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Issue 375 - October 2003

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Chairman's Column

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And now that the Summer's Over......

And what a splendid summer we have had, at least for those of us who like the sun and the warm weather that goes with it. However, many of our gardens have suffered. I hope all members had an enjoyable season, whether afloat or 'on the bank'. We can now look forward to our autumn/winter programme of speakers and other events.

Welcome back to 'Day-Star'

We are delighted to welcome back Pete (Duffy) and Jane who are, of course, 'Day-Star Theatre', making their umpteenth annual visit to the Society. This year they are presenting yet another new play "Another Fine Day" - the third and final story in the Sandy Edge trilogy. A synopsis of this play was published in our August Newsletter. After the performance we will all enjoy a tasty supper.

Visit by National Chairman of the Inland Waterways Association

Whenever the Inland Waterways Association elects a new Chairman, the Society quickly makes contact with the new incumbent with an invitation to visit us, and, despite their busy programme, they have always managed to fit us in. I am delighted that the 'new' National IWA Chairman, John Fletcher, will be coming to talk to us at our meeting on 6 November and we will look forward to welcoming him. I hope that as many Society members as possible will be able to attend, along with our colleagues from the IWA Solent & Arun Branch and the IWA Salisbury Group.

At present I do not know the topic of John's talk to us but there is likely to be the opportunity for those present to ask questions and raise any issues of concern.

Peter Oates Honoured

At the IWA's 2003 Annual General Meeting held at the Town Hall, Leamington Spa on Saturday 27 September, Peter Oates was awarded the Richard Bird Medal in recognition of his running the IWA stand at the Southampton International Boat Show for the last ten years, and being a volunteer on the stand for many years before that.

Congratulations, Peter, for this well deserved recognition.

Skittles Evening

Following the success of the Society Skittles Evening last March, Angela Faull has organised a repeat event on Friday 28 November 2003. The venue will be the same, viz. 'The Kings Head' in Hursley, though the Landlord has promised to turn on the heaters earlier this time!!! The price will be £7.50 per head, which will cover the cost of hiring the skittle alley, a buffet supper, and prizes for the winners. The event was very popular last time and we sold out and we are expecting similar success in November.

To register your interest or book your place, please contact Angela by 'phone on 023 8047 6112, or by e-mail at: Faull@waitrose.com or by contacting me (details under the Canal Society heading later in this Newsletter [Tel: 023 8026 2365 E-mail: PaulLHerbert@aol.com]).

Gift of VCR

The Society would like to thank Mrs Freda Goodridge, a friend of Angela and Michael Faull, for her very kind donation of a Video Recorder. I have written to Freda expressing our appreciation.

January Meeting

Because the first Thursday in January 2004 falls on New Year's Day it has been decided to change our January meeting to the 2nd Thursday, viz. the 8th. Can you please mark this amended date in your diary. That meeting will be our annual Members Photographic Evening, details of which will be included in the November Newsletter.

2004 Programme

We are currently planning our programme of speakers and other events for 2004 and it would be helpful to receive from members any ideas of topics etc that you would like to be considered. Any suggestions to our Secretary, Eric Lewis, please.

Paul Herbert


August Meeting (actually 31 July)

Peter Oates & Laura Sturrock

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Up until a few years ago our August meetings were, traditionally, poorly attended, presumably because most members were taking their holidays at that time. However, in recent times the situation has improved as we found with this year's August meeting (which had to be held on 31 July because of the hall not being available to us during August) when Peter's and Laura's talk was very well attended.

Their presentation was divided into two completely different topics. The first half of the evening concentrated on working boats on the inland waterways and the different methods of handling pairs of boats and working locks. We were shown in the region of 60 excellent slides featuring many working boats known to us; working boat gatherings; the handling of the boats; and, of course, the people who worked the boats. Throughout the presentation Peter maintained a very informative narrative, with Laura's assistance.

The second half of their programme was devoted to a range of slides of the Itchen Navigation, many being 'before and after' shots, showing scenes of the navigation, its buildings and surroundings from the 1970s and 1980s, compared with 2003. For those of us who have lived in the area for some time it was interesting to note the changes that have taken place over the last twenty to thirty years. Unfortunately, we ran out of time that evening, and were not able to complete the Itchen Navigation presentation. However, as Peter pointed out, all the slides shown and those we did not have time for can be found on the Society's website.

Many thanks once again Peter and Laura for a very interesting and enjoyable evening.

Paul Herbert


September Meeting

The Macclesfield Canal and Adjoining Waterways - Tim Boddington

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As the date for our September meeting approached I became rather apprehensive as to the size of audience we might expect, bearing in mind that a number of our regular attendees were still cruising their boats back to base from the National Waterways Festival and others were elsewhere on holiday. Considering that Tim Boddington and his wife were travelling down from Cheshire (though they were going to combine their visit to the Society with a short holiday break in our area) I was concerned that we might be a little light on numbers. In the event, I shouldn't have worried as we had a fantastic turnout of nearly fifty members and guests.

At the start of his high-tech visual presentation Tim explained that, normally, he only gave talks on the Macclesfield Canal but as I had asked if it was possible to widen his programme to the adjoining waterways, he would do his best. In the event he surpassed our expectations as he not only covered the Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals, he also included slides and historic information about virtually every other waterway in the general area, including the Caldon and Leeds & Liverpool Canals etc.

Obviously, the main stream of his presentation concentrated on the beautifully scenic Macclesfield Canal and the Peak Forest Canal, including the latter's resurrection from dereliction. Of particular interest were the pictures of Bugsworth Basins, on the Upper Peak Forest Canal, in their working days. It is hard to equate those scenes with the current day picture of the basins, now largely restored and awaiting the next stage of their development and interpretation.

