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Issue 430 - October 2008

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Chairman's Column

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October Meeting - 'Day-Star Theatre

Welcome back to Pete and Jane Marshall and 'Day-Star Theatre'. On this occasion we will be educated (?) and entertained by their lively performance of 'Put That Light Out' (some of us older members of the Society might just remember what that was all about - for real!). After the show we will, as usual, be enjoying an American Supper.

Society Three Rivers Boat Trip

Members enjoyed our latest outing, organised by Maureen Greenham, exploring the Rivers Test, Itchen and Hamble, along with Southampton Water and Portsmouth Harbour. Unfortunately Gill and I were not able to go on that trip on 24 September (the first outing we have missed) as it would have meant cutting short our late summer cruise by about ten days and that would have affected our whole itinerary. Photographs and a report on the boat trip are in this Newsletter. I'm told that it was an exceptional day and tremendous value. Special thanks are due to Maureen and Brian for organising a wonderful day.

November Meeting

For those members who haven't yet visited 'The Purton Hulks' they will be able to learn all about them at our November meeting when Paul Barnett, an expert on the subject, will be our guest speaker.

Society Skittles Evening

Yet another reminder about the Society Skittles Evening which will be held at 'The Kings Head' in Hursley on Friday 7 November 2008. Full details are published in this Newsletter. Bookings at Society meetings or from Rogan Olding - Tel: 023 8026 3660 Email:

2008 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz

Because of our late summer cruise (which will have ended when you read this) I am having to write my column for this Newsletter in August! At present Christmas still seems a long way off but it will only be a couple of months between our October meeting and our annual Waterways Quiz on 4 December. Whilst last year's winners, the IWA Solent & Arun Branch, will be organising the Quiz, thought has to be given to the Society's own team - volunteers needed please! Names to me please, as soon as possible. Many thanks.

Chairman's Postscript

As I said above, because of our summer holiday arrangements I am having to write my copy for this Newsletter very early. Apologies, therefore, if I have omitted any items from my column.

Paul Herbert

Update on red diesel

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The British Marine Federation (BMF), Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) have provided an update concerning how the end of the derogation on Red Diesel will be implemented and the arrangements for users making declarations at point of sale.

The three organisations have been working closely with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) since early 2007 to produce a pragmatic and sensible solution to the implementation of the end of the derogation. From 2003, they had also successfully lobbied Government to seek the retention of the derogation but this was rejected by the European Commission in favour of its tax harmonisation agenda.

Once it was confirmed that the derogation had to come to an end, the group's key concerns were to:

In February of this year, when HMRC published its outline proposals, the BMF, RYA and IWA were pleased to see that their efforts had succeeded and that all of these concerns had been taken into account, particularly by allowing recreational boaters to continue to use red diesel. Since then, they have been endeavouring to ensure that the detail of HMRC's proposals is as simple and as effective as possible.

The BMF, RYA, IWA and HMRC all agreed it was disappointing that the derogation was not renewed by the European Commission, despite what was considered by the group to be a very strong case. They also agreed that the end of the derogation presented considerable difficulties in terms of implementation.

The BMF, RYA, IWA and HMRC have been able to work together successfully on behalf of the industry and recreational boaters and HMRC has been receptive to the concerns of suppliers and users and has managed the consultation process well.

HMRC Conclusions

How will it work?

  1. When recreational boaters buy diesel for their craft, they will need to make a declaration to the supplier if they intend the fuel to be used for propelling a private pleasure craft.
  2. The recreational boater will also declare what percentage of the fuel will be used for propulsion (as opposed to domestic purposes such as heating and lighting).

How will the boater work out what percentage of fuel they intend to use for propulsion?

