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Junction Mail No. 64

Summer 2009 You may notice a change in the format of this edition. I am sorry to announce to members that John Cottrell, our previous Editor died on 15th July 2009, this was after falling ill at the beginning of the year. He was suffering from cancer and despite concentrated treatment it was to no avail. He did a marvellous job in completing the last edition without mentioning his suffering, and it was not until recently he admitted to me the decline in his health. I attended his funeral together with Ken Aylmer on Tuesday 29th July at Hendon Park Crematorium, together with 60-70 of his friends and relations. He will be sadly missed. It is intended to make a collection at our September meeting at Welwyn, with the proceeds being donated to the North London Hospice, at the request of his wife, Maggie. You are welcome to send any donations to Michael Wright, who will pass the proceeds to NLH. After the close of the collection on 16th September 2009. John initially thought that JUNCtion Mail did not have quite the right title, so without a fuss, it was changed to what we see today. So what is in a title? A lasting memory of John I hope. Junction Mail is the Newsletter of the Hertfordshire Branch


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Michael's Murmurings. It is many months now since the initial appeal for help. Thank you to those who have responded. BUT - ( and there is always a but!) As I write this, I feel that there is now a serious need for several more responses. This will be perhaps the last chance that I have to get your attention before serious action has to be taken regarding the future of the Branch. By January 2010 plans will be in the process of being made for the future of the Hertfordshire Branch, but rather than concerning yourselves with such matters, get in touch with me and we can then talk about the how we can 'keep-the-wheels-turning'. I have had one response from a member, who is hopefully joining the committee, but I would not expect anybody to join and be able to know all the intricacies of the IWA system. There is however a very good network of contacts that can be used if you want some help. We can offer a system where a 'shadow' to an existing member is built up. The key role of Chairman has been vacant for a long time and it is essential that this position is filled at the earliest opportunity. The position of Sales officer is to become vacant in March 2010. The position of Magazine Editor is now vacant, and to spread the load a new Membership Secretary is needed. I can say that none of these positions are 'full-time'.Their involvement varies and I have always said that a volunteer can spend as much time as they can afford. I carried out an exercise recently, in response to a request from Clive Henderson, to assess how much time various member of the Branch spent 'volunteering'. I won't frighten you all with my findings, but it all adds up. We are largely a volunteer organisation. Every little helps, but can you help and become a volunteer? I would love to hear from you. As I look at our Committee today, we need eight new members. This would spread the work load around a bit........

Situations Vacant ! Applicants required urgently A Chairman would be one who could attend 10 committee meetings and 10 Social meetings over the course of the year, plus there would be six Regional meetings, and maybe a couple of BW User Group meetings. Then there is time to write articles like this for the magazine and liaise with the Editor. Attend local Festivals and help with the dispatch of info from Region to the committee. Could you help? (It is a very prestigious position.) And there's more.........


Page 3 Sits. Vacant.

Summer 2009

Continued

A Sales Officer would take our sales stand to Tring for 3 days; to Rickmansworth for 2 days; to Slough for maybe 2 days, to Linslade for a day, and bring the Christmas Cards and Calenders to our social meetings in October and November at Welwyn GC. The Sales Officer also manages the stock between events and attends committee meetings. A Publicity Officer's work can be done from home to advertise the IWA and Branch locally. It would help if they could use the internet to update our Branch website and build up a network of contacts to keep informed of our activities. Circulate 'Membership Forms' at the local festivals and gatherings. Attend the 10 monthly committee meetings. The Membership Secretary is the link to our new members. I am sure that you have all received a letter to tell you about the Herts. Branch. When & where we meet and how to get there. This is a very 'as and when' job. Head Office send you the details of new local members and with the help of a word processor the letters just flow out each month. This is assuming that people in Hertfordshire keep joining us! Again the committee meetings each month are for the exchange of details. Magazine Editors are perhaps a little harder to find, but I'm sure there is somebody out there who is itching to have a go. Herts Branch produces 4 issues of Junction Mail each year and the Editor has input from many directions. There are no real deadlines but it is something that John Cottrell seemed to make appear so easy 'on-time' with his usual efficiency. The Vice-Chairman is normally an existing committee member who will 'stand-in' for the Chairman when the need arises. I don't want to dwell on this subject for too long.....I'm sure that you will understand !!! (He can always take the blame for anything , multi task and do almost anything!!!). You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the Secretary thus far. Now he is the cornerstone that takes the Minutes of the committee meetings and quietly distributes to the committee members and all the other bodies that have to be informed of our goings-on. I hope if all goes well we will be able to welcome a new Secretary in October. A big thank you to him if all falls into place. We also welcome Margaret Antill, who will be taking over from Greta with the raffles at Welwyn on our Social evenings. An essential position of Fund Raising to cover the costs of our Social meetings. I do not want to see the Branch dissolve after all the efforts of my predecessors over the years. Please give the situation your serious consideration. I would appreciate it. Thanks.


