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Issue 431 - November 2008

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Chairman's Column

 
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November Meeting

We are pleased to welcome Paul Barnett to our November meeting when we will learn about 'The Purton Hulks' - the graveyard for old barges which were dumped on the narrow bank between the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and the River Severn, north of the Severn Railway Bridge, with the aim of protecting that bank from erosion from the strong river currents.

Day-Star Theatre

What a fantastic evening we enjoyed with Day-Star Theatre last month, when we had only just enough room to accommodate the capacity audience. See inside this Newsletter for the full story.

Society Skittles Evening

This is your last call for the Society Skittles Evening which is to be held at 'The Kings Head' in Hursley tomorrow, Friday 7 November. Full details have been published in previous Newsletters. If you haven't booked (and if there are still places available) please contact Rogan Olding immediately - Tel: 023 8026 3660, Email: olding@freenet.co.uk

2008 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz

At our next meeting we will be hosting the 2008 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz which is being organised by last year's winners, the IWA Solent & Arun Branch. Teams from that branch, the IWA Salisbury Group and Southampton Canal Society will be taking part again.

To date, no volunteers have come forward for our own team. Names to me please, as soon as possible. Many thanks.

After Quiz American Supper

Just a reminder that the usual American Supper will follow the Quiz. That supper will be along the same lines as previously. Wine and soft drinks will be provided, along with the usual tea and coffee, but each member or guest should bring along food for all to share.

Lost plates seeking their owner

After the American Supper held following last month's visit by DayStar Theatre, two blue oval plates were left behind by their owner. Gill is currently looking after them.

January Meeting

At our January meeting we will be holding our annual Members' Photographic Evening and Competition so this is an early reminder to start looking out your photographs, slides, digital images etc to entertain your colleagues. One item per member can be entered for our annual competition.

British Waterways Annual Meeting

The Society received its usual invitation to British Waterways' Annual Meeting held in Birmingham on 8 October. Following that meeting there was to be a debate about future strategy for the waterways - 'Waterways for the 21st Century'.

Eric C Lewis, ARPS

And ... whilst speaking of matters photographic ... many congratulations to our member and keen amateur photographer, Eric Lewis, who has recently been awarded an Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society. Eric had been a Licentiate of that Society for some years but had naturally been keen to advance to the next level. Last month, together with other applicants, including a number from overseas, Eric had to present a panel of fifteen large format photographs (in his case, portraits) to five judges from the Royal Photographic Society. After a nail-biting session of critical evaluation, that panel judged Eric's work to be worthy of Associateship.

Well done Eric!

John and Olive Whitehouse

As I reported at last month's meeting, I have received a letter from John, a long-term Society member, giving an update on their current situation. John hasn't been able to get to Society meetings for some time as Olive is now totally wheelchair bound and needs full time nursing. With much regret they decided to dispose of their much loved and much travelled 44' Springer narrow boat, 'Casa Blanca'. John had adapted the boat to more easily accommodate Olive as her arthritic condition worsened. I spoke to John and Olive a week or so ago and was pleased to learn that they had achieved a quick sale of their boat to a disabled boater so that was good news all round.

Joyce Mayhew

I have received a further update from our life member, Joyce Mayhew. She is now quite settled into her flat and making new friends. She enjoys receiving our Newsletter each month, thereby keeping in touch with her many friends in the Society. I would be pleased to provide Joyce's contact details to anyone who would like to get in touch with her.

Paul Herbert


Increased Funding for British Waterways

 
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The IWA today welcomed the announcement of an extra £1million Grant in Aid for British Waterways.

The announcement of the extra funding was made by the new Minister Huw Irranca-Davies at British Waterways' Annual General Meeting on 8 October, and means that the grant-in-aid package will now total £58.3 million.

Speaking on behalf of IWA, Roger Squires said, "We very much welcome the allocation of the extra funding by the Minister, and are pleased that our efforts along with many other waterway supporters in campaigning to raise awareness in government have been recognised."