HMRC has understood arguments about the potential difficulties for fuel suppliers in calculating duty and VAT - in particular for the smaller operators - when faced with customers claiming different percentages of fuel used for propulsion. HMRC also appreciates the concerns of users about the difficulty of calculating and apportioning their own intended usage accurately and their worries about unintentionally making an inaccurate declaration. However, the EU Energy Products Directive specifically refers to 'fuel for the purposes of navigation' (which is reflected in UK law as 'fuel for propelling'), so there is no legal basis for imposing a single standard apportionment to be applied universally that pays no regard to actual usage for propulsion.

September Meeting

Dave Youldren - Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society

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We welcomed Dave Youldren of the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society who talked to us and showed film of "The Watercress Line".

Dave has been involved for 29 years and now enjoys the "Silver Service" on the restaurant cars run by the railway.

For Starters

Our first taste was a 1981 film showing the line from Alresford to Ropley. There was mention of going "Over the Alps", the old railwayman's term for the line due to its steep gradients. The highest point on the line is just outside Medstead station on the run to Alton. The film showed the train being pulled by West Country class Bodmin No 31806.

We were told about the closure of the line by British Rail in 1973, with the line being lifted except for the section between Alresford and Ropley. The line was purchased by the Winchester and Alton Railway which was later to become the Mid Hants Railway.

In 1977, the Alresford to Ropley section was reopened.

In the same year, after a share issue, the 3 miles of line were re-laid from Ropley to Medstead and reopened in 1983 with the final section to Alton being completed in 1985

In 1988, the Watercress Belle made a scheduled run to Waterloo which was the first for many years.

Main Course

All the superb cuisine (starting with watercress soup ) is prepared, cooked, served and washed up on board the Watercress Belle.

The present steam coal is sourced from a colliery in Kent.

The scrap yard of Woodhams at Barry Island in South Wales supplied nearly all of the rolling stock to MHR. Many of the steamers there had signs reserving them for the different railways awaiting funding. One we saw said "Please Do Not Let Me Die".


The "sweet" course dished up a number of "Tales of the Track".

He told us of one person's dying wish to have their ashes put in the firebox.

The line has many times been used for films and adverts.

He told us that volunteer ladies are required to help the Society "and not just for the dishes".

And finally, The Fat Controller in charge of Thomas now has to go on an actors' course.

In passing, Dave mentioned the recently completed locomotive Tornado - the first steamer to be built in Britain since the Evening Star in 1960.

Thank you Dave for an excellent evening and whetting our appetites for further helpings!

Further information about the line may be found at the line's website:

Alan and Angela Rose

So, what was our Chairman holding?

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In our June and July Newsletters there was a photograph of your Chairman, holding something strange. The photograph was taken by Lynn Olding at this year's Society Boat Gathering in May. Captions were invited and some interesting ones were published in the Newsletter.

Paul Herbert with something strange

As Gill are I were going off for a short cruise immediately following the Boat Gathering, Gill baked one of her delicious chocolate cakes to be enjoyed during that week.

However, when we moored at Flecknoe at the start of the Gathering, we invited colleagues onboard our boat The Evelyn Broadbent for a cup of something....and Gill offered them a piece of that cake! As more and more of our friends arrived, the cups kept flowing.....and the cake gradually reduced! By the end of the Gathering the cake plate was, kind of empty! And we hadn't even started our cruise. (Though, little known to me, Gill had secreted away one slice for me - one slice, I ask you - what about the rest of my cake???).

To conclude the Gathering, Lynn and Rogan invited everyone on board their boat Merlin for an American Lunch, at the end of which Lynn presented me with my consolation 'prize' - a large chocolate muffin, decorated with chocolate buttons and hundreds & thousands. What a lovely thought!

And now you know what I was holding! And, yes, I did enjoy it.

Paul Herbert

Skittles evening

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Menu: Chicken curry, Lasagne or Sweet & sour chicken

Bookings and further information from:

ROGAN OLDING Tel: 02380 263660 Email:

Society Autumn Outing

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On Wednesday 24 September, an enjoyable time was had by 24 members, their families and friends on a 6hr cruise on the Portsmouth Queen to Southampton Docks, the Rivers Test, Itchen and Hamble, ending with a tour of Portsmouth Harbour.