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Junction Mail in Colour. If you have not read it before, You can obtain a colour copy of Junction Mail by email. All that is required is for you to email your email address with a request for future copies to sent to you via the internet. If you would like to see the photos in colour – email your address. OR -There is an alternative, and that is to visit the Herts Branch section of www.waterways.org.uk . This edition should be available shortly after you have received your printed copy.

Now for something a little exciting......Our roving reporter was

more there.....

(Thanks Tony Lenten)

3 Mills Lock Opening – 5th July 2009 At the Little Venice Cavalcade I remade my acquaintance with Andrew Phasey, the commodore of St Pancras Cruising club. In conversation he mentioned that the club had been invited by British Waterways to attend the opening of 3 Mills Lock on 5th June, and would I like to come along. This seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. Closer to the date I asked Andrew about the plans. He requested my boat dimensions etc., to which I replied that my boat was not going to be in the area but could I come along anyway and hitch a ride on one of the others. He said this was fine and that he had a job for me as ‘harbourmaster’ for the day. I arrived early on 5th June at Bromley by Bow station and walked down to Bow Locks. A crane was busily unloaded a barge load of huge stones purportedly some of the remains of the Euston arch which had been dumped in Prescott channel years ago, and had been rescued during the construction of the lock. The long term plan is to reconstruct the arch in its original location outside Euston station once the further remains have been located in whatever dumping ground was chosen all those years ago. I boarded Andrew’s boat, the Doris Katia as he made his way from Limehouse under the Blackwall tunnel northern approach road. The previous evening the boat crews had all met up in the Cruising Association bar at Limehouse for the briefing on the scheduled boat movements on the Friday. Not being present myself, after mooring up Andrew explained the plan in detail to me. As an ex army man the plan was organised with military precision, Continued...


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….......the sequence of the boats through the three lockings in and out, the precise locations of which boats would be rafted up together; the priority given to the star of the show the 25 m x 8 m barge run by Bennetts. All this was explained to me so I could assist with any last minute instructions. At the head of the flotilla I was positioned on a working boat, Victoria, run by Mike Askin, and we locked out of Bow around 10:45 in the company of the Nuggler with skipper also Mike. The tide had risen considerably in the 2 hours since my arrival. Ahead of us on Bow Creek the barge was being towed into position by two tugs, one ahead and one astern. Under the underground line railway bridge we made a right turn to find the barge being manoeuvred against the right hand wall, which once completed, we were able to pass. Then we took a left into the Prescott Channel with the brand new 3 Mills lock ahead of us. Andrew issued revised mooring instructions that we were to go closer to the weir stream to allow maximum space for the barge to turn. All 8 boats of the second locking group were moored up by around 11:45, everyone keenly aware of their positions for their role in the next part of the pageant, and patiently waiting for the barge arrival and their cue to move over to align with the lock. With a break in the proceedings I had time to explore the site for the first time. The new lock was festooned with a big red sash ready for cutting at the official opening. A large gazebo was on the lockside with welcoming drinks for the official guests (St Pancras didn’t seem to qualify for this) The control tower was impressive and I could take a look inside where the lock keepers explained the computerised operations and how the fish belly sluices controlled the level of the ‘upstream’ channel at all states of the tide. The tug and barge then made their entrance – it was a tight fit for the barge requiring skilful steering by the tug skipper. The first 3 narrowboats then followed before the outer gates were closed. That was the signal for the 8 boats of lock number 2 to move across to the left side of the channel. I was out of earshot of the speeches but as I walked up to take a shot of the barge exiting the lock I met Tony Hales who clearly had been playing his role at the party. I re boarded Ketura as she entered the lock and by then, at high tide, we actually locked down into the upstream. All craft then headed upstream to bridge no. 1, where we joined the 3 Mills River to see new mooring pontoons being installed. This made Christine on Ketura happy, as soon she would be able to return to her modernised home mooring. Continued......


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….....The locking procedure was reversed to exit the area and the St Pancras boats made their way back to the Lee navigation to conclude a successful opening day.

