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Issue 372 - June 2003

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Chairman's Column

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Peter Lewis

As all members will be aware, Peter Lewis sadly passed away on Friday 9 May. A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving for his Life was held at Isaac Watts Memorial Church, Southampton on Monday 19 May. A packed church, including many Society members, witnessed a very moving Service and tributes to Peter.

Our thoughts are with Sue and Eric and Peter's fiancée, Tracey.

Congratulation to Ken and Margaret

Wedding bells

Many congratulations and best wishes to Ken and Margaret Froud who celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 23 May. As many members will be aware, Ken and Margaret have been Society members since the 1970s and have been living on their narrow boat 'Duorf II' on the Old Engine Arm at Napton Top Lock, on the South Oxford Canal, for over 20 years. An appropriate greetings card, signed by many Society members, was sent to Ken and Margaret.
 


Second Society Boat Gathering

The May Day bank holiday weekend saw the Society's second boat gathering at Flecknoe and Braunston. See the article inside this Newsletter for a report on that event.

'Waterworld' 2003

In last month's Newsletter I referred to criticism levied at Carlton Television for refusing to show their popular 'Waterworld' series nationwide, or produce videos of the programmes. However, Ken and Margaret Froud have come to our rescue. They have very kindly videoed all six programmes of the latest series and have made a copy available to the Society. Many thanks Ken and Margaret.

In turn, many thanks to Michael and Angela Faull for taking that video and making copies for members own private use (and, therefore, no breach of copyright!). They have also donated a copy to the Society Library so that the wider membership can enjoy these programmes.

Whilst on this subject, have any other members got copies of any of the previous series?

2003 Visit by 'Day-Star Theatre'

Day-Star logo

Tickets will soon go on sale for the October visit by 'Day-Star Theatre'. Whilst attendances for this annual show have always been good, this year I would like to put out the 'House Full' board. So, please tell all your friends about Day-Star and let's see if we can fill the hall.

We have kept the ticket price for 'Day-Star' at £3 for a number of years but it is necessary this year to increase this to £4 to ensure we cover our costs. Considering the price of a ticket includes a light supper, this is still extremely good value.

The Society's Inaugural Meeting

Flicking through the Society's original minute book I came across the note of the very first Society meeting held on 1 June 1967. That meeting is obviously of great significance to the Society and I thought that it might be interesting to current members to read what happened on that occasion. I am considering including items from those old minutes as an irregular feature in future Newsletters. Please see the separate item in this Newsletter.

Do you want to Paint the Town (or at least your boat) Red - or even any other colour?

Painter

Are you looking forward to that enviable task of repainting your boat? If so, Society members David and Margaret James may be able to help you. At this year's National Boat, Caravan and Outdoor Show held at the NEC, Birmingham, in February, David and Margaret won a voucher for £85 worth of International Toplac Paint. David and Margaret will not be able to use this paint themselves as they have a new boat on order and this will be delivered ready painted. They have therefore generously donated their prize to the Society and have suggested that it be auctioned. It is understood that the voucher can be exchanged for 5 x ¾litre tins of a colour(s) of your choice.

Many thanks to David and Margaret for their generosity. More details of the auction will be provided at the AGM.

Future of the Newsletter?

Apart from the very occasional contribution from other members (for which we are always grateful), Peter and I seem to be the sole providers of copy for our monthly Newsletter. Whilst this isn't fair on us, having to constantly come up with topics and ideas for inclusion, there is the danger that the Newsletter becomes focused on what we want to include rather than the Society membership as a whole. This is not a healthy situation and can lead to stagnation.

Such an appeal for contributions has become a regular occurrence but I make no apology for applying such pressure. So PLEASE get out your pens and pencils, put on your thinking caps, and write an article on your waterway or other experiences that you think might interest your fellow members. Boat owners might like to write about how they designed or purchased their boat, or fitted it out, or improvements they have carried out. Other members could pen an article about a trip they have been on, not necessarily on the waterways.

So go on - please give it a go!

Paul Herbert


May Meeting

The Residential Boat Owners Association - John Ross

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At our May meeting we were pleased to welcome John Ross, Vice-Chairman of the Residential Boat Owners Association (RBOA). John lives on board his converted concrete barge, 'Jason', at Old Bursledon on the River Hamble.

