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Issue 352 - June 2001

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LIFE ON THE CANAL

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Ken and Margaret Froud, two of our members who live on a boat at Napton on the southern Oxford Canal, have responded to our Chairman's plea last month for items for the newsletter.

Each of them has written a little piece giving us some idea of their current lifestyle and even included a photograph to accompany Ken's item.

Many thanks to both of them.
 

Froud's Dry Dock

Ken's Dry Dock

I found an easy way to replace my worn propeller shaft and stern bearing without the expense of dry-docking. By removing the rudder, the shaft came out under water with the aid of a piece of rope, after disconnecting the drive coupling. I remembered to place a bung in the stern tube on the inside before complete removal. That was the easy bit.

To take out the stern tube without sinking the boat, I made up a wooden box of ¾ marine ply to fit underneath the weed hatch. The floor of the box was cut with a "V" notch with foam rubber to make a seal. It was then a simple matter of removing the weed hatch lid, floating the box underneath and positioning it round the weed hatch opening. A bilge pump was placed in the box to remove the water, enabling me to work on the stern tube without having to get my hands wet and cold. Outside water pressure held the box in position - it worked a treat!

Ken Froud


Foot and Mouth

Restrictions due to the foot and mouth outbreak brought our life to a virtual standstill for over two months. Our last outing was to the Boat Show at the NEC on February 19th! Since then we have only visited the local shops twice a week.

Holt Farm is out-of-bounds to all boaters and campers - the towpath is closed, so there is no access to the moorings. This situation still applies today (6th May) although the canal is now open with severe restrictions.

To get off the farm we have three trays of disinfectant to walk through and the barriers to remove at the entrance - and the same when we return, of course. Ken says the car smells like a mortuary, and we always wear the same pair of shoes, which will be thrown out once the emergency is over, as they are ruined.

We haven't been able to visit our family and friends and they cannot come to us. There have been days on end (until the boats came back) when we saw no-one at all, even over the Easter weekend.

The situation is now more promising and Neil [the farmer] allows our boaters access after thoroughly disinfecting their cars at the gateway.

This is why you didn't see us for the Day-Star evening - glad it went off well.

Margaret Froud


May Meeting

(that is to say the 26 April event)

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Well, what can one say about the Day-Star Theatre Company. Every year they visit Southampton Canal Society with their latest production. This year we shared with them the World Premier (ie: the very first performance) of 'The Hero of Sandy Edge Wharf'. I won't go into the details of the plot because that was more than adequately outlined in the April Newsletter.

Suffice it so say that the combined efforts of the large cast (played imaginatively, as always, by Duffy (Peter) and Jane Marshall) kept us highly entertained and spellbound by their latest offering.

This was an entirely new production (regular visitors to the Day-Star Theatre will remember that their last three productions have continued the same general theme) and the opinion of many in the audience was that this was their best for some time.

A large audience enjoyed the somewhat bombastic Freda who lived at the Old Vicarage, and enjoyed her regular tipple; the crusty old gardener who seemed to live on the allotments enjoying a seemingly permanent sport of killing any weed or insect that dared to enter his domain; the pompous Chairman of the Parish Council who also owned the village shop; and the breath of fresh air introduced by Josie Collins, a newcomer on the scene who, with her two sons, had the audacity to moor their narrow boat in the 'long pound' and make Sandy Edge their temporary home.

At the end of the performance Day-Star broke from tradition by doing an encore in each of the various roles that they had portrayed.

The much larger and better equipped stage and the anti-room used for the traditional light buffet at the end of the show, made our new venue at Chilworth ideal for this Day-Star Theatre visit.

Our thanks again to Jane and Duffy for driving down from Audlem on the Shropshire Union Canal to bring us 'The Hero'. We hope to be able to welcome them back in 2002.

Anybody who missed 'The Hero' can catch it at the Crick Boat Show on Saturday 26 May at 1.30pm and on Monday 28 May at 12 noon.

Our thanks also to the Society Committee and other volunteers for providing the splendid buffet.

Paul Herbert


BASINGSTOKE CANAL

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The following information about the effects of Foot and Mouth has been taken from Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society's website www.basingstokecanal1.freeserve.co.uk/front.htm. The details were supplied by the Basingstoke Canal Authority:

Towpath - Following revised local and national recommendations, we feel able to relieve restrictions on most of the towpath. It can now be considered "open" with the following exception:

Still CLOSED - but opening soon (if Woking and Surrey will allow) - From Brookwood Crossroads to Sheets Heath Bridge (alongside the Brookwood flight) where animals are in fields adjacent to the canal.

Navigation is allowed along the entire Canal subject to the following:

Please do not moor anywhere in the Towpath CLOSED areas. PLEASE DO NOT MOOR ANYWHERE ON THE OFFSIDE (unless pre-arranged, as at the Bridge Barn Festival) as some offside areas do contain animals. Please moor in recognised mooring places (i.e. wharves etc.) wherever possible.

