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avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No 211 June - July 2005

Reopenings! The first ever Camp Report? David Hutchings: an appreciation

waterway recovery group


Contents

Contributions...

...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" floppy disk, CD-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 email attachments, preferably JPG format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or email to martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for No 212: July 1st.

Subscriptions

In this issue:

Chairman’s Comment MKP goes digging! 4-5 Camp Report Easter at Froghall 6-8 Camp preview the rest of the summer 9-11 Camp Report BITM on the Wendover 12-15 Cavalcade Little Venice report and pics 16-19 Diary Canal Camp and working party dates20-22 Letters to the editor 23-24 Training report from the training weekend 25 David Hutchings An appreciation 26-27 The first one? A 44 year old camp report 28-30 Concreting and reinforcing explained 31 Photographs of this year’s camps wanted32-33 Logistics Don’t send back stuff you didn’t get! 34 Trailers how to pack one 35 Minibuses how to pass the minibus test 36-37 WRGBC WRG Boat Club news 38 Noticeboard 39 Backfill how many laptops does Bungle need? 40

And next time...

....we hope to include part two of the Concreting A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a article, a Dig Deep progress report, the Navvies minimum of £1.50 (please add a donation if pos- Directory, information and a booking form for the sible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton- Bonfire Bash... and the first of this summer’s Cacum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to nal Camp reports - provided you write them and send them in sharpish! "Waterway Recovery Group" please. Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for all the latest news of WRG's activities

Martin Ludgate

Cover photo: One down, thirteen to go. The Mayor of Newport prepares to cut the tape, officially opening the restored top lock at Fourteen Locks on the Mon & Brec. (Photo by Martin Ludgate) Below: Second time lucky. A hundred boats packed the basins at Bugsworth for an Easter reopening. Let’s hope it holds water this time.

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First the bad news...

Editorial

I’m sorry that this issue of Navvies is running a little late, leaving you little time to read and act upon the Camps Preview article before the camps actually happen. Unfortunately when it was due to go to press several important articles, which couldn’t wait until the next issue, hadn’t arrived. More unfortunately, WRGPrint (aka John and Tess Hawkins) were about to go on holiday so we couldn’t just delay it a few days. Even more unfortunately, your editor actually has a day-job that involves deadlines and busy times of month and couldn’t simply wait for a week or two and pick up where he left off. So the whole issue went on hold for several weeks until a convenient time to start work on it again. Which gave the authors of the late-running articles time to get them finished and emailed to the ed, so that they were all sitting there ready for him to start work immediately his first free weekend arrived? Yeah right, like hell they did.

We apologise for the late arrival of the latest Navvies...

Anyway the purpose of this whinge is to point out to anyone considering sending anything in for the next issue that you’d better get your arse into gear sharpish, because by the time this finally gets to you the next press date is probably either today or tomorrow. And once again, the inconvenience of having a day-job, plus the inconsiderate buggers in WRG Print insisting on the occasional day away from slaving over the hot metal in the garden shed, are conspiring to make this another issue that really needs to go off on time or not at all. Don’t delay - send it in TODAY! And then the good news... The good news is that the fruits of our labour are all around us, even more than usual at the moment. I’m talking about canal reopenings. First there was the final (we hope!) reopening of Bugsworth Basin on the Easter weekend, followed two days later by the opening of Phase One of the Wendover Arm including Little Tring Bridge and the new winding-hole. (no more two-mile reverses for full-length boats!) Then a couple of weeks later Chaddington Lock (formerly Summit Lock) on the Wilts & Berks opened - and although it doesn’t happen to have any gates or any water either side of it yet, that didn’t stop them having a ‘proper’ opening with a boat in the lock! Next, it was the turn of the top lock at Fourteen Locks on the Mon & Brec - plus the half-mile of canal above it - which had its official opening on June 3rd. Finally, Destination Froghall is approaching completion, with the basin re-watered already, and boats due to enter Lock 1 of the Uttoxeter Canal at the official opening on July 23rd. Well done to all the canal societies, volunteers, and everyone else who has made all these possible. And the even better news...

Martin Ludgate

...is that I’m now going to shut up and let you look at pictures of ‘why we do it’, rather than reading any more of my rantings. Martin Ludgate

With Wendover Arm Trust patron David Suchet on the bows, the first narrowboat amd the first cruiser pass under the rebuilt Little Tring Bridge on the restored Phase One length of the Wendover Arm.

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Chairman

We had a useful discussion and it was due to be raised at the BW executive directors meeting last week. I only hope that those at the very top of BW give this subject some real resources so that progress can be made.

Chairman’s comment

But the initial signs don’t look good. Every May, BW publish their vision for the next few years – for the last two it has made commitments to working with volunteers, even name checking us (as waterwayS recovery group!). This year the report has no reference to volunteers at all.

It seems that my comment in the last Navvies has touched a nerve – since it was published I have had calls from several waterway managers asking me to press home the points as they had active restorations that needed volunteers but they could see no way to involve them due to British Waterways’ contractor regime. I have also been asked to write an article for a real magazine (sorry Martin!) about the problems facing volunteers trying to work on restoration sites. But we have had a very productive meeting with BW – actually the original point of the meeting was to discuss volunteer-run public events but it made sense to expand the agenda to take in my points of concern.

On to things that are important no matter where we work. May 11th - 12th saw another successful Training Weekend, masterminded as ever by Womble, who this year was assisted by Mitch in the kitchen and Brian Bayston on site. Brian is a new addition to the team and, assuming we can keep him during the tricky transfer season, we hope to have him on our side again next year. One of his breakthroughs this year was developing contacts in Terex Construction Equipment (formerly Benford) who were very generous in providing training facilities. I have written to thank them but I would like to publicly thank Terex, especially Andy Godridge and Peter Webb for their efforts.

Martin Ludgate

“This year, the BW report has no reference to volunteers...”

Chaddington Lock on the Wilts & Berks - restored by WBCT and Dig Deep volunteers - sees its first boat for a century: 100-year-old traditional Thames skiff Emily.

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We always try to tailor the Training Weekend to address the planned work for the following year and one of the features this year were some practical seminars. Basically these were for areas of work that didn’t really require one-to-one training and, although each one was led by an experienced navvy, it was all about exchanging tips between the people there. These actually had some outputs rather than just being a talking-shop and (assuming I find time to type up the notes) one of them, on concrete and reinforcing, should be the base for an article in this Navvies. See page 27.

The official reopening of Froghall Basin on the Caldon / Uttoxeter Canals has been confirmed for July 23rd. Overnight accommodation is available, supplies of beer are promised, and everyone who has worked at Froghall is very welcome to come along and celebrate the completion of work and opening of the basin. Contact TIm Lewis on 07802 518094 ot tim@timlewis.org,.uk to book accommodation. Finally, I have just spent the weekend doing what is, for me, the first bit of digging this year. Awful to admit, I know, but it did feel good to get back to basics – no agendas, no meetings, just a mattock, a lot of laughs and a trench to dig. It has certainly reminded me about just how much fun the work can actually be and I am really looking forward to a great summer – hope to see you all somewhere. Hugs and kisses Mike Palmer * Obviously we won’t be keeping it a secret – it’s just that we haven’t confirmed the booking yet...

Rupert Smedley

Looking ahead, you may remember that a few years ago we started a tradition of WRG Race Nights (indeed, you may have attended one, in which case you will definitely remember). We skipped 2004 due to other pressures but we are going to make good by announcing the next two. Firstly we will be running one on October 15th at a secret* venue in the Midlands. Secondly we intend to run one at the IWA Campaign rally on the Basingstoke canal next year, as part of the evening events. These are not only great fun but also make a useful and significant contribution to restoration funds, and represent an excellent way for members of IWA, local canal societies, etc to come and support us. So put these dates in your diary and look out for further details.

STOP PRESS: Froghall Opening

Are you coming to the opening on July 23rd? The restored basin at Froghall, terminus of the Caldon Canal and start of the Uttoxeter Canal, seen full of water and almost ready for its first boats.

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Camp report

Easter at Froghall on the Uttoxeter Canal Canal Camp 0501: Froghall

Following close behind, the fence-rails team (Nic, Nick, Steve, David and Rowena, in varying permutations) joined up the dots, and by the end of the week there was order, measured to the nearest millimetre (that’s 0.1 of a centimetre, for your information, Gav), where previously there had been wild open country. Banished beyond were the stumpery and the twiggery (for the convenience of hedgehogs, etc.), and contained within were a neat path and – mud.

Sarah Patey

We started with the Wow! moment. Gentle readers (and some not so gentle, I’ll warrant), may remember that I was guilty of the report for the Froghall 2004 camp, and things have moved on since then: the basin now is a basin. It has posh locksides and coping stones (nearly) all the way around. When Gav, our esteemed leader, and Phil (assistant leader) took us on our site visit on the Friday afternoon it was no longer a forest of trees in a bog, it had turned into a forest of big bendy toys in mud.

Mud. That was it, really. We spent the week moving mud. For some reason (see Mike Palmer’s article in Navvies 208... or 209.. or 210...) we “Basically, I’m a human JCB”, Bryan growled into the microweren’t allowed bendy toys like the big phone of the local radio reporter boys working for the contractors, so we did it all by hand, shovel and wheelbarrow. But very little of that mud was in the same place The subtle bit was the different kinds of mud we as it had been at the start of the week. The rest of moved. us started the week by moving the fencing materials off the bit that needed stone-picking, so that The task for the week was to landscape the west- it could be landscaped, and topsoil added. There ern side of Froghall Basin. We were to fence off are different ways of moving mud. The conventhe edges of the site and the path, landscape tional way is with a shovel and barrow, but quite a ready for grass and shrubs, revive the path (the lot of our second variety of mud, landscaping mud, one that the Froghall 2004 Camp had created and was transported that day by adhesion to boots. the contractors had trampled all over – grrr!) and set three beautiful wooden benches in cobbled On Saturday some of us (James, Martyn, Alex and surrounds. John, Working Party Organiser for the yrs truly) were diverted by Gav to investigate a third Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust, who worked variety of mud: bench mud. The task with the alongside us all week, had been planning, meas- benches was to dig a rectangular channel in order uring, ordering materials and negotiating for to lay a concrete base for the cobble sets around weeks with BW and the contractors, and there the benches, then within the channel dig two deeper were carefully thought-out and detailed plans in holes so that the legs of the bench (lots of mm – a fat folder. All we had to do was – do it. longer than your legs) could be let down and then set in more concrete – vandal-proof, we hope. The first variety of mud that got moved was fencepost mud. Marcus (senior), Bryan and Richard The final result was the bench (offset to allow were the fence-post supremos, marching relent- space for a push-chair or wheelchair) over a base lessly around the site as the week progressed, of the path finish (gravel), within cobble sets. wielding a particularly fierce set of giant tweez- Sounds easy, huh? Well, as we discovered last ers. ‘Basically, I’m a human JCB,’ Bryan growled year, the fact that there’d been an industrial traminto the microphone of the local radio reporter who way over that bit of land in days of yore didn’t half visited on the Wednesday. make the ground compacted!

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By Sunday the concrete was in and Nina had arrived, complete with troglodyte (theodolite is the proper name, I believe) ticket, which made all the measuring (a) right and (b) fun (well, I thought so). By Monday the benches were motoring (well, in a static kind of way): Martyn, Alex and myself on bench 1; Nina, Viv and Paul digging out for bench 2; James, Yas and Greg marking out bench 3 near the lockside. On Tuesday Rick turned up, and with Martyn and Alex set the cobbles for bench 1, which looked glorious – and finished – by the end of the day.

Camp report

“...and Nina had arrived complete with troglodyte...” Bench 2 was doing well by then, and the bench 3 team was measuring carefully in order to end up with a horizontal bench on sloping ground. Cue the troglodyte. Bench 2 was finished by the end of Wednesday. Bench 3 went up to the wire, but eventually it was borne triumphantly to its resting place.

Sarah Patey

It looked great by Thursday evening, in time for the team photo (see the website).

Sarah Patey

Load-testing the completed Bench 1

The lockside path is flanked by superb landscaping. Viv and Mark had visited on the Wednesday and put in a day’s work on that alongside Paul. That day the local press visited. The photographer was wearing neatly-pressed black trousers but didn’t hesitate to jump over the fence into (guess what) the mud Paul was also landscaping. She asked him to aim his mattock at her camera (almost), and he obliged with a big grin. Another (overnight) visitor was Martin Ludgate – this was the Uttoxeter-Camp-as-Travelodge feature of the week.

Bench 3 is borne triumphantly to its resting place

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“Not a clod of mud out of place (well, not many…)”

David, Rowena and Marcus (junior) broke away from the crowd on Tuesday and planted some shrubs on the other side of the basin, on the slopes beyond the car park. Another little pocket of activity was the stonework in the railway siding, where there was mortar to reinstate in the stonework. Alan even put down his camera and picked up a tool, but not before he’d taken the photo of Alice and Fiona that shows it’s much better not to look too hard at what you’re doing. The grand finale to the week was the path. Task 1: rediscover where Froghall 2004 had laid terram; task 2: terram the rest of the path. Trouble was, it had rained – heavily – so we started by bailing out where the path was to go… Paul, Marcus (junior) and Yas set to with a will – something about getting their own back on the rain and the mud I suspect – to even up the different levels. As other jobs came to an end gradually everyone got involved. The contractors delivered the large pebbles they were digging out of the basin, these were spread on the terram and Marcus (senior) went back and forth with the roller, while Phil wackered the gravel on the western end of the path. Not a clod of mud out of place (well, not many…).

