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Issue 378 - January 2004

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Chairman's Column

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A Happy New Year to all

I hope all members had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year. We can now look forward to a full programme ahead with a range of interesting topics at our monthly meetings and other planned events.

Name Badges

The new policy of providing self-adhesive name badges for members regularly attending our monthly meetings was introduced last month and proved to be most successful. Thanks for everyone's cooperation. We will obviously be continuing this practice ...... So there will be no excuse in future for not knowing to whom you are speaking!

Members' Photographs

It used to be photographs of the Lewis family often to be found peering out of the pages of the various waterways magazines, etc. More recently, Laura Sturrock and Peter Oates had taken over this mantle. However, on opening the January issue of "Canal and Riverboat" it was Anne Coleman who appears in no less than four photographs accompanying a feature on single handed cruising.

Refreshments Rota

I understand from Angela Faull that a number of members have volunteered for the refreshments rota. Many thanks to all those who put their name forward. However, for those shy ones still holding back, I am sure that there are still some gaps on the list and Angela will be delighted to hear from you.

Computer Problems

Some time in November my computer "Crashed" and is still awaiting a visit to the clinic for treatment. This means that I have lost e-mail access. I would therefore be grateful if members could contact me by other means until further notice. In the event that you sent me an e-mail since mid-November, could you please either print off a copy of your mail and post it to me or, alternatively, give me a ring.

Paul Herbert


A Cautionary Tale

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Our members Ken and Margaret Froud tell of a problem they had whilst cruising last autumn. Margaret writes:

A piece of plastic round the propeller shaft was the cause of it all. It couldn't be fiddled off with the boat hook so the weed hatch had to come up. This hadn't been removed for ages and was difficult to open. Before it was replaced Ken gave both surfaces a clean off and fastened it down tightly.

This happened at Trentham on the Trent & Mersey Canal so there was a long lock free stretch to enjoy before reaching Stoke. After about an hour a coffee was called for and that was when I discovered the engine room was full of water above the floor boards quite a bit! It had also got under the bedroom floor as well as the carpet was wet when touched.

It took two hours and two bilge pumps to get the water out - the cause of it all being the failure of the weed hatch gasket. We don't carry a spare one of these amongst our many spare parts so a makeshift gasket was made from rubber draught excluder strip.

We got to Harecastle Tunnel without further incident and next morning took the bed to bits to inspect the damage there. The bilge was full of water level with the floor - fortunately our spare bedding and out of season clothes were still dry but it was a near thing.

Once the water was drained out Ken put our electric fan heater into the bed hole and this soon dried out the steel surfaces.

Forty-eight hours later we resumed our cruise to Whaley Bridge and called at three boatyards before finding any adhesive foam rubber to make a proper job of the seal.

Inspection of weed hatches is now being carried out by everyone we told and a supply of the necessary gasket material ordered!

Ken is confident this situation will never happen again - I will let him tell you why.
 

After that experience I decided to fit an early warning alarm system. I found by experiment that an ordinary smoke alarm unit was ideal for the situation. I soldered a piece of ordinary twin core cable across the test button connections. The other end I stripped off the insulation with about ½" of bare wire and a gap of about 1/8" between them. This end was fixed into the bilge about 1½" above the floor level so that any water rising would trigger the alarm as soon as it touched the bare ends of the cable. I intend to fit an isolation switch and stop the alarm while lowering the water level, hopefully not forgetting to switch it back on afterwards!

Although I'm using the alarm as a water detector, the smoke alarm itself is still effective. When we get back to base I will no doubt make a permanent job of it, but at least it works as a temporary measure.

Ken and Margaret Froud
4-10-03


December Meeting

Annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz & American Supper

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Another excellent turnout enjoyed the 2003 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz hosted by the winners of the 2002 events, Southampton Canal Society.

At the beginning of the evening, two special presentations were made. Members will recall that Peter Oates had been awarded the Richard Bird Medal in recognition of his many years service to the IWA. Another medal was awarded to Chris and Helen Davey, members of our Society and of the IWA Solent & Arun Branch and stalwart supporters of the Waterway Recovery Group.