Technical info:Lock Dimensions 62m x 8m. Fall / rise – variable depending on the state of the tide. Capacity – two barges or 9 narrow boats. Water control by sector gates – no sluices. Similar to Limehouse Thames lock and about twice the length.

New lock with the sash ready for cutting Picture by Tony Lenten


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Summer 2009

Barge approaching the lock Picture by Tony Lenten

RECENT NEWS FROM BRITISH WATERWAYS THAT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF......

2020 Strategy Update

Following the positive initial response and feedback from boaters, towpath visitors and other stakeholders, much fuller detail is being formulated regarding BW’s plans to become a third sector organisation. The expanded proposals will go part way to answering many of the questions posed since the publication of Twenty Twenty: A vision for the future of our canals and rivers. Robin Evans, BW chief executive, comments: “Over the next couple of months we will be conducting more research which includes speaking to successful third sector organisations and other experts in the field”. Continued.....


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“In particular we will look at governance, fundraising and marketing in the charitable sector and what a contract with Government might entail.The new strategy has been generally well received both inside BW and by boaters and the wider public. However, there is a hunger for more detail about how the change might work.” “It is important that we keep up the momentum towards providing a sustainable future for the nation’s waterways without forgetting the £30m gap between what needs to be spent on the waterways and what is currently available.”

Defra grant funding for 2010/11 BW grant funding from Defra for England and Wales has been confirmed for the year 2010/11. After allowing for advanced payments of grants there will be an effective reduction on the current financial year of £4.6m.

“Failing to display” campaign As part of its continued focus on tackling licence evasion, BW has launched a network-wide ‘failing to display’ campaign. Stickers reminding boaters to display their licence will be affixed to the windows of ‘non-displaying’ boats – highlighting the drain on much needed resources when time is spent following up on seemingly unlicensed craft. Simon Salem, marketing and customer service director, comments: “We’ve a great many customers out on the cut who take the time to point out unlicensed boats. This, together with BW’s robust enforcement processes and continued commitment to tackle the issue, is making a real difference in further reducing evasion rates across the network. “Unfortunately much time and resource is wasted when, on investigation, unlicensed boats are simply found to be failing to display”. Continued....


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Summer 2009

“This is time and money that could be much better spent tackling the real evaders who perhaps think that they are above contributing towards the cost of maintaining the waterways network.” The ‘failing to display’ sticker for unlicensed boats is supported by further ‘failing to display’ stickers for both boat index numbers and valid mooring permits. So far, in the first half of 2009, BW’s patrol staff have recovered almost £1.5 million of overdue licence fee income and currently have further enforcement proceedings underway on over 1,200 craft. Since the introduction of a £150 late payment charge for boaters renewing their licence more than one month after expiry, there has been a marked increase in people renewing on time. Now, 95% of boats have their licence renewed within one month of expiry (up from 82%).

New Members We would like to offer a further welcome the following new members since the last issue of our ‘Junction Mail’. Mr P Forster Mr & Mrs T Brice Dr D Beale & Mr A Hyland Dr R Lea Dr & Mrs K W Hillier Mr B V Walters Dr H & Mrs S Evans

Baldock Rickmansworth Abbots Langley Pirton, Hitchin Chorleywood Bovingdon Hitchin

Can you help us recruit? Your help is needed to recruit new members. We have piles of membership forms, but not the ability to hand them all on to your friends and perhaps fellow waterway users. This is where we need your assistance. If you can distribute perhaps to your workplace or social group it would help to spread the aims of the IWA. Just call 01727 860137 for a supply of leaflets.


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Summer 2009

Wendover Arm Restoration. The work of restoration continues apace, aided by a reasonable amount of dry weather at the start of August. Work parties of 12 or more gathered each day for 9 days to continue the profiling and sealing of the canal. A length of 60 metres has been completed. Some of the heaviest work was shifting all those concrete blocks that have been donated! Not only do they have to be manhandled on to the dumpers, but have to be manhandled off at the place where they are positioned to form the finished face of the canal bank. When you consider a 'load' is 300 blocks and on a good day there are 5 'loads'. That's a lot of blocks. Talking of blocks – have you sponsored any yet?. WAT is in desperate need of more sponsorship. Pick up the phone – dial 07860 286155 OR send a donation to FREEPOST BLOCKAID. Gift aided of course, where posible. The plaque, sponsored by the Chiltern and Herts branches, to commemorate the monies donated by the Grand Junction branches has now been delivered. This plaque, will be fixed to the Little Tring bridge in the near future.