Sarah Patey

And the home front? The food was fantastic (thanks, Harri!), and not in short supply. The pub (The Wagon and Trouserpress – ‘Alan calls it that so it must be funny’ – Marcus senior) must have been OK too – they all kept going back there in spite of the disincentive of having to walk home: the scouts were re-doing the approach track, and it was even muddier than site (Nick: ‘Do you suppose this left-over cous-cous would help set the track?’).

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Sarah Patey Don’t forget - you’re all invited to the official opening of the Froghall Basin on July 23rd ...Ed

Sarah Patey

Camp report

There was a bowling expedition on the Tuesday evening, complete with free (undrinkable) ‘Champagne’ – they didn’t give us all we’d paid for, so there had to be a cinema expedition on Wednesday to the same leisure centre to claim what was still owing. Not that there was a shortage of booze at the accommodation – see the comment by Marcus (junior) on the website. John, Julie and Rupert of the local Canals Trust came to join us for our barbecue on the final evening, and there was much to celebrate (and much to celebrate with…) in spite of the rain.

Above: “In 2004 they laid some Terram somewhere here...” Below: “The photo of Alice and Fiona that shows it’s much better not to look too hard at what you’re doing”


Canal Camp Preview Part 2 By the time you read this, the main summer canal camps season will be just starting. However you will still have plenty of time to get your booking form in for Camps 12 to 21, which will be happening between August and the end of the year. But first a quick update on Camps 01-10... Camp 01 on the Uttoxeter Canal made a significant impact over the Easter weekend. You’ll find a camp report in this Navvies, and you’re all welcome to turn up for the official re-opening of the restored canal basin on the 23rd of July. We can also confirm some more of the leaders for the first half of the camps season. Lou Kellett, ‘Cookie Craig’ Greenaway and Ed Higgins will be running the Grantham Camp 04 on 2nd – 9th July. Lauren Summersgill will be assisting Gavin Moor on the Grand Western on Camp 08 on 16th – 23rd July. And Rob Daffern and James Butler will be starting things off on the Mon & Brec on Camp 11 on 23rd – 30th July.

Preview

Looking forward to the rest of this summer’s Canal Camps It’s not quite a first for us (those with long memories will remember building new locks on the Avon and the Great Ouse in the 1970s) but it certainly promises to be an interesting and different job and a chance to really show the world what the volunteer movement is capable of. Now on to the second half of the programme... Camp 12 on the Wilts & Berks on 30th July – 6th August will be led by Rachel Banyard and Luke Walker, and will continue working on the flight of seven brick-built locks that carried the canal up a hillside west of Wootton Bassett. The camp leaders and the local canal society organisers are one and the same, so everything should be well organised. Work will involve restoration on Lock 3 and initial work on lock 4. Accommodation will be in the Foxham Reading Rooms.

Martin Ludgate

The leadership for Camps 05, 07 and 09 on the Wey & Arun Canal is still as per the last Navvies, but the work has had to be changed. Originally the plan was to spend the three weeks from July 9th to 30th rebuilding the top end of Brewhurst Lock in order to lower a section of canal so that it can be squeezed under the currently culverted main road bridge by the Onslow Arms at Loxwood without having to raise the road level. Unfortunately it’s not been possible to get permission for a temporary closure of the towpath (a public bridleway) in time for the work to start this summer. So instead of lowering Brewhurst Lock we’ll be starting work on building a brand new lock the other side of the road to bring the canal back up to the cor- Lock 4 of the Seven Locks flight, site for Camp 12 on the Wilts & Berks, seen rect level. receiving attention from London WRG recently

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Preview

“...and there shouldn’t be too much brick-cleaning...” Camp 13 (also on July 30th - August 6th) is the second of two weeks on the Mon & Brec in South Wales, with work continuing on restore the spectacular Fourteen Locks flight. This year’s projects will probably be focusing on the complex system of spillweirs and bywashes around the top half of the flight. Accommodation will be in the usual church hall with excellent facilities and a warm welcome is assured in the local pubs. On arrival at this camp everything should be set up and running as this is the second week on this project. As with all camps on the Mon & Brec, we can rely on the local canal trust to provide the usual excellent support for the work and social life.

Accommodation will be in the recently refurbished Dymock Village Hall where we have exclusive use of the Loft. The hall has the added bonus of being right next door to the pub and Ed Walker has already informed the landlord when we will be in residence. What’s Ed got to do with it? See below... Next comes Camp 16 on the Lichfield Canal on 13th – 20th August, run by Mike Palmer and Becky Parr with Jude Moore cooking. As Mike says, ”We’re going to be reconstructing the recently exposed towpath wall between Lock 25 and 26 in Mrs Nicelady’s garden. Accommodation is the St Chads scout hut as used last year. Trust me.. It’ll be fine. And… there shouldn’t be too much brick cleaning! (Never a truer word said?)” Meanwhile back at the H&G, Camp 17 (13th – 20th August) sees Liz Wilson and Ed Walker leading the volunteers as they continue with the restoration of the aqueduct. As well as evenings visiting the adjacent pub (which will have plentiful supplies of beer, thanks to Ed’s forethought - see above!) they are planning a number of trips out including a boat ride and a brewery tour. This camp should also put some finishing touches to Oxenhall House Lock including replacing a set of stop planks and re-laying some coping stones on a tail wall.

Ed Walker

For Camp 14 (6th – 13th August) we return to the Wilts & Berks but to a different site – Calne Lock. This camp has a leadership trio of Helen ‘Bushbaby’ Gardner, Mark ‘Mk2’ Richardson and ‘Teacher Chris’ Blaxland and should be great fun. Once everyone has learnt the leaders’ nicknames, the work will be a mixture of jobs connected with the restoration of the lock at the end of the branch of the canal that ran into the town of Calne.

The same week (6th to 13th August) we head for the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal for Camp 15, the first of two weeks working on the restoration of an aqueduct over the Ell Brook near Oxenhall village. The local canal trust have made an excellent start on this job, and Tom Cutting and Dave Bradford will be leading the work input into pushing the project forward. Work will be varied: from demolition to cutting and laying the stone blocks to rebuild the aqueduct parapets. There may be a chance to brush-up on excavator skills as Tom says he needs something to move his stone magnet (whatever that is!) with.

Camps 15 and 17 will start rebuilding Ell Brook Aqueduct on the H&G

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The traditional finale to the main summer programme is a Festival Camp supporting the IWA’s National Waterways Festival, and this year is no exception.


Camp 18 at Preston Brook, on the historic Bridgewater Canal in rural Cheshire, runs for eight days from 23rd to 31st August and is led by Al Moore and Richard Worthington. If you’ve never enjoyed the fun of a festival camp before, you really should go along and find out what it is all about. The festival organisers are planning an Alice in Wonderland theme (as author Lewis Carroll was born near there) which should make for an interesting sight as Moose organises the Mad Hatters Tea Party (aka the fencing team?) After a short break to recover from the festival we head for a brand-new site for Camp 19 on 11th – 18th September: the Middle Level Navigations in the Lincolnshire Fenlands. Ramsey Forty Foot Drain to be precise - but don’t let that put you off: it isn’t really an open sewer, just a canal that formed part of the land drainage as well as carrying boats. In simple terms this camp will be raising a bridge, and will be led by Mike Palmer and George ‘Bungle’ Eycott who say “Basically we will be using a cement mixer and couple of large jacks.” (We’ll leave you to wonder how?) If you are attending we can assure you that all the kit will be in working order at the start of the week; how long this will last once Bungle arrives is anybody’s guess! October camp, what October camp? Although not in the Canal Camps Brochure, we’ve added another camp on the Wilts & Berks Canal running from October 22nd to 29th. Camp 21 (OK that means the numbers will be out-of-sequence but we don’t want to have to re-number any camps) will be led by Jo ‘Smudge’ Smith and Dave ‘Taz’ Tarrant. Although details are being finalised as we write this, the provisional plan is to work at either Seven Locks or Dauntsey. Tasks are likely to include reconstructing lock walls and also some landscaping works. See Navvies News on pages 33-34 for more information.

And then the Bonfire Bash... The Bonfire Bash weekend work party on 5th6th November will be in Wales this year, almost literally under the M4! After a successful Bash in 2002, the Mon & Brec trust have invited us back to clear some more of the sidepounds and chambers of the Fourteen locks. We also need to check that there has been no re-growth since our last visit - and if there has, deal with it. Accommodation will be in the same modern school used three years ago - let’s hope they’ve finished building it now! See the next Navvies for more details and a booking form. And finally, the Christmas Camp... We don’t quite know where this year’s Christmas camp will be yet (one possibility is the Grantham), but it will be led by Moose, and as ever there will be scrub-bashing with lots of big bonfires plus the usual Christmas and New Year celebrations. Adrian Fry and Gavin Moor.

For all the latest news: Up-to-date info on all Canal Camps will appear on our website and will also be sent out periodically by email via the Canal Camps Mailing List. If you don’t already subscribe to the mailing list and want to join, follow the instructions at www.wrg.org.uk.

Martin Ludgate

John Hawkins

M

Essex and NW WRG build a slipway at Fourteen Locks London WRG uncover a towpath wall on the on the Mon & Brec, the site for Camps 11 and 13. Lichfield Canal, ready for rebuilding on Camp 16.

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Camp Report BITM on the Wendover: Summer 2004

Camp Report: 31st July to 8th August 2004 WRG BITM on the Wendover Arm “There are good bacteria and there are bad bacteria.” It came up in conversation: “We can’t be bothered to wash our hands before having sandwiches”. Maurice remarked “that is the trouble these days, with people getting illnesses because they don’t eat enough bacteria”. He added: “The thing is, there are good bacteria and there are bad bacteria”. And so we progressed on to the Yakult TV Ad. Bob said “As we all have been handling Bentonite and ingesting some of it with our sandwiches, perhaps we ought to market Bentonite as a product to give us the good bacteria”. There was no comment from those suffering from constipation… Friday: To be a success a camp needs one or two people that go the extra mile to get things rolling: this year we were blessed with two. The camp was scheduled to start on Saturday the 31st of July. Phil Cardy left home early Friday am, collected Dave Rudland’s minibus just after 09.00 and arrived on site at 10.30. Once on site he removed the fence and cleared rubbish, whilst waiting for to take delivery of the plant. Oliver Revel arrived early in the afternoon, just after 14.00, to clean the hall. We happily use the Scout hall for weekend digs but it has rather basic facilities for a weeks stay. Sadly it seems that Tring Scouts have yet to learn about cleaning so Oliver spent his afternoon on domestic duties. On weekends, you can get by with 20 to 30 volunteers taking turns to use a small washbasin, knowing that they will go home on Sunday to a bath or shower. However on a week-long camp you need better. The problem was solved by the Wendover Arm Trust hiring in a shower: in a cabinet resembling Dr Who’s Tardis; it was placed outside the hall and connected to the services (water, electric, drains). Roger Leishman completed the plumbing and tested the installation. I don’t think he intended having a shower fully clothed…

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Jasmine and I arrived much later that day with the BITM van and food for the week. A few months earlier Dave Wedd had supplied the hall with a fridge to make life easier for weekends. For the camp, Roger Leishman kindly provided us with a freezer as well and I bought and froze enough discounted meat to last us. Saturday: An earlier KESCRG weekend had precut rolls of Bentomat into strips to fit across the canal bed. The rolls were 5m wide, and cut into 12.5m lengths ready. The priority task was to start laying the Bentomat so that concreting could commence on Monday uninterrupted. In all 6 full strips were laid, with time spent setting up. Each sheet is laid to overlap the previous one. Bentonite Granules are then spread on the overlap to form a sandwich. These granules when wet expand to form a watertight seal. The sheet lies across the bottom, up the 45 degree sides, a small distance up the concrete walls. Ray Orth of WAT nailed each sheet to the walls using an explosive charged nail gun. In the evening we tucked into a roast beef dinner. Sunday: We continued laying more Bentomat with an increasingly experienced team. By the end of the day an impressive amount was laid. Dave James transported the mats, using the 5 tonne dumper

Unrolling the Bentomat lining


Phill Cardy continued the excavation work along the canal and the far side of winding hole ready for the gabion wall to form the rear bank of the winding hole. Newly arrived, Bob Kearney and Howard Williams started work raking the banks, removing sharp stones which could puncture the Bentomat, Bob was later collared into shovelling concrete. After dinner Eddie Evans drove the minibus to Tring Railway Station where he picked up Nick, Simon and Mark who were using the camp for the residential part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award., and then onto the pub in Aldbury. Monday: earliest start so far – on-site at 08.30 ready for the first two lorry loads of concrete. The sun was fierce; The Readymix arrives... usually at the same time as lunch! no clouds in the sky: the canal was a sun trap. We were expecting at least eight loads We carried the food and beer along the towpath of concrete to arrive during the day in 4.5 cubic to the barbecue site. metre trucks. It concrete needed to be spread to a depth of 3 inches in the middle and 6 inches From there we continued up to the Junction for deep up the sides (sloping at an angle of 1 in 4) the unveiling of the milepost. It seems that it was and of course as you shovelled it up the hill some an original, once lost, and then found by luck in a of it slipped back. In the end we spread 10 truck- scrap iron heap at the BW yard at Marsworth. loads of concrete over the Bentomat. The post reads “Braunston 55 ¼ Miles Wendover 6 ¾ Miles”. To commemorate the event, beThe gabion team were breaking stone using a neath is a plaque inscribed with the words “Ressledge hammer, then barrowing it to fill the cages cued 1968 & Donated 2004 by Prebendary Ian B with stone and rubble. Cook restored 2004 by Canon H Roger Davis.” Concreting and raking continued. Mark Gribble phoned and requested sandwiches to be delivered to site for 12.30 We just finished in time and set off . We arrived at 12.30 with Squash, Crisps, Fruit but nothing else; I had forgotten to put the sandwiches in the van during the rush (more haste less speed). We returned to the hall and then back, this time with sandwiches. During the day Jasmine and I shopped and prepared meat, veg. and salad for the evening barbecue. Soon after everyone came back, the food was packed into the minibus. David James decanted beer into various containers. We all travelled by minibus to Bulbourne Junction for the unveiling of a milepost marking the start of the Wendover Arm and a barbecue after. Parking at the end of the Grand Junction Arms car park was tight for a large minibus with no power assisted steering.

