you’ll understand why Palmer’s not at work today.

Martin Ludgate

The barrel broke my shoulder as to the ground it sped And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with my head Still clinging tightly to the rope despite this mighty blow Whilst the barrel spilled out half its load some 14 feet below

David Johnson

By popular demand, the words to one of the songs that Bungle sang in the Panto - with apologies to whoever wrote the original...

What a difference six months makes! The lock at Froghall last Winter, and in September.

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Noticeboard

Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 e-mail: mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Found... 1 stainless steel thermos flask Thin green bag containing: Monster cable cap, Shoe cleaning kit, purple towel , etc. etc. etc.

Magazines Waterways magazines for sale.

Book entitled "The war of Don Emmanuels Nether Parts"

Back issues of Waterways World, Canal & Riverboat, Canal Boat, Navvies etc. available for sale.

Pair of glasses with clip over sun shades in blue case

All proceeds to WRG.

Pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses in black case

Contact Sheelah Lockwood on 01908 675255

Blue British Telecom boiler jacket, size 9.

To reclaim them, contact Bungle: 07771 775745 or bungle@wrg.org.uk

Stamps wanted

New on the WRG Website... ...pictures from most of this summer’s Canal Camps (and a chance to add your comments). And maybe a ‘Bungle’s Lost Property’ section!

Navvies Production

Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conSubscriptions / circulation servation of inland waterSue Watts ways by voluntary effort in 15 Eleanor Road Great Britain. Articles may Chorlton-cum-Hardy be reproduced in allied Manchester M21 9FZ magazines provided that Printing and assembly: the source is acknowlJohn & Tess Hawkins edged. WRG may not 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn agree with opinions exRickmansworth, Herts pressed in this magazine, WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 but encourages publication john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk as a matter of interest. Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266

page 34

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

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. Waterway Recovery Group is a division of Inland Waterways Enterprises Ltd., a subsidiary of the Inland Waterways Association (a registered charity).

Send used postage stamps, petrol coupons, old phone cards, empty computer printer ink cartridges to IWA/WRG Stamp Bank, 33 Hambleton Grove, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS. All proceeds to canal restoration.

Directors of WRG: John Baylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, Roger Burchett, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, Helen Davey, Roger Day, Neil Edwards, John Fletcher, Adrian Fry, John Hawkins, Jennifer Leigh, Judith Moore, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith.

Inland Waterways Enterprises Registered office: Secretary: Neil Edwards 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Rickmansworth WD3 1LT VAT reg. no : 788 9425 54 © 2003 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655


Seen on the WRG NW stall...

Infill

Thank you to Ian Williamson..

...a surviving relic from the early days of WRG. The T-shirt’s quite old, too... ...for this picture taken at Dorset Steam Fair of what he describes as ‘perfect dumper for towpaths’. Hmmm.

Martin Ludgate

Meanwhile at Beale Park...

...we’re glad to report that there were no fallings-out at all between the WRG ‘red shirts’ and the IWA / NWF ‘blue shirts’, nor betwen the fencing crew and anyone else. No, honestly.

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Navvies 201  

Navvies 201

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