John started his talk by telling us that, according to Government statistics, there are 21,000 boats lived on in this country, representing c.55,000 people. I don't think any of those present had an inkling that the number of 'live-aboards' was so large. The types of boats used for this purpose vary (almost any form of boat can be lived on) as do the people who like to live in this way - there is no standard person, they just share the same spirit of sense of freedom with no ties. The community spirit, friendship and fellowship between boaters are amazing.

John explained that it was now easier to live on boats than previously, though there had been many fights with British Waterways. Technically one should have planning permission for residential moorings but this is often ignored by inland local authorities.

Problem areas for residential boats were described which included London (now choc-a-bloc), Oxford, Cambridge and the South Coast, where such moorings were now almost impossible. There were many problems in this area and John described a number of these which included a significant decline in the number of residential moorings permitted on the South Coast, and local authority concerns about houseboats.

John continued with a round-up of the expansion and rejuvenation of the waterways which were creating many opportunities for regeneration, employment and tourism. This in turn was leading to more publicity for the waterways which created greater interest in the numbers of people wishing to live permanently afloat. Unfortunately, this sometimes resulted in the media spelling out the idylls of such a waterways life, often providing the impression that this was an easier and cheaper option than living on land, and failing to detail some of the main issues, problems and regulations, thereby giving many interested people a completely incorrect impression. Very few people thinking of moving afloat did their research and many purchased large and expensive boats to live on, without any previous experience of the canals. However, despite all this, the majority of people who moved onto a boat, stayed afloat. John explained how the RBOA offered an advisory service to those considering living afloat, which included an excellent book - 'Living Afloat', a new edition of which had recently been published, and their bi-monthly newsletter, 'Soundings'.

John briefly referred to residential boats taken across the Channel to Europe and talked about the operations and facilities of those waterways and the attitudes of the navigation authorities.

After the refreshments break John showed a variety of waterways slides.

Many thanks John for describing to us the work of the RBOA and the ins and outs of residential boating, both on the inland waterways network and around the coast.

Paul Herbert


Thank You

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We would like to say a huge "Thank You" to everyone for the cards, letters, flowers etc. and most of all prayerful support during Peter's illness and our subsequent loss. The love we have been shown is overwhelming and we know that Peter will always be remembered with great affection.

Sue and Eric Lewis


2nd Society Boat Gathering

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Over the bank holiday weekend, 3-5 May, six boats owned by Society members gathered at Flecknoe on the five mile pound between Braunston and Napton, for the Society's 2nd Boat Gathering. This location was chosen because eight Society boats are moored in the Napton area.

This year's revellers were:-

On the Saturday evening we all joined in with a barbecue but, because of poor weather conditions, we had to eat inside. Somehow we all managed to find room on 'Swallowdale' (some in the saloon at the front, with the rest squeezed close together in the cosy confines of the boatman's cabin at the rear).

The weather dramatically improved on Sunday and, after a group photograph on the towpath, 'Dolly' and 'Swallowdale' cast off to find moorings at Braunston whilst the remaining boat crews enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the sun on the bank. Fortunately, despite it being the bank holiday weekend, all boats managed to find a mooring in Braunston, without difficulty. That evening, as planned, all boat crews excluding Ken and Margaret (who were cruising to the Ashby Canal) joined up in the 'Old Plough' at Braunston for an evening meal (and a drink or two). We were joined by Alan and Angela Rose from Bursledon, whose boat 'Liberty' is moored on the Old Engine Arm at Napton, and their friends Brian and Sharon who also moor there. So, in all there were sixteen of us sitting down to eat. Good job that we had reserved a table in advance.

Some of us had originally planned to have breakfast on the 'Gongoozlers Rest' (a floating café moored in Braunston) on Monday morning but we had spotted a poster in the 'Plough' the previous evening, advertising the first of three planned guided walks around Braunston, taking place at 10am, so eight of us took part in that event which turned out to be both enjoyable and informative. Then it was back to the 'Plough' for lunch - Oh, it is so tough, this boating!

That afternoon the fleet dispersed, three boats returning to Napton Marina whilst the others continued cruising.

During the weekend a couple of raffles were held, for prizes which had been donated by those attending. A total of £26 was raised on behalf of Cancer Research UK.

It was the general view that it had been a successful and enjoyable weekend, which should be repeated next year. A number of suggestions were made to make the event even more successful, and these will be considered in due course.

Paul Herbert

(Postscript 1: In the May Newsletter, under the heading 'Walking through Braunston History' Peter published details of the Dick Herne Braunston History Society and of their three planned walks. Peter included a photograph of the eight Society members relaxing in the 'Old Plough' after the first of those walks).