The excellent barbecue took place on the BW picnic site a few metres along the canal towards the pub on a fine, warm evening. That night it was very hot in the Scout hall even with the doors wide open to the garden. Tuesday started off with no clouds, scorching hot. A delivery of Bentomat at 08.30 was unloaded with the 14-tonne excavator – this machine was hired just for this job, as it was the only way we could lift the 1-tonne rolls. The work of laying the Bentomat continued, interspersed with concrete deliveries, whilst the gabion wall grew and more canal bed was profiled. During the afternoon Jasmine and I heard thunder, a storm was approaching. One quick phone call to Mark Gribble and a decision was made to get the mini bus down onto site in case they needed to shelter, or to evacuate the site. We delivered the van to site and got a lift back to the hall.

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Camp Report WRG BITM run a ‘Canal Camp for weekenders’

The storm arrived and the heavens opened. A queue at the concrete plant delayed delivery of the last load, which was handy due to the change in weather. The site crew got completely soaked by the torrential rain after which they abandoned site, leaving refuelling to the morning and returned to the hall extremely wet (Mark Gribble the site leader at least!!!) That evening after dinner we headed off to Hemel Hempstead Ten Pin Bowling / Cinema complex.. As the film times would have resulted in a very late return to the hall, bowling was decided on. There was a half hour wait for a lane, during which time we ordered drinks, visited the wash room making space for more, ordered more, then shoed up. They booked us on to three lanes so that we could fit in two games. It was very entertaining, the competitors using a variety of styles, some more successful than others. As confidence grew, or maybe drink induced relaxation the scores and success rate at hitting a “Strike” or “Spare” improved. Wednesday: The first concrete truck was delayed until 10.00 as the site access was very wet. When it arrived, the truck caused a bit of damage, which had to be repaired. Hogging was used to fill the ruts. The Bentomat covering was patched. The next load was held back until 14.00, after which we continued with the usual turnaround. By this stage the concreting was catching up with the Bentomat laying. We had by now laid all the sections which KESCRG had pre cut. In the evening we sat down to Curry (with an alternative of chicken chasseur), followed by nectarines and double cream for afters. This was served early, as we were going on a guided tour of the Tringford Pumping Station. Barbara Hinsley kindly took half of the group by boat (the other half having boated to the Mile Post unveiling). BW employee Gavin kindly showed us the well shafts, pumps, settlement tanks, switch gear etc and explained the history of the building and how they had increased the number of reservoirs and installed a second pump: the original beam engine pump being replaced by an electric pump power by a diesel engine generator, still working today.

page 14

After the visit we retired to the hall and drank lots of TEA (Hogs Back Brewery -Traditional English Ale) before bed. Thursday: We rose not too worse for wear, the sun scorching, ready for more concrete and another day of cutting Bentomat, filling gabions plus a little bit of excavation. By the end of the day we had all but reached the original target for the week. At Oliver’s suggestion we embarked on a short walk along the tow path from Drayton Beauchamp to Wendover. (he had held back the fact that it was 6.5 miles!!). Along the way we saw various features of the canal: the section restored by the contractors as part of the Ashton Clinton By Pass scheme, a length of the canal called the Narrows, and the Wides, the Rothchilds Bridge, plus wildlife: swans, ducks, bats and a little grebe. The walk terminated at the Wendover Basin, from where we walked into town and quenched our thirsts with a jar or two in the Red Lion. Friday: Complications in the morning led to the second time in a week where a lorry load of concrete and the sandwiches arrived at the same time. Anyway all hands (including the cook) to the deck shovelling concrete, then the two other 4.5 cubic metre trucks turned up. It looked like we had more concrete than was needed to cover the Bentomat laid thus far, with no more prepared. Eventually the last truck was empty. We all sat down to a well earned cuppa, lunch, and a group photo on the towpath. During the afternoon two more loads arrived. By this stage we had reached the widest part of the winding hole. The largest piece of Bentomat was 12.5 meters long; and too much to lift by hand so Phill picked it up with the excavator. That evening, we relaxed in the garden of the hall with yet another barbecue followed by pudding apple, prune, and blackberry crumble with Chocolate, Vanilla, and Raspberry Ripple Ice (emptying the freezer). Never mind the calories, shovelling concrete for a week burnt them up.. Members of the Wendover Arm Trust, and other friends joined us for the meal. The last few pints were skimmed off the bottom of the second barrel of beer, that is until it fell having been tilted to a very acute angle. With more departures there was plenty of space on the hall floor and slightly less snoring. Saturday: BITM’s aim was to run a “Canal Camp for Weekenders”, with flexibility for people to join and leave, fitting it in with work and family: David James left before 08.00, heading for London and the Olympia Beer Festival. Ross and Bob arrived for breakfast. Simon and Harry turned up on site later, for the day. Bob and Howard left around midday.


Four loads of concrete arrived throughout the morning. Phil began putting the topsoil into the remaining section of the reed bed behind the gabions. Eddy Evans and his team completed the gabions. More lengths of Bentomat were cut, placed, nailed to the wall. Further lengths were stock piled for September when the next concreting session will take place. Wheelbarrows were repaired, and tools cleaned, with much cursing of those who had failed to clean them thoroughly enough during the week. Rake teeth were straightened by inserting them in the tracks of the 14 tonne excavator – the right tool for the job! Sunday: The final day of the camp, cleaning up, tidy up and consolidating the week’s work NO MORE CONCRETE. BITM, other WRG and independent groups take great pride in leaving a hall cleaner and tidier than we find it. Ours and the efforts of other groups assist the local canal societies in retaining these halls for future use. We follow a similar policy on site, where leaving a site tidy has important health and safety implications. On site a sand bag dam was built across end of concrete to prevent erosion. We made further repairs to the track, filling in pot holes and smoothing out ruts made by the trucks. The freezer was transported to the Pumping Station shed, the shower was decommissioned and the van was loaded with the catering equipment and BITM’s tools. The Wendover Arm Trusts tools were taken back to the Pumping Station. The hired plant was parked up ready for collection.

Over our successful 9-day work camp we had laid Bentomat along 180m of the canal covering it with 470 tonnes of concreteand we had constructed a gabion wall as the back of a newly excavated winding hole. I wish to take this opportunity to pass on my thanks to Roger Leishman and the Wendover Arm Trust. To the volunteers both WAT and BITM who integrated and gelled into a team with Roger Leishman directing operations and Mark Gribble, as BITM Site leader and Assistant Camp Leader. And to KESCRG who prepared the site and stockpiled Bentomat for us. It was through the actions of the volunteers that so much was achieved moving towards being able to open the Winding Hole ready for the 2005 Tring Festival. WRG BITM are holding their third “Work Camp for Weekenders”, and the last week of July ( 22nd to the 30th ) 2005. If in reading this report, you would be interested in joining us on the Wilts and Berks Canal at Seven Locks near Swindon in Wiltshire, please contact me Graham Hotham by leaving a message on my answering machine 01252 656087. Or log onto the Website at wrgbitm.com and follow the Canal Camp link to find further information and a booking form. The work will be very different, clearing and reconstructing two of the Seven Locks. WRG Canal Camp 12 (see the Canal Camp Booklet) will take over for the next week. The first weekend of the BITM Camp overlaps with our July Working Party Weekend. We will be meeting at the hall in the village of Foxham from 21.00 onwards on Friday the 22nd of July. We welcome people to join us at any time, for any period which suits you. Our policy is to provide an opportunity to people to join and experience a canal camp, who cannot necessarily commit to being away for a whole week. Graham Hotham

page 15


Cavalcade

Moose reports from Little Venice’s annual festival Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade 2005 It all started back at the bonfire bash 2004 - must have been the air… (obviously not the beer!!). James the Postman asked me to lead the Christmas/New Year scrub bash, so that he could be the assistant. (which I agreed to.) But I also had a person called Mike Harlock come and speak to me regarding the Little Venice Cavalcade.

As promised at the next meeting in December, I agreed to lead the Site & Services crew, but wanted to change some things - such as I would not be doing all the off-site fetching and carrying that Fast Eddie and crew had been doing (almost 400 miles in the week). I also said that I would not be taking so much time off over the festival because of leave commitments. Only four months left to go to the festival is not long to organise things, but due to the hard work of the committee a festival went ahead. With no hiccups! By the Saturday 23rd April, Maria and I moved our boat down the River Lee to get into a position where a good day’s boating would get us into the LV area where the site camp would be. (I had stated that I was not happy with us using the ‘Grass Site’ as used in previous years, as I believe (and many others agreed) that it was dangerous underfoot.)

Martin Ludgate

As everyone knew, KESCRG had finally decided that enough was enough and they would be taking a rest in 2005 after providing the site crew for some 20 years. But this left the LV committee in a bit of a pickle because without a site crew leader plus people, they could not hold a Cavalcade. Which meant that they could not start to organise the event for 2005.

Mike, I believe, had been coerced into speaking to me because I had led the Camp at the National Waterways Festival. I think Bungle may have something to do with this? After chatting to Mike and then speaking to the Guru himself Fast Eddie, I went back to Mike and said something like “maybe, but I would like to go to the next committee meeting before committing myself”. After doing the ‘National’, surely nothing could be so hard? (Oh what a stupid thing to think!)

The rubbish boat with Bungle in control (?)

page 16

On Sunday 24th we picked up PA cables from Chingford, to be carried to the event by our boat nb DaisyBob. The plan was for me to go to work on Monday, then on to a committee meeting, back to the boat late Monday night and meet up with another boat and crew who had been bullied into helping at the festival, ready for the big push to get the boat to LV on Tuesday. That was the plan. What actually happened was that on Monday morning, carrying all the paperwork for work and for the committee meeting, I found we had a problem. Some low life had decided they needed my Vauxhall Astra more than I did. The day was spent speaking to the Police, my work and Mike Harlock.


On the Tuesday nb DaisyBob accompanied by nb Fox cruised into LV: stopping at a pub to pick up a crew member and stopping again at the Pirate club, we made it to LV with no problems. Where I had planned to have the Work compound there was a little nb moored, but as we got closer I realised that it belonged to a committee member so it was quickly moved and our boats moored in the correct place.

Every day we had to supply Paddington Central (PC) with a list of vehicle movements. If a vehicle on (for example) a marquee delivery arrived to put up the marquees and then left site, and then came back after the event to pick it up again, you would have ‘Marquee vehicle arriving loaded leaving empty’ then ‘vehicle arriving empty leaving loaded’, this would included dates and timings as best as we knew – or could guess. I had started this spreadsheet so we could track vehicles for our own purposes but then PC requested this information for the security aspect and so they knew how many vehicles to expect etc. This spreadsheet on several days had up to 230-plus rows. (it was a nightmare to compile but it did work). On Thursday fencing arrived and had to be carried to where it would be erected. Those who have worked on the National will know that you do a lot of fencing, but all we had was 25 panels, one person gate, clips and blocks – all erected in very quick time, tying it to the lamp posts for support. The marquee people turned up to erect marquees and to leave tables and chairs. Also the bar turned up! Bungle and Malcolm (another person who foolishly volunteered) arrived with Sammy (large lorrymounted generator) and a small generator. Malcolm had already been once and dropped off PLT (stands for… ‘Poxy Little Trailer’ – it is, when compared to the ‘Tardis’ trailer used at the National.) Friday the loos arrived we had our first vehicle movement problem, one of the Loo Company’s vehicles decided to throw its clutch out of the window, so we then had the vehicles waiting for what seemed years and then (horrors, a vehicle movement that was not on the sheet!) a breakdown truck had to take the vehicle off site. Poor Mike Harlock had to explain to PC what had happened. Catering vehicles started to arrive: things were looking up.

