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navvies volunteers restoring


Christmas and New Year camp reports Easter canal camps preview waterway recovery group

Issue No 227 February-March 2008

Navvies Production

Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 Subscriptions: Navvies subscriptions, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY

Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conservation of inland waterways by voluntary effort in Great Britain. Articles may be reproduced in allied magazines provided that the source is acknowledged. WRG may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. 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.

Martin Ludgate

Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559

Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, Helen Davey, Roger Day, Neil Edwards, George Eycott, John Fletcher, Adrian Fry, John Hawkins, Jennifer Leigh, Judith Palmer, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith. Secretary: Neil Edwards ISSN: 0953-6655 Š 2008 WRG

Pete Dunn

Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Rickmansworth WD3 1LT). The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 612245, and registered as a charity no 212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89.

Visit our web site for

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Contents In this issue...

Chairman Droitwich needs you! 4 Coming soon Training, Cleanup, Easter 5-7 Camp reports W&B, Grantham St Ives 8-14 Dig report latest newts from Droitwich 15-17 KL15 Bungle’s still fixing his crane... 18-19 Logistics Paperwork matters! 20-21 Diary camp and working party dates 22-24 Directory canal society and WRG contacts25-27 Letters how it all began 28-29 Progress restoration news roundup 30-33 Print how your Navvies gets to you 34-35 NorthWest roundup and dig report 36-39 WRGBC Boat Club news 40 News and the missing back page captions 41 Noticeboard Save your stamps for WRG! 42 Infill mice, dogs and trailers 43 Front cover: Xmas on the Grantham: Ju and James on the pull (photo by Martin Ludgate) Above: book now for the Cleanup - see p6 Left: the KL15 finally goes back together - see p18-19 Below: NW concreting on the Lichfield - see NW roundup, p32-34 Back cover main picture: we’ll be busy here this summer - MKP and others visit the Barge Lock on the Droitwich Junction Canal for a site inspection prior to the 2008 camps. Inset top: also on the Droitwich, London WRG and KESCRG spent a weekend in December removing hedges ready for construction of the diversion below Hanbury locks, while (inset below) Bungle and Eddie honed their catering skills (photos by Martin Ludgate)

Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on CD-ROM, DVD or by email. Photos also welcome: digital, slides, prints. Please state whether you want your prints back. Digital pics are welcome as email attachments, preferably JPG format, but if you have a lot it is preferable to send them on CD-ROM or DVD or to contact the editor first. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to Press date for issue 228: March 1st.

Mike Chase

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. This is a minimum subscription which doesn’t even cover postage costs but is kept low so that everyone can afford to subscribe. Please add a donation if you can.

all the latest news of WRG's activities page 3


is run. We thought for a couple of minutes and concluded that if we have one teensyweensy fault it is that we don’t get enough new blood in. Now this is usually due to the vicious circle of a volunteer seeing someone already doing the job and so not putting their hand up, whilst the person doing the job sees no-one to take over and thus continues on. Whilst this is lovely for stability we have to face the fact that if you stick in a job long Chairman’s Comment enough other things start to distract you – This years Canal Camps flyer has been well paid work, owning a boat, producing bareceived and huge thanks to Jenny and Andy bies, etc. and the energy and enthusiasm you at Head Office for the all the hard work regard- can put in diminishes. So if you are intering design, proof reading and getting the ested in helping out with the way WRG operprinting sorted all within the usual impossibly ates then please talk to us. The WRG Committight schedule. If you know of any person or tee has never really had a fixed format, it’s organisation who should receive a few copies always been a jigsaw comprised of the availthen please let Jen at head Office know. able pieces and, you never know, we may well A few people questioned why we have a gap that is exactly you-shaped! slightly changed things this year and so here About 12 months ago British Waterways are the answers for all of you: came to the conclusion they were not showing The Easter camp is split into two due regard to ensuring that volunteers working weeks – simply because we had work for on their patch were safe and competent. So fourteen days rather than a “long week incor- they implemented that ultimate Health & Safety porating the Bank Holiday” By making it two tool - the questionnaire! Actually that is rather discrete weeks we hope to encourage first flippant, even for me: it was a proper investitimers who are put off by the concept (and gation into how volunteer groups manage cost) of a 10 day camp. For those who would themselves. In blunt terms: do they actually like to attend for the long weekend in the have the resources to safely deliver what they middle, that will probably be fine, subject to say they will?. So this has been a two way the leaders not getting swamped. And we do education session. Some of the questions did have leaders for both weeks already – A pair make us think quite hard and we have made a of cuddly Martins to be precise: Buckland is few small changes, but equally we got to put leading week one and Thompson leading over some of the ways in which volunteers week two (or it may be the other way round) differ from employees and hence need the The National Festival doesn’t fearisks managing in a different way. I think it has ture in the flyer – we got a bit of feedback been beneficial on both sides. from people who, having read the Canal So just before Christmas I am pleased to Camps flyer, were surprised to find themselves say that WRG got “self supervising” status. This on a boat emptying toilets. Seems half of them means WRG management has been judged were hoping for a restoration camp and the adequately resourced and competent to run the other half were hoping for Glastonbury! So organisation in a safe manner. Now there are don’t take the date out of your diaries – we will two big riders at the moment: firstly, it only be there this August and it looks like the site applies to centrally organised events such as will be just as dependant on our skills, deterCanal Camps. The regional groups do not have mination and impermeability as ever. this status yet, but we are now going to work The price has gone up - by a quid a on that. Secondly it does not include mechaday. We have been trying to avoid this but in nised plant yet, but again we are working on it. 2007 most camps only just broke even. This So just to clear this up: this doesn’t exis the first increase for many years and we empt anyone from producing all the usual promise not to make a habit of it. paperwork of Risk Assessments etc. But it does Our parent charity the Inland Watermean that the support structure for leaders and ways Association has been doing a lot of volunteers that WRG puts in place has been navel gazing recently to ensure it is a charity considered acceptable by BW. Which is nice. that is “fit for purpose”. As part of this they Hugs and Kisses, asked us to think about how our committee Mike Palmer

BW thinks we’re OK!

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Book now for the 5th annual WRG and KESCRG Barn Dance - and the canal camp leaders’ training day

Coming soon

Take your camp leader by the hand...

Last call for the Barn Dance: March 1 By the time you read this it will be just a week or two till the annual Navvies’ Barn Dance, so you need to book NOW to avoid disappointment as tickets are limited. The details are as follows: When: Saturday 1st March 2008, 7.00 - 11.30 pm Where: Benson Parish Hall, Oxfordshire, directions on How much: £12 including Sausage & Mash supper (veggie sausages available); overnight accommodation in nearby scout hall for another £2 and breakfast for a further £2 Tickets: Send cheques (pay KESCRG) plus name, address, whether you want overnight accommodation and/or breakast and whether you are vegetarian to Bobby Silverwood, The Old Post Office, Kiddington, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1BE For info: email

Leader training day: also on March 1 Once again we have arranged a day of training for WRG leaders to co-incide with the WRG / KESCRG Barndance, and once again we will be sharing the same venue Benson Parish Hall, Oxfordshire (see the wrg website) . The training is aimed at everyone, from those who think they might be interested in becoming an assistant leader and are keen to find more out about what it is involved through to those who have been leading canal camps for as long as our chairman (or perhaps even longer). The event will be very informal and try to cover a number of topics. Basically we try and solve some problems by exchanging ideas and utilising everyone’s experience. We’ll talk about what those there would like to discuss to help them lead Canal Camps. One of the big things about leading Canal Camps is that there is no one correct (or perfect) way run to a camp: what we hope is that based upon the experience of others, all who attend can take something away that they can try on their Canal Camp. There will be a nominal agenda, including the following topics: (a) 2007 - That was a really good year, according to our questionnaire. Why was it so good, and what can we all do to make 2008 even better? (b) Supporting our leaders, what is available, what else do you need / want. (c) Group Discussions (d) “We’re not all the same” (e) We have new vans (The WRG vehicle fleet will all be new and shiny by the summer) (f)

“We get some really good volunteers...”

(g) 2008 - What is happening this year We aim to start about 10:30, with refreshments available from 10.00. Lunch will be provided and we’ll be finished in plenty of time for everyone to go to the barn dance. If you are interested in attending or have any ideas or suggestions to add, or feel that 10:30 is just too early to start please contact us by the 26th February at: (please let us know of any speical dietary requirements). Note: Booking for the barn dance is completely separate to booking for the leader training. Adrian Fry

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Easter Camps on the Wilts & Berks: March 15-22 and 22-29 This year’s Canal Camps programme kicks off with two consecutive weeks work on the Wilts & Berks Canal. The main site will be Steppingstones Bridge, a traditional brick arched bridge which had collapsed but is gradually being completely rebuilt to original standard. Leader for both weeks is Martin Thomson and the main work will be bricklaying, but there should be plenty of other work for those who can’t bricklay and don’t want to learn. Book for these camps in the usual way using the booking form or online via

BCN Cleanup: April 5-6 What? A weekend spent throwing grappling hooks into the murky waters of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, dragging out old bikes, prams, shopping trolleys, and anything else you’d care to name. And one or two things we’d rather not name. (But how about ‘Fido’?) Where? On the Wednesbury Oak Loop (otherwise known as the Bradley Branch) of the Birmingham Canal Navigations - and the Wolverhampton section of the BCN Main Line too. When? On April 5th and 6th - we’re holding it a little bit later than usual this year because Easter is early and we want to avoid clashing with either of the Easter camps. Who? Anyone who wants to help. The event is run jointly by WRG (with London WRG providing most of the organisation), the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society and The Inland Waterways Association, supported by British Waterways who provide tools, gloves and workboats to take the junk away. But absolutely anyone is welcome to attend. Overnight accommodation (at the Willingsworth High School) and food is available - please book using the form below and you will receive joining instructions - but if you just want to come for the day that’s fine, and we can provide lunch. See for directions to the site. Why? Because it helps to keep open these canals, which might be underused and overabused now, but without which some of the restorations we support (such as the Lichfield Canal) would lose much of their purpose in the future. Oh yes, and because it’s great fun!

waterway recovery group

in association with BCNS, BW and IWA

I would like to attend the 2008 National Canal Cleanup on Apr 5-6 on the BCN Forename:


Address: email: Phone:

Any special dietary requirements?

I require accommodation Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £

(pay 'WRG') for food (£10 for whole weekend; £2.00 for each meal)

Do you suffer from any allergy or illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:


Signed (parent's signature also required if aged under 18): Please send this form to National Cleanup bookings, WRG, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY

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Do you want to learn some useful skills? Then tell Ali now, not in April when it’s too late for her to organise any training for you!

And then what?