Many thanks Tim for a very informative and entertaining evening.

Paul Herbert


A Walk along the Andover Canal?

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The Thames, Berks & Andover Canal might be regarded in some circles as something of a joke (I can't think why!), but the Andover Canal is real enough - or it was, until it was closed down and a railway built on most of the route. But over the weekend of 4/5 October, IWPS (that's the Bugsworth Basin lot) are organising one of their regular 'away weekends', this time exploring the remains of the Andover Canal, and covering two stretches: Stockbridge to Andover and Romsey to Redbridge.

I am sure this event will be of interest to some Society members. If so, contact Kathy & Paul Niblett on Tel: 01782 641967 or e-mail: kpniblet@dialstart.net


Bugsworth CD-ROM

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Still on the subject of IWPS (see left) - they have just produced an excellent historical archive CD-ROM of Bugsworth Basin and surrounding canals, covering the restoration as well as the canals in their working days.

Copies are available for £12 from the Peak Forest Canal Co Ltd., Browside Farm, Mudhurst Lane, Lyme Handley, Whaley Bridge, High Peak SK23 7BT.

Paul Herbert

(The two items above were taken from 'Navvies' issue No. 200 - the newsletter of the Waterway Recovery Group).


Viewers will see life on the water

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In partnership with British Waterways and the Environment Agency, the British Marine Federation has commissioned a new 18-part television series that will be aired on Channel 4 for four years, starting this autumn.

There will be around 200 broadcasts during the period with audiences averaging around two million viewers. These short programmes, between five and 14 minutes long, will promote the pleasures of the British marine leisure industry and its Inland Waterways, including canals, rivers, lakes and the Broads.

The focus will be on individuals whose lives revolve around their passion for the waterways. The series promises to provide a unique insight into life on the water as well as promoting Britain's waterways network.

The series sees a colourful array of people sharing their remarkable stories such as the Mikron Theatre Company, a group of travelling players who spend their summers touring the canal network performing plays every night. Viewers will enjoy the fascinating tale of Cliff Jones who gave up a 30-year career on the buses to follow his dream of living on a narrow boat as well as an insight into the lifestyle of a wildlife photographer and the adrenaline packed stunts of Shaun Baker, the world's foremost extreme kayaker.

Details and times of the programmes will be available shortly. Look out for scheduling details in the TV listings or check out the BMF website www.britishmarine.co.uk

The above article was published in a paper called All At Sea in September 2003. A copy of the article was sent to the editor anonymously. Thanks anon!


Belgian Canals

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Wearing his Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs hat, our member David Butcher has told us about the following trip to Belgium that is being organised by the Midland Region of the AWCC.

Travelling with Skills Holidays

Belgian Canals

13th October - 19th October 2003

Staying at the Hotel Beauregard

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

Day 1
Outward travel via "Le Shuttle" approx 13.00hrs. Travelling on to Namur where we stay for 6 nights.
Day 2
Visiting Canal Charleroi, Ronquieres inclined plane. Canal du Centre, The Stre'py-Thieu, Quatre Ascenseurs.
Day 3
Visit "The Three Valleys Steam Railway" and local brewery.
Day 4
Free day. Namur is located at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse Rivers, both major waterways. There is a lot of history and plenty of sightseeing i.e. Monuments, the Citadel, and Museums etc and 'ladies' a perfumery.
Day 5
T.B.A.
Day 6
Visit Dinant & Boullion. Possible 45 min boat trip (price TBA).
Day 7
Early start to Arques Les Fontinettes lift St Omer. Returning via "Le Shuttle" approx 15.00hrs

The Hotel Beauregard is situated on the banks of the River Meuse.

Club class no smoking 44-seater coach with seat belts, air conditioning and toilet/handwash facilities. Hot & cold drinks available.

Total cost of Holiday: £349.00 per person.

Single supplement: £99.00 per person.

Insurance: £24.50 Insurance is compulsory travelling for abroad. Should you have your own insurance, I will need the Company name and Policy no. Please.

A full British passport is required and should be valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel.

A deposit of £25 per person, plus £24.50 insurance (for those not having their own).

Please make cheques payable to Sheila Smith, 1 Millfield Road, Kimberley, NG16 2LJ.
Tel: 0115 938 4129 Mob: 0780 394 5358


Another Fine Day

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Here is a synopsis the new play that Day-Star Theatre are performing at our October meeting:

It's a year since the canal embankment in Sandy Edge sprang a leak and emptied millions of gallons of water onto the allotments, the playing fields and the new executive houses. The gaping hole has been plugged, the houses have dried out and what passes for normality has retuned to the sleepy canal side village in the heart of 'Middle England'.

One of the new houses has been sold on to Jeremy a director of a well known supermarket chain. The country cottage style executive home provides him with an idyllic haven where he can spend the summer weekends sitting in the garden, strumming his guitar and watching the boats go by on the embankment. His wife, Eleanor, sees it all from a different view point. After all she has to spend the week days there too and she is very, very bored.

When a boat turns up on the embankment one fine weekend carrying Holly and Rick, a couple of anti capitalist eco warriors with more than a passing interest in Jeremy then surely his weekend rural peace is about to be shattered. On the other hand a hint of impending excitement might just be what Eleanor needs.

The third and final story from Sandy Edge is a mouth watering menu of food, drink, principles and profit. All washed down with a helping of cold revenge on a fine spring day.


Boats at Birmingham

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Boats at Birmingham 2003

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