Please do not stray from the Towpath when walking - adjacent landowners may still be very sensitive and ownership boundaries are not always clear on the ground.

Please do not walk along the towpath in any CLOSED areas or use any public footpaths across neighbouring land where livestock is present.

The towpath alongside the Deepcut and Brookwood Flights of Locks is currently closed to walkers. Please remain on, or close to, the Lock tops during operation and ensure all crew travel between locks on your boat. Susceptible animals are present in this area.

Your compliance with these guidelines will be appreciated and will demonstrate a responsible attitude to other Canal users and adjacent landowners. We hope this will not effect your enjoyment of the Canal. However, we do reserve the right to ask any boat seen flaunting these guidelines to leave the Canal.

We hope things can only get better! However please be aware that an outbreak of Foot and Mouth in either Hampshire or Surrey may cause new restrictions to be put in place.

Please note that these guidelines will be regularly updated and you may wish to call the Canal Centre (01252 370073) for an update.


WEY AND ARUN CANAL

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The following information has been taken from Wey & Arun Canal Trust's website: www.weyandarun.co.uk/front.htm.

Closures of footpaths and canal towpath

Surrey CC opened footpaths that were considered to be low risk and away from livestock in April. So Sidney Wood is OPEN, Bonfire Hanger is CLOSED.

West Sussex CC opened its footpaths from 19 May.

OPEN - The Bridleway from the Onslow Arms to Ifold Bridge Lane and from the Onslow Arms to Brewhurst Lane.

CLOSED - Brewhurst Lane and the towpath from Brewhurst Lane to Drungewick Lane.

At present the situation is somewhat confused, but may improve shortly. Latest news will be posted on the website when available.


Annual General Meeting 2001

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In accordance with the Constitution, notice is hereby formally given of the Southampton Canal Society's Annual General Meeting on the 5th July 2001 at Chilworth Parish Hall, Chilworth Road, Chilworth, Southampton at 7.45pm.

Any member may request an item to be included on the agenda of the AGM by giving at least fourteen days written notice of the item and its nature to the Chairman.

To speed up proceedings on the night, copies of the Chairman's and Secretary's Reports to the AGM are included in this Newsletter.


Chairman's Report

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To some extent the 2000/2001 year was dominated by change of venue for our meetings. Due to illness in January I missed the last gathering at St John Ambulance Hall but after so many years of meeting there found it quite sad to have to leave. However, the present meeting place, Chilworth Parish Hall, has proved very popular and is certainly a suitable and convenient replacement.

Unfortunately, since the hall is a local polling station, and with two dates needed for elections, due to the foot and mouth epidemic, our busy secretary has been kept on his toes juggling meeting dates and arranging alternative speakers.

During the year we have had, as usual, a variety of interesting speakers, using either video or slides to illustrate their subjects. One speaker, Dr Andrew Russel, even brought along some hefty pieces of industrial archaeology.

We saw pictures on tidal water, in contrast to some canals without any water at all, but in the latter cases there was lots of hope of improvement. The last of the narrow boat cargo carrying families was sad, but we were cheered by the restoration/rebuilding of 'Raymond'. Members also heard something of waterways in Germany, Ireland and China.

With Salisbury Group winning the annual inter-society quiz, the little trophy passed into South West Region of the IWA, which all helps to cement the big organisation together.

Within the year of reporting, Day-Star Theatre visited us twice. We were the guinea pigs for their latest show, The Hero of Sandy Edge Wharf, but it was a spirited, polished and amusing performance. They particularly enjoyed presenting the show on the large Chilworth stage.

Perhaps most important of all were several large cash donations that we were able to pass to deserving waterways causes. Although in recent years restoration of canals and the funding to support it have grown beyond the wildest dreams of early enthusiasts, there is still a need for individual support and pressure. There will always be problems with the many demands put on 'Waterways for All' and societies such as ours will be needed to be alert to changes and to help where necessary.

As usual my thanks are due to the committee for their support during the year. All are busy people who have given time to be very helpful and working with them has been a pleasure. I would point out that Peter Oates took on the job of secretary while still remaining editor of 'Newsletter'. He needs help with both duties.

Firstly as secretary he has the job of arranging speakers. If members know of good waterways speakers who are willing to visit us then please let him know. Maybe members have collections of slides or photos (we have an episcope) that they would like to show. Please speak up.

Secondly, as I wrote in the May 'Newsletter', Peter needs interesting short items to help fill our magazine. A monthly newsletter is a big commitment and we are very lucky to have a willing horse.

At this point, I would like especially to thank Laura Sturrock and Hunt & Co for reproducing and posting out 'Newsletter'.

Outside the Committee, I thank our Society Librarian Alan Howarth, and also Joyce Mayhew for organising the refreshments at our meetings along with all the volunteers who have stepped in to help her.