Training and Little Venice

Training Weekend May 10-11 It is that time of year again when some of us start to think about the training weekend (or weekends apparently) and the sorts of skills that will be needed for the coming camps season and local projects. The usual suspects should be on offer – vans, trailers, dumpers, excavators, loading and securing plant, levels and possibly the popular ‘First Aid,’ ‘Banksman,’ ‘Scaffolding’ and ‘Preparing for Bricklaying’ sessions that were run last year if needed. There are no doubt many other useful skills that we could add to this list and possibly arrange – such as catering for a camp, using digital tachographs or chippers but if nobody requests these things until late April, I’m afraid it is unlikely to happen. All of the training invariably costs money, so if no-one books on or shows any interest in the courses, there is little point in us arranging for an instructor to turn up. So please don’t leave it until the last minute to find that your course has been cancelled due to insufficient numbers – phone/e-mail now! Training will take place somewhere in the middle of the country as the accommodation is likely to be at Rowington Village Hall, Warwickshire (now completed and lovely) – when I know anything about a site, I will let you know! All are welcome, regardless of prior experience - you might want to drop in for one of the days or make a weekend of it. Accommodation will be available from Friday night. Hope to see you there! Bookings, suggested courses and enquiries to Ali Bottomley, telephone: 07719 643870 or 0191 422 5469 and e-mail:

Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice, May 3-5 It’s that time again. Doesn’t seem like a year already, but it is. Time to book your space for the Canalway Cavalcade extravaganza at Little Venice in London on the May Day Bank Holiday. Plans are coming together for this year’s event. But as normal I need volunteers from about May 1 to 7 to help with the general setting up and breaking down of the festival site, as well as help over the weekend. Those who know the site will understand the words ‘cramped’ and ‘short of space’. Unlike the National Festival over the August Bank Holiday, which uses several farmers’ fields, Cavalcade is set around office blocks and flats near the centre of London where the Regents Canal and the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union meet in Brownings Pool. This gives it a special atmosphere all of its own, but makes organisation interesting... Over the weekend, we are expecting 100 boats, (93 are already booked in) and during the event they will be decorated in bunting and flags. Normally the merry band of ruffians from London WRG can be found aboard an old working boat called Fulbourne, usually up to no good, probably beavering away at making a disguise for the boat, so it can enter the pageant of boats. I don’t believe they really have any idea what they are doing! The volunteers’ accommodation for the “Moose camp”, as our team of site services volunteers has become called, will hopefully be on several boats. The idea of the Cavalcade is to make people in the vicinity aware of what they have on their doorstep, and to help them we will have traders and exhibitors coming from all over the place - everything from the herb man to the IWA stand to the London Canal Museum. And they will all need looking after: there is fencing to be done, our Bungle will need help (people have been saying that about Bungle for a long time) to fetch and carry cables to set up power supplies and lighting, then there’s putting out stalls and tables, running the rubbish boat and lots more. Accommodation space is at a premium so YOU DO HAVE TO BOOK IN. If you are interested let me know on email or tel: 07961 922153. Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden .

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Camp reports St Ives Festival Camp

“ of the wettest on record, but I’m assured by older and wiser bods that it doesn’t compare with Wakefield...”

Camp 0718: IWA National Festival couple of days, the work of erecting the

fences continued, as did the rain, so the field was getting more and more churned up. However, as we kept being assured that the weather was about to improve, we weren’t worried (Have you ever seen a worried WRGie?). We were also assured that when it did stop raining, the site would drain very quickly. No problem then. The fences were finished and most of the cables and pipes that needed to be buried were done, so everything was going along swimmingly (almost literally). This was helped by a certain person (remaining nameless – but we know who you are!) putting a mattock through a water pipe when she was supposed to be burying an electric cable on the other side of the fence! This incurred the severe wrath of Plumb Bob when he was asked to carry out emergency repairs, although it’s amazing how harmony can be restored by the judicious donation of a bottle of port. As the main camp started on Monday, it was still raining, so the mud was staying as it was and we kept the work to a minimum. It was going to stop raining tomorrow, wasn’t it? Tuesday came and went, it was still raining, and we kept the work to a minimum. It was going to stop raining tomorrow, wasn’t it? We had the get-together for red and blue shirts, with a wine and cheese party and a quiz. Rumour has it that the assistant leader was found on the floor of the catering tent slightly the worse for wear during the early hours of the morning, but I wouldn’t know anything about that. All I can say is thanks to the chippies for making sure Much of the traders’ gear had to be delivered by hand the floor was installed.

The ‘National’ this year will be remembered as one of the wettest on record, but I’m assured by older (and wiser?) bods that it doesn’t compare with Wakefield... Anyway, as assistant leader I arrived on the Saturday before to find that the pre-camp team (ably directed by Mr Moose, the camp leader) had done their usual fantastic job of getting most of the fences up and services in place. There was a hardcore track (the Yellow Brick Road) which had been laid before we arrived, with a metal track running round part of the outside perimeter, with plenty of marquees in place. The site already looked completely different to the open field I’d seen on our site visit a few weeks earlier. The two accommodation marquees were up, but due to a minor cock-up somewhere along the line, someone had forgotten to order a floor for the catering marquee. That was quickly rectified by a combination of the marquee people and the chippies. As more people arrived over the next

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Wednesday arrived, and we were all on as normal. ready for the craning to begin. Ah the cranFriday. Is it my imagination or did it ing. Happy memories – not!! It had been finally stop raining? The traders and campers scheduled for all the boats to be offloaded were now arriving in their droves, so lots and in their allocated places by the end of more pushing & towing of vehicles and Wednesday. However, with a lot of re-posihandballing of goods. The car park team tioning of the crane, taking up a lot of time were giving advice to ‘just go for it’ in the for each re-position, we were only half way hope that vehicles wouldn’t get stuck. That through at the end of Wednesday. It had seemed to work, although as they had to been raining all day, so we’d delayed the rest wait for a space in front, it meant traffic was of the work again. It was going to stop backing up on to the main road, and as usual raining tomorrow, wasn’t it? (This wasn’t some of the traders were getting a bit hot helped by the fact that everyone arriving was under the collar. Life wouldn’t be the same telling us that the rest of the country was without them. dry, and the rain was only starting about 20 On Saturday, there were still one or two miles away). things to be done before the festival opened Despite some sterling work by some at 10 am. The site was still a mud bath, but members of the team using pumps and we did get opened on time and we all wheelie bins to transport water from the breathed a sigh of relief. Because of the mud, worst affected parts of the site, the mud it had been decided that we weren’t going to wasn’t getting any better. Unfortunately, the set out chairs in the theatre and bar areas, high river level meant that there was no which saved us some time. Of course, memwhere for the water to drain to. bers of the public put out chairs themselves, Thursday came and it was still raining. and these promptly sank into the mud. The Oh s**t. Time to start thinking about getting wellie stall near the main gate did a roaring the signs up, erecting the market stalls etc trade, and apparently several people were etc. However, we still needed people around surprised by the conditions underfoot, so left the crane to assist/keep members of the but then returned with suitable footwear. An public away, so now slightly short-handed. attempt was made to roll some of the site In addition, traders and campers were startwith a heavy roller overnight, but this failed ing to arrive. The site team had decided not as it just resulted in heavy clods of mud to allow any vehicles on to the site, to avoid being thrown into the air. churning up the mud too much, so now we By now, we’d had some wood chippings were handballing goods for them and pushand rolls of membrane delivered. This was to ing/towing vehicles out of the mud on top of everything else. Just to put a final touch to the day, the craning finished and as the driver was reversing up the yellow brick road, he missed the corner and drove off it into the mud. The sight of a crane stuck in mud listing at about 30 degrees is not a pretty sight! Instead of standing down the craning team, we had to put in a safety cordon while it was recovered. A local heavy recovery company did a fantastic job of pulling the crane out of Still a little muddy on site when it opened on Saturday the mire, and we carried

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Camp reports St Ives Festival Camp

“It was good to see both teams ie ‘reds’ and ‘blues’ working in ths same conditions side by side”

be laid in the heavily trafficked areas, so the tractors and Bradshaws were put to good use transporting it from the Tardis onto site, and the teams were kept busy laying it. It didn’t rain at all over the weekend, and by Monday the site was finally starting to dry out. At last! Time to relax before the start of the clean up at close of play on Monday evening. There was still some pushing of vehicles out of the mud, but not nearly as many as during the set up. As usual, the bulk of the clearing up was done on Tuesday, moving things back to the Tardis, starting to take down the fences, and taking up all the membrane which had been so carefully laid. The crane arrived, and the driver got an ironic round of applause when he successfully reversed down the yellow brick road to take the boats out again. We rounded off the camp with a party on the theme of Saints, and a good time was had by all (I hope). Things (and people) continued to disappear over the next couple of days, and all in all we had a successful National. I’d like to thank everyone who was there – you all did a fantastic job – but in particular the chefs, Jude & Alice, and the team leaders Alex, Maria, Sheila, Lucas & Louise. We couldn’t have done it without you. Paul Shaw

Moose’s bit

One of the main jobs: pushing traders’ vans out of the mud

As Paul so rightly says the weather was always against us. But as always it all went so well. I can honestly say that I had not been so knackered for a long time, and the amount of work Wrgies and Blue shirts put in to make the Festival such a success was amazing. I always try to wear out Wrgies and I think I succeeded this year. Paul has already thanked the team leaders and cooks, I would like to say a big thank you to Paul, as my assistant he made the task of leading so much easier. Not sure how many Blue shirts get Navvies, but I would like to thank them, it was good to see both teams i.e. Reds and Blues working in the conditions side by side. Moose

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“...and I swear the ones they call ‘the tweedles’ will get a fire going sometime...”

Camp Reports

Grantham New Year Camp

CROPWELL CHRONICLE 26 Dec 2007-1 Jan 2008 Bishop Bash Begins Grantham Goes for Former Glory!!!

Loos Lean Left Louise Late Luscious Lips Lacerated From not so early in the day I have been among the “wergies”. Mostly spirits appear high, bushes are being trimmed, something is being extracted, logs are being dealt with and I swear the ones they call ‘the tweedles’ will get a fire going sometime! Fashion is high on the agenda it seems. Everyone is resplendent in a combination of yellow hi-vis vest, red hard hat and boots (safety, one pair for the wearing of). Gloves are in this season and muddy brown from the knees down seems to be especially popular! Those without their own Land Rover like to arrive late by train. Not that this is the fault of Virgin (other train companies are available!). ‘Wergies’ clearly have a sense of fun. Games such as “guess which station I am getting off at” and “I’ll stay in London whilst you wait at the station”. ‘Digger’ was not amused! A lip splitting completion seemed to have broken out. Firstly the leader took a blow from a young female in a nasty ‘I am having the last slice of pie’ incident. Sec-

I report to you dear reader, live from outside the memorial hall, Cropwell Bishop. Usually this village sits quietly close to the Vale of Belvoir content with its two pubs, one shop and one Stilton creamery. Today however, the peace has been disturbed by the arrival of something unusual and unpleasant. Whilst initially looking ‘normal’ the evidence suggests quite the opposite. Firstly there is an unusually high Land Rover to Other Vehicle ratio in the car park. (Not to mention the 5 big vans the tallest of which was an ambulance!) On entering the hall itself I notice more peculiarities. There is an apparent passion for sleeping on wafer-thin foam and wearing red t-shirts with spurious messages and dates from the last century. I have identified the leader – ‘Phil the Beach’ seems to be his name. This ties up with some early signs of a beach theme including a bucket and spade. “Mr Beach, could you tell the readers the purpose of this invasion, what can the villagers expect whilst you are here?” “Our mission, which we have accepted is to clear a mile stretch of the Grantham canal (33 miles long, connecting Grantham to the Trent at Nottingham, completed 1797 and abandoned in 1936) of brush, hawthorn, brambles and small trees – so break out your bow saws, locate your loppers! To your Tirfors be true! Slash well and rake reasonably. Burn that bush. Go well ‘Wergies’ young and old!!” (Winston The Grantham Canal emerges from the undergrowth Churchill he is not)

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ondly, a most responsible and dedicated team member was hit in a freak, low flying soft centred chocolate accident. Thirdly a D of E’er went for glory and bit his own lip biting into a cheese sarnie. (later he was disqualified)

Bowling Beats Beer Some Say “Southern Softies”

On occasions so far yours truly has joined various ‘wergies’ for some sociable gatherings in the village watering hole. Here it seems they like to recount tales of the day, recite poetry, tell tall stories and mucky More Mince Minimises jokes. Not to mention sipping the local brew. Mid-camp Melancholy!! There are tales of Whilst sleep doesn’t singing and dancing among the brush cutfeature high on the agenda, ‘an army ting. Songs about bamarches on its stomnanas and beavers apparently. I am guessing ach’ so it is said. And the same is true for they are similar to the canal restoration. rugby songs of my youth but tomorrow I Menus have been as far reaching as Chilli, shall seek out more Lasagne and Shepdetails. herds pie – and let it However, this was the night for ten pin be said that not one bowling. Two teams of 7 morsel went uneaten! battled it out late into In addition to mains, the evening where the there has been a Scrub-bashing the old-fashioned way score sat tantalisingly at repertoire of sweets to tempt even the hardiest of health nuts. 1-1. Sudden death air hockey to split the The evenings have been completed with local teams and Phil’s Philanderers crashed out to Stilton and port. Pure class! Alan’s Ablemen 6-5. A fitting result! But was As if this weren’t spectacular it an early sign of a major sporting injury to enough, there have been wheat the ‘Digger’? And the closing question of free, nut free and vegetarian the day. Is a sleeping options to boot. Gordon Digger a Dozer? Ramsey, eat your heart out! Of course the Either side of eating, real hardened the more technically ad‘wergies’ went off vanced ‘wergies’ gather to to a “real ale” swap tales of Land Rover pub for more modifications and heavy traditional plant exploits. They activities. share ‘magazines’ with titles such as Land Rover Weekly and Earthmovers whose headlines can be as extreme as “Cat Road Range shows off GPS”. A warm and musky atmosphere surrounds these contented fellows.