"We will continue to press the case for more funding for the waterways, at a time when British Waterways has a maintenance funding gap of £30million and the Environment Agency needs a further £12 million just to maintain the network in a steady state. It is more important than ever that Ministers are kept apprised of the consequences for the waterways, and the benefits that they and the whole community may lose, if funding is eroded."

IWA Press Release 9 Oct 2008


October Meeting

Day-Star Theatre - 'Put That Light Out!'

 
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Oh, what a treat the capacity audience enjoyed last month, when we welcomed back Pete and Jane Marshall and their Day-Star Theatre production of 'Put That Light Out'. A synopsis of that play was published in previous Newsletters, so I won't repeat that here. Instead I will refer to the cast of characters, all played by Pete and Jane, of course.

The two main characters were Jack Roberts, a crane driver, and his wife, Elsie. We joined them just before World War II broke out, when there was obvious confusion. Many thought the war would never happen whilst others were obviously very worried if it did.

Put that light out!

And then, of course, it did happen. We went through the experience of the issue of gas masks and the complications of trying to put them on. Here we had volunteers from the audience up on stage, including who else - Eric Lewis! I must say that he put on a near Oscar winning performance, which went down a real treat with the audience. Jack signed up, joined the 8th Army, and was sent overseas. Elsie had to wave goodbye to their children, George and Eileen, as they, with thousands of others, were evacuated out of the cities into the countryside for their protection from the expected air-raids.

Enter the next character, Cyril Bridgers, the local butcher, who also dabbled in the Black Market - offering special cuts of meat or other goodies for special favours from the local women, whilst their men were away fighting. He then became an Air Raid Warden, and what a little Hitler he was. However, he got his come-uppance when he was arrested in a carefully planned 'sting' involving Elsie and the local Home Guard.

The other characters were the local Headmaster, Mr Gordon Gridlington (a member of the Home Guard) and his erstwhile Assistant, Miss Violet Bagshaw (who were secretly attracted to each other). As the play developed, so did their relationship!

We experienced the blitz with the air raid sirens sounding, followed by the crump of exploding bombs, and eventually by the 'all-clear'. Violet lost her home in the blitz but, thanks to the generosity of Miss Bagshaw, went to live with her.

And then it was all over, peace was declared, and George and Eileen were able to come home. But then, as many in the audience had been anticipating, that fateful telegram from the War Office was delivered to Elsie - Jack had been killed! And so Day-Star concluded their moving and often humorous production - and for Elsie, her Light had been finally Put Out!

 

Many thanks to Pete and Jane for such an entertaining and thought provoking evening. Many of the audience were of an age that had lived through the Second World War and I am sure that the play brought back many memories of those dark days, and the aftermath.

After the play Pete and Jane joined us all for the usual After Show American Supper, before their long drive back to Audlem in Shropshire. They had hinted of a possible return visit, so watch this space...

Paul Herbert


Poo in the Canal - not Winnie or Sticks, but...

 
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Have you heard the one about 18 tons of poo deposited in the Trent & Mersey Canal? It caused a real stink (sorry about that!) as many boats were held up by the blockage for up to four days. Rumours that British Waterways had to call in Dyno-Rod were totally without foundation, stated a BW spokesperson.

The Daily Express of 24 October reported the story as follows...

Holidaymakers enjoying the slow pace of life on a narrow boat break got more than they bargained for.

??????

More than 100 boats have been stuck in a traffic jam for four days after a load of manure blocked a canal. A bridge linking two farms collapsed under the weight of a trailer carrying 18 tons of muck. The tractor driver jumped clear, but yesterday the manure was still being removed from the water.

As more and more boats chugged into the blockade on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Stenson, near Derby, boating firms were having to cancel weekend bookings because many of the craft will not make it back to base in time.