Martin Ludgate

Wednesday we had more people turn up - some to help with the site, and some just wasting time until the London WRG meeting that night in the pub.

Whirlwind Bob on one of the many jobs at Little Venice: delivering tables and chairs to the traders. One of the things I was trying to avoid was having to hire in electric cables - not your little 13amp extensions but big 125amp cables. Leading up to the festival I had successfully repositioned Sammy so it was right on top of where the power would be required but Commercial decided that he would throw sparks on to the fire by siting a hot drink wagon on the other towing path. This vehicle was described as having the shape of a Teapot, but the downside was it was all electric, not a gas Burco in sight. After a lot of prompting its electric supply was agreed to be 32amps, 8 kilowatt and not 12 kilowatt as first thought. Bungle and Malcolm, having given it great thought, had to lay a 64amp cable the 113metres to the said teapot (larger cable because of voltage drop over such a length) The other thing about the teapot was that it was not that much bigger in size than a teapot used in a big canteen. All of us were expecting the van to be in the shape of a teapot - such a let down. The bar opened only slightly late and whirlwind Bob went and helped get the boaters’ fish & chip supper.

page 17


Cavalcade

“Did you know that you can drown at an event near water?” Saturday: Traders arrived first thing and all the market stalls were erected on the towing path ready for traders to fill with their wares. The festival opened and that was it. We had done it! (I realise I haven’t mentioned that the fact that after erecting the fencing we had to move it (just like the National) even though it had been agreed to place the fencing where we had.) Health & Safety? I have never had so much paperwork for H&S. Because the bar and entertainments were using empty shop units we had fire regulations for them, plus we had the obvious H&S for the event (did you know you can drown at an event that is near water?) including fire regulations for the Marquees… the list was endless. Sunday and Monday went smoothly: just the daily tasks such as rubbish disposal, and checking toilets (for toilet paper). On Sunday we had the London WRG Barbecue and on Monday we had another bbq, which was paid for by IWA as a ‘thank you’ to the volunteers. (Thank you IWA - much appreciated).

The small generator was for Nick Coolican-Smith to collect on Tuesday at lunch time, so before Bungle left he gave me the genny keys. On Tuesday when Nick arrived I gave them to him. But unbeknown to us a key had dropped off the ring, this key was for the tow hitch lock, which stops the hitch being hitched onto the tow ball. This meant Nick could not take the genny away so again Mike H had to speak to PC and arrange somewhere for the trailer to be placed and how were we going to get the genny there etc. Also one of the boats that was used as accommodation left to go back to its marina, but after 20minutes we realised that the keys for another boat were still on it, so Maria and Alan Whiffen had to go and catch them up by car. By the evening all the marquees and fencing had gone. Site was empty except for the odd little oil stain?? PC were not happy.

page 18

Martin Ludgate

On Monday after close of site and before our bbq we stripped as much of site as possible, all the cables where checked off and reloaded into Sammy, and the PLT was reloaded - both ready for an early departure next morning.

The theme for the pageant of boats at Little Venice this year was ‘Trafalgar’ (to mark the bicentenary of the battle): London WRG’s entry recreated London’s Trafalgar square on board n.b. Fulbourne, complete with Nelson’s column, lions and pigeons.


By Wednesday morning the last things went: the Radios and LWRG kit (collected by Martin). I was left with Lenny a small workboat that Bungle had found it amusing doing ‘doughnuts’ down the cut in. After leaving various messages we hid the keys for Lenny and moved nbs DaisyBob and Fox out of LV for the start of our journey back to our respective home moorings. I would like to thank everyone who helped whether it was for a couple hours or 6 days it all made it possible – especially Jenny for cooking (with her sidekick Nic acting as cooks mate), Maria for again suffering and being an excellent assistant, Mike H. and the rest of the committee. Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden Notes: (1)

My car has been recovered.

(2)

Someone in the work area has said that next year she will do the illuminated boats procession. She has been told put money where the mouth is! Having four hours sleep at night is not good (spreadsheet was taking up to 3.5hrs each night)

“Keep Bungle away from keys. Keep Bungle away from Boats.” (4)

Keep Bungle away from keys. Keep Bungle away from boats

(5)

Libby’s new name for the Site & Services camp this year, was the Moose Camp.

(6)

How was it for you Malcolm???? (Malcolm had never been to LV until this event)

(7)

Doris (my cat) was not happy with the super size cat litter – well, that’s what it looked like.

I believe I have started a very privileged club in that I have now led both the National and LV site services camps. Would I do it again? Next year I would like to lead the National but having done LV I know I can do both.

Martin Ludgate

(3)

Cavalcade

“Every ticket carries the name of a canal. If the canal’s open, you win a prize....” Once again, London WRG ran the waterway names tombola game at Little Venice and raised a useful contribution to funds

page 19


Diary

Canal Camps cost £42 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0507') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Jun 29-Jul 5

Camp 0503

Saul Festival - Canal Camp: Wednesday to Wednesday. Leaders: Nick Coolica

Jul 1 Fri

Navvies

Press date for issue 212: including Canal Societies directory

Jul 2/3

wrgNW

Cancelled (no dig): Sales stand at Saul Junction instead.

Jul 2-3

wrgSW

Grand Western Canal

Jul 2-9

Camp 0504

Grantham Canal Camp: Leaders: Lou Kellett, Craig Greenaway and Ed Higgins

Jul 9-16

Camp 0505

Wey & Arun Canal Camp: Dig Deep project constructing a new lock at Loxwood. O

Jul 9-16

Camp 0506

Grand Western Canal Camp: Leaders: Judith Gordon and Jenni Copeland

Jul 10 Sun

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings

Jul 16/17

London WRG

Derby Canal: to be confirmed

Jul 16-23

Camp 0507

Wey & Arun Canal Camp: Dig Deep project constructing a new lock at Loxwood. O Leaders: Ian Williamson and Steve Davis

Jul 16-23

Camp 0508

Grand Western Canal Camp: Leaders: Gav Moor and Lauren Summerskill

Jul 23/24

wrgBITM

Wilts & Berks Canal: Seven Locks flight. Start of BITM Camp.

Jul 23

WRG/CUCT

Reopening of Froghall Basin - see page 5 for details, contact Tim Lewis to book

Jul 23-30

wrgBITM

Wilts & Berks Canal Camp (BITM): Seven Locks flight. Organised by wrgBITM. Construction work on Locks 3 and 4. Note: this is separate from WRG Camp 0

Jul 23-30

Camp 0511

Mon & Brec Canal Camp: Leaders: Rob Daffern and James Butler

Jul 23-30

Camp 0509

Wey & Arun Canal Camp: Organised by WACT. Continuing the work on the Dig

Jul 23-30

Camp 0510

Wilts & Berks Canal Camp: Steppingstone Bridge, Shrivenham.

Jul 30 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Jul 30-Aug 6 Camp 0513

Mon & Brec Canal Camp

Jul 30-Aug 6 Camp 0512

Wilts & Berks Canal Camp

Aug 2 Tue

Navvies

Issue 212 Assembly: Date unconfirmed. London Canal Museum 7pm onwards

Aug 6/7

wrgNW

Postponed to Aug 13/14

Aug 6/7

London WRG

Sleaford Navigation: Raising a Bailey Bridge.

Aug 6-13

Camp 0514

Wilts & Berks Canal Camp

Aug 6-13

Camp 0515

Hereford & Gloucester Canal Camp: Stone masonry, restoring the Ell Brook Aq

Aug 13/14

wrgNW

Preston Brook: Work party for pre-camp set-up.

Aug 13-20

Camp 0517

Hereford & Gloucester Canal Camp: Stone masonry, restoring the Ell Brook Aq

Aug 13-20

Camp 0516

Lichfield Canal Camp

Aug 22-31

Camp 0518

IWA Festival Canal Camp: Preston Brook, Setting up the National Rally.

Sep 1 Thu

Navvies

Press date for issue 213

Sep 3 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Sep 10/11

London WRG

Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project

Sep 10/11

KESCRG

Lichfield Canal: Dig Deep project

Sep 10/11

NWPG

Mon & Brec Canal: Dig Deep project

Sep 11-18

Camp 0519

Ramsey Forty Foot Drain Canal Camp: Middle Level Navigations, Cambridgesh

page 20


p

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

an-Smith and Lauren Spurling

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

Gavin Moor

07970-989245

gavin.moor@wrg.org.uk

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

s

Organised by NWPG.

Graham Hawkes

enquiries@wrg.org.uk Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Organised by KESCRG. Eddie Jones

k accommodation

enquiries@wrg.org.uk Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

. Dave Wedd 0510 on the Wilts & Berks the same week.

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

g Deep project to construct a new lock at Loxwood. 01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179 enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk

John Hawkins

01923-448559

hawkins@jote.fsnet.co.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk

queduct. Leaders: Tom Cutting and David Bradford David McCarthy

enquiries@wrg.org.uk 0161-740-2179

queduct. Leaders: Ed Walker and Liz Wilson

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

hire. Raising Ramsey Hollow Bridge.

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

page 21


Diary

Mobile groups' social evenings

(please phone to confirm before turning up) London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before each dig. Usually at 'Star Tavern', Belgrave Mews West, London. Tim Lewis 07802-518094 or email 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

Canal SocietiesÂ’ regular monthly or weekly working parties Please send any amendments, additions and deletions to Dave Wedd (address on previous page) 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 2nd Sunday & following Wed. BCS Cosgrove Athina Beckett Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry Every Sunday ChCT Various sites Mick Hodgetts Mon & Wed mornings CCT Cotswolds Dudley Greenslade Every weekend (Sat OR Sun) CCT Cotswolds Neil Ritchie 1st Sunday of month CCT Cotswolds: summit Mark Welton Wednesday evenings CCT Cotswolds: East end Keith Harding Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe Last Sunday of month EAWA N Walsham & Dilham Kevin Baker 4th Sunday of month ECPDA Langley Mill Michael Golds Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined PlaneMike Beech 1st & 3rd Sundays GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox Weekends H&GCT Over Wharf House Maggie Jones Wednesdays H&GCT Over Wharf House Wilf Jones Weekends H&GCT Hereford Aylestone Martin Danks Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 2nd weekend of month K&ACT John Rolls 2nd Sunday of month LCT Lancaster N. Reaches Will Warburg 1st Sunday of month LHCRT Lichfield Peter Matthews 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 2nd Sunday of month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 1st Sunday of month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 1st Sunday of month SNT Haverholme Lock Dave Pullen 1st weekend of month SUCS Newhouse Lock Mike Friend 3rd Sunday of month TMCA David Rouse Every Sunday & Thurs WACT varied construction Eric Walker Mondays (2 per month) WACT tidying road crossings Brian Crossley Tuesdays WACT Tickner's Heath Depot Colin Gibbs Wednesdays WACT maintenance work Peter Jackman Wednesdays WACT Loxwood Link Peter Wilding Tues, Thurs & Sats WACT Winston Harwood Various dates WACT Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Keith Nichols 1st weekend of month WAT Little Tring Roger Leishman Every weekend WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Peter Smith Every Sunday W&BCC Dauntsey / Foxham Rachael Banyard

Abbreviations used in Diary BCNS BCS BCT ChCT CCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWPS K&ACT

page 22

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 Grantham Canal Restoration Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust

KESCRG LCT LHCRT NWPG PCAS SCARS SCCS SHCS SNT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT W&BCC

01543-373284 01908-661217 01288-353273 01246-620695 01453 825515 01452-854057 01453-872405 01451-860181 0121-608 0296 01362-699855 0115-932-8042 0116-279-2657 0115-989-2248 01823-661653 01432 358628 01452 618010 01452 413888 01432 344488 01663-732493 01473-730586 01189-666316 01931-713317 01543-318933 01543-374370 01757-638027 01744-731746 01225-428055 01483-721710 01673-862278 01948-880723 01474-362861 023-9246-3025 01737-843192 020-8241-7736 01483-772132 01483-422519 01293-424672 01403-753882 01442-874536 01793-852883 01249-892289

Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lancaster Canal Trust 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 Shropshire Union Canal Society Thames & Medway Canal Association Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Company


Sir I was disappointed to read your comments regarding the loading and securing of plant on the training weekend: “...but this time with real plant rather than somebody’s car, and with the beavertail truck instead of the trailer” Just out of shot was the beavertail truck and a dumper which we were also using last year. Those who have been on the course will know that there is a great deal of difference between securing something without suspension (eg a dumper) and something with suspension (eg a van, or in this case someone’s car.) Also most local canal societies do not have access to equipment like the Beavertail, so it makes sense to demonstrate usage of trailer which they are more likely to have. Yours

Bungle

PS Bungle’s Guide to Bondage on the Beavertail will be appearing soon in all bad bookshops. Dear Martin MKP makes some very valid points about the “on the ground” relationship between British Waterways and WRG. In my mind it all boils down to the fact that BW’s operational staff (or contractors if they are doing things that way) just cannot cope with the concept of voluntary labour and all that this entails. This is only to be expected, as it is unlikely to crop up in the normal day’s work of your average civil engineer. Anything that can be done at ‘top level’ to alleviate this problem would be welcome – how about WRG running a training course for BW staff on ‘Working with Volunteers’? Another aspect of this is that the constant changes within BW’s personnel, as soon as a Project Officer begins to understand ‘our’ way of doing things, (s)he is promptly transferred to another position and the process has to start again with someone else. Little did Mike realise when he wrote his article that the same issue would contain an illustration of the very problem he was writing about. I refer to the project at Foxton Inclined Plane. In the general way that these things happen, this is a BW-led project with much input from the Trust and various WRG groups, as well as Trust volunteers, providing the labour. I suspect I am one of the ‘kind people’ referred to by Jen who piled up brash on the plane in a manner not to the liking of WRG Forestry. Perhaps I could be allowed a few words in our defence and to put our work in context.