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Bungle caramelises the pudding

Appropriately named cocktails

The editor’s costume

pull with”. There are garlands and grass skirts, shirts and shorts in a way that most people would find especially uninviting. The To date we have worked on our physibar-b-queue is a resounding success. cal strength. Muscles have been exercised on As the beer flows, Ms Black Productions the Tirfor, (see Ju’s biceps if you don’t bethrows together an impromptu stage event. lieve me!) with chopping, sawing and digWords cannot quite capture this moment ging. With the work areas conveniently adequately; however I understand DVDs are placed up to a mile from the ‘facilities’ the available from certain disreputable sources. aerobic function has been given a thorough At the approach of midnight the throng going over. At times a brisk walk turned into moves to the local church (even the soul gets a jog ‘when needs must’, as they say. a workout at these gigs!) where bell ringing Adequate lubrication is a must as any sees in the New Year. Some hardy souls go on Land Rover specialist will tell you and we to the pub and continue the have worked on that in the pub, at the hall festivities well into the night. and even at places between. Co-ordination Alas my memory fails me at this has been tested with bowling and air hockey. point so we shall have to assume This camp has also been an opportunity a good time was had by all. to develop communication. But tonight was the big one, a chance to stretch the mental Check, Clean, Count capacity and test the grey matter to its fullFinal Fond Farewells! est. Tonight is quiz night. Of course I thought this was the case. HowIt has been a week to remember for this tired and weary soul. The ever it turns out that there are ringers objectives were met, and other than a sportin the midst and the result was pre-detering injury and a couple of split lips, no one mined. The trick to winning this is getting was hurt. The canal base should in future be on the same team as a certain people who easier to maintain. And for sure, those who shall remain nameless but their initials are wanted to have fun managed it. MF and DC. The clean up complete, the kit stowed, all that remains is to thank the local coordination for their help; Phil and Martyn for Party Poppers Poop – leading the project; Bungle and James for Clive Creates Chaos! feeding us; and to promise Mr Lines suffiSo the big night has arrived and the campers cient funds to lose the DVD and photos! are eager to display their various beach wear. PS Digger says can he have his copy of A small but productive team have decorated Earthmovers back, he knows who you are the hall and invented some impressive and isn’t afraid of sending the Tweedles to sounding cocktails, the most amusing of recover it. which is “screaming tirfor – a great drink to Clive Knight

Bishop Bashing Benefits Body, Brain and Bottom

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Camp reports

New Year on the Wilts & Berks

Rachael Banyard reports from the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s own Festive Season camp

Wilts & Berks Christmas Camp 2007 Valve Chamber. We had the use of Blue to Once again, our happy band of friends achieved a fantastic amount over the camp, and in fact they apparently enjoyed themselves so much that six of them stayed on to work a large part of New Year’s Day before they staggered off home! Rob stayed with us from the Saturday before Christmas, and he and Di and myself got quite a bit of scrub and trees cleared, cut up and burnt on our bonfire at Lock 4 at Seven Locks before the camp proper got under way. Di was mainly hedgelaying over the whole period (as well as cooking), because I had managed to get a hedging grant arranged for the landowner, who is generous enough to donate all that is left over after she has erected fencing, which is very useful towards our branch funds. Most our usual Christmas campers were able to make it, as well as Steve Moody (who was a new wrgie this year, and is becoming one of our regulars), and also Bernd Schimansky. We had not seen Bernd for about three years, during which time he has been home in Germany procreating with his English wrgie wife Daphne, resulting in two new offspring. With all the recent babies born in WRG, and two or three more expected shortly, we discussed whether we ought to consider having a WRG creche alongside camp sites, complete with sand pit, miniature spades, mattocks and buckets, brick kits (lego bricks of course), and some small hard hats. It was good to catch up with Alan Simister and find out what he has been doing with the RNLI at Eastbourne. Unfortunately, Jeremy was unable to come, as during the cold spell before Christmas a pipe burst on his boat forcing him to paddle in 2” of water, so he had to spend the week sorting it out. Welsh Alan was also confined to barracks with a trapped nerve in his neck, so we hope he’ll be better soon. Taz had been hoping to spare a day or two, but probably the imminent Tarrant addition kept him at home. A major target at Foxham over the camp was to stop a leak in the Rosemary

page 14

drive in some piles, and Luke had been given the free use of a piling hammer from Aldridge Piling Equipment. This turned out to be extremely noisy, so Ray - bearing in mind the sensitive nature of a dog’s ears - tied Mina to a tree some distance down the towpath until they had finished. This slowed the leak down, but we then had to puddle quite a lot of clay behind the piling to seal it totally, which took most of a second day. I had been lent two wacker plates from Rapid Hire of Wootton Bassett, who are very sympathetic to our cause and usually manage to find some piece of equipment to lend us over Christmas camps. The water levels are already rising in the canal. By Saturday we were all back at Seven Locks, cutting down more trees and scrub and burning, hedgelaying, block laying and puddling, and all this continued until the end of the camp. We have made excellent progress on Lock 4 over the last year. When Bernd first arrived, he enquired what the ground was like underfoot. He was first informed that it was not suitable for bedroom slippers, but one comment was that that depended what sort of bedroom he was used to. He had not met two-year-old Mina before, so he politely enquired of her whether she bites? The reply came instead from the washer-up: “No, but I do!” Most of us were jigsaw addicts, and we had two new 1,000 piece ones for Christmas, so this was the preferred occupation for the evenings rather than going out to cinema or pub. We actually managed to complete both of these, which had been quite challenging, and a final 500 piece one during the two hours leading up to midnight on New Year’s Eve before Martin opened the champagne. Rob selected from the new camp brochure about eight of the 2008 camps he could go on, fitted between his National Trust camps. We worked hard, ate well, and became jigsaw experts, and Mina got covered in clay, and my thanks to everyone. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the camp. Rachael Banyard

Liz Wilson reports from a Christmas dig with KESCRG, London WRG and a lot of amphibians...

Dig report

LWRG & KESCRG at Droitwich

Have I got Newts for you?

No Newts is good Newts

I don’t think you were convinced. Maybe I’d got over-confident about my motivational abilities, maybe you were all hungover, or maybe you were just never going to get excited about newts. There was a definite lack of excitement around the breakfast table as we described the weekend’s work as being ‘the creation of Newt Hibernacula and Reptile Habitats’. But look at it like this: Swindon is a sizeable obstruction in the way of the route of the of the Wilts & Berks canal. In the same way, the newts were in the way of the restoration of this part of the Droitwich Junction canal, but in this case WRG is in a much better position to do something about it. Hence the newt mitigation works.

Two weeks later... accom still not confirmed. ‘Gosh how annoying!’ I thought. ‘Now I won’t have to write that Newt Mitigation Risk Assessment that I was so looking forward to.’ But I didn’t get off the hook so easily. Ed started a hasty ‘Save the Christmas Dig’ campaign and The Chairman came to our rescue by managing to secure Rowington village hall for us. So off to Droitwich we all trundled. We had a minibus full from London, all the KESCRG regulars, all the nongroup specific floaters, and... er... wrgSW provided a committed representative in the form of Sleepy David.

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog

No such luck! Ed the slave driver had us on site by 9am, and considering the accom was a 40 minute drive away, that’s pretty impressive. A BW excavator driver was already on site (which consisted of a large wind-swept field) and was proceeding to mangle the topsoil with a finesse that I’d never before witnessed. For a one-armed man he was doing a fantastic job. Unfortunately he had 2 arms.

10 O’Clock Newts

Martin Ludgate

Ed and I (and a reluctant Suzie) went to visit the side at the start of November. I was hardly enthusiastic myself, being as we were sans accommodation, despite the fact that it was supposed to have been ‘sorted out months ago’. We were greeted by the friendly BW rep Lucy Bowles who is the volunteer coordinator for the Droitwich Canals restoration, and I must say I was pleased to see a nice hedge on the site which would need some serious bashing and chipping. We pleaded the case for bonfires – as a source of heat, pride and napalm-style marshmallows they are an important feature – but Lucy’s answer didn’t provide much hope. First demolish the fence and hedge (without waking the newts)... She said she’d ask...

page 15

Let Sleeping Newts Lie

Pissed as Newts

While he got on with that, a rambunctious crew of wrgies set their sights on the hedge and began dismantling the fence and coiling the barbed wire with great aplomb. The designated chipper operators (i.e. those with CITB certification) started chipping all the other branches lying around, and we were progressing nicely. The hedge we were working on was on the proposed route of the Junction Canal, hence its removal – removing it in the winter prevents the nesting of birds in the spring. We were asked to use loppers rather than saws, as the excessive vibration might disturb hibernating newts.

Our 3-course Christmas dinner was expertly provided by Ellie and her catering assistants, including the aptly named ‘Pregnant Ladies and Nic’, who had also made the lunches and looked after the accommodation. Thanks also to Nic for sourcing some welcome beverages for us all, and ensuring the party ticked along nicely. Martin arranged a quiz, including music rounds, a dancing competition, and some questions which required far too much brain-power. Well done to whatever team won.

Newt-on’s Law...

...states that for every action there is an equal and opposite re-action. It therefore ...was the star of the hit musical film follows that the digging of a hole must be ‘Grease’, which was released in 1977. Strange followed by the subsequent filling of a hole. then, that nobody dressed up as her or any By Sunday morning, apparently following an other character from the film for our fancy all-night stint, the excavator driver had credress party on Saturday night – the theme ated some shallow depressions in the field, being ‘1977’ or ‘the year Ed Walker arrived ready to be lined with clay (in the case of the on this earth’. But I must say, there were reptile habitats) or filled with rubble (in the some commendable fancy dress ensembles, case of the newt hibernacula). Myself, Welsh notably Bjorn Borg (Martin Ludgate), the Phil and Mel were let loose on the wacker Pink Panther (Ian Williamson), and a Man plate for the purpose of puddling clay, but it from Mars (a very green Helen Gardner). The was difficult to get anyone else interested. winners were James Butler and Melanie Apparently cutting down the remains of the Parker, who were spectacularly transformed hedge, and laughing at James’ driving abiliinto a Fireman and Green Goddess, in honties were far more appealing. Yeah ok... it our of the Firefighters’ Strike in 1977. was pretty funny...

