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Issue 420 - December 2007

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Chairman's Column

 
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December Meeting - 2007 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz

I have lost count of the number of times that our Society has hosted the annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz but it is always a pleasure to welcome the participating teams. This year we have the traditional line-up of teams from IWA Salisbury Group, IWA Solent & Arun Branch and, of course, Southampton Canal Society. This year's Quizmaster is Peter Oates and we are grateful to him offering to carry out those important duties again this year, particularly as he is currently very busy working on his and Laura's recently acquired working boat. There is a different format to the Quiz this year and the audience will be tasked with the same questions as the teams. As always, the Quiz will be followed by the traditional American Supper.

January Meeting - Annual Members' Photographic Evening

A further reminder that next month we will be holding our popular annual Members' Photographic Evening and Competition. Full details are published in this Newsletter.

Future Programme

Just a few tasters of our 2008 Programme. In February we are delighted that the well-known waterways personality and photographer, Harry Arnold, will be visiting us with 'The Changing Face of the Waterways'. The following month Richard Thomas will be coming to Chilworth again, this time with his talk about 'The Highland Canals'. At our early April meeting we will be entertained by Steve Haywood and 'Fruit Flies like a Banana', whilst at our late April meeting we will be hearing all about 'Narrowboats to Norway' presented by Clive Field.

Further Cuts in the Government's Funding of the Waterways

The IWA has been reliably informed that Government ministers are to be presented with a package for £130 million of immediate cuts to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (DEFRA) budget with radical options for another £140 million of savings. This would affect all DEFRA funded bodies, including British Waterways and the Environment Agency and would be in addition to the 5% year-on-year cuts previously reported. British Waterways is allegedly at the top of the list for further cuts to its funding. Please see the item within this Newsletter for full details and what you can do to fight any further proposals which will damage the waterways.

Internet Connection

Further to the item in last month's Newsletter, because of the problems I had experienced with my Internet Service Provider, I decided to change to another provider and this means I have had to change my email address. I can now be contacted on: p_herbert1@sky.com

Anniversary Clothing

Don't forget to speak to our Secretary, Angela Rose, if you would like to order a special 40th Anniversary polo shirt or sweat shirt. Angela is also looking into the possibility of providing fleeces bearing the Society logo and is currently obtaining samples.

Membership Subscriptions

Anne Coleman has advised that there are a number of members who have not yet paid their membership subscription for the current year. I am sorry to nag but subscriptions of £15 for an individual or £22 for a family were due as from the AGM held in July and overdue subscriptions affect our cash flow. If you are not sure whether you have paid, please see Anne at any meeting, ring or email her (Anne's contact details are here).

Seasonal Greetings to all our Members

With this month's Quiz we have now reached the end of our programme for 2007 (that year seems to have gone quickly!). It has been another successful year for the Society with an excellent programme of speakers and a number of very enjoyable outings. It gives me the greatest pleasure to wish all Society members A Very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Paul Herbert


November Meeting

 
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"Adventures of the Tuesday Night Club" - Neil Arlidge

To regular readers of the various waterway magazines, the cruising adventures of the Tuesday Night Club are always a popular read, and it was a pleasure to welcome Neil Arlidge to our November meeting to hear of those exploits in person.

Neil first of all told us about the 'Tuesday Night Club' (TNC). It hasn't many members, it's really only Neil. However, as he explained later in his talk, he is joined on his cruises by a number of semi-permanent crew members (who really make up the TNC) and other more casual attendees. He went on to relate his introduction to the waterways, boating with his parents in the late 1960s. In 1972, at the age of 17, he went on his first hire boat holiday on the Llangollen and reached the very end of that canal, the pump house at Horseshoe Falls, an area now (and probably even then) forbidden to powered boats.

In 1974 Neil went through the Dudley Canal in a disguised Ladyline hire boat (hire boats being forbidden from the tunnel - are you getting the drift?).

In 1989 he bought his first boat and ten years later purchased his current boat,' Earnest', which he often cruises with Andrew Goodwin, known as 'Captain Beeky, who accompanied him to our meeting.

We heard about Neil's second journey through the Dudley Canal, this time in 'Earnest' which had to be 'converted' with additional water ballast and pavers, to enable the boat to clear the gauge at the entrance of the tunnel.

In 2001 the TNC Carrying Co (as Neil had become known) made the trip to the River Medway via the tidal rivers Thames and Medway and the Thames Barrier. On the return trip they diverted up the River Swale. Back on the Thames they turned right (east), and via the Thames Estuary rounded the Essex coast to the Blackwater Estuary, thence to Maldon and the Chelmer & Blackwater Canal to Springhill Basin in Chelmsford. They returned on a high spring tide, via the same route, to the Grand Union Canal at Brentford. I think you will agree that Neil and his fellow crew members had become rather intrepid explorers, braving the elements of the Channel and the North Sea!

The following year it was the River Idle cruise, off the tidal River Trent. Then, back down the Trent under the Humber Bridge to the Humber Estuary (being saluted by the Red Arrows as they flew past), up the tidal River Hull to Beverley Beck. On their return trip there were very rough weather conditions as they went back up the Humber bridge and then onto the River Ancholme and thence into the remains of the first lock on the Caister Canal. And finally, on that trip - it was the Market Weighton Canal and into Goole Docks.