This is my last AGM as Chairman and after being 'in charge' for 34 years it will, at first, seem very peculiar to take a back seat. It has always been interesting to be chairman, though at times there has been some anxiety. Once, the committee shrank to four members! Sometimes it has involved a degree of work and, of course, always the commitment of 'being there' and keeping the ball rolling.

One advantage is the little bit of weight that being chairman gives, the opportunity to meet all our speakers, some of them famous in the waterways world. Through this the chairman becomes known, and it always gives a bit of pleasure to add 'Chairman' at the end of a letter to the press. Now I will have to be satisfied with 'Member of . . .', but on the other hand, with one less commitment, maybe Annegret and I will be able, at last, to go off on all the little holidays that we have been promising ourselves for the last seven years since we retired.

For all the years as Chairman, thanks for all the help and support, and thanks for letting me stay there. I wish future chairmen and committees success and the same pleasure that I have had working for the society.

Finally I ask every member to give the committee all the support that you can. Remember that there is still a campaign with many things to achieve.

And remember that it pays to advertise - so please wear your tee shirts and sweat shirts whenever possible.

Brian Evans


Secretary's Report

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I hope I won't bore you with too long a report - after all our Chairman has said most of the important things about the Society's year and repeating all his words and sentiments is unnecessary.

This is the end of my first year as secretary. I remember that at the last AGM I volunteered to take on the job as no-one else seemed to be willing to fill the vacancy left by the previous incumbent, Eric Lewis. I would be the first to admit that I am rather disorganised and that some things tend to get overlooked or left until the last minute. If anyone wishes to take over the task, I will not get in their way.

I must say that I didn't expect some of the problems that have arisen but others I anticipated have failed to be very difficult.

My main concern in recent months has been the need to arrange and then re-arrange meetings and speakers as a result of the local and general elections. The fact that these themselves were a moving target did nothing to help. Before the date of the General Election was announced, I was reluctant to book any more speakers. I trust that now the recent uncertainties are over, at least for the time being, and that speakers can be booked with reasonable confidence.

If any member has any suggestions for subjects for talks that might be of interest to members, please contact me or any other member of the committee. If you know of any specific speakers to entertain us, then so much the better but don't let that stop you making suggestions.

My other major task for the Society is producing the Newsletter which I have been editing for nearly six years. On average, it seems to take me about 6 to 8 hours each month to put it all together including typing much of it with two fingers. It's a task that on the whole I enjoy but, as always, there are times when I wish I could just leave it to next month. It would assist me greatly if articles, items of news or other snippets for the Newsletter were given to me.

Allied to the Newsletter is the maintenance of the Society's web-site. Much of this involves taking items from the Newsletter and presenting them in a suitable format. I have had various ideas for incorporating further material into the site, and I hope to be able to implement some of these during the coming year.

As Brian has said, a major change for the Society has been our move of venue to Chilworth. Whilst it was sad to leave St John Ambulance Hall after so many years, I feel that the move has been successful: the hall is more pleasant and commodious. The committee appreciates that one or two members have had difficulty getting to the new hall.

Brian has thanked a number of people in the Society who have helped in various ways over the last year. I would just like to acknowledge a few more without naming names. The raffle is a major source of our funds and many members have been generous in donating prizes. Thank you to each and every one. Thank you too to those who have sold the actual tickets.

Whilst Joyce Mayhew and her helpers have laid on refreshments throughout the year, more thanks are due to those who have made an extra effort and brought food and drink for the Quiz and the Day-Star evenings. This has enhanced the enjoyment of these evenings.

Other members have lent a hand at meetings, putting out chairs and tables, providing screens or televisions, tidying up after the meetings. All these help to make the evening and take some of the load off the stalwarts.

The members of the committee have also lightened the load. By giving up some of their precious time, they have made my task easier and more enjoyable.

But my main thanks must go to someone who has sustained the Society for more years than anyone else. Indeed, it is, probably, fair to say that without Brian Evans, the Society would not have been in existence for the last 34 years.

In many ways, Brian IS the Southampton Canal Society. As its one and only Chairman during all that time, he has led us well. He has helped to keep the subject of the waterways in many minds by writing to the press, giving talks and generally preaching the gospel whenever possible. Within the Society he has entertained us and persuaded us to keep coming back for more.

He has told us that it will seem peculiar to be taking a back seat. However, without him at the helm, the Society will also seem strange, a different organisation. I very much hope that he will feel able to continue to play a role within the Society, albeit not as prominent as before.

Brian, thank you sincerely for all your efforts on behalf of the Society during the last 34 years. You may have stopped work seven years ago, but only now are you retiring. I am sure I speak for each and every member in hoping that you have an long and enjoyable retirement.

Peter Oates


SPEAK UP, SPEAK UP

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If you are experiencing difficulty in reaching Chilworth Parish Hall, it may be possible to arrange a lift for you. Let a committee member know, or better still, write to 'Newsletter'.


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

© Southampton Canal Society 2001 - 2003. 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 16 July 2001. Updated 19 May 2003 - layout changes 14 December 2003.

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