Olivia Newt-on John...

Kate Penn

Breaking Newts

...then put the fence back together

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Tempting... but no that WASN’T our job. So we created a nice hibernaculum for the loveable little critters. This consisted of a shallow hole, filled with clean rubble (because we wouldn’t want them to get dermatitis now, would we...) in amongst which the newts can sleep/ frolic/sunbathe, or whatever they like doing. This rubble would then be covered over with organic material i.e. branches, leaves or turf, to keep them warm and snug. At some point in the future, the newts will all be transferred individually, by hand, from their current snoozepad (the soon-to-be-restored Lock) and deposited in their new home. If anyone wants to volunteer to help then you need more friends.

“Hope to see you on one of several camps at Droitwich, and I’m told they don’t have anything to do with newts...”

Dig report

LWRG & KESCRG at Droitwich Newts of the World

I’m afraid I must take this opportunity to have a slight whinge. Despite the jocular tone of my article thus far, I hope you all appreciate that a lot of time and effort goes into the organising of a dig – this one in particular required an extra bit of effort not only because it would host 60 wrgies, but also because we were working directly for BW. So it was a tad disappointing when less than 20 people made it to site on the second day. The sign of a good party? – perhaps. But it meant that rather than struggling to find work for everyone, we were suddenly struggling to undertake the work we had committed to. As with every dig, someone somewhere is paying for the use of accommodation, tools and materials, and it doesn’t reflect too well on wrg if that money and effort is used inefficiently. I would never discourage anyone who wants to come on a dig purely for the social element, but I would ask that they tell the leaders in advance whether or not they’ll be on site, to make planning easier.

That said, I must conclude this reptilian adventure by thanking everyone who contributed to what was actually a very successful dig, which very nearly didn’t happen. Hope to see you on one of several camps planned at Droitwich this summer, and I’m told they don’t have anything to do with newts... Liz Wilson

Martin Ludgate

Martin Ludgate

That’s Newts to me

Martin Ludgate

David Miller

Costumes for Saturday night’s 1977themed party included the firemen’s strike, the Pink Panther and Star Wars

The author clearly enjoying her stint on the wacker plate

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KL15 Crane

The rebuild goes on...

“Many solutions were considered, including shaving an inch off the tyres...”

been told. Once the superstructure had been fitted with the counterweight it fouled the In the last exciting(?) episode, we had new tyres (which are a slightly larger diamstripped the crane back to a bare chassis and eter than the originals). Interestingly, picsuperstructure. New king post bearings had tures of other KL15’s show them fitted with been made and fitted. All that remained was the same tyres as we now have, but the to bolt it together. counterweight is slightly different. Possibly The first job was to lower the superthis is due to our having had a petrol engine structure back onto the base. This was done originally which would have been lighter using Clavertons gantry that was used to lift than the diesel and thus could use a lighter it off originally. Once lowered back onto the counterweight. base, the next thing was to check that the Many solutions were considered, includnew bearing functioned correctly, at this ing shaving an inch off the tyres (being point we hit a problem. aircraft tyres they have a lot of rubber in One step forward, two tyres back- them, but not that much), lifting the entire wards: Longer term readers of this series superstructure (which would have meant may remember the saga of obtaining tyres modifying the new king post bearings that for the crane. It had been an 18 month long had just been fitted), spacing out the wheel process and the result was a set of aircraft (this could have put excessive strain on the tyres that were close enough, or so we had axles and bearings), spacing the axles down from the chassis (this would have meant modifying the drive, brakes and steering). Eventually we realised that it was only the counterweight that was causing the problem so we concentrated on moving just the counterweight. Initially we thought of milling out two slots where the counterweight bolted up to the support channels which would raise the weight, but also reduce its mass. The we hit upon the idea of simply lifting the channels up by spacing them with steel bars. With a slight modification to the frame the superstructure then slewed with ease. In the next episode: The reassembly continues with the slew gears and clutches and the drivers platform. George ‘Bungle’ Eycott The superstructure is reunited with the base

Reassembly begins

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Top: Whoops! The larger size tyres fitted during the rebuild get in the way of the counterweight, preventing the superstructure from slewing. Middle: To increase the clearance, steel bars are inserted to raise the channels that support the counterweight. Bottom: This raises the counterweight so that it easily clears the tyres. All photos by Bungle

KL15 Crane

...and on... and on...

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The importance of kit lists...

Just Jen tells us why we really do need to fill in those annoying and trivial-looking kit list sheets

It’s all a question of time. Have you got time to go digging? Have Happy New Year to you all… Well, it is New you got time to re-shaft the stacks of hamYear as I write this (just!) although it will mer heads you have sitting in a box? Have probably have faded fast in your busy sched- you got time to do ‘that job’ that has been on ules. Blink and it will be March! There will be The List for the last five years which never some who think I’ve disappeared off the face seems to be important enough to be done of the planet – and probably some who before other things as it isn’t essential but would like to think I had – because of the would aid day-to-day volunteer life?... The complete lack of all articles logistical in relist is endless. cent Navvies. The reason? Time… or rather And unfortunately in a world of volunthe lack of… and therein lies the theme of teering where the ‘day-job’ has to take priorthis article. ity (cos you can’t live on satisfaction or gratitude… little of which you get here) the answer is, more often than not, “No”. Maybe those of you out regularly on camps and weekends think we don’t like coming digging so don’t bother. But the truth is that there are a lot of us who would love to go digging but don’t really have time to do it because something else has to take priority. My raison d’etre for my wrg-related life is digging so it’s hard to feel enthused when I’ve not been out in a good while. Now I can hear cries of “Well, you just have to make time!” and if anyone out there has the formula or recipe for that it would be a most An important job: checking the kit against the Logistics list welcome item of

A Trivial Pursuit?

page 20

“Take 3 heaped shovelfuls of ‘someone else will do it’ and throw in a really good dollop of ‘can’t be arsed at the moment’...” correspondence (probably for a lot of other people too…) – I may even have a go myself towards the end of this. Making time goes back to the priorities of your life though and so the vicious cycle continues. (Brief pause for the thoughts and images in my head of vicious cycles… if only cheese was to blame!) If there’s one thing I’ve learnt lately it is that your life (not necessarily your actual physical life) can be plucked from you at any moment with no or little warning and it is too precious to waste on ridiculously trivial things. Now many of you will think “Exactly! Why do we need to bother filling in logistics paperwork (correctly) because it really is very trivial?” To you, perhaps, but the reason it isn’t trivial to me is because it is supposed to help me with keeping on top of what’s broken or missing in the kits without me having to do a full kit check every month to find out… But then that’s the key – triviality is incredibly subjective! If kits don’t get checked then things go missing, which leads to wasted time in replacing them – time that would be better spent on mending the broken stuff or on countless other things. So at the end of the day, the kit lists are a time-saver as long as they aren’t the stuff of myth or legend. Huge thanks to Harri T who is so very helpful when she fills the lists in – always! That’s not to say there aren’t others who fill them in helpfully either. Don’t assume I’m being negative – I’m actually in quite a positive frame of mind. And there’s always a chance that this year will be different. …so sorry if you thought you were about to read some light-hearted banter and you’ve found yourself wading through what feels like the clay and mud in the Fastbridge section of the Wey & Arun canal circa 1991BD, i.e. Before Dredging. No, this article really isn’t that deep! This year I am going to strive to do at least some of the things on The List, go


...and a recipe for TIME! digging (even on a camp!), further improve the kits and generally dodge the sword that begs to impale me! That is not to say I’ll manage all of them but I’m going to try and that has to be worth something! Here then is Just Jen’s...

. . . . . . .

Recipe for TIME Take 3 heaped shovelfuls of “Someone else will do it” and throw in a really good dollop of ‘can’t be arsed at the moment’. Cream together thoroughly until mixture is light and fluffy. Break an angle grinder and beat it. Sieve 2 quotes for new Hard Hats and gradually add to mix with beaten angle grinder. Toss in a pinch of ‘expense code rethink’. Beat to within an inch of its life to fill with as much (hot) air as possible. Place in a pre-heated trailer, gas mark high, for a week. Ignore the engraver even if it flashes it’s diamond tip at you. Finish with a generous sprinkling of ‘couldn’t care less what state the kits are in’ (found at all bad Logistics outlets) through a wrg doily* if you should wish for a patterned topping.

And there you go... You’ve miraculously made yourself some time. Now what could I use to dig with? Just Jen wrg logistics “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” ** * I’ve gone and added something else to The List now haven’t I?! Anyone interested? ** But we can supply one if you ask nicely! Next time: The WRG Board play “The Weakest Link” – Goodbye.

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Navvies diary

Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties Feb 16/17


Droitwich Canals

Feb 16/17


Hollinwood Canal

Feb 16/17


Grand Western Canal

Feb 23/24

London WRG Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project

Feb 23 Sat


‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Mar 1 Sat


Leaders Training event

Mar 1 Sat

WRG/KESCRGBarn Dance: Sat 7pm to 11:30pm. Benson Village Hall. Tickets £12 inc live band and Bangers & Mash meal. Bobby Silverwood, ‘T

Mar 1/2

Essex WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal

Mar 2 Sun


Committee & Board Meetings: at Benson, the day after the Barn dance an

Mar 8/9


To be arranged (maybe Cromford Canal)

Mar 8/9


Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project

Mar 8/9


Wey & Arun Canal

Mar 15/16


Grantham Canal

Mar 15/16

London WRG Mon & Brec Canal: Dig Deep project

Mar 15/16


Mar 15-22

Camp 200801 Wilts & Berks Canal Camp: Steppingstones Bridge

Mar 22-29

Camp 200802 Wilts & Berks Canal Camp: Steppingstones Bridge

Mar 29 Sat


‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Apr 5/6


BCN Cleanup: led by London WRG plus BCNS and local IWA but everyone

Apr 5/6

London WRG BCN Cleanup

Apr 5/6


Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project

Apr 5/6

Essex WRG

Buckingham Arm

Apr 12/13


Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project

Apr 19/20


Hollinwood Canal

Apr 19/20


North Wilts Canal: Hayes Knoll lock

Apr 26/27

London WRG Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project

Apr 26/27


Wilts & Berks Canal: Steppingstones Lane Bridge

May 3/4


Wendover Arm

May 3/4/5


To be arranged

May 3/4/5

Essex WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Joint dig with wrgNW

May 10/11


Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project

May 10 Sat


‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

May 10/11


WRG Training Weekend

Cotswold Canals

Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater,

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Canal Camps cost ÂŁ42 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0801') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: Dave Wedd


David McCarthy


Mitch Gosna


Tim Lewis


David McCarthy


The Old Post OfficeÂ’, Kiddington, Woodstock OX20 1BE John Gale



David McCarthy


Eddie Jones


Graham Hawkes


Dave Wedd


Tim Lewis


nd Leaders Training Mike Palmer

Rick Barnes

David McCarthy

e welcome: see p7 and book using form

0161-740-2179 01923-711114

Tim Lewis


Graham Hawkes


John Gale


Eddie Jones


David McCarthy


Dave Wedd


Tim Lewis


Adrian Fry

Eddie Jones


David McCarthy


John Gale


Graham Hawkes


David McCarthy


Jenny Black

Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. email:

page 23

Navvies diary

Mobile groups' socials (please phone to confirm before turning up)

