Navvies 214

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Camp report

October at Seven Locks on the Wilts & Berks Wilts and Berks (again!) Oct 22nd-29th. Ooooo-errrr! What had I let myself in for? My first time as a deputy camp leader, admittedly for an experienced leader in the form of Smudge and an excellent cook in the form of Dr Liz. In the blink of an eye the camp had become full, then full with a waiting list. It seemed that we were getting emails and phone calls almost daily asking if we could accept just one more . but having paced out the accommodation during a site visit we had to stop at 24. Plus two in B&B. Oh yes, and another two commuting daily from Oxford. Plus Helen Bush joining us for the first few days and James Butler popping down mid camp sleeping behind the post office counter . Well, you get the picture. Dr Liz spotted that we had two sets of twins on camp. Confusion here we come!

Saturday dawned fair and, familiar WRGie faces started to arrive. The camp was male biased, older rather than younger, with a lot of experience. Steve Barrett the main trainer for the week, Rob hollow legs Brotherston, Paul laughing boy Ireson, Martin Worsley (plus chainsaw), Jonathon Todd (minus chainsaw), David Harris and Ian Nicholson. We had some returnees from the summer camp too. Becca The Wrecker Royce who came back cos she didn t get muddy enough in the summer and Keith Crusty Lown (K Lown, = Crusty the Clown from The Simpsons) and his partner Helga who had their first camp in Aug and been bitten by the bug. Becca had brought her other half Mark . For him, it was a choice between canal camp or designing computer chips... Becca normally teaches teenagers in Reading so a week s hard labour was a walk in the park for her! Rowena Gaskell had done some WRG work before but wanted to do a full week on a local canal and started the week commuting daily from Oxford. First timers included Tobi a student nurse, Alan who bought his kayak with him(!) and James Perry who had done Nationals but no proper camp! Also Steve Gardner, a professional brickie who lives on a narrowboat near Oxford and wanted to put something back . The Dof-E-ers included our two sets of twins (a WRG first?) Phil & Tim Pearse (identical twins) and Robert & William Cheyne (as near identical as made no difference).

Taz & Smudge

Despite locked brakes on the kit trailer at Tom s farm, we got to the accommodation at Foxham Reading Rooms late Friday, the shower block having been delivered earlier that day without generator or plumbing - tomorrow s problem .

Our tasks for the week were to carry on from where the summer camps had left off, on the Seven Locks flight near RAF Lyneham, rebuilding the lower wing walls of lock 3 and digging out the chamber of lock 4. Locks 3 and 4 had water flowing and lock 4 had to be pumped out every morning - about 90 mins work. Brick/block laying, concreting and shovelling gloop would thus be the main work of the week. There was also some hedgelaying between the two locks, with Di leading. Rachael Banyard (our local contact) had a range of additional tasks for any spare bods.

Tim mixes mortar

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I qualified for the first Spanner of the day award when I sent MK2 to Swindon railway station to collect the Cheynes two days early! They weren t due till Monday Doh! Oliver Wottoon made up the last of the D-of-E-ers and he proved to be a very useful member of the team.

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