Letters

Bungle’s Guide to Bondage on the Beavertail Essex WRG had been booked for one of our regular working parties between visits by WRG Forestry Team. We had in fact last been there at the end of WRG FT’s first week and thus aware of the condition of the site when they left and the ground conditions in which they were to return to fell more trees. Our brief was to clear the site of brash and undergrowth so that WRG FT could actually get at the trees to be felled the next time. However, (1) the Environment Police would not permit bonfires, (2) the Heritage Police would not allow a tracked chipper on site at that time and (3) our suggestion of providing a boat in the bottom basin for us to cart the brash down, rather than up, the slope hadn’t been taken up. (cynical cries of “you wouldn’t expect BW to use boats, would you?”) Knowing, realistically, from our previous visit, what could be achieved by trying to lug everything uphill (it’s an inclined plane, remember?) it was decided in conjunction with the ‘locals’ that the best thing to do in the circumstances was to stack the brash – categorised by size in the hope that at least some of the wood would fit the local boaters’ stoves and save everybody the trouble of removing it. My recollection is that most of the work turned out to be stacking previously-felled material rather than creating new. Call me paranoid, but it does seem at times that Essex wrg’s role in life is clearing up sites after other people’s efforts! I fully agree with the need for projects to be coordinated to ensure continuity between visits by different groups – I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been on a weekend where the job was to tirfor out tree stumps only to find they had all been cut off at ground level by a previous group. Restoration using volunteers is not, and never will be, an exact science – in an ideal world there would be sufficient funds for the job to be done by paid professionals to professional timescales using state-of-the-art plant and equipment. Hopefully without immodesty I think we all do a damned good job with the time, money and equipment at our disposal (and hasn’t the equipment improved over the years!) and we should indeed strive to improve the already high standards we achieve.

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Letters

armchair member for the past 20 or so years but I shall exercise my vote by not renewing my subscription to Navvies. Keep up the good work on the waterways but stay out of recommending how we vote.

WRG: a branch of Labour? (is that why our vans are red?) Many of the articles in Navvies are couched in ‘larger than life’ terms – this is part of what makes WRG the organisation it is – but as Jen says in her letter later in the last issue we’re all aiming for the same thing, and bitching doesn’t encourage anyone. However, sometimes a little humility doesn’t come amiss and we should remember that we don’t have exclusive rights over a project with which we have been asked to help by its real owners – the canal trust or whoever. In different circumstances things would be done differently. At Dauntsey there are a couple of miles of hedging which have been carried out in a variety of styles, not necessarily strictly appropriate to Wiltshire. But the job is done and any variation of style will become part of the character of the canal here and tell its own story in years to come.

Graham Pattison Just a few comments: Firstly as I thought I made clear in my editorial, I felt (as quite few people seem to feel, judging by the turnout at recent elections) that the main parties have so little to offer in the way of policies worth actually supporting, so little to choose between them on anything that matters, and so little likelihood of actually keeping their promises, that had it not been for what I perceived as the Tories’ serious threat to the waterways, I would have done exactly what I did at the 2001 election and simply not bothered voting at all. So on that basis I see it as perfectly reasonable to vote on a single issue. When the major parties come up with something I can believe in and support on the ‘major issues facing the country’, I may once again support one of them.

I am well aware of health and safety aspects generally (as part of the “day job”) and in particular as part of a group which uses chainsaws. I agree that we must uphold the high standards we set ourselves and of which our safety record speaks. However, I would urge anyone thinking of criticising other volunteers’ efforts to assess the risk of them gaining the impression their efforts are not valued - and not bothering to turn up the next time.

Secondly, the right approach now that the election is over is in indeed to lobby Conservative candidates to try and get the policy changed in the four years or so before the next election, and I am sure that BW, IWA and individuals will do that. But at the time the last Navvies came out, it was way too late for the 2005 election. These people had already lobbied the Tories, and got short shrift - mainly in the form of copies of a standard letter (containing some very dubious arguments) defending the proposed sell-off, supplied to their MPs by Tim Yeo.

Having got that off my chest, I should point out that this is a personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of anyone else reading Navvies 210.

Thirdly I did not tell people how to vote: I suggested who people should not vote for, if like myself and others, they didn’t trust them to look after the waterways. Not quite the same thing.

Regards

Finally, the suggestion of WRG being ‘a political arm of the Labour Party’, is simply laughable when you consider that it has been prompted by one single comment column by an editor who (a) is allowed more-or-less complete independence by the WRG organisation when writing such columns (b) did not tell people to vote Labour (I would have voted Lib Dem if they had had the best chance of beating the Tories in my seat), and (c) actually stated that I am ‘no great lover of the Labour party, particularly in its current guise’; rather, I regard them as less bad than the Tories on this one issue. I would make no such assumptions about what party Mr Pattison might be affiliated to - were it not for his name appearing as Deputy Chairman on the North Wilts Conservative Party’s website. The Editor

Steve Morley Hi Martin Very disappointed to read your editorial for although I totally disagree with the Conservative party policy on the waterways to suggest that we should all decide how to vote on the basis of a single issue with all the other challenges facing the country is ridiculous. Since when did WRG become a political arm of the Labour party? The right approach would have been to suggest that readers write to their Conservative candidate and express their views. I may have only been an

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Training Weekend 2005 About 45 people came and went over the course of the weekend, and hopefully took away something useful from the sessions they attended. Even some of the instructors found time to be trained in other areas, which rarely happens as they are usually so very busy! This year the programme looked very different, with less plant training and longer sessions on practical skills such as scaffolding, heritage pointing, site electrics, loading and securing plant and first aid. Two workshops, or ‘seminars’ as the trainers liked to call them, were run on ‘camp leadership’ and ‘shuttering and reinforcement.’ These generated lots of valuable discussion and ideas and the feedback was excellent.

Reporting from the 2005 Training Weekend Huge thanks as always to the instructors who give up their time and make it all happen. Thanks to Harry and Bungle for doing all the running around to collect plant, cookers and trailers and to Mitch and Harri for providing fantastic feasts. Finally, special thanks to Brian and Mike for sorting out all the sites and equipment and enduring silly numbers of e-mails and phone calls over the last month! See you all soon! Ali ‘Womble’ Bottomley

Martin Ludgate

Martin Ludgate

Despite the different focus, we did still manage to fit in some plant training. Sessions were run on telehandlers to train the IWA Festival folk prior to the ‘National’ as well as dumpers, excavators, vans and trailers. Many, many thanks to Terex in Warwick for loaning us their site for the day.

Training

Smudge (I think)

Martin Ludgate

Clockwise from top left: Dumper training on the site kindly provided by Terex; The scaffolding course raises the standards (and the transoms and ledgers); The editor practices CPR on the First Aid course; Tom leads the concreting seminar.

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Hutch

An appreciation of the one and only David Hutchings We are very saddened to have to bring you the news of the death of David Hutchings of the Upper Avon Navigation Trust, who masterminded the total rebuilding of the Avon Navigation, and the southern Stratford Canal before that. Ian McCarthy, who was involved when WRG volunteers were working with Hutch on the Avon around 1970, tells it like it was... One is David Hutchings and ever more shall be so. The legend which is David Hutchings was well in place by the time I started to work on the Upper Avon. Old hands in the Peak Forest Canal Society working party regaled us young ones with tales of his mighty achievements on the Stratford upon Avon Canal, and Navvies kept us well up-to-date with his doings on the Avon. So before the local restoration came good, the PFCS working party would attempt to have an away working party once or twice a year. So it was that in November 1970, my first working party to the Avon came. We drove down and met David at Salford Priory Village Hall: we were keen to get to last orders; he was equally keen that we should be sober in the morning and on site first thing. He was a small lithe chap wearing the standard Army-issue green jumper which was his standard working attire. We did make it to the pub, but unusually we were in bed early. That weekend we spent down a long muddy track at Marlcliff, mixing concrete - and boy did we work! The Land Rover in which I travelled to site with Hutch was... well... everything I had heard about Hutch’s Landrovers - “they’re a work horse, not a toy” - but how we rattled and banged our way to the site, down that long muddy track. This was the first of many visits to the Avon for me, and the start of a battle of wills between the working party and Hutch. We all signed a pledge that when Hutch said jump that we would not. We never achieved this. He had this ability to command people, even volunteers, who had sworn not be commanded (such as the very young PFCS Mobile): a gift or skill I have only come across in two other people in my whole life. The big push for the Avon was on: tight timescales and little money. Hutch used to write a regular upbeat article for each Navvies, saying where he was up to, so we - like many other groups - would attempt to visit as often as we could, given the job in hand at home.

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Hutch was actually pulling a clever con trick, that “volunteers restored the Stratford canal and the River Avon”. In reality it was Hutch’s full time workforce of borstal lads and a small group of professionals that really did the vast majority of the work, the volunteers were often just part of the PR system and a bloody nuisance sometimes. On one weekend some of us, including myself, worked on Stratford lock. It was just after the local paper had written all about “Mr Hutchings’ monstrous erection” (see Navvies 37 for picture). Some local female councillor had been whipping up the paper all about the steelwork which Hutch had used to stop the new lock in Stratford (by the Stratford Memorial Theatre and church) from collapsing inwards. He had had to build the lock on an island, the island was all loose sandy soil, and the steel cage was David’s answer to stopping the walls falling in. I seem to remember him saying it would be an excellent location to build a house - on top of those cross members! David drove some of us to site regaling us with this tale: evidently he was going to make a concession and paint it some other colour rather than the standard black and white, and this was one of our jobs for that weekend. He had us working like slaves, and there was no pub lunch - he had organised his prisoners to feed us... Hutch had organised a work detail to come from Gloucester goal every day to help. There was also a small and loyal band of volunteers who worked on the Avon: Hutch instructed one of these good folks what we had to do and then he was off to organise something else, in a cloud of dust as the landrover tour off across the park. During the day he would re-appear at intervals, issue more orders, and then vanish again, taking helpers with him as necessary. Alternatively he would lead from the front and fill the cement mixer with us. It was well into the evening he came and took us back to the Hall, knackered... well, until we got a pint in ourselves! On another weekend we ran out of cement at Sunday lunchtime, because we had worked so hard for him. But no long stay in the pub - Hutch took me and A.N.Other to his builders merchants. It was shut as we had predicted, but Hutch just got out some bolt croppers and cut the chain on the gate. He then shouted at me for only carrying one bag of cement, rather than two, back to the beat-up Land Rover - ‘was I a girlie?’ he asked. So two bags it was, 224lb is a hell of a weight, you can see why the H&S have made them so small these days, but all those trips would not have suited Hutch. Once loaded up, he scribbled a note, put his padlock on the chain and locked up. “Sort that out tomorrow” was his comment as we drove away at great speed.


On another occasions we were going to “The Yard”, this was the station yard at Harvington where he had this super ex-railway station house, which he had re modelled into a beautiful home for himself and his family - and there is yet another facet to the incredible man: his family. Anyway before I digress, on the way to the yard we drove down this narrow lane. At one point there was a parked car (a Rolls Royce actually) and a very narrow gap between it and a solid stone wall. The Land Rover fitted, and so did the wider trailer, mainly because the side of the Rolls collapsed inwards as we shot through the too-narrow gap, “I keep on telling him that there isn’t enough room to park outside his lover’s cottage” was Hutch’s comment as we sped onwards. We stopped and asked for the same restored Rolls to be moved on some later occasion: the abuse we got made me understand why Hutch did what he did. Stories were told... ...of Hutch having to be rescued (together with the Land Rover) from a ford through the river using the dragline: this was on the way back across the river (which was in flood), a journey he was undertaking because he didn’t want to drive the ten miles round to get something from the far side. I still don’t know if that tale came out to stop us going over the same ford in our Land Rover to go to the pub for lunch. “Only one pint now boys” was his normal cry, when we said we wanted our traditional liquid lunch. ...of Hutch having to crawl quarter of a mile with a broken leg when a generator fell on him. ...of having to explain why a mile of river had been dredged straight onto someone’s field, before asking permission.