London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before each dig. Usually at 'Star Tavern', Belgrave Mews Canal SocietiesÂ’ regular monthly or West, London. Tim Lewis 07802-518094 weekly working parties NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the Please send amendments to Dave 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Wedd (address on previous page) Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 01543-373284 2nd Sunday & following Thurs BCS Buckingham area Athina Beckett 01908-661217 Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry 01288-353273 Every Sunday ChCT Various sites Mick Hodgetts 01246-620695 Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe 0121-608 0296 Last Sunday of month EAWA N Walsham & Dilham David Revill 01603-738648 4th Sunday of month ECPDA Langley Mill Michael Golds 0115-932-8042 Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech 0116-279-2657 2nd weekend of month GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 0115-989-2248 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd 01823-661653 Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox 01432 358628 Weekends H&GCT Over Wharf House Maggie Jones 01452 618010 Wednesdays H&GCT Over Wharf House Wilf Jones 01452 413888 Weekends H&GCT Hereford Aylestone Martin Danks 01432 344488 Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 01663-732493 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 01473-730586 2nd Sunday of month LCT Lancaster N. Reaches Paul Shaw 01524-35685 1st, 2nd, 4th Sun + 3rd Sat LHCRT Lichfield Sue Williams 01543-671427 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 01543-374370 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 01757-638027 2nd Sunday of month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 01744-731746 1st Sunday of month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell 01225-428055 Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 01483-721710 2nd Sunday of month SNT Sleaford Navigation Mel Sowerby 01522-856810 1st weekend of month SUCS Newhouse Lock Mike Friend 01948-880723 Every Tuesday morning TMCA Brian Macnish 01732-823725 Every Sunday & Thurs WACT varied construction Eric Walker 023-9246-3025 Mondays (2 per month) WACT tidying road crossings John Empringham 01483-562657 Tuesdays WACT Tickner's Heath Depot Colin Gibbs 020-8241-7736 Wednesdays WACT maintenance work Peter Jackman 01483-772132 Wednesdays WACT Loxwood Link Peter Wilding 01483-422519 Thursdays WACT Winston Harwood Grp Laurie Wraight 01903-721404 Saturdays WACT Conservation Group David Jessop 01403-269384 Various dates WACT Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Keith Nichols 01403-753882 1st w/e of month (Fri-Mon) WAT Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman 01442-874536 2nd Thursday of month WAT Drayton Beauchamp Pete Bowers 01255-504540 Every weekend WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Rachael Banyard 01249-892289


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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


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

ASHBY CANAL ASSOC Rod Smith 4 Ashby Road, Sinope Coalville LE67 3AY Tel: 01530 833307 BARNSLEY, DEARNE & DOVE CANAL TRUST June Backhouse, 39 Hill St, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8EN 01226 743383 BCN SOCIETY Jeff Barley, 17 Sunnyside Walsall Wood, W Midlands 01543 373284 BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOC Athina Beckett 2 Staters Pound Pennyland Milton Keynes MK1 5AX 01908 661217 email: BUGSWORTH BASIN (IWPS) Ian Edgar Browside Fm, Mudhurst La Lyme Handley, Whaley Br High Peak SK23 7BT 01663 732493 email: index.htm CALDON & UTTOXETER CANALS TRUST John Rider 1 Dainty Close, Leek ST13 5PX 01538 386790

Navvies Directory

Canal society and WRG contacts CHICHESTER SHIP CT Linda Wilkinson, 1 Chidham La Chichester PO18 8TL 01243 576701 COTSWOLD CT 4 Black Jack St Cirencester GL7 2AA 01285 643440 FRIENDS OF THE CROMFORD CANAL Tony Brookes 07770 350853 DERBY & SANDIACRE CS Doug Flack 23 Thoresby Crescent, Draycott Derby DE72 3PH 01332 874239 DIG DEEP INITIATIVE Alan Cavender 10 Vicarage Rd Maidenhead SL6 7DS 01628 629033

DORSET & SOMERSET CHESTERFIELD CANAL CANAL SOCIETY TRUST Derrick Hunt Mick Hodgetts 43 Greenland Mills 31 Pottery La Bradford on Avon Chesterfield S41 9BH BA15 1BL 01246 620695 01225 863066

DROITWICH CT Vaughan Welch 29 Dice Pleck, Northfield Birmingham B31 3XW 0121 477 9782 home.htm

RIVER GIPPING TRUST Lewis Tyler, Church Cott The Street, Capel St Mary IP9 2EL. secretary@rivergippingtrust.

FOXTON INCLINED PLANE TRUST c/o Mike Beech Foxton Canal Museum Middle Lock, Gumley Road Foxton, Market Harborough Leicestershire LE16 7RA 0116 279 2657

HEREFS & GLOUCS CT c/o The Wharf House, Over Gloucester GL2 8DB 01452 332900

GRAND WESTERN CANAL TRUST EAST ANGLIAN Denis Dodd, Wharf Cottage WATERWAYS ASSOC Nynehead, Wellington David Revill, 43 Kings Road Somerset TA21 0BU Coltishall, Norfolk 01823 661653 NR12 7DX 01603 738648 GRANTHAM CANAL RESTORATION SOCIETY Colin Bryan EREWASH CANAL P&DA 113 Hoe View Road Mick Golds Cropwell Bishop 73 Sudbury Avenue Nottingham NG12 3DJ Larklands, Ilkeston 01159 892248 Derbys DE7 5EA Notts (0115) 9328042

ROLLE CANAL AND NTH DEVON WATERWAYS SOC Adrian & Hilary Wills Vale Cottage, 7 Annery Kiln Weare Giffard Bideford EX39 5JE Tel: 01237 477705

KESCRG Eddie Jones ‘Altamount’, Coventry Road Fillongley, Coventry CV7 8EQ 0845 226 8589 LANCASTER CT Paul Shaw 12 Malham Close Lancaster LA1 2SJ 01524 35685

page 25


STRATFORD ON AVON CANAL SOCIETY Roger Hancock 1 Tyler Street Stratford upon Avon CV37 6TY 01789 296096

SCARS (SANKEY CANAL) Colin Greenall 16 Bleak Hill Rd Eccleston St. Helens WA10 4RW 01744 731746 SURREY & HANTS LICHFIELD & HATHERTON CANAL SOC CANALS REST'N TRUST Peter Redway, 1 Redway Sue Williams Cottages SHREWSBURY & NEWPÂ’T St. John's Lye, Woking Norfolk House CANALS TRUST 29 Hall Lane, Hammerwich GU21 1SL Tam Hazan Burntwood WS7 0JP 01483 721710 01543 671427 SHROPSHIRE UNION CS Richard Hall, 35 Tyrley Cotts NEATH & TENNANT SUSSEX OUSE Market Drayton TF9 2AH CANAL SOCIETY RESTORATION TRUST 01630 657737 Ian Milne Paul Morris, Farmcote 16 Gower Road, Sketty, Nettlesworth Lane Old Heathfield Swansea SA2 9BY 01792 547902 Heathfield SLEAFORD NAV TRUST TN21 9AP Steve Hayes NWPG 01453 863683 10 Chelmer Close Graham Hawkes 27 Lawrence Rd, Tilehurst N Hykeham Lincs LN8 8TH Reading RG30 6BH 01522-689460 0118 941 0586 SWANSEA CANAL SOC email: steve.hayesClive Reed 17 Smithfield Road, Pontardawe, Swansea, POCKLINGTON C.A.S West Glam. SA8 4LA SOMERSET COAL Paul Waddington 01792 830782 CANAL SOCIETY Church House, Main St. Bob Parnell, 34 Hemingborough, Selby THAMES & MEDWAY Wedgewood Road N. Yorks YO8 7QE CANAL ASSOCIATION Twerton, Bath BA2 1NX 01757 638027 (eves) John Epton, 45 Vinson CLo 01225-428055 01405 763985 (days) Orpington BR6 0EQ rtjhomepages.users. www.pocklington. homepage.ntlworld. com/john.epton/tmca LAPAL CANAL TRUST 26 Loynells Road, Rednal Birmingham B45 9NP 01785 713862

SALTISFORD CANAL TRUST Budbrooke Road Warwick CV34 5RJ 01926 490 006,

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RIVER STOUR TRUST John Morris 2 Stockton Close Hadleigh Ipswich IP7 5SH

WEY & ARUN CT The Granary, Flitchfold Farm Loxwood, Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 ORH 01403 752403 WILTS & BERKS CT George Eycott 36 Grange Court, Boundary Rd Newbury RG14 7PH 01635 569449 WOODEN CANAL BOAT SOCIETY 3 Beauchamp St Ashton under Lyne OL6 8LF 0161-330-8422 WRG: GENERAL ENQUIRIES, CANAL CAMP BOOKINGS AND DRIVER AUTHORISATION PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY 01923 711114 WRG NORTH WEST Malcolm Bridge 3 Heather Bank Littleborough Lancashire OL15 0JQ 01706 378582

WRG NW - ENQUIRIES/ WENDOVER ARM TRUST PAPERCHASES Roger Leishman David McCarthy 7 Hall Park Woodstock, Berkhamsted 14 Crumpsall Lane HP4 2NU Manchester M8 5FB 01442 874536 0161-740 2179

WRG BITM & 'NAVVIES' DIARY David Wedd 7 Ringwood Road Blackwater Camberley Surrey GU17 0EY 01252 874437 LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 5 Herongate Road, Wanstead London E12 5EJ 07802 518094 LONDON WRG: ENQUIRIES Lesley McFadyen (as per Martin Ludgate below) WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis (see below) ESSEX WRG Dave Dobbin 130 Ashingdon Road Rochford, Essex SS4 1RR 01702-544096 email: WRG SOUTH WEST Gavin Moor 54 Kiln Close Calvert, Buckingham MK18 2FD 07970 989245 IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090

CANAL CAMPS MOBILES (A) 07850 422156 (B) 07850 422157 'NAVVIES' EDITOR Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Rd London SE22 9PB 020 8693 3266 0777 947 8629 (mobile) 'WRGWEAR' CLOTHING Helen Gardner 33 Victoria Road Northwich CW9 5RE 07989 425346 WRG FORESTRY TEAM Graham Robinson Springwell Spark Bridge Ulverston Cumbria LA12 7ST 01229 861317 WRG BOAT CLUB Sadie Dean 236 Station Rd Whittlesey Peterborough PE7 2HA 01733 204505 07748 186867 (mobile) WRG DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 TREASURER Roger Day, 5 Merton Road, Slough Berks SL1 1QW

WRG SECRETARY Neil Edwards, c/o IWA, PO Box 114 Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY WRG PLANT Malcolm Bridge 3 Heather Bank Littleborough Lancashire OL15 0JQ 01706 378582 SITES GROUP & PUBLICITY Judith Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 WRGPRINT John & Tess Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 IWA CHAIRMAN John Fletcher c/o IWA, PO Box 114 Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY TRANSPORT MANAGER Please contact Mike Palmer (see above) until further notice WRG LOGISTICS Jen Leigh 45 Glebe Road Sheffield S10 1FB OTHER DIRECTORS George Eycott 36 Grange Court, Boundary Rd Newbury RG14 7PH 01635 569449

Mick Beattie 22 Bridgewater Ave Anchorsholme Blackpool FY5 3NA 01253 864034 Adrian Fry 89 The Causeway Quedgeley Gloucester GL2 4LD 07976 640962 Spencer Collins The Boatyard, 5 Hammond Way Trowbridge BA14 8RS 07976 084055 Chris Davey / Helen Davey 6 Partridge Ct Round Close Rd Adderbury Banbury OX17 3EP 01295 812002 Jonathan Smith 23 Hardings Chalgrove Oxford OX44 7TJ 01865 891 370 John Baylis, 215 Clipstone Rd West Forest Town Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 Rick Barnes 103 Boakes Drive Stonehouse Gloucestershire GL10 3QW 07976 748345

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Letters the Editor

New Year thanks, musings on some possible new southern links, and Harry Arnold tells it like it really was...

