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Issue 362 - June 2002

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Chairman's Column

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Peter Lewis

Further to the item in the last Newsletter, and the updated news that I was able to give verbally at our May meeting, I thought that it would be helpful if I were to provide news of Peter's current condition.

On 7th May Peter had to have his right lung removed, together with various chest linings. He has now been home for about three weeks and is recovering well from that major surgery. When he has fully recovered from the operation a decision will then be made concerning further treatment.

At the May meeting, all those members present signed a 'Get Well' card for Peter. I am aware that a number of Society members have sent individual cards and have also been in touch with Sue and Eric offering their best wishes and support. Others have managed to visit the Lewis family. I know that Peter, Sue and Eric have very much appreciated the support given to them and they have asked me, through the Newsletter, to thank all the Society members who have been so kind during this very difficult time.

Joyce and Eric Mayhew

It has been a long time since Joyce and Eric have managed to attend Society meetings following Eric's slight stroke. We have very much missed their company (and Joyce's tea, of course!).

I spoke to Joyce recently and I am pleased to say that they are getting along OK. Eric has a number of other medical problems, including diabetes, but they are still able to lead a more or less normal life. Unfortunately, Eric is no longer able to enjoy his passion for cycling and he and Joyce have had to give up camping. However, Eric can still drive so they are able to get out and about.

They have asked me to pass on their regards to all their friends in the Society.

Salisbury Group Boat Trip

Thanks to the Salisbury Group for organising the boat trip around Christchurch Harbour on 18th May, and for extending the invitation to Society members. Over thirty people joined this trip which started from Mudeford Quay, went out to Hengistbury Head, then eastwards along the coast to catch a glimpse of Highcliffe Castle through the trees, before turning back, through Christchurch Harbour and along the River Avon and past Christchurch Priory, turning at the head of navigation and then back to Mudeford.

The weather on the day was, fortunately, mostly dry (something most important when cruising on an open boat!) but the windy conditions resulted in fairly choppy conditions, which added to the enjoyment of the day. As far as I know, nobody was ill as a result. It had been the plan to cruise to Boscombe Pier but the skipper decided that the water was just a little too boisterous to cruise to the west.

2002 and 2003 Programme

I am pleased to advise members that our programme for 2002 is now complete and we can now sit back and relax and enjoy our future events. Planning is well under way for our 2003 programme and a number of months have already been filled. More detail in due course.

Members' Boat Register

Further to my comment in the last Newsletter, we still haven't quite got there. I have since had an e-mail from David Pearce informing me of details of his boat which is moored at the St Pancras Cruising Club where he is the current Commodore. David is also National Vice-Chairman of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs.

Just in case there are any other Society boat-owning members out there, can you please let me know immediately as we intend to produce the Society Boat Register by the end of June.

Restoration of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal?

I have received an interesting letter from Mike Handford, who is a Life Member of the Canal Society, questioning whether there is any interest in the restoration of the former Southampton & Salisbury Canal. As many members will be aware, this long defunct canal was never completed to Salisbury; that which was completed was not successful; and the majority of the line has been lost due to major development of various kinds. However, Mike's letter will be considered by the Committee at its next meeting at the end of June.

Refreshments Rota

We are still anxious to receive further names of volunteers to assist with the Refreshments Rota. Many thanks to Paul and Viv Taylor for volunteering to cover the June meeting, in addition to May. However, nobody has yet come forward to offer their services for the July meeting. In addition, we still need volunteers for October, November and December.

Paul Herbert


May Meeting

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It was disappointing to see such a low turnout for our May event, the first Society Auction for many years. However, I am sure that those who did attend enjoyed the occasion.

There was certainly no shortage of items offered up for auction, both in terms of volume and variety, and many went for ridiculous prices. A number of members snapped up real bargains, including yours truly!

Our Auctioneer, Linda Pearce, had to work really hard to convince those present that the current lot was just what they had always wanted. At times it was pretty hard work but Linda stuck to it and you had to admire her tenacity. She was ably assisted by husband, Laurie.

After the auction we were able to view a new British Waterways' video - 'Unlocked & Unlimited' - on the big screen!!! This video, which was brought along by David Butcher (thanks David), showed the fantastic and almost unbelievable recent developments in the regeneration of the waterways, including the restoration of former derelict canals, including the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, the Rochdale Canal and the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals; the re-opening of the restored Anderton Boat Lift and the opening of the Falkirk Wheel; and the building of a totally new waterway, the Ribble Link. It was fairly mind-blowing to see it all on the screen and realise just how much has been achieved in just a (relatively) short time. Many thanks to Michael Faull for providing the splendid audio-visual equipment.

Thanks are also due to Paul and Viv Taylor, and their assistants, for providing the refreshments.

The auction achieved a total of £83. Added to this will be the £22 raised through raffles at the Society Boat Gathering, making a grand total of £105 which will be divided equally between the two charities - 'The Friends of Raymond' and 'Naomi House'.

Paul Herbert


Zipping Along

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Following on from their bird stories last month, Margaret and David James have written another tale from their adventures on the waterways.

In March 1991, soon after leaving Belgrave Lock on the River Soar, in Calmore Chervil, we saw a canoeist stationary by the edge of the river, looking none too happy. We stopped and discovered that he was "Just about all in," - his words.