So what happened after that? Why are we not now cerebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Droitwich Canals, rather than still hoping that thy may be restored soon? One thing that born leaders always suffer from are politicians: they fear and loath powerful leaders, and thus it was in the canal movement, somehow they managed to sideline Hutch. (Admittedly there had been a death of an employee on the Avon, but this was an genuine accident, albeit probably preventable in hindsight.) Just the same way that Montgomery was sidelined in the Second World War, after both had done the bulk of the job. So Hutch didn’t get to work on the Droitwich, maybe the “politicians” feared another few years of having to work as hard as Hutch to patch things up after his passage! But he got both the links to Stratford restored - and what lovely well used navigations they are! (OK we did have to do a lot of work to patch them up afterwards.) But who now cares or knows of the chaos that those restorations caused all those years ago? Hutch reckoned we should have just carried on to Warwick, I reckon he may well have had a point there too... So back to the Navvies anthem: I’ll sing you one, oh Green grow the rushes, oh! What is your one, oh? One is David Hutchings and ever more shall be so. Given that, everything will be possible, including the Leominster! Oh and maybe even the Droitwich Canals, once we get the professionals in. Ian Mac

...of organising the army to air-drop all their out-of-date high explosives at Marlcliff to blow the rock cill which runs across the river there out of the way. All these tales and many more were true: this man was going to get the job done, and by jove he did. I remember him with the Queen Mum at the official opening, and for once he wasn’t in the dreaded green pully, but a smart suit sat in the front of the David Hutchings (right) and his regulars in the bottom of Stratford Lock on the Avon boat, with the QM.

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The first one? Is this the earliest Canal Camp Report in existence?

Camp Camp 61?? Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, July 31-Aug 13 1961 The following account of a fortnight spent on the restoration of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal in 1961 originally appeared as an article titled Muddy Volunteers in the Summer 1962 issue of The Countryman magazine. It therefore constitutes what must surely be the earliest known Canal Camp Report - unless you know otherwise! The Canal Manager mentioned in the article is the legendary David Hutchings, whose obituary appears elsewhere in this issue. Last year I decided to try what was to me a completely new kind of holiday. Nineteen of us who were pupils at the City of London School and one master asked the Civic Trust if we could work for a fortnight on one of their projects. They organise volunteers to beautify parts of Britain, and supplement travelling expenses in addition to paying for board and lodging on the job. Asked if we would help the National Trust to renovate the Stratford-on-Avon Canal, we agreed, though we were all apprehensive as to the kind and amount of work that would be expected of us. We wondered, too, about working conditions and were not cheered by the news that the whole operation was being conducted on a shoe-string budget. The National Trust, we learned, had contracted to renovate the canal for the sum that would have been spent on closing it down. We arrived at the centre of operations in the Warwickshire village of Lapworth on the last day of July. The sun was shining, and this seemed to make up for the shortage of accommodation and inadequate cooking facilities provided. After much improvisation and equipment shopping, we settled in; but for both weeks some of our party slept under a tarpaulin stretched between two poles, the ends being covered in with boards and straw. We found ourselves camping in a field near the centre of the village, next to the canal office from which a manager controlled all work on the project.

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This was a small room over a tool-shed beside a lock at the junction of the Stratford and Grand Union Canals. Maps, photographs and graphs covered the walls; desks and chairs were festooned with papers and leaflets, and the telephones were in constant use. The regular paid staff consisted of the manager and his assistant, a man to drive the dredger, a bricklayer and another young man who did a little of everything, supplemented by a few old-age pensioners. Some tools had been presented by local traders, but the complete equipment seemed to comprise a dredger, a National Trust LandRover, a few picks, mattocks and spades, machetes, hammers and chisels. These few men, thus equipped, constituted a team which was expected, with the help of volunteers, to reclaim thirteen miles of derelict canal. Most of the inhabitants of Lapworth seemed to regard the canal manager as something of a maniac. That anyone should want to renovate their canal, which had been in its present state for years, doing no-one any harm, and was so narrow that no self-respecting boat could travel it, and that he should set about it so energetically were beyond their comprehension. What made this architect take on the job, tackle it almost single-handed and face the prospect of ceaseless and strenuous work for at least three years? Was he appalled by the aesthetic tragedy of so much potential beauty going to waste, or did he regard it as just another job? Why had the other members of the team given up good positions to do this work for a pittance? And why were volunteers arriving all the year round to help? Was it just one way of spending a holiday, or did they want, by quite hard manual labour, to contribute something to other peopleÂ’s opportunities for recreation and enjoyment of a beautiful countryside? Each individual must answer for himself; but for most, I think the reasons must have been mixed. Although the work we were asked to do was varied, it seemed to be uncompromisingly connected with mud. Even the chopping down of trees on the bank - only when absolutely unavoidable necessitated someoneÂ’s wallowing in the mud of the canal to retrieve branches and foliage. Work with the dredger consisted mainly of erecting plank fences along the towpath to keep the dredged mud within bounds, and someone had to climb through a thorny hedge down into a stream to shovel back any which had slopped over.


The classic example occurred on August Bank Holiday. After we had worked ordinarily for half the day we were asked to go to a near-by lock, where we were amazed to see six completely blackened figures scooping mud from the partly drained lock. My first inclination was to burst out laughing. Only when I realised that I too was expected to do the job, did the matter take on a quite different complexion. I conquered my disgust and climbed down to join the others. Now the boot was on the other foot, figuratively speaking, for I had to wade through three feet of mud which lapped remorselessly over the tops of my wellingtons. Then, to hoots of derisive laughter, I started to scoop. Two hours later we had driven away the last of that inert contaminator. Some was on the bank, but most of it seemed to be clinging to me. I was able to wash it off and laugh about it later, but anyone who makes a habit of engaging in that type of operation - the Army is usually called in and takes three days to our one - must sooner or later end up on a psychiatrist’s couch, muttering deliriously through caked lips, ‘Mud… mud... mud...’.

Stratford 1961

“It seemed to be uncompromisingly connected with mud” Nevertheless we enjoyed that Bank Holiday Monday. The good-natured banter which accompanied each swing of the bucket, and each twinge of muscle, kept us laughing rather than grimacing. This was teamwork and comradeship at its best and seemed to prove the old maxim that, if you enjoy what you are doing, you will do it well. Apart from emptying locks and working with the dredger, we had to remove old and heavy lock gates, chip away all extraneous wood and iron left in concrete surrounds, and give the new gates a final coat of paint when we had got them into position. We scraped grass from between the bricks and stones and repointed lock walls. We also carried sand, gravel, bricks and planks, cleaned up the banks and cut down reeds, and did many more important and unimportant jobs.

Martin Ludgate

At the end of our fortnight we saw that we had helped the work to progress past two locks and p o u n d s (stretches of water between locks) as well as doing little bits elsewhere along the canal: a definite achievement of A recent picture of Lock 21 and the BW workshop at Lapworth Junction, where which we could David Hutchings had his headquarters and Richard Heller spent his holiday in 1961. feel proud.

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Stratford 1961

“There seemed little to do in the sleepy village of Lapworth” We would spend our midday break of an hour on the canal bank, eating an always delicious meal and talking with Old Walter. He was an old-age pensioner still living in the cottage he had occupied since he first worked on the canal before the Boer War. He kept us amused with his stories and by telling us how much better he would have done our jobs himself. During the lunch hour, or at any other time, we could walk along the canal, noting the three stages: before, during and after. On the untouched stretch the towpath was overgrown and reeds crept across the cut from either bank, meeting sometimes in the middle; duckweed often covered the surface with its beautiful emerald sheen, and trees leant over so that their foliage gently dabbled in the still water. Then came the stretch on which work was in progress; the towpath was slimy with mud, the water had been drained to a mere trickle between mud flats, and the dredger stood gaunt and forbidding on the bank, defying anyone to slither past it. Where renovation had already been completed the towpath was firm underfoot, and the cut, no less picturesque than before, was now deep and wide enough for two boats to pass. The greatest contrast was in the locks: the useless ones with their sides overgrown and their gates reduced to rotting hunks of wood, and the renovated ones which looked clean and efficient with new, smartly painted gates just waiting to be used. One day the canal manager’s donkey towed his barge about a mile down the canal to try out the new locks, and flatly refused to make the return journey. Before we could replace the ass with the Land-Rover, we had to retrieve the vehicle from a ditch into which it had unfortunately been driven. Eventually it was hitched up with thick rope, and we jumped on the barge for a ride back in comfort. The journey ended fifty yards farther on, after the rope had snapped and been retied at least five times. We prepared to pull until the manager astounded us all by calmly taking a new battery out of the back of the Land-Rover and fitting it into the barge. He then started the motor, whose existence none of us had suspected, and chugged gracefully back to the office.

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When we stopped work for the day at about five o’clock, some of us used to go for a swim in one of the restored locks; the water was cold but wonderfully refreshing. After supper we were usually too tired to do more than read in our tents; and to our London eyes there seemed to be little to do in the sleepy village of Lapworth, with half a dozen shops, three pubs and a village hall (bingo on Thursdays). But we discovered one pub - orange juice for the under-eighteens, of course - where the atmosphere was congenial. Everyone had great fun singing and playing darts, except when an irate octogenarian threatened to throw our loudest singer out of the window. On two evenings we were able to drive the twelve miles to the Stratford theatre and to see a stooping Christopher Plummer in Richard the Third and an upright Vanessa Redgrave in As You Like It. We enjoyed these cultural highlights of the holiday tremendously. On Sundays we explored the surrounding countryside, visiting Kenilworth Castle, Warwick Castle and Cathedral and some of the National Trust parks and houses. We realised what a beautiful county Warwickshire is, and hoped that work on the canal would be carried to completion. Throughout our holiday four more young people worked with us. A Canadian who, though highly intelligent, was doing unskilled factory work here in England spent the whole of his fortnight’s annual leave helping to beautify part of a country to which he did not belong. Three Europeans - an Italian, a Frenchman and a German - were there only for a free holiday but worked well when they could be persuaded to start; they were always joking and laughing, which made our work seem lighter. At the weekends and over the August Bank Holiday we were joined by complete families from Birmingham, an out-of-work Aldermaston marcher and a young man who arrived from London on his moped. A group of scouts went the whole hog and cooked over an open wood fire, whereas a couple of young men from the B.B.C. went to the other extreme, sleeping in a luxurious French tent and drinking wine with their meals. Working in a friendly atmosphere and in such varied company made the holiday most enjoyable. It also helped me to realise that there are still altruistic people prepared to devote time and energy to making the world a happier and better place. Richard F. Heller Our thanks to the publishers of Countryman magazine for their kind permission to reproduce this article, and to WRG NorthWest for sending us a copy of the magazine that it appeared in.


Concreting

Concrete and reinforcing These notes are based on the seminar on Concrete and reinforcing led by Tom Cutting and Andy Richardson at the WRG Training Weekend. They are not comprehensive but are designed as an update to the “Concrete” chapter in the Practical Restoration Handbook (available on www.wrg.org.uk) One point made was that on any “professional site” the shuttering would be prepared, reinforcing installed, etc. and then inspected by an independent engineer before pouring. Generally speaking we don’t have this luxury, indeed the chap that did the design is often not even there. So it is doubly important we understand the principles of both concrete and reinforcing so as to avoid the habit of saying “that can’t be right, lets move that steel into the middle a bit” or “surely it will be easier to shovel if we add more water”. Concrete can be divided into two types - mass concrete and reinforced concrete (RC). Mass concrete is just that - large quantities of concrete placed behind walls or similar to remove voids and to remove any uncertainty of what is behind there. Reinforced concrete however is much more of a designer’s job. It will involve lots of calculations and be very specific. We shouldn’t play with this once the designers have done their work. Both the concrete mix and the steel design will be intentional. So what is the purpose of putting the steel into the concrete? Well it’s not just “it will be stronger”, it is to combat a specific weakness. Concrete is very strong in compression as anybody who has tried to crush a concrete block will know. But it is really rather poor in tension. “So what?” you may say, “whoever tries to stretch a concrete block?”. Well the answer is quite a lot of structures we build do have concrete in tension at some times. Consider a simple concrete wharf wall – it is 6 inches thick and has soil behind it and water in front of it. Soil pushes forward, water pushes back - all is fine. But then take away the water and you now just have the soil pushing forward. The front three inches of the concrete are being compressed (which is fine) but the back three inches are being stretched (which is not). So where we put the reinforcing is critical. It needs to be as close to the back as possible (allowing for minimum cover of the concrete). If we put it towards the front of the wall, or even in the centre of the pour then it does no good at all.

MKP tells you where you can stick your reinforcing So that is why it is essential to put the steel where the designer tells you. Some other points regarding reinforcing:

· · · · ·

Reinforcing steel should be rusty but not so rusty that flakes are falling off it. The British Standard for reinforcing steelwork is BS8666- however it was suggested that of the 140 pages you will only ever need to read the section on shape codes, which tells you how the designers describe each various bend and twist of the steel. When overlapping steel bar to tie it together, if no other specification is given, then a good rule of thumb is 40 times the diameter of the bar. Also when tying it together make sure that you bend back the twists of wire (or cut offs of tyraps or whatever you are using), so as to ensure they do not stick out of the surface of the concrete thus allowing water to creep into the structure. These days there are a number of systems to ensure that you can place the steel in exactly the right place in the concrete pour – it makes sense to use them – they will result in a better job.