Members on the quay at Gosport

Above: Society members on the quay at Gosport

Below: Maureen Greenham (left) and friends enjoying their cruise

Photos: Alan Rose

We were given an excellent commentary throughout and were told many interesting facts about the areas as we sailed by. We learned that Southampton Docks has a 7% share of the world's container traffic which is a tremendous achievement. The cruise terminals have expanded and many thousands of passengers leave from here every year. The Aurora was in dock and we were able to see her at close quarters.

We sailed up the River Itchen as far as the Itchen Bridge seeing the new developments along the river from a different perspective, soon to be joined by further development on the old Vosper-Thorneycroft site.

We travelled along the River Hamble as far as Bursledon Bridge through a narrow channel which was enclosed by thousands of yachts, the total cost of which must have been several millions of pounds. The photographers amongst us were busily snapping away and the birdwatchers saw cormorants, curlews and an egret.

Maureen Greenham and friends

We went back to Portsmouth along the north coast of the Isle of Wight and were able to pick out many landmarks including Osborne House, Norris Castle and Ryde church spire. Our route had to be changed slightly because a Wight Link ferry had broken down but we were still able to see the old forts in the Solent.

When we arrived at Portsmouth Harbour we were able to see all the new developments at Gunwharf Quay with a good view of the Spinnaker Tower. We saw Royal Naval ships, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior and the passenger terminus for ships to France although none were in dock. We saw the new Vosper-Thorneycroft building where valuable contracts have been secured for navies overseas. Cormorants shad settled on the top of navigation posts for the night.

During the course of the day we had seen SS Shieldhall, the Waverley, and the Bounty which had led small boats to France on D-Day. There was so much to see that it was a day of constant interest and people had their own favourite location along the way.

The only downside to the day was the disappointingly dull weather especially after all the sunny recent days but despite this it was an interesting and informative cruise.

Thanks to everyone who supports our outings which help raise much needed funds for the society both on the group price we are able to negotiate and the raffles we hold on the day. Our prize-winners this time were Jean Townley-Jones, Anne Coleman, Terry Phippard, Vera Vine (friend of Terry) and Robb Unsworth.

Maureen Greenham

Membership Details

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Recent examination of our membership records has shown that there are a few mistakes in the data held. The Society's Committee is a little concerned that there may be further unknown errors.

In order to eliminate these, it was decided to ask all members to provide certain details so that our Membership Secretary, Anne Coleman, or her assistant, Maureen Greenham, may update our records.

So please provide the details requested below and give the form at a Society meeting to either Anne or Maureen. Alternatively post the form to Anne at the address given on the contacts page.

If you don't want to mutilate your Newsletter, use of a photocopy of this page or a hand-written copy of the form below is acceptable.

Data Protection: Southampton Canal Society is a non-profit organisation. We hold personal data on computer only for the purposes of maintaining membership records, and administering activities for individuals who are members of the Society. As such we are exempt from registration under the Data Protection Act 1998. However, this does not exempt the Society from adhering to the eight principles and other provisions in the Act.

Amongst these principles is a requirement that all data held is accurate and up-to-date.

Any member may ask at any time to see the information that is being held about them, and this will be supplied.

Privacy: Southampton Canal Society takes its members' privacy seriously. Your details are only available to Society committee members, and are never given to third parties without your consent.

Individual or Family (first) Member         Family (second) Member
Title (Mr/Mrs/Ms)         Title (Mr/Mrs/Ms)  
Forename(s)     Forename(s)  
Surname     Surname  
Telephone (daytime)      
Telephone (evening)      
Mobile phone      
Email address      

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Telford Aqueduct

The Telford Aqueduct carrying the Engine Arm over the BCN New Main Line at Smethwick, pictured in June 2000.

Photo: Laura Sturrock

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Page created 6 October 2008 - archived 10 November 2008.

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