Marion Baldwin, of Stenson Marina said, "Several more days of delays were likely. We get between 30 and 40 boats coming through most days, so already there's quite a pile-up either side of the bridge. We have over 50 people booked to use boats at the weekend. Many of those will have to cancel, because they just won't be able to get through".

The bridge may have to be demolished.

Paul Herbert

(With acknowledgements to Daily Express Newspapers and
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/derbyshire/7686853.stm)


New Itchen Navigation website

 
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Your editor has just received the following note:

I'm pleased to announce the Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail Project now has a new website: www.itchennavigation.org.uk

There are pages about wildlife, history and project updates, plus a gallery of pictures. We've put on a map and the project timetable too.

The Itchen Navigation webpages are a 'mini-site' within the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust's new website, which now has a searchable events diary and online shop to name just a couple of new features (buy your Christmas cards from us!).

We hope you find the new website interesting and informative.

Polly White, Itchen Navigation Project Officer


Wine across the water

 
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Wine across the water

Thank you to Maureen Greenham, who spotted the above in the September issue of the Tesco Wine Club Magazine.


Moorings Auction Announcement

 
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The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has expressed its disappointment at the announcement by British Waterways that it would be rolling out its online moorings auction process after a period of consultation.

IWA has maintained a firm opposition to the notion of auctioning mooring sites , preferring that they be advertised at a fixed price, owing to concerns about accessibility to those without internet facilities, and through inflating the cost of moorings making them inaccessible to those on restricted or fixed incomes.

Commenting on the Announcement by British Waterways, Dr Roger Squires, Chairman of IWA's Navigation Committee said:

"IWA are diametrically opposed to the line being taken by British Waterways. We have said we are against open auctions and cannot see the need for them when every other operator in the market place, including their own marina operation BML, uses a fixed price list. This uses the system of comparables used by Estate Agents and is seen by all as a tried and tested and transparent system.

"I am additionally concerned that research conducted into online auctions suggests that often people are drawn into the need to 'win at all costs' and through this process may end up bidding more than they can afford or originally intended."

IWA Press Release 23 Oct 2008


Members' Photographic Evening and Competition

 
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The meeting on the 1st January will be our annual Members' Photographic Evening. This will give everyone the opportunity to show some pictures - even those who feel they might not have enough of interest to make up a whole evening's show. If you can put together up to a maximum of around a dozen pictures (even just one or two) that you feel will entertain / educate / amuse your fellow members, look them out for this evening.

For those with a digital camera, we will be able to project digital photos. Please bring your pictures (virtually any format will do) either on CD or USB Flash/Pen Drive. This year, we should be able also to read memory cards (such as CF, SM, SD, XD, MMC, Memory Stick) as long as your editor remembers to bring along a card reader to connect your card to the computer's USB port. Please contact me if you have any questions about this.

As usual, we can project prints (up to 7" x 5") onto the screen as well as transparencies and digital pictures. So if you don't take slides or digital pictures, you too will be able to show something of waterways interest as well.

Again, like the last few years, the evening will also incorporate a photographic competition. To be held just before the tea interval, this competition is open to all members - you don't have to be showing other pictures during the evening. What we're looking for is one picture which can be anything to do (even loosely) with the waterways. The competition will be judged by all those present at the meeting. And as an incentive to enter, there will be a mystery prize given to the winner.

So don't be shy, this is YOUR opportunity to show others your interest in waterways, what you've done or where you went and what you saw on holiday.

Peter Oates


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 if you did not complete the form below last month, please provide the details requested and give the form at a Society meeting to either Anne or Maureen. Alternatively post the form to Anne at the address given on page 4.

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  
Address      
       
       
County      
Postcode      
Telephone (daytime)      
Telephone (evening)      
Mobile phone      
Email address      

 


   
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Sapperton Tunnel

The eastern portal of Sapperton Tunnel on the Thames and Severn Canal

Drawing: Brian Evans


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Page created 10 November 2008 - archived 7 December 2008.

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