Letter to Phil Rodwell, Grantham Canal New Year Camp leader: Dear Phil I have returned to your worksite today and I must say how impressed I am by the efforts of your team. You have really made a difference to the canal length and set an example which, I hope, our local groups can emulate. The work represents a good example of the practical difference that is required to convince the authorities that we are ‘serious about the Grantham Canal’ Will you please convey my thanks to everyone for their hard work on behalf of the Canal? I enjoyed meeting you and I hope you enjoyed your stay at Cropwell Bishop. When may we see you again? If there is a chance of some of you returning before the closed season we would be most appreciative. My best wishes for 2008 Mike Stone Chairman, Grantham Canal Restoration Society Dear Martin Jeremy Frankel’s letter in issue 226 prompts me to add some comments and further information. One future possible use for canals is in balancing water supply. Some areas have too much ground water, some too little. Canals may also be linear reservoirs. The potential for restoration & recreational use is the focus for the Somerset Waterways Development Trust. See their website The area around Bridgwater and Taunton in Somerset has the potential for approximately 240 miles of navigable waterways. A network would link the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal, Grand Western Canal, Chard Canal; rivers Parrett, Ivel, Brue, Axe, Tone. (Not forgetting the Pillrow, Galton, Brown’s & Glastonbury Canal). I have looked at the King’s Sedgemoor Drain from the M5 and thought “It needs boats on it, tell WRG about it !” If the Parrett & Ivelchester navigation is restored it would require a short link to the Dorset & Somerset Canal near Wincanton, Somerset. If the Dorset & Somerset Canal is finished from the Kennet & Avon to Poole then a link to the Salisbury & Andover could be next. Then a link to Portsmouth & Chichester? There is another 200 years of work for WRG, but as Paul Morris may suggest “one day at a time”. Derrick Hunt Dear Martin I would like to send my thanks to all those members who came to Latton Basin as part of the November “Bonfire Bash” held on the North Wilts Canal. Although it is not planned for the restored North Wilts Canal to use this section of the canal as part of the full restoration (due to the expansion of Cricklade), we are determined to preserve these historic structures at Latton. The excellent work over the weekend exposed more of the canal to public view, and we get nothing but praise from visitors. Apart from the obvious structures (the basin, lock, aqueducts and bridges) this site is also unique in that we know a great deal of the last family resident at the basin. Our initial aim is to preserve what exists, although full restoration is the ideal conclusion. You can follow our progress at Once again, many thanks to everyone and I hope we can entice you back in the near future. Regards Doug Small

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Dear Martin It was interesting to read Tim Dodwell’s letter. However, it does seem to imply that there was a sort of ‘drift’ into WRG from the IWA London & Home Counties Working Party Group, rather than a positive idea or effort to form, or found, it. This is far from the case as I was very much involved (with others of Graham Palmer’s close friends) in discussions about the founding of the group. It was agreed that there should not be a formal membership, which is one reason by the word ‘group’ was chosen rather than something like ‘society’ or ‘association’ - and that it should be based on subscribing to Navvies Notebook. The other main reason for ‘breaking away’ from L&HCWPG was that Graham, with others, did not agree with what was happening in IWA and wanted the new group to be independent of the Association. (When was there ever a time when somebody didn’t agree with what was going on in IWA?) A situation that remained until for financial reasons there had to be a formal WRG Board operating under the IWA umbrella. He also felt that WRG should have a separate campaigning voice. I can clearly remember my particular recorded contribution to the founding, which was when Graham rang me at a very late hour (this was one of his regular habits) and asked me should the name be Waterway or Waterways Recovery Group. I said the former, as the latter sounded like a double plural. So, to all you who have over the years have got it wrong by adding an ‘s’, blame me! A particularly memorable weekend, when there was much discussion about the future of WRG, was that of the 11-12 July 1970 when the IWA national AGM was held at its usual London venue. Three of us from the old IWA Midlands Branch committee - Tom Henshaw, Russ Godwin and myself - headed south to ask a few awkward questions and do a bit of stirring about what we perceived as a lack of IWA campaigning. For newer readers, Tom Henshaw was (and is) of Ashby Canal and Ashby Canal Carriers campaigning fame and Russ Godwin was to become my partner in Waterways World and is one of the few enthusiasts to ever personally buy a length of canal. We kipped on the floor at 4 Wentworth Court, Finchley - soon to become one of the most famous addresses in waterway restoration - and known among some as ‘Palmer Towers’ or among Graham’s intimates as ‘The Piggydrome’. Graham’s mother Edie took all this catering for itinerant waterway enthusiasts in her stride and was to become one of the key figures in the distribution of Navvies and in WRG. Graham’s dad, Arthur, had little choice but to go along with all this. John Liley, Editor of Motor Boat & Yachting (there were no commercial waterway magazines then) asked me to write about the AGM and my critical report is a matter of published record. A.P. Herbert chaired the meeting, at which - although he is one of my favourite writers - can I tactfully say that he was past his public best. My report didn’t go down too well and was one of the subjects of an IWA Council meeting held at the Guildford National Rally - where, as Tim says, WRG was ‘officially launched’. Later - on Graham’s suggestion - I was put up for IWA Council, effectively on a WRG ticket, and duly elected. But that’s another story. On the Sunday after the AGM Graham, Russ, Tom and I went off to inspect the working narrow boats dumped the Wendover Arm, which led to us being involved in the founding of The Narrow Boat Trust. 1970 was a significant year in that, further north, a group of us were also involved in founding the North West Museum of Inland Navigation; to become The Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port. Something that Graham also offered much encouragement to. There is much yet to be written about the founding of WRG and the many talents of Graham Palmer - including as a writer, photographer, artist and traditional painter - and sometimes a pain-in-the-arse! When somebody has the time. I have some of Graham’s files and his original set of Navvies, which I have kept up to date. It would be good to hear the early recollections of Graham’s other close friends and WRG lieutenants of the early days such as Meg and Mike Day, John Felix and Colin Butler. Regards Harry Arnold

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Wilts & Berks s

Wilts & Berks Canal A great thank you to all those who turned up and made the Bonfire Bash such a success at various locations. The water levels at Purton Road on the North Wilts have come up significantly, and we are sorting out the new leaks as we find them. The Cricklade Branch have completed the puddling at Hayes Knoll Lock, and are about to start to excavating the silt from the lock chamber to carry out an investigation of the invert of the lock. Meanwhile, Doug Small and his team at Latton Basin are continuing to extend the clearance of the canal southwards, and the plan in the Spring is to put scaffolding up at the aqueduct to repair the masonry.

On the main line, between Double Bridge and Pewsham Locks, Doug Harris’s group are finding more and more culverts for Rob Brotherston to get his teeth into. At Seven Locks, work continues apace on the offside wall of Lock 4, and hedgelaying and towpath clearance is continuing between Locks 4 and 5. We also hope to clear vegetation around Lock 5 prior to investigation into its condition. At Lock 2, we have carried out traffic and level surveys prior to consultation with Highways for a solution to the Bowds Lane crossing – originally a liftbridge over the chamber. Chaddington Spillweir made remarkable progress in 2007, and John Bower and his team are now working on a method to get the towpath over the culverts. He is also

Piling at Foxham completed on the New Year Camp has hopefully cured a serious leak...

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Luke Walker


Our regular roundup of restoration progress around the country begins this time in the Deep South

“The new leader of Swindon Borough Council is very keen to see the canal reinstated and connected with the North Wilts Canal”

Luke Walker

hoping to excavate beside the old Chaddington Road Bridge which is nearby to determine the position of the towpath wall and invert prior to design work being carried out to reinstate the bridge. Our Chief Executive Ken Oliver and Engineer Eddie Thomas are in constant dialogue with the developers of the ‘Front Garden’ development area (between the M4 and Swindon) to ensure that the various structures are in the right place and their inverts allow for a full navigable depth of water. Meanwhile, the new leader of Swindon Borough Council is very keen to see the canal reinstated from King’s Hill to the Brunel Centre and connecting with the North Wilts Canal.


WIlts & Berks

At Steppingstone Lane Bridge, Martin Thompson is running twice monthly work parties to continue the rebuilding of this brick arch bridge. I would mention here that we have two weeks of camps on either side of Easter to push the project forward. At the East End, Roy Murrell is continuing to work at various sites in his patch, repairing wharf walls, fences, clearing scrub, etc. It is anticipated that work will start at King’s Lift Bridge in the Spring, after access problems and ownership have now been resolved. If any individuals or regional groups fancy a weekend working at any of the sites, please contact me, on 01249-892289 or Rachael Banyard

...and with the canal seen in water a couple of weeks later it looks like it’s been successful

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Contractors finally start on the long-awaited construction of the Loxwood A2133 bridge over the Wey & Arun Canal

W&A and Sankey... Wey & Arun Canal At Loxwood the contractors for construction of the bridge/tunnel carrying the B2133 over the canal, CJ Thorne, arrived on site in December and the total closure of the road (for one week) started on 7 January. This enabled drilling and casting of two rows of concrete piles across the road which will form the basis for the abutments of the new bridge. This will be constructed in sections with the road open to one-way traffic controlled by temporary traffic lights.

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Above: drilling rig cutting holes in the B2133 for concrete piles to form the abutments of the Wey & Arun Canal bridge. Below: reinforcing for the first pile goes in


Well, we finally made it back to the Work Parties after a break of 13 months. Our project for the day was to clear vegetation and litter from in and around Winwick Dry Dock. Once on site things soon got going as volunteers arrived, the tools were sorted out, and wheeled across to the Dry Dock. The first task was to remove a section of fencing to allow access to the dock. Then all the brambles and other types of vegetation were removed from around the top edge of the dock walls. Soon the top surrounding area was beginning to look good with the vegetation we had cut back being hidden in the under growth which abounds thereabouts. The interpretation board was given a good wash and the growth that was threatening to engulf it was also cut back. After the tea-break work got going in the dock Two members cleared under the foot bridge, and another went round doing the litter pick while three began the laborious task of scraping the grass and weeds from the walls. When clearing under the bridge had been finished one member went on to the walls and two began to repair the missing section of fence. First we dug out the old post from its concrete block, found a replacement in our wood pile, and then refitted it in the original hole. Two of the fence rails were


Sankey Canal


Meanwhile in Sussex, SORT are planning the first lock restoration on the Sussex Ouse Navigation at Isfield Lock

SCARS volunteers clear Winwick dry dock found in the vegetation nearby, but for the top rail it was back to the wood store to find a length to fit. After dinner work continued on the clearing of vegetation from the walls while a start was made on clearing the floor of the dock. The floor of the dock was very wet due to the drain appearing to be blocked. All attempts at trying to clear it failed - I even put on the waders and went in the ditch where the drain comes out, but vigorous prodding it from this end made no difference. Eventually we realised that the level of water in the ditch was the same as that in the dock! By late afternoon we reluctantly decided to call it a day, the tools were gathered together and the site checked to make sure every thing was in order then we replace the section of fence we had removed for access. Then all the tools had been cleaned and put back in the shed or trailer.