(Postscript 2: Another 'impromptu' get-together of Society members and some of their boats took place at Braunston over the recent bank holiday weekend, coinciding with the Crick Boat Show and the second of the three guided walks around Braunston).

Paul and Gill Herbert


Bid to save neglected waterway

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The following article appeared in the Hampshire Chronicle on the 14th February 2003. Thanks to Brian Evans for spotting it.

Environment chiefs are preparing to make a crucial bid for funding to save one of Hampshire's historic waterways. The Itchen Navigation that runs from Winchester, through Eastleigh to Southampton, is threatened by neglect. This winter, high water levels and flows are again threatening the structure.

Emergency repairs are regularly undertaken, but long term a seven figure sum is needed to restore the man-made waterway that last carried freight in 1869. The Environment Agency carried out emergency repairs downstream of Allbrook, near Eastleigh, last year by dumping 150 tonnes of chalk along the bank. A smaller breach at Twyford was also repaired as was a sluice at The Malms Lock near Shawford south of Winchester. Several sections of towpath are submerged. Repairs to another section north of Allbrook will have to wait until the spring-summer.

The agency is to apply for funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, probably with the Hampshire Wildlife Trust. A bid failed to get money from the Aggregates Levy Environmental Fund, administered by English Nature and the Countryside Agency.

A major problem has been the unchecked growth of thousands of trees. They are damaging the banks and, by shading the water, reducing the ecological interest.

Tim Greenwood, chairman of the Hampshire Area Environment Group, said: "I'm grateful for the work that has been done. My concern is we are concentrating on repairing the banks and there remain the trees rooting into the banks and causing further problems."

Removal of trees would be a major part of the restoration, the group heard.


All Our Yesterdays

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Recently I was looking back through the Society's old minute book and came across the minutes of the very first meeting held on 1 June 1967 at the Headquarters of the 22nd Millbrook Scouts. In those early days it was normal to take notes (or minutes) of each monthly meeting. I am thankful that that practice was later discontinued - it is difficult enough to take the minutes of our Committee meetings. It was interesting to read how the Society started and thought that today's members might like to share in that history, particularly this month as we hold our Annual General Meeting and celebrate the Society's 36th Anniversary.

At that first meeting twenty people were present (including current members Brian and Annegret Evans and Laurie Pearce). A variety of Inland Waterways literature and maps were displayed around the hall. Brian Evans gave an introductory talk and stressed the aims of various national associations and societies who were solely responsible for saving Britain's Inland Waterways systems from total abandonment. "It was only through public pressure that British Waterways were accepting their responsibilities, if somewhat, begrudgingly, and carrying out the minimum of maintenance on the canal system." He went on to say that up to the end of 1966, he thought that he and his wife were the only persons in the area who suffered from "canal mania", but as a result of one or two letters to the Editor of the Southern Evening Echo he realised that there were others similarly affected, and by contacting those other people, a small band of canal enthusiasts became known to one another. As a result of the subsequent 'get-togethers' it was decided to try and form a local area group of people who were obviously interested in the inland waterways generally, but who could do little individually to encourage their interest, as except for the Itchen Navigation and a small section of the Southampton and Andover Canal at Romsey, there was no canal proper closer than the Kennet and Avon, a canal whose future, along with others, depended entirely on the campaign being waged to bring about its restoration.

Brian went on to say that he hoped that by forming a local society with a modest annual subscription, it would enable those interested to meet socially once a month and so share their common interest. It was hoped to arrange canal trips and other outings of interest as the Society progressed, and there was also a supply of photographic slides and films of waterways interests that would be shown when the winter evenings came along.

He then thanked all those present for coming along to the meeting and asked for any questions. A short discussion then took place.

It was suggested that there should be an election of Officers and Committee and, amongst others, Brian Evans was elected Chairman (and continued in that role until the 2001 Annual General Meeting when he retired and was elected as the Society's first President) and Laurie Pearce as Secretary. After a refreshments break, a discussion ensued as to the advisability of having a small annual subscription to cover costs - a subscription of 10/- (50p) was agreed.

The Chairman then asked for suggestions as to a suitable name for the newly formed club or society. After some discussion the Southampton Canal Society was agreed.

The Secretary was asked to notify the local press of the formation of the Society, and also send a letter to the Minister of Transport expressing the Society's concern at any attempt of the Ministry to abandon any of our inland waterways when the Minister's report was made public later in the year.