Unfortunately, Chris and Helen had not been able to attend the IWA's AGM in September to receive their award. So the Inter-Society Quiz had been chosen as a suitable public occasion to award Chris with their medal although, again, Helen was unable to attend the presentation. This task was proudly undertaken by Mike Laishley, Chairman of the Solent & Arun Branch. Many congratulations Chris and Helen. Incidentally, both Chris and Mike were members of the Solent & Arun Quiz Team.

I then had the pleasurable task of making a presentation to Sue Lewis in appreciation of her auditing the Society's accounts over the last few years. Many thanks Sue.

And so to the Quiz ... we were very grateful to our Quizmaster, Jon Sims, who stepped into the breach at a very late stage to help us out. Despite the lack of preparation time, Jon had certainly organised several rounds of teasers that fairly taxed the old grey cells of many of us. As has become traditional, many of the audience also entered into the spirit of the occasion by taking part in the quiz.

As usual there was a general banter between teams and arguing with the Quizmaster about the 'real' answers to some of the questions posed, but Jon kept both his cool and overall control to ensure fair play.

The result of the team event turned out to be a re-run of the previous year with the Southampton Canal Society team of Laura Sturrock, Peter Oates, Eric Lewis and myself taking the honours, followed by IWA Solent & Arun Branch and the Salisbury Group. The trophy was duly awarded to Southampton's team captain, Peter Oates.

The audience winner was Oliver Lovell who, as last year when he had been a member of the Solent & Arun team, travelled from his home in Moreton-in-Marsh to join us for the evening. Oliver was presented with a bottle of wine.

The Society then made a suitable presentation to Jon Sims in appreciation of his efforts.

The 2004 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz will be organised by our Society at Chilworth on Thursday 2 December. Unusually, we have already received an offer to act as Quizmaster, so that should take some pressure off your Committee.

Following the Quiz, everyone enjoyed the traditional American Supper, one of our major social events of the year. Many thanks to all those who generously contributed food etc and particular thanks to all the helpers who laid out the tables, worked in the kitchen and cleared away at the end of the evening.

Paul Herbert


Water Resources

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Recent wet weather has helped fill British Waterways' network of reservoirs that feed into the canal system. The levels of reservoirs in the southern Midlands are less critical now than they used to be, since the installation of BW's back-pumping system, which allows water to be transferred from a bore-hole into old mine workings at Bradley. This water can feed into the Grand Union Canal as far south as Milton Keynes, to Leicester via Braunston and Crick, and to the Oxford Canal summit. The boreholes near Tring can feed the southern Grand Union, relieving pressure on the reservoirs around Marsworth.

Most of the canals north of Birmingham rely either on river feeds, or on rainfall collected into reservoirs at the summits of such waterways as the Leeds & Liverpool, Rochdale, Huddersfield Narrow and Caldon canals. However, the Shropshire Union and Staffs & Worcester canals are mostly fed from the outflow of a sewage works near Wolverhampton. BW has recently signed an agreement with Severn Trent Water to preserve the long-term security of this supply.

Given an average winter rainfall, most of BW's critical reservoirs north of Birmingham are likely to fill to capacity before Easter 2004. The major exception to this is Rudyard Reservoir which feeds into the Caldon Canal summit and supplies much of the water for the Trent & Mersey Canal, as water from the Caldon Canal flows into the summit of the T&M. The water level in Rudyard remains well below what it should be for the time of year, and an average winter rainfall would only fill the reservoir to 84% capacity. Thus, the waterway most at risk of any water supply shortages in 2004 is probably the T&M between Great Heywood and Middlewich.

January 2004 IWA Head Office Bulletin


Stoppage Notice Information

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All stoppages on British Waterways' network, the Thames and Anglian waterways managed by the Environment Agency and on the Bridgewater and Manchester Ship canals can be viewed on the internet at www.waterscape.com/boating/stoppages/. Other navigation authorities have also been contacted with a view to including stoppage details from waterways that they manage.

British Waterways' navigation information leaflets are also being included on the web site on the relevant waterway pages, for example at:

www.waterscape.com/waterwaysguide/waterways/Regent_s_Canal/Regent_s_Canal.html

January 2004 IWA Head Office Bulletin


Send your comments to the Web Site manager (Peter Oates)

© Southampton Canal Society 2004. Except where otherwise indicated, information on these pages may be reproduced provided permission is obtained from the Web Site manager beforehand and due acknowledgement made to the Society.

Page created 8 January 2004 - archived 5 February 2004.

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