Sussex Ouse With winter now with us and with access restraints to the site, work has ceased at Isfield Lock until April or May next year. It has however been a successful year and we have achieved the main target set for 2007 in that the lock chamber has been completely

cleared despite our share of set backs mainly due to the wonderful English summer weather. We have already set targets for 2008. Once we are able to access the site scaffolding will be erected on the east wall in preparation for the repairs necessary to the brickwork, a task that will dominate the summer work schedule. KESCRG will make a very welcome return visit over the weekend of 7th and 8th June to assist mainly in the repair of the east wall. Prior to that visit damage discovered to the invert below the lower gates will be repaired. Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust will hope to once again achieve their targets set for the forthcoming year. For more information – or to offer assistance – contact me on 01342-315786 or Terry Owen

Martin Ludgate


...and Sussex Ouse

Meanwhile on the Manchester Bolton & Bury, reinstatement of the first quarter mile as part of Salford’s Middlewood development continues, with opening scheduled for September. Lock 3 is seen under restoration, with the newly lined channel beyond and the remains of former Lock 4 in the distance

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WRG Print

Have you ever wondered...

small friction fed leaflet folder, the “bargain buy” collating machine and to complete the list the folding and stapling machine. Quite an increase over the years. The production process for me starts when Martin electronically sends the next edition to the platemakers in Watford. As mentioned before I now use A3 paper and plates (the plates are recycled via a canal society to raise money for their work), but at present I am having problems finding a paper that runs well through the press. The press should detect any double fed sheets, but not always; this means that, unless I notice what has happened when I print the reverse side the occasional blank copies result. In an attempt to

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John Hawkins

WRG Print through the ages When we first took over the printing of this magazine quite a few years ago the only equipment that we had was an A4 desk-top mounted, friction fed off-set printing machine and several long-arm staplers. The master plates were produced from “a pasted up hard copy” sent by the then Editor. When all was printed it was collated, stapled and folded - all manually, at some superb facilities in a factory near Finchley, North London. During the evening about two dozen people would help with this operation. With any luck all would be completed before midnight - after lots of envelope and stamp licking. Unfortunately, as time went on we had to vacate the premises in Finchley and started to use the London Canal Museum. We did manage to obtain a collating machine. This took a lot of the boredom out of the operation, but still meant that the stapling and folding was done manually. Of course it also still entailed the licking of envelopes and stamps. However, we had now purchased an A4, freestanding, air/suction fed press. And then sometime after this a stapling and folding machine was bought, which helped to tidy the presentation of Navvies. But there was still the need to lick envelopes and stamps. Time marched on and it was decided to buy an A3 off-set machine, complete with a ‘second colour head’ in order to produce better quality two-colour covers and then, in the longer term, to produce our own full colour covers by two passes through the machine. An added advantage of an A3 machine was that it would considerably reduce the cost of plates and reduce the print run times by printing two sheets at once. However like everything else, there have proved to be some downsides to this idea more about this later. We now possess the following machinery: an A3 print machine, an A2 electric powered guillotine-which will cut through a ream of paper at the touch of a button, a

John Hawkins of WRG Print recalls how the printing of Navvies has changed over the years since the days of ‘pasted-up hardcopy’...

The new A3 WRG printing

“It would be good to see some other people helping with this important part of the Navvies process...” Navvies gets printed?

keep the production costs at a reasonable level I am still trying to use the standard copier type paper. I am told that ideally I should be using “long grain” paper: no, not Patna, pudding or Uncle Ben’s. If anybody happens to know of a paper merchant in the Watford area that could supply this type of paper at a reasonable cost, then please let me know. Another new problem seems to be occurring during the collating process. During its operation the machine should detect if a sheet has not been collated, but does not detect if more than one sheet has been accepted.

press in action in John’s shed

WRG Print

If more than one sheet has been accepted I will often notice this when the collated sets are put through the folding and stapling machine. Thus the two down sides, at the moment, of using A3 paper are the sheets of paper not feeding properly through the press and because of the guillotining process making some of the sheets “grip” together when they are collated. A very welcome advance for recent issues has been the very good offer from Chris Griffiths of Stroudprint to print the covers for us - hence the full colour outer cover on every issue these days. Another advance is that there is no longer the need to lick stamps and envelopes. Over the years we have progressed from tearing stamps from their sheets, to buying them on rolls, hand franking the envelopes with a rubber stamp and now I put the envelopes through the printing machine, so that we also get the “Navvy Man” (a good idea Jenny) as well as the franking stamp and even the envelopes are self sealing. Over the years many aspects of WRG Print have changed considerably, but one factor still remains - the need to put things into envelopes. This we still do at the London Canal Museum - and we still rely on a team of volunteers to help. I try to get to the Museum by about 7pm; if all goes to plan we are leaving by about 9.30pm. It would be good to see some other people assisting in this important part of the Navvies process. Just phone me on 01923 448559 or e-mail and I will inform you of the date for the next edition. These are generally about the middle of the “even” months. Many thanks as usual go to those few people who help during the evenings at the Museum and to the Museum for the continuing use of their excellent facilities. Finally, if it’s not too late, can I wish you all a very happy New Year. John Hawkins

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WRG NorthWest A year in the life

You wait ages, then two come! Not one but two reports from WRG North West, starting with Helen Gardner on behalf of the ‘Youth Sector’...

several years’ growth from the towpath WRG North-West in 2007: the year of the two Christmas parties between Ringley Top Lock and Appleyard

Bridge. Ju got muddy... for the first time. Over the early May Bank Holiday, we visited the Wilts & Berks Canal on a joint dig with Essex WRG, working on Seven Locks near Lyneham. Another section of lock wall was back-filled with concrete, and more old wall demolished on the offside. An extra weekend was held on the Hollinwood Canal later in the month, when several tree stumps were removed with help from ‘Blue’, the WRG excavator. June saw us at the Middlewich Boat and Folk Festival where we had to bail the stand using a saucepan despite a nifty drainage solution. Fortunately for Izzy we managed to acquire some essential items for her hen party from the stand as well – who says it’s tat? We also sold some books and valuable merchandise - the rain/marquee combo is a brilliant way of trapping potential punters. Oh and Ju got covered in mud. Crumpsall Park – Mr Mac went there and sold more valuable merchandise. As normal we made it to the National Waterways Festival.... Ju got covered in mud... again. September saw us on the Mont. We met up in a pub in Llanymynech and all was fine until the singing started and half of us lost our eardrums. The work was on the dry Pant section continuing the work from the summer camp. Some got to work installing Laying coping stones on the Mont All photos by Mike Chase

We started off 2007 with our Christmas party and 30th birthday party in January. The Hollinwood Canal Society kindly organised a hall in which to host our party. Some constructive (as well as the usual destructive) work was carried out, including fence-building in the middle of a hailstorm, proving that WRGNW work in all weathers. February saw us at Lichfield, working on the near-arctic tundra that was the Tamworth Road site. The weekend saw our regulars joined by our furthest flung member, Ozzie Jim, who directed the plant operations with skill and finesse. The March dig was scheduled to be on the Lancaster Canal. However, events forced its cancellation, although an unofficial dig went ahead on the Sunday supporting the Lancaster Canal Trust carrying out towpath repairs at Garstang. April saw us working on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal at Ringley, clearing

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coping stones that Harry’s camp had moved. Others of us transplanted Irises, reeds and other watery plant life from the Pant dry (-ish, obviously) section and moved them to the newly built section just after Gronwen Wharf. Ju got covered in mud. We also had to remove some reeds from the nature reserve at Aston due to there actually being too many. The reserve is flourishing and it was lovely to be able to say “we helped with that”. Stephen Lees gave us a guided tour of the new section from Gronwen Wharf to Redwith Bridge that contractors had built including the new lift bridge. By now it will all be in water – always exciting to see a new stretch of canal – even if it’s not navigable yet. This was also the dig when we serenaded Mr Mac as we took him morning tea in his camper van. He wasn’t even dressed for us – really a man with an MBE who doesn’t know how to receive visitors. October saw us at the Manchester, Bolton and Bury helping the locals on one of their weekends. We continued the work clearing the cobbled towpath. As restoration is starting down at the River Irwell it is important to show that other areas are being worked on as well. Some people went to the Bonfire Bash on the Wilts and Berks near Swindon...... a good weekend and guess what - Ju got covered in mud. For November we joined the Hollinwood Canal Society on their working weekend clearing some of the pounds of reeds, general scrub clearance and clearing out

“Ju got covered in mud...”

one of the bywashes. Jean didn’t fall in the water but Paul did. Ju got covered in mud. As we write this we’re at our Christmas Party on the Lichfield – once again freezing but we managed a massive concrete pour to lay the foundations for the new canal wall. We also did lots of tidying up for the canal society. Too wet to bricklay. Our paper chases have continued pretty much as normal and we don’t think we’ve lost anyone in the container yet – we’ve now done over 300. In July Mr Mac wore a Phrygian Cap to celebrate Bastille Day. One month we got so much paper we decided to bury Woodstock in it but then decided a second collection would be a better idea. The standard of fish & chips went down a little but we are pleased to say it has recovered. The price has remained a constant £1 (free for first timers). We’ve also run some ad-hoc meetings, the most important decisions we’ve really made are when the next meetings are (and sometimes we change that later). Next year sees us on the Chesterfield and Hollinwood canals for starters. Anyone who would like to join us on a dig or on take up the free chips offer on a paper chase should give Mr Mac a call and he can tell you all you need to know and probably quite a bit more too. Backfilling chamber wall at Seven Locks, Wilts & Berks Helen ‘Bushbaby’ Gardner

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WRG NorthWest A year in the life

delegates to the International Canals Conference who took a day away from Liverpool to visit sites in the Manchester area. A day or so later and we gave the Sales Stand an outing to the Middlewich Boat & Folk Festival which has become a regular on our calendar. The following weekend saw the Stand attend the local Carnival in the area of our Paperchases - it’s good to keep in with the locals! This year we hadn’t planned to go to Saul Festival which was perhaps providential but very sad for them due to the floods. The “National” saw not only our Sales Stand but several members arriving early to assist with the setting up of the site. The first working party of 2007 at Hollinwood enabled us to celebrate our 30th birthday with a splendid meal & convivial evening for about 60 North Westers, old and new. The 29th September saw us hold our 300th paperchase bringing the total we have collected over the years to around 3,300 TONS of paper. Who says we’re past it? Finally on a personal note, I wonder if our ‘high level concepting’ Chairman had me in mind when he called for helpers to run the publicity stand at the NEC. I quote: “If you think you are an attractive, engaging, convincing sort of person who can talk preferably intelligent (?) well-meaning souls into spending a weekend with WRG - then step forward!.” David “Mr Mac” McCarthy

Mike Chase

Whilst there have been occasional references to North West in recent issues of Navvies, readers can be forgiven for thinking that, maybe, some of the Golden Oldies in this part of the empire have fallen off their perches! But rejoice and give thanks: this is NOT the case because N.W. made the conscious decision (is this a first I wonder N.W. making a decision?) not to plan any working parties for the summer months simply because (a) some members had boats and wanted to sail on those damned canals (b) we would be taking the Sales stand out to various events and/or (c) holidays and flittings would deplete the volunteer strength. However, on looking back over 2007, all was not slumber & sleep. We held the usual Ten ‘paperchases’, the backbone of our financing activities for the last 30 years with each Saturday outing seeing us collect an average of ten tons of waste paper. Our planned outings saw us working for one day on the Lancaster canal (menial work as allowed by B.W.), twice to Lichfield for some proper sfuff and a very satisfying Bank Holiday weekend on the Wilts & Berks at Dauntsey with our friends from Essex WRG. We had two bashes on the Manchester Bolton & Bury near Little Lever and three times with the Hollinwood Canal Society at Daisy Nook. June was quite a busy month with a Paperchase followed by helping feed the

...and now let’s hear from Mr Mac on behalf of WRG North West’s Golden Oldies...

