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Camp report on Wilts & Berks...

It was not an auspicious start to the second of two weeks on Lock 4 of the Seven Locks flight. The last day of the previous week s KESCRG camp was a washout with torrential rain all day. By the next day several roads were impassable for ordinary cars and the railway was flooded. On the arrival day of the camp, Rob Brotherston and Di had to take long detours coming from the south west, and Luke was held up for an hour or two coming down from Warwick. Three others phoned to say they d leave it for a day or two as trains were cancelled, and four who had booked on the camp never made it. However two who hadn t booked managed to turn up so we still finished with 19 including two Spaniards, one French and one Slovak. Luke got up at the crack of sparrows on Sunday on got two pumps going but by the time our troops arrived it was still a soggy mess. Four locals turned up as usual, and two of them joined Martin Thomson s team to start digging out gooey clay at the bottom of the offside wall and shovelling it into the digger bucket to be lifted out onto the spoil heap. T he other two locals, both experienced bricklayers, joined John Hawkins and Rob, and got to work on laying the first three courses of old brick. The rest of the team were mixing mortar, moving bricks up the field and lowering them down into the lock on the towpath side. By the afternoon we were able to put down a dry lean mix onto the clay to at least give a firm surface to stand on. After a long day we had transformed the site back to how it was the previous Thursday! We then got back to the Reading Rooms, got cleaned up, ate a scrummy meal from Di and adjourned to the Foxham Inn for a well-earned sample of real ale.

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...reporting from a very wet and muddy but ultimately productive week rebuilding the walls of Lock Four While the heavy rain from the previous week wasn t repeated, we continued to have showers nearly every day, but work still progressed apace. Two courses of brickwork were completed on Monday while Martin s team had the unenviable task of continuing to dig out sloppy clay and putting down a blinding layer of dry concrete. Blocklaying was started at the top end of the lock, and Evelyne (our French visitor) trimmed back the towpath hedge to make it easier for people and machines to get up and down. In the evening 11 of us went to Devizes to our local folk club, the others being offered (and declining) a trip to the cinema so a start could be made on Rob s 1000-piece jigsaw. On Tuesday the bricklaying team achieved another two courses, while Martin led another teak putting in the blockwork back wall, the hollows being filled in by Robin and Evelyne. Jesus (one of our Spaniards, not the miracle-worker) and Mike kept the brick and

Is it deep enough to swim in?

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