We offered him and his canoe a lift, but all he wanted was a tow, so, with one hand grasping one of our rear mooring studs, we pressed on.

Zippy under tow

The back of his canoe proclaimed he was "Zippy" and he said that his canvas covered canoe contained a mast, sail and all necessary camping and eating gear. At one point he un-Velcroed (?!) a hatch to reveal his little dog, Peggy, who lifted her head, looked around and went back to sleep.

We took them through Birstall and Thurmaston Locks and then he said that he wanted to be cast adrift as we'd reached his camp site.

It wasn't until some years later that we realised that he was Zippy Ashmore, who had made a name for himself by canoeing great distances to various boating and camping rallies. He died recently, aged 90.

We offered a similar account to the Camping Club readers' page but received a reply stating that they couldn't possibly publish it as it was such a dangerous thing for us to have done and that they'd be flooded with letters criticising us! What should we have done? Left him by the bank to freeze to death?

Zippy Ashmore

The following is taken from the recent obituary in the Camping Club Magazine:

Zippy joined the Camping Club in 1935 and, shortly after, became a life member. In 1974, at the age of 63, he was persuaded to try canoeing and, in the intervening years until his death, his trips totalled many thousands of miles, always with his current dog in the bow. Zippy was a well-known Club character who, early in his camping career, got his nickname in honour of his multi-zip-pocketed cycling jacket. He will be greatly missed for his dry sense of humour, his dedication to the Club, and his love of the outdoors.


THE MAKING OF A BURGEE HOLDER

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Two years ago just after joining the Cutweb, (Internet Boat Club) and acquiring a burgee to add to the other 6 in my collection, I wondered how I was going to display them all. Personally I don't think traditional boat flagpoles look appropriate on a narrowboat. So I pondered for a while and being a very resourceful chap decided there must be something I could make!!

Array of burgees

Knowing I had 7 Burgees to accommodate it had to be fairly substantial and strong enough to adhere to the cabin roof in all weathers. The first thing that sprang to mind was some sort of magnet. I was fortunate enough to come across some old hi-fi speaker magnets which just happened to fit a wooden holder of an ashtray that had not been used for years. Had I cracked it?

Well I glued the magnet to the inside of the wooden base and then cut a piece of felt to shape, stuck this over the base, (so the holder would not scratch the cabin roof) and turned the whole thing over.

Then followed a trip to the local DIY store where I purchased some wooden doweling. This I cut into 7 x 18 inch lengths, painted them white and drilled the correct size holes in the wooden base. I then strategically placed the individual pieces of doweling into the holes at angles, so that the flags hung outwards, and attached a single burgee to each.

Lastly I placed some red plastic caps over the ends that were going to be exposed. The finished product looked really good and seemed to work very well. During the next visit to the boat I was able to put the Burgee stand in situ, and was extremely pleased with the result.

Since then we have had several positive comments on the holder, even people asking where you can buy them! One society member has made a very similar model, which must be recommendation in itself. The pictures attached will hopefully enable you to see the end result. If the they do not reproduce clearly enough in black and white and anyone is interested in seeing the colour prints, please ask.

Array of burgees

Michael Faull, NB Laura


See the Tall Ships aboard the SS Shieldhall

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See the Tall Ships aboard the SS Shieldhall, a 268ft long, steam powered ship built in Refrew in 1955. The ship is operated by unpaid volunteers of a registered charity, the "Shieldhall" Preservation Group which operates the ship under the name The Solent Steam Packet Ltd. On Saturday 17th August, the Shieldhall will leave Berth 48 at the Eastern Docks and go down the Solent for a tour of Portsmouth Dockyard to review the tall ships at anchor. The trip will start at 11am and return at about 4pm. Cost is £25 a head. Bookings can be made through Blue Funnel Cruises on 023 8022 3278

SS Shieldhall

There are a number of other trips scheduled in July and August to various places along the south coast. Alternatively, visit her at her berth at Ocean Village. More information about the ship and its summer sailing program can be found on their website at www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk.


STOP PRESS

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Just after this edition of the newsletter was completed and was about to be copied, it was discovered that the Chilworth Hall will not be available on any date in August to enable building improvements to be made. At this stage it is not known where or when the "August" meeting will be held but the committee will make alternative arrangements and inform you as soon as possible.

Peter Oates


CONTACTING THE EDITOR

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A recent disagreement with BT means that I will no longer be using them as my ISP and as a result my email address has reverted to peter@whitenap.waitrose.com. I apologise for any problems caused to members but would everyone please revert to using the old one from now on as the btopenworld one will no longer be available.

Peter Oates


NEXT MONTH'S MEETING

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Next month's speaker, Derrick Hunt, will be talking to us about the Dorset & Somerset Canal. This ill-fated scheme was intended to link the Kennet & Avon Canal with the South Coast. However, the company built none of their main line and failed to even complete the branch they did start constructing.

Derrick promises to talk not only about the canal itself but also about the people behind the project - "edutainment and entercation". A talk with a difference.


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Page created 8 July 2002. Updated 19 May 2003 - layout changes 14 December 2003.

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