The WRG North West Paperchase in full swing

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WRG NorthWest

“We have been told by the editor that if we don’t get it in immediately it will be too late” - could someone pass the same message on to MKP?

...on the Chesterfield

With 4 of us unavailable tomorrow, progress will be slower – which is why we Only half because it is being written on the want to get into print. Chesterfield CT need Saturday evening of a weekend dig, our first of to clear about another 600 yards on this 2008 (at Renishaw on the Chesterfield Canal) section before the nesting season starts and, and we have been told (by the Editor, whose though they have a dedicated workforce of cruise on The Haybay barge we interrupted to their own, they need help. Work parties take ask) that if we don’t get it in IMMEDIATELY it place every Sunday from about 10:00 to will be too late for the next edition. [Well, 16:00 and Mick Hodgetts, their WPO, would actually it wasn’t quite a cruise - see p41. ...Ed] be delighted to hear on 01246-620695 Despite snow in the Peak District and from anyone who can help – even if only floods in Chesterfield itself, Friday night saw once. The site is a couple miles from Junc15 of us gather at ‘The Den’, the scout hut in tion 30, M1, so is eminently accessible. Inkersall. This has acquired an extension Malcolm Bridge since our last visit and now boasts a second main room, an extended kitchen, a new central heating boiler and smart tiling in the loos. However, traditionalists will be pleased to learn that the door to the Gents still has no lock, not that one would be of any use as it still won’t close. The work was mainly scrubbashing on a site just south of the 2006 Christmas Camp’s in preparation for a bank-based clearance by “a large machine” and an examination by engineers from Derbyshire County Council. Oh, and there was some very hard concrete infill to remove from a spillway which had defeated the camp,. A specific instruction was to pollard only trees WRG NW clearing the Chesterfield spillway whose roots we could remove before leaving so our two Tirfors (both certificated!) were busy all day. Fortunately the ground was quite light and shaley so most came out relatively easily, only one requiring a double Tirfor pull and, by the time that advancing cold and darkness forced us reluctantly back to the hall, about 100 yards of offside bank was clear. Meanwhile, Lynne and John (Foley), with occasional assistance from others, finally managed to create a floating bonfire, there being about 6” of water in the bottom of the ‘dry’ channel – and John (Chase) and Barry got close to “Like mother, like daughter” finishing the concrete removal.

Here is (half) the North West News

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Waterways Festival, as members had not been allocated spaces together this year. It was noted that some of the information in the AWCC list of clubs was out of date and also noted was the importance of having a mobile number for members arriving at another boat club in case there was no-one there. Election of Officers: All officers had no objection continuing in their posts and a show of hands confirmed this was acceptable wrgbc news Jan 08 Future Plans: The 2008 AGM will take Well here we are in 2008 and both New Year place at the 2008 Waterways Festival. The Secrecelebrations and the Straw Bear Festival tary was anxious to see if there are any WRG behind me, so the detoxing can start! It was digs/works that members of the boat club could good, if somewhat unexpected, to see a few attend by boat, mentioning in particular Saul in boat club members in Whittlesea for the festiJuly and the Mont gathering in September. val. Tony and Barbara even came by boat! Allocation of Funds/Donations: It Here are the AGM minutes as promised. was decided that once subs had been reIan has done a great job considering I press ceived, and we had above £500 in the bank, ganged him into it at the last minute, and a donation of £500 would be made to the had probably forced glasses of wine down Cotswold Canal Trust as the Saul Boat Festihim beforehand to lower his resistance. val had been cancelled due to flooding on Should you find any fault with them, please the site. A member of CCT was at the meetfeel free to offer to do the job this year. ing and declared an interest in this donation. (Writing the minutes not drinking the wine!) Presentation of the WRG Bowl: Minutes of the AGM held at the NaThe bowl was presented by the Commode tional Waterways Festival, St Ives on 26/8/7 Door to Aileen Butler for all the work on Apologies: Heather, Edwina, Sue & Roger, various restorations since 1991, in particular Ann Hughes, Malcolm Bridge, Claire Moynihan. the BCN cleanups and others with London Minutes of last AGM: agreed WRG including Blow up Bridge*. Matters arising: The Commode Door Any Other Business: A number of was indisposed for the start of the AGM as members from WRGNW and the Peterborshe was assisting in the illuminated parade. ough Branch of the IWA were asking for a Commode Door/ WRGBC reprepetition to be signed for the restoration/ sentative’s Report: The Commode Door reopening of Welches Dam Lock. A bottle of had attended the AWCC AGM where there wine was generously (but unintentionally) was much talk of the DEFRA cuts and ‘Save donated by Maureen. Meeting closed 22.15 our Waterways’ campaign. She also attended *Note: this was in notes but notetaker meetings at Wolverhampton and Soar and by that time under the influence of… will attend the Tamworth Boat Club meeting. Any comments, questions, or clarificaTreasurer’s Report: Once again the tions please address to the secretary ASAP. Treasurer confirmed that we had money in Now it’s not like me to ‘miss the boat’ the bank (£376) and subs are now due. It but I did. I sent out a list of members boats, was decided that subs should remain at £10. so we all know who we are and can ‘meet Several members present paid up immediand greet’ should we pass on the cut. Well I ately and some others signed standing order missed some out and included a member who mandates. (What commendable actions) had left. Sorry. The next list will (maybe) be Secretary’s Report: The secretary perfect. Remember the club motto! Fly the advised that AWCC and WRG Burgees were flag then we will know each other. available for sale. There are now 40 memI got quite a bit of news, regarding members in the Boat Club. The secretary asked bers’ travels, with the Christmas cards I received. members for ideas for improvements for the News is a two way thing so please keep me WRGBC clubhouse, such as where the club, informed. Details and photos would be great. being a peripatetic club, could situate the I wish you all happy boating in 2008 and noticeboard. Ideas were not forthcoming at look forward to seeing you out and about. that point. It was decided that we would not xxx Sadie Dean bother with a block booking for the 2008 07748186867 /

News from our boat club

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Do you fancy a weekend work party with floating accommodation? (well, at high tide anyway) Droitwich upate Good news regarding the Droitwich Barge Lock appeal – it’s already raised in excess of £60k and we have still got quite a few months to go. A lot of this is down to IWA members and Navvies readers so The Waterways Trust have asked me to thank you through these pages BUT (and there is always a but isn’t there?) we still need to widen out the appeal to what we might call the non-aligned fringe – all those waterways businesses and cruising clubs. We hope to run a rather high profile event in late April to try and attract some support from these groups. If we can get the details sorted in time then there will be an insert with this Navvies, if not then keep an eye on our web site Mike Palmer

Navvies News

The Chelmer needs you! The Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: since the takeover by Essex Waterways Ltd (an IWA subsidiary) the new authority is doing its best to put this Essex navigation back into good order, but there’s a lot to do - miles of banks to clear of overgrown vegetaion, and plenty of other work. And if you’re lucky you get to spend your nights in real beds in a real BOAT - the Haybay barge! (see below) And the Chesterfield is an old favourite WRG site where volunteer work has taken off recently and visiting groups are more than welcome. with work concentrated on the Renishaw area. If you want to offer your group’s services on either of these sites, see the Directory for contact details.

Back cover photos Apologies for the lack of captions to the back cover pictures in the last two issues. Captions are as follows... Issue 225: the main picture showed rebuilding work in progress on Lock 4 at Seven Locks during the KESCRG camp, the inset upper photo showed volunteers pushing one of many vehicles out of the mud at the National Festival, and the bottom inset pic was taken on the Grand Western camp. Issue 226: the upper photo shows the newly built liftbridge on the recently rewatered section of the Mont from Gronwen to Redwith, while the lower photo shows KESCRG at work on the Wendover arm. Captions for this issue’s back cover are on page 2; I’ll try to remember to include them in future issues.

London WRG on the Chelmer & Blackwater: work (above) and accommodation (below)

Sit(e)s. Vac. A couple of sites that you might like to consider visiting if you’re involved in one of the regional groups and find yourselves with a TBA or two in your dates list...

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NOTICEBOARD Online Navvies subscriptions Don’t forget: You can now take out or renew Navvies subs online at or at products.asp?cat=126

Thanks... to Neville Orton and Spencer Greystrong for their gift of some Smart Media cards for the WRG cameras – we should see another year or two out.

Correction: Digital tachos Apologies for giving an incorrect phone number in the last issue applying for the digital tachograph card that you now need if you want to tow with any of the WRG vans (apart from RFB which will be replaced within weeks). It should be 0870 850 1074.

Dial-a-camp To contact any WRG Canal Camp: 07850 422156 (Kit ‘A’ camps) 07850 422157 (Kit ‘B’ camps)

Stamps wanted

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

Coming soon... Navvies’ very own agony aunt deals with your most personal problems...

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Bonfire Bash 2008... looking like it might well be on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. Put the date November 1-2 in you diary and ‘watch this space’ for confirmation and more details

New arrivals The WRG/KESCRG breeding programme continues... Congratulations to Rachel Parr and Danny French on the arrival of Coco Josephine French also to Clare and Ian Nelson on the arrival of William Apologies for a slight error last time: Emma and Dan Evans’s son is called Charlie William Evans Sadly, despite repeated pesterings from the Editor the Williamsons and the Tarrants failed to produce their offspring before Navvies went to print. (Thinks: might we have a new WRG Chairman on the way here?) Seriously, best wishes to Liz & Ian, and to Smudge & Taz

Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 email:

New Twist to Traditional Rhyme... When working recently on ‘Sea Lock’ on Lord Rolle’s Canal, with friend and volunteer navigator, Trevor Fordham, he stopped what he was doing in order to brew some tea for the two of us. He filled the kettle stored in the shed and switched it on. Pouring the water onto the teabags, he was disconcerted to observe some black bits coming out. On closer inspection of the kettle he discovered the remains of three perfectly cooked mice! Not being a fan of exotic, oriental cuisine he was not accustomed to drinking his tea in this fashion. I dared him to accuse me of not providing him with sufficient to eat when helping me out. We had a good laugh about the incident although I suppose the mice didn’t find the experience quite so amusing. Trevor rinsed the kettle out before making us a fresh brew. Now we have a new song to sing whilst waiting for the kettle to boil...


One for him and two for me They taste very nice and they’re free! “I say, you’ve made a right Three boiled mice, dog’s breakfast of packing this three boiled mice. trailer!” - or can you suggest I’m sure the tea doesn’t taste quite the same any more! a better caption? Adrian Wills And speaking of dogs... Three boiled mice three boiled mice Cooked perfectly cooked perfectly Trevor boiled them in the tea

WRGieotypes No 2: The WRG dog Always on the lookout for his natural prey: dropped Quavers

Diet: Quavers, sandwich crusts and whatever gets dropped on the floor of the food tent at the National

Ancestry: uncertain Intelligence: limited Sex: yes please!

Roger’s Mummy and Daddy don’t believe in collars. Instead they let him express his individuality with a greasy red neckerchief.

‘Glass half-full’ attitude to life

Gammy leg Roger’s a Battersea special but he doesn’t let it affect his self esteem. In fact, you’d almost believe he owned the place, from the way he strolls around camp greeting people and demanding his share of their lunch. Although they deny he’s a baby substitute, his Mummy and Daddy Ruth and Mark recently invested in a caravan as Roger just wasn’t settling in the dormitories. He’s sensitive to draughts, bless him. Roger’s demeanor occasionally hints at a difficult childhood, pre-Battersea. In actual fact he lived in Finchley with a devoted elderly lady, until she moved to Australia to be with her daughter. Roger’s self-confidence is absolute but soon he’s in for a serious shock. WRG babies are coming, and Ruth and Mark are on the list.

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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

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