Slough Arm Festival. After much effort, there is to be a festival this year for 2 days on 12/13th September. It is being organised by the Middlesex Branch, with support from Friends of the Slough Canal and in partnership with Slough Borough Council. The Branch Sales Stand will be there and your support is needed. You may even be able to obtain the rare 'Jubilee Glass' or two!

Any one for Golf? Our colleagues at the Chiltern Branch are organising a golf day on Thursday 24th September at the Lambourne Club near Beaconsfield. This is a charity event with funds raised being shared between the IWA and the Woodrow High House, to sponsor buoyancy aids for canoe training. For details contact Mel Errington tel: 01494 675056 or jumel@tiscali.co.uk

The Water Point. This is the old water tower that used to serve St Pancas station in the era of steam engines. It is a fascinating building that was moved to it's present site during redevelopment. It is accessed via St Pancras CC and I assume by appointment. If you are interested in a visit, please contact the Editor and he will see what can be arranged.


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OUR SOCIAL MEETINGS PROGRAMME STARTING IN SEPTEMBER 2009 – FROM OUR SOCIAL SECRETARY CELIA BYHAM. Tuesday 15th September 2009 at 7.45pm for 8.00pm start.

CLIVE HENDERSON Our National Chairman will be visiting us at the Cricket Club, Welwyn GC. And this is your invitation to meet him and discuss matters regarding ourAssociation. If you would like to raise a question please contact Celia on 01992-466180. Tuesday 20th October 2009, Usual time as above.

ARCHIVE TRANSPORT FILMS Frank Banfield will be bring along a selection from his archives to share with us. This is normally a very popular subject for those with transport interests, including boats and trains and planes from long ago. Some in black & white. Some in colour....

Editor's Last Word The Herts Branch's major concern is still finding members to take over the running of the Branch. You should by now, having read the words enticing you to do something to 'keep the wheels turning', that unless you do, life of the Herts Branch will never be the same. Now plan your strategy. Decide when to take the step and become an active member. Yes, I am the Editor as well this time. And would like to thank my daughter, with her knowledge and skills, for her invaluable assistance and 'training' to concoct this edition of , in my terms, a newsletter 'to keep the wheels turning'. I can now appreciate all the efforts of those dedicated people who held the position of Editor over the years of my involvement with the Branch. It is no secret that my involvement initially was more of a compiler of the Newsletter, rather than an 'Editor', and the words were sent to the Editor of the London Regional Newsletter. It would therefore appear that a full circle has been reached as without an Editor for Junction Mail, you will have to rely on the Region for your local news. Again, like John, I will apologise for the delay in this edition, but sometimes it is better late than ....(I can hear murmurings at this point!) Please appreciate that these Newsletters are for you, the members, and any Editor needs your input as well. As John asked previously “ Who is going to provide us with a feature for our Autumn issue? And, of course, pictures! Junction Mail needs a stock of pictures to lighten its pages. The deadline for our Autumn Newsletter is 1st. Nov 2009 You can address your articles to me. Thanks. Michael Wright (michael.wright64@btinternet.com)


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A Non-Profit Distributing Company Limited by Guarantee - Registered Number612245 England - Registered as a Charity no 212342 - Registered and General Office - Island House Moor Road - Chesham HP5 1WA - Tel: 01494 783453 You can catch up with all the news and information from Inland Waterways Website by visiting www.waterways.org.uk IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Please remember that used postage stamps, milk bottle tops, aluminium products, old coins and banknotes and used telephone cards, are all turned into cash to help waterway restoration, and should be sent to -: WRG Stamp Bank 33, Hambleton Grove Emerson Valley MILTON KEYNES - MK4 2JS or bring them to one of our meetings.

Illustrated talks These can be given to organisations.

Requests for talks should be made to our Lecture Panel Organiser. The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in this newsletter, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing contained herein may be construed as a matter of policy or an official announcement, unless so stated, otherwise the IWA accept no liability for any material in this newsletter. Newsletter Š2009 IWA Herts Branch. Neither the Editor nor the IWA can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the newsletter, and opinions stated are those of the individual contributors. We will, however, gladly publish corrections if notified. The Editor reserves the right to modify any contributions in the interest of clarity or space. Junction Mail is printed by Prontaprint Letchworth tel 01462 674674

V.5 sxw file 13.08.09


Junction Mail No 64 - Summer 2009