A levy of 1/- (5p) per person was taken to cover immediate expenses. 10/- (50p) was paid to the 22nd Millbrook Scout Group for hire of the hall, leaving 11/- (55p) remaining in the general fund.

The Chairman then closed the meeting, thanking all those present for their support, and announced that the next meeting would be held in the same venue on 6th July.

Paul Herbert


Thames Waterways Newsletter

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Did you know that one can keep up to date with all the latest happenings on the River Thames with the Environment Agency's new Waterways Newsletter? Packed with all the latest news on river works, projects, news stories, events, contact details and lots more, you will find this an enjoyable and informative read. For those with e-mail facilities, copies of the future newsletters can be requested by contacting: visitthames@environment-agency.gov.uk and include your postal address.

(With acknowledgement to the May issue of 'NABO News', the magazine of the National Association of Boat Owners).


PICTURE PHRASE QUIZ

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The following quiz was set in the Old Plough in Braunston on the occasion of the recent, second Society Boat Gathering. It was suggested that other Society members might like to have a go at this quiz as well. Each of the boxes shown below gives a clue to a well known phrase or saying. Answers are given on the last page of this Newsletter.

Quiz

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ASSOCIATION OF WATERWAYS CRUISING CLUBS 1964-2004

40th YEAR ANNIVERSARY

BOAT RALLY

9th-11th JULY 2004

AT BLACK BUOY CRUISING CLUB, KNOWLE, GRAND UNION

To celebrate the foundation of the Association in 1964, AWCC is holding a special event organised by the Midland Region and with the help of Black Buoy Cruising Club.

There will be a Grand Celebrity Opening with a full range of attractions including:

WORKING BOATS, LIVE BANDS,
MORRIS DANCERS, MARTIAL ARTS DISPLAY,
REAL ALE BEER TENT, DUCK RACE,
REFRESHMENTS, PRIZE DRAW

Entry fee £10.00 per boat To include full rally pack, plaque etc.

Event Secretary: Mrs Sheila Smith, 1 Millfield Road, Kimberley Notts NG16 21J

Check for the latest rally details on the AWCC website: www.awcc.org.uk

 

GRAND PRIZE DRAW

1st Prize
A ONE YEAR GOLD LICENCE for a private pleasure boat - kindly donated by British Waterways
2nd Prize
14" COLOUR TV & VIDEO
3rd Prize
ELECSOL BATTERY kindly donated by Elecsol
4th Prize
2 DAY off peak CANAL BOAT Holiday kindly donated by Copt Heath Wharf

many other prizes including:

A WATERWAYS PICTURE kindly donated by Waterway Images

A WEEKS HOLIDAY ON nb "Cecelia" for a Charity of the winners choice - kindly donated by Worcester & Birmingham Canal Society

A FOLDING BICYCLE

To be drawn at: Black Buoy Cruising Club, Knowle, Grand Union Canal on Saturday 10th July 2004

Tickets - £1 per book of five

Further details from AWCC Vice-President David Butcher or Chairman David Pearce at most Canal Society meetings


BW Re-organisation

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The new Chief Executive of British Waterways, Robin Evans, has announced changes to BW's organisation and structure aimed at improving customer and visitor services and increasing business efficiency and focus. These involve replacing the current regions and waterways managements with ten new waterway business units, each fully resourced with the people and skills needed for all aspects of their operations. Each waterway unit will have its own service, operations, technical, environmental, conservation, estate and finance staff working on the 'front line'. Local decisions will be much quicker and the business will run more efficiently, enabling BW to deliver the services that its customers and visitors want.

(With acknowledgement to the May 2003 issue of 'BW Monthly', the British Waterways Staff Newspaper).


Answers to the Picture Phrase Quiz

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  1. Easy on the eyes.
  2. Out to lunch.
  3. Too hot to handle.
  4. Just between you and me.
  5. West Indies.
  6. Spotted dick.
  7. Go for broke.
  8. Backward pupils.
  9. Shrinking violet.
  10. Bags under the eyes.
  11. All right on the night.
  12. Odd man out.
  13. You turn me on.
  14. A time and place for everything.
  15. Look both ways.
  16. Upright piano.
  17. Close quarters.
  18. Ice cube.
  19. Weekend break.
  20. Call it a day.

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© Southampton Canal Society 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 13 July 2003 - layout changes 14 December 2003.

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