The age-old discussion of hand-mix versus readymix has had a change of late: these days more effective methods such as concrete pumps and conveyor lorries have become much more cost effective as they are becoming more and more mainstream. If you are placing more than three loads of ready mix then you should investigate these possibilities. Coming in the next Navvies – what exactly do all those code numbers mean when engineers talk about reinforcing mesh? Bet you can’t wait! Mike Palmer

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Photographs

To try to encourage people to take photos during our camps we bought two digital cameras, one for both of the main kits, and the first year we had them both it worked a treat! We had the cunning plan that there are four memory cards per camera so two cards can be sent back to Head Office whilst the next camp uses the other two. Then Head Office send out the previous two after having downloaded the pictures so they have the ‘store’ of all the camps camera photos. Then it’s easy for me to get my mitts on them! Well, that Get Snap-Happy! was the plan! As I said, after the first year I was almost spoilt for choice but there are always some Yes, I’m afraid it’s that time of year again… the subjects that don’t seem to get too much ‘lens time of year when I put out a request to everyone time’ such as the catering side of things. Last year, to take photos of whatever situation whilst on the plan didn’t seem to work at all as the memory whichever camp(s) they attend! cards didn’t make it to Head Office if any were used. The Grand Western, Lichfield and And oddly enough, that is exactly what I’m doing Grantham camps were the only camps I got phonow! tos from to start with and that was partly Please, please, PLEASE due to Mr Lines becould you take lots and ing present on the LOTS of interesting and first two! How are happy pictures (as well as we supposed to do any others you may want to any publicity if there take!) this summer and also, are only a handful of almost as importantly, please decent recent phocan you send them to me! tos? I’m sure there’d Either on a CD… easier that be some people way but no matter if not… or who would complain possibly by email (yes, it’s if we kept using the looking likely that I’ll be all same ones in the broadbanded-up by the time brochure every camps start!) if you have no Are they happy? Are they looking at the camera? year! So come on, means of burning a CD. Or pull your fingers out even just good old 35mm! As Tenko says, if you and get putting them on those camera buttons! get them developed at a well-known supermarket (the one with bottom-patting as its trademark!) Once one gets around to getting one’s (or one’s they put your pictures onto CD for an extra pound camp’s) camera out, there are a few points I’d or so. Good deal, huh?! But I don’t mind how like to draw one’s attention to… you send them to me as long as you do send them to me!!! I can never have too many - I really do mean that! And please be prompt in sending them in. It’s a common misconception that I don’t need them until Christmas or at the start of the following year but I could really do with them as soon as you can; at least by mid-September would be helpful. I think I received Mr Lines’ Easter Uttoxeter Camp pictures by the end of the following week! Very good – thanks very much as ever Alan! The reason for me wanting pictures of what you all get up to on site and off throughout the summer? For those of you who know not what I do for wrg, as well as being in charge of logistics, I also compile the Canal Camps brochure. Every year we search through the camps’ photos to find ones we can hopefully use to help entice prospective campers in the following year’s brochure.

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Alan Lines

Alan Lines

It’s time to start taking photos for the 2006 Camps Booklet

We want photos of all aspects of Camps life


Please take the photos in a good and high resolution… I just can’t help zooming in to a particular part of some pictures! I will do it given half the chance!! And as Martin says you never know what frame shape “these designers” are going to use next year! And the beauty of digital is that you can take a few photos of the same thing… zoom into a detailed part yourself, maybe someone’s hands.

If there is a new site, please can I ask people who either do a site visit or perhaps the local organiser to take photos and send me a few you think would ‘sell’ the camp to potential volunteers. A photo of either the main structure they will be working on for the week, the overall site or even an older picture of volunteers working on a similar project somewhere else on that canal.

The Brochure really is the bane of my life at times and things could be a lot easier if people sent me their photos and promptly. More pictures taken in the Please help me save a litaccommodation please, or tle time by just sending me even outside it! Social acyour photos! It will be much tivities, cooking, making appreciated I can tell you. lunch, barbecues, etc. It’s amazing how long it even just a few people sat takes to sort through lots of having a relaxing brew. photos to find suitable ones – I’d rather that than not have Something I’ve noticed a enough! – I literally spend severe lack of is group phohours doing it so the sooner I “You never know what frame shape tos! Whether it be on site or can get that done the better. ‘these designers are going to use...” ‘at play’ at the leisure activiIt’s worse when I have to trawl ties. By ‘group photos’ I don’t mean the posed through the previous years’ cd’s to “fill the gaps” everyone-on-the-camp-stood-together ones, I … although last year’s certainly won’t take very mean work being carried out together (and look- long! ing like they’re enjoying it!)… OK, I guess I’m actually talking about “teamwork” shots but that Huge thanks to Alan Lines for always taking many sounds terribly business buzzwordy! And group (and good!) photos and always sending me a cd outings… even pictures taken in the minibus ‘en or three of them, and also thanks to Sally from route’! the Wey & Arun, Martin, Mike, Smudge, James and Eddie for sending other pictures and cds. And most importantly, make sure your subjects Couldn’t have done it without you! are enjoying themselves and they haven’t (all) got their backs turned towards you! It’s all supposed Just Jen’s Check List for 2005 Camps Photos to be about having fun!! Subject – Any aspect of Camp Life! Keep taking lots of smiley faces… there is no such thing as too many!

· · · · ·

Alan Lines

·

Catering pics welcome - especially if you can make it look like they’re actually enjoying their food!

Details – Zoom in on “interesting items.” Age – Don’t forget to take pics showing wideranging age groups working together. Resolution – Nice and high please! Camps Camera – Don’t forget to send the (2) used memory cards to Head Office with the rest of your paperwork. Photos taken – Throw them onto CD/DVD and post to: Just Jen, 45, Glebe Road, Sheffield. S10 1FB or by email to logistics@wrg.org.uk clearly marking the camp number, canal and dates of the camp on any picture correspondence. Thanks.

I look forward to being bombarded with thousands of photos from this year’s camps! [It’ll make a change from filling the house with tools at least!] Just Jen

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Logistics

“Finding 20 concrete-covered’ buckets in the kit isn’t helpful” Take Two Buckets into the Shower? After trying to think of a style of writing that would suit this article I remembered that I rarely write more than a few notes for the back pages at this time of year… due to being incredibly busy sorting tools and the rest of the kits! So why is an article appearing this time? Because I told Martin I’d send him something and I’m just trying to catch a few moments before I fall head-long into kit stuff… and my ‘usual whinges’ are fresher in my mind for some uncanny reason! My main source of grief is the old concrete shovels, rakes and brick kit… I’ve added rakes this year because I’ve noticed a few returned a little heavier than they were when sent out. Please rinse tools off regularly when using concrete or mortar, especially on hot, sunny days where it will ‘go off’ much quicker. Remember, the rest of the camps have to use them after you. I’m sure you’d rather find nice clean tools when it was your turn to use them. Hopefully this season will see the introduction of a bit of a trial with some new brick kit. If it works - and that’s really up to you brickies out there as to whether or not you look after it - then of course we’ll introduce it to both kits. We’ll have to wait and see. Can I also make a plea to Leaders to include toaster operation in the safety talk? It’s something Mick always used to do and was always very comical… in fact maybe I should just record Mick doing it! And don’t let that evil toast baron Mr Crockett persuade you to do a six course meal in it either! page 34

Another thing that’s becoming a more regular occurrence is the ever increasing amount of ‘extras’ that turn up in the trailers and vans. And I don’t mean from films either! Please can you all take note that finding twenty concrete-covered buckets in a trailer isn’t helpful! And that’s just the problem – I know you think you’re being helpful by sending this stuff on but I’m afraid it isn’t always. This leads me neatly on to another point. Please remember there are a few items in the kit that are token gestures, namely the builder’s bucket, wire brushes and the general purpose saw. New for this year, you won’t actually see the builder’s bucket to try to emphasise this fact. There will still be a token gesture bucket but a shiny metal one not a plastic one. Please don’t use this for concrete… builder’s buckets cost about a pound from B&Q or a builder’s merchants. So these and wire brushes should be purchased by the local society as required for each job. Likewise, please leave said items with the local society after the camp so they have them for the next time and don’t rattle around the trailer for months on end. If circumstance doesn’t permit it, i.e. you aren’t actually working for a society, it’s a one-off job or whatever, please let me know what you’re planning on leaving with the kit. Lots of hand saws have turned up too… presumably from a bit of a joinery job … use the same principle here too, i.e. leave them with the society please. So, what style am I going to do my article in? Well, that’s it! No style, article over… yes, believe it or not, that’s what it was! I wondered whether to do it in the style of Willo the Wisp as I thought Mavis Cruet could be the kit fairy … which would’ve been nice. But hey ho, we can all dream … Happy Digging! Just Jen logistics@wrg.org.uk


Arctic Bay Fridge Freezer Set of 5 Stacked Curver Boxes

Cool Box Brick Kit

Morecambe Bay Wheelbarrows with Post Cap between them Bowsaws

Sick Sick Bay Bay Griddle Griddle First Aid Kits, side First Aid Kits, side by by side side Hard Hard Hat Hat Sign, Sign, face face down down Wooden Wooden Accomodation Accomodation Box Box

Jerry Cans stored inside wheelbarrows (2 of) Cardigan/Whitley Cardigan/Whitley Bay Bay Rakes Rakes Manure/Pitch Manure/Pitch Forks Forks Slashers Slashers (Garden) (Garden) Forks Forks Sledge Sledge Hammers Hammers Long-handled Long-handled Pruning Pruning Saws Saws Brushes Brushes & & Mop Mop

Spare Spare Ratchet Ratchet Straps Straps

Bridgewater Bay Picks Mattocks Shovels

Hard Hat Drum

Sack Sack Barrow Barrow (for (for indoor indoor use use only only please!) please!) Miscellaneous Miscellaneous Bits Bits Galvanised Galvanised Sh*t Sh*t Bucket Bucket Mop Mop Bucket Bucket Water Containers Water Containers Burcos Burcos Etc. Etc. on on floor floor

On On Floor, Floor, Right-hand Right-hand Side Side Kebs Kebs Demolition Demolition Bar Bar Chelwood Chelwood Rake Rake

Here’s an example of a jolly fine trailer pack for the Camps’ trailers. Hopefully a lick of shiny paint will have found its way onto the tools and replacements provided by the time you all see them again. And obviously there are subtle differences between the above trailer and Kit B’s (although most would say Lime Green isn’t subtle!!!).

*And keep Logistics happy - ok, happier! ... page 35


Vehicles

What’s involved in getting a DVLA Minibus Licence Acquiring a DVLA category D1 Licence Since January 1st 1997 the standard UK car driving licence only covers vehicles up to 9 seats including driver. (and up to 3.5 tonnes maximum weight). Anyone who has passed their car driving test since that date will not be able to drive either of the two minibuses in the main WRG canal camps fleet without taking a further test. (there is in theory an exemption for minibuses under 3.5 tonnes for some types of non-profitmaking organisation, but as (a) one of our buses is over that weight and (b) we cannot be entirely sure that WRG qualifies without a there being a test case in court - WRG has decided not to take advantage of this exemption) James Butler recently became the first WRG driver to pass the necessary PCV (minibus) driving test: this is his report of what it entailed... When I first started out on this mission I didn’t realise quite how much needed to be done. 1. You need to go to the doctors to have a medical done. Cost: approx £40 2. You need to apply to DVLA for provisional entitlement in the necessary categories to be added to your licence. A tip here is get both D1 and C1 (or if you’re aged over 21 you can go for C not C1) added to your licence as it is the same amount of money and enables you to provisionally drive both minibuses and Large Goods Venicles over 3.5 tonnes (only up to 7.5 tonnes in the case of C1). Cost: approx £30 3. You need to study the theory driving test book for buses. Cost: approx £15 4. Now you have looked long and hard at the book you need to take the theory test. Although most minibuses don’t have air brakes, spray guards etc. it is the same theory test for minibuses and anything up to double decker buses. The hazard perception test is harder as you need to react faster on the computer to hazards than you would for a car theory test. This part I found very stressful! Cost: approx £30

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5. Now you have passed all of the above you can now go for a driving assessment to see how many days’ training you will need. For an average person 4 days’ training is the norm for a minibus. Cost: approx £10 6. This is where you finally get your hands on the wheel and start training. How you drive a WRG van is completely different from how to drive a minibus for a DVLA test. Firstly the good old BSM shuffle-steer comes back. No driving one handed now! The main thing to remember is to keep looking in your mirrors. The trick I was taught is to count to five in your head then do a mirror check and make sure you move your head not just your eyes. When it comes to the test, the examiner needs to see your head turn. Also when you stop always put the handbrake on and put it in 1st gear and whilst waiting to move off keep looking in your mirrors and both blind spots. You should always check blind spots and mirrors when you are about to take off the hand brake. You are expected to use bus lanes where possible: the only bus lanes you CANNOT use are signposted with the word “local” on them. It feels very wrong driving in bus lanes! After having the lessons you should hopefully be ready for the test. Cost approx £150 per day inc vat 7. The day of the test comes. So what do you need to prove to the examiner that you can do? Firstly the examiner will ask five questions. For example, “What safety equipment do you have on board?” (You will show him the first aid kit and fire extinguisher.) Another may be “where is the emergency fuel shut off?” (In my case it was turn the key back as far as it will go.) You could get “How will you make sure the doors are shut? and show me.” (I said “I will go round and open then close them all, and pull the handle and see if the door moves.“) Next is the reversing exercise. (see the diagram) You will be asked to drive forward in a dead straight line and stop with the front of the bus level with 2 cones. If you turn the wheel here you will fail. You then need to reverse around a cone which you have previously passed on your nearside - it now needs to pass you on your off side. You will need to apply full lock to the left, the second you start to move. The cone behind you is one and a half times the length of the bus from the cones you stopped by, and again one and a half times the width of the bus from a yellow line on your right hand side. Do not cross the yellow line with your wheels at any point. You can lean your head out of the window to check if you like.