After the interval Neil brought us more up to date. In 2007 'Earnest' was moved to Ireland and is now based on the Shannon Erne Waterway. Neil took us across Ireland, showing the various canals and other navigable waterways. It appeared that, during Neil's extensive cruising he covered just about all of the connected Irish waterways. I am afraid that space does not permit the full details of those cruises and the many waterways covered.

Throughout his excellently illustrated presentation Neil took us to many waterways only a dream (or maybe a potential nightmare) to many boaters. He explained how he often had to use subterfuge to get around conditions imposed by the navigation authorities. It was a highly entertaining, informative and often humorous talk - many thanks, Neil.

Paul Herbert

Postscript: Based on the content of 'The Tuesday Night Club Official Web Site' I can tell you about the origins of the TNC not mentioned by Neil during his talk. "The TNC is a Gentleman's Social and Drinking Club which was formed in 1980.....Female members are now allowed, as long as they elect to be 'Gentlemen'. The object of the Club is to maintain the tradition of holding Tuesday Nights sacrosanct in order to attend local hostelries with the aim of assessing the quality of various real ales. Regular events in the TNC On Tour calendar now include at least 8 weeks canal cruising on the waterways of Britain and now IRELAND, with occasional mainline steam rail tours. Over the years it is the aim to cruise all the navigable inland waterways of Britain...and more!

Looking at that website it is apparent that the TNC has a fairly large number of members. To be eligible for 'full' membership members have had to have crewed and stayed on the TNC's boats overnight. Honorary members need to have only crewed during the day.

It is worthwhile looking at the TNC website to see the details of the TNC's cruises over the years (www.tuesdaynightclub.co.uk).


More DEFRA Waterway Cuts

 
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More Cuts Proposed

IWA understands that ministers are to be presented with a package for £130 million of immediate cuts to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs' budget with radical options for another £140 million of savings. This would affect all DEFRA-funded bodies, including British Waterways (BW) and the Environment Agency (EA) and would be in addition to 5% year-on-year cuts already reported. British Waterways is allegedly at the top of the list for further cuts to its funding.

IWA is fully aware that BW and the EA have not recovered from their share of the £200m cuts to funding imposed by the Treasury last year after DEFRA mismanaged payments to farmers following a reform of agricultural subsidies.

Impact on Waterways

The waterways community now faces more budgetary cuts of an unknown nature, in addition to the £5million known budget deficit, a 33% or more licence increase, a trebling of fuel costs, 200 plus waterway job cuts, and indeterminate maintenance cuts.

BW has additionally been hard hit by this summer's flooding and the breach in the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal - a total additional cost of over £10 million. Other navigation authorities have also suffered considerable losses.

IWA Campaign

IWA believes that the Treasury should be allocating additional funds to waterway managers to cope with these flooding disasters which were outside their control. IWA additionally maintains that the Government's decision to reduce waterways funding to help pay for the additional costs of the outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease, Blue Tongue Disease and Bird 'Flu is not just unfair, but grossly unreasonable and should be reversed before further damage is done.

IWA is currently seeking an urgent meeting with the minister to discuss the possibility of an application for funding from the Contingency Fund; however, waterway users need to show their concern now by writing to their MP and raising the alarm before it is too late.

It is clear that the situation would have been even worse if it had not been for the campaigning and lobbying already undertaken. That work has been very effective and IWA is grateful for the support members have received from many MPs and welcomes their resolve to resist these prospective cuts. We need to continue lobbying MPs and make them aware of the threat that these proposed budget cuts pose .

Can You Help?

I am asking you to spare some time to write to your MP this week and inform them of the situation. Important funding decisions are being made by the Treasury and DEFRA in the next four weeks. To delay raising concerns over the cuts and the latest funding proposals could allow the proposals to become consolidated before MPs have a chance to lobby ministers.

IWA is concerned that substantial budget cuts to BW would raise the likelihood of closure of canals due to an inability to fund routine maintenance and safety requirements risking the type of breach such as that recently seen on the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal.

It may feel like our backs are against the wall, but now is not the time to surrender and accept these cuts as either necessary or a given.

Your voice counts - please write to your MP today!

Please pass this message on to anyone else you think may wish to write to their MP and help the waterways. You can find the name of your local MP by going to: www.writetothem.com).

IWA email to members 19-11-2007


Members' Photographic Evening and Competition

 
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The meeting on the 3rd 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 should be able to project digital photos as we tried for the first time last year. 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 Peter Oates 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


Don't Forget to Vote for the Waterways

 
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IWA is asking all waterway supporters to take part in the Peoples Millions BIG Lottery Fund vote on ITV for the award of a £50 million grant.

IWA suggests that of the four finalists there are two schemes that supporters may wish to consider supporting, which have links to the waterways; The Black Country Urban Park, and the Sustrans Connect 2 project.

Of the two bids however, IWA believes that The Black Country Bid has the greatest involvement for the waterways; including a significant package of improvements along five canals in and around Wolverhampton.

The second bid, Sustrans' Connect2 is a national package of 79 local schemes involving new bridges and connections to make local transport safer and easier for walkers and cyclists. Several of these projects improve local access near to waterways.

The Sustrans bid was featured on ITV on 4 December at 11.05 pm; The Black Country bid is to be featured on ITV on 6 December at 11.05 pm. Online voting started on 26 November, with telephone votes starting 7 December. Voting will end at 12 noon 10 December.

For more information please go to: www.thepeoples50million.org.uk/home

Based on IWA Press Release


Send your comments to the Web Site manager (Peter Oates)

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Page created 9 December 2007 - archived 4 January 2008.

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