IWA Training Awards WRG’s parent organisation The Inland Waterways Association provides funding for volunteers to be trained via its Training Award grants. These can be awarded twice a year for sums of up to £750 for any form of relevent training. In the past they have supported volunteers taking machinery and forestry skills courses, for example. Feel free to apply for one for minibus driving if you feel that it will fulfill the scheme’s aims by helping to support waterway restoration. Contact IWA head office on 01923 711114, email iwa@waterways.org.uk, or see www.waterways.org.uk for information. After passing the cone without touching it you then reverse round in an S shape and reverse into a box marked with cones, which will be the same length as the bus, and one and half times the width. The back of the bus must stop within a defined yellow box marked on the ground. A good trick here is when practising to look for something on the bus that looks like it is over the line. In my case when I looked at the bumper in my mirrors it looked like it was just past the box. (It is cheating but legal!) You are allowed two “shunts” (which means going forwards) but you will get 1 minor fault for each attempt and on the third shunt that is a fail. For this exercise you don’t need a seat belt on, and you can cross your hands. (So long as you can keep control of the bus you can drive on your head whilst handcuffed if you like...) There are no restrictions except to get between the cones and not hit them, and to be in control of the bus. After this the examiner will get into the bus and ask you to drive up to 20mph, and as the front of the bus passes two cones to stop as fast as possible - within one vehicle length, without locking the wheels up. (It didn’t help that there was a load of salt thrown down where I did it...) You will then leave the DVLA yard and go for a drive on the roads lasting about 40 minutes. You will be asked to stop at two or three bus stops and pretend that passengers get on or off - the door should be near the bus stop sign. Also you will need to pull away from the kerb twice, an uphill start, and a downhill start. For a downhill start you need to put it into 2nd gear, foot on brake, hand brake off, and then move away when safe not forgetting those mirrors and blind spots! There is also a gear changing exercise. To do that you will be asked to go through the gears to 3rd or 4th gear and then on the examiners say so start going down through the gears one at a time, driving a little distance in each gear. When you get to 1st gear you need to crawl along but not stop.

The examiner will then say “now please drive on using your gears as normal” Obviously a mirror check will need to be done and a blind spot check, change into 1st gear and then pull away from the kerb and drive on. It is mainly common sense to get you through - for example make sure your foot is right off the clutch with foot flat on the floor so he can’t do you for riding the clutch. And make sure all the doors are unlocked when performing the test, as it is illegal for a door to be locked while the minibus is in use. Cost of the test: £70 8. Then if you pass, it is time to send all the documents to DVLA. Cost: free If you are over 21 you can go and do the biggest bus going without doing the minibus test first, but that involves more days worth of lessons, and the examiner will be looking even more closely for any slip-ups. Also another point to remember is if you have passed the towing test in a van you CANNOT tow trailers heavier than 750kg behind a minibus - and vice versa if you took the towing test in a minibus. So to sum up: It does take a long time to do. It took me three years. It is expensive. It cost me approx £550 as I only needed three days training and I got away with paying for two days. I got one day free as I used to deliver to the owner of the training school. A perk of being a postie! If you are taking the trailer test then it is the same basic test but you won’t stop at bus stops or use bus lanes, and also you don’t need to take a theory test. All it is left to say is good luck and if you would like any more advice I will be happy to help. James Butler

The reversing test

page 37


WRG BC

The WRG Boat Club reports quite a lot (in small writing - sorry!) WRG Boat Club News

First a big ‘thank you’ to all those who donated to the AWCC appeal for boats for Bangladesh: one way and another we raised enough for three boats to be purchased. This was all raised from direct donations; the money was passed to Midland Region. Both Claire and I attended the AWCC AGM when the cheques were handed over and Midland Region did very well. When the region chairman told the meeting the size of WRG BC’s contribution we were cheered, so well done all who helped. Topics that were raised at the AGM included There is concern over the way EA are handling the ‘Transport and Works’ order and a new ‘Harmony Forum’ will be created (why am I thinking of hair colouring when I write that?) BW is planning a new advisory forum. Navigation is low on the list of priorities of waterway authorities. ‘It is a bit old fashioned to regard BW as our enemy, we need to use modern diplomacy.’ Some members of the (old) government want to sell off BW assets; BW says they need the money generated for canal restoration. The RED DIESEL campaign has become urgent. BW is trying to promote the wider use of the Foxton Locks area, as part of their development there, to the detriment of navigation. The route for the proposed Bedford/Milton Keynes link is protected, at the moment, but the local council is, so far, standing against powerful developers. EA need pushing to get a move on with their proposed Cathedral City link. There is still no decision about rerouting the road that will enable the restoration of Runcorn Locks. (I hope we can give some support to that while at Preston Brook) We need to watch for planning applications for the Selly Oak relief road, with the Lapal restoration in mind. There has been an order restricting work in a dry dock because some local person has complained about noise (oh why do people move to live near canals then moan about what goes on there!). There aren’t enough dry docks. There aren’t enough moorings. There is to be an AWCC rally on the Basingstoke next year. Praise was given to the installation of the back pumping there. They are getting rid of ‘age related standards’ in connection with the BSS. (I don’t know what that means, but feel encouraged by it!) In the afternoon, after the AWCC AGM, Robin Evans CEO British Waterways was the guest speaker with Eugene Baston BW’s Customer Relations Manager.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

page 38

Claire reports: Robin was introduced to us with a resume of his history before coming to BW, and many and varied it is. He is a very charismatic speaker and we were to learn what the future holds for BW. He has inherited the recent huge generation of the waterways and the enormous programme of work at Droitwich* and Gloucester* (Over). He explained that Britain gets very little money from European sources so it has to be found elsewhere. Personally Robin wants the network to have the right to survive by engendering its own finances - not only from the boaters but from other users who enjoy the waterways; he hopes not to hit the boaters as usual! BW own a vast number of historic buildings (second only to the Church) which require funding. He feels that in the past BW have not always understood that the important people are their customers, ie the boaters. Customer service has been updated to deal with customer complaints....but they must HAVE the complaints, not just mutterings. Robin admitted that customer service has a record of poor response in the past, he promised a target of 20 working days or the complaint goes to the Ombudsman. Eugene Baston agreed they had been remiss in the past - but no more! Dog fouling and vegetation is being dealt with, dog fouling costs £1000 per bin and local councils are not always cooperative so it is down to BW to empty the bins. The ‘veg.pledge’ has come about in response to boaters’ requests. Robin also said that BW are on target to get rid of arrears, for example dredging is going to be improved. (I wish!) He pledged that BW WILL serve their customers. There were many questions when Robin had finished addressing the meeting. First I asked why he had not mentioned WRG when talking about restoration: he was gracious enough to admit this was an oversight (a senior moment perhaps) and went on to praise WRG; he said he usually included WRG’s input. Moorings and unlicenced boats were a hot topic for questions. Robin said what we all knew from the press that court cases were in hand but it was difficult to deal with people with children etc etc etc, nothing new there. When asked about the paucity of patrol officers Robin said it was up to us all to report unlawful mooring and any other misdemeanours we spot. Any questions can be put to the advisory forum when no answer is forthcoming from the user groups. People are fed up with user group ‘presentations’ given by people who have no knowledge of canals, and different BW people at each meeting. These points were taken by Robin. EA have powers to share out water and this is going to be a big issue in the future. It will be in 2015 when it really bites. Remainder canals will have to be protected. This just gives you a flavour of the afternoon. Thanks for that, Claire. Looking to the future, the club AGM will be at The National but I will circulate the agenda for all to have a chance to contribute, by mail, e-mail, phone or text, as I know that not all club members will be there to join in the fun. Ideas and suggestions, for club activities, that’s what we want, also something sensational for us to do at Preston Brook. Hope to see you somewhere on the cut. xxx Sadie Dean


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

Congratulations! ...to Rachel Parr and Danny French on the arrival of Freya Rebecca. ...to Rhys and Anna Jones on the arrival of Daniel

PS from WRG Boat Club: Congratula-

tions to members Judith & Mike Chessher for winning the Best Dressed Boat competition at the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal Society’s do at Norbury over the Mayday bank holiday. After constructing their display it was completely demolished in a thunder storm, but undaunted they rebuilt it and won the award! Well done both of you, now how about some ideas for Preston Brook??

Tardis available!

The IWA Festivals trailer (aka ‘The Tardis’ because of its unfeasibly large capacity) is seeking a new home. It has a valid MOT (Ministry of Tardises?) lasting till March ‘06 but would probably not pass another. It could provide useful storage for a canal society, and is available for the cost of transporting it away after this year’s National at Runcorn. Contact David King on 01908 661309, 07973 397789 or djsking@tesco.net

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

Noticeboard Halloween has not been cancelled! It would have seemed from the camps brochure this year (like the boot, Jen) that October and Halloween had been forgotten in 2005, but no, after great demand we have sorted out a week’s camp on October 22-29 on the Wilts and Berks canal, carrying out work at the 7 Locks section, on Locks 3 & 4, bricklaying and concreting, with the possibility of some hedge laying. Also a possibility of some work at Dauntsey Lock, repairing a culvert that goes under the canal with the accommodation at Foxham Reading Rooms. You will be glad to know that the week has a leader, assistant and most importantly a cook, these being my not too good self, the wonderful Taz Tarrant, (yes I am biased) and the fabulous Dr Liz cooking. Why come on an October camp? Well for a start the days are short and the evenings (in the pub) are longer!! Other reasons include it’s generally cooler to work than in the heat of the summer, but the weather is often as dry as a summer camp. We can start getting on with hedge laying and planting works, mortar doesn’t go off as quick and it’s a long time between the summer and Christmas not to do a camp. However, if you should need any more reason then the annual WRG Halloween party is always a hoot on the Friday night of the camp (all spooks and sprits/ beers invited) So book now to avoid disappointment. Smudge 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).

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 © 2005 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655

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Backfill

Well so do we. And the main reason is because not enough people send amusing snippets in to the editor, so he has to write it himself - and he’s got no sense of humour. So please send something in!

Martin Ludgate

Seen at a WRG Committee meeting...

Do you think the back page is less funny than it used to be?

Some of us remember when you used to get the mickey taken for owning up to possessing a Filofax, let alone turning up to a WRG meeting with a computer. But a single laptop doesn’t appear to be enough for Bungle, seen here using three simultaneously.

From the Training Weekend:

Spotted at Little Venice:

“Saturday evening entertainment was provided by Bungle whilst fitting Blue’s new door. Having completed the task, he proudly shut the door before realising he had yet to attach the handle. This provided us with the opportunity to practise our new pointing (and laughing) skills. He then went on to dispel the childhood myth about pegs and holes. A Bungle-shaped peg does indeed fit in a small window-shaped hole if you push hard enough!”

And finally...

Martin Ludgate

Thank you to Womble for the following:

..on the WRG accommodation compound.

I am indebted to Richard Fairhurst for the fascinating factlet that the track Too Sick by Goldie Lookin’ Chain, whom Richard describes as “Newport’s finest chav hip-hop band”, includes the memorable lines “Two Hats is crazed like howling mad Murdoch / And he’s got a shell suit made by Reebok / He’ll do the Vulcan grip like Mr Spock / And he does bongs up the Fourteen Locks”. The Fourteen Locks being the ones we’re restoring on the Mon & Brec, while the ‘bongs’ (which I mis-read as ‘bangs’ and assumed referred to the difficulties of steering a boat into a lock in a cross-wind) is apparently something involving drug-taking. Ah well, we’ve always believed in Waterways for All - canals for boaters, nature conservationists, anglers, cyclists, walkers, drug-crazed dope-heads... no, on second thoughts, delete ‘nature conservationists’... Anyone know any more lyrics that combine canal restoration and substance abuse? Send them to the editor.

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Navvies 211  

Navvies 211

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