ENews 2013-10

15th November 2013
Hello and welcome to ENews 2013-10.
The headlines for this issue:-
We have a new Chairman in situ
Mike has been lured back to work
Pictures of Ham Mill are wanted
Do you know where some may lurk?
Tug drivers are needed for training
Some may want to come off the list
Stroudwater Sessions have started
Speakers may well add a twist.
Haiku stones are being located
In places along the towpath
A precis of Dave Marshall's update
My thanks go to him and his staff.
Another plug, this time for Christmas
Help raise funds in this no(v)el way
From logs through to cruises with Santa
As long as he's parked up his sleigh.
Now, please read on for the stories behind the headlines.
As many of you will know already, Mike Guest has decided to return to the world of employment in 2014 so he was not a candidate for the Chairman's role at the November meeting our governing body, Trust Council.
Into the breach stepped Jack Telling, although Jack is adamant that this is a temporary arrangement – no more than one year – to give time for a substantive Chairman to be identified and elected.
Much has been achieved under Mike's albeit short-lived stewardship, including an ambitious 5-year Strategic Plan that was presented in full at the recent AGM.
To view the (new) Chairman's report that includes information about appointments and other changes to Trust Council, have a look at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/trust-council-news-598.php
Chief Executive Ken Burgin is itching to get his hands on any historic photos of Ham Mill Lock, Thrupp, that may be lurking in an old album or cardboard box up in the loft………..
Ken says that utopia for him would be if there are any pictures taken before the canal was abandoned in 1933, or soon afterwards when all or most of the lock gates were still in position.
If possible Ken would appreciate good resolution scans emailed to ken.burgin@pikelock.com or physical photos sent care of Bell House, Wallbridge, Stroud GL5 3JS please.
The navigable channel between the Ocean in the west and Dudbridge in the east is kept relatively clear by boat movements. In addition to trip boat 'Endeavour' operating from Ebley Wharf, maintenance boats regularly ply these waters on various tasks.
A request for volunteers interested in learning how to steer the Trust's tug 'Goliath' appeared in ENews 2013-03 earlier this year and our very own Cap'n Pugwash (aka Tony Jones) was really pleased with the response.
However several of those who came forward and had an initial trip or two seem to have gone rather quiet; Tony says it would be really helpful to know if they wish to continue with their training or not.
I am sure you know who you are, so if you could be so kind as to update Tony by email at jonestheboats@yahoo.co.uk it would be much appreciated.
Training usually takes place on Western Depot operating days, i.e. Mondays & Wednesdays, although Tony has said that for those in gainful employment during the week it may be possible to arrange some sessions on a Sunday.
For more information about joining his merry crew please contact Tony by email, address as above.
The inaugural 'Stroudwater Sessions' meeting took place recently at Fromebridge Mill, Whitminster and I am told it was well attended. The idea behind the sessions is to involve other local canal related organisations in a joint event, so members of the CCT, Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust and the local branch of the IWA are always most welcome.
Future Sessions will be held on a quarterly basis and replace the monthly Western Branch Meetings that used to be held at the same location. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday 11th February, 19:30 start and the speaker will be Clive Matthews who is the Avon Navigation Trust's Operations Manager.
I doubt I am alone in saying that I had never heard of Japanese 'Haiku' poems – until now, that is. One definition I have found describes them as "Poems dating from 9th century Japan to the present day. Haiku is more than a type of poem; it is a way of looking at the physical world and seeing something deeper, like the very nature of existence".
Ooh-er. So……what have they got to do with the Cotswold Canals? I hear you ask.
Well, last year 2 local artists collaborated to produce a poem that has been engraved onto a piece of slate, having been inspired by a summer canalside walk. There will be a total of five haiku stones that will be completed fairly soon. Each will be sited at a different towpath location somewhere between The Ocean, Stonehouse in the west and the Daneway Portal of Sapperton Tunnel in the east. The idea is that they will be encountered and enjoyed in a similar spontaneous manner as the wildlife subjects they celebrate.
For more background information have a look at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/canal-haiku-stories-602.php 
From the latest Phase 1A update by Stroud District Council'
s Canal Partnership Manager Dave Marshall comes the following:-
~Ebley (SO829046). Lettings of the units in the redevelopment on the offside of the canal have started. (Editors note – I provided duff information in ENews 2013-09 about the Wharf Buttery. It closed indefinitely fairly soon after opening, unfortunately). Volunteers have finished restoring the circular spill weir at Bridge House (SO825046).
~Dudbridge Locks (SO836048). Work on the upper lock is all but complete and CCT volunteers are installing the gate and ground paddle gear – all designed in house and manufactured by local companies. The focus is moving to the lower lock where the brickwork has been found to be in a far worse condition than expected. Nevertheless contractors hope to be off site by Christmas.
~Dudbridge Hydro scheme (same location). One or two snags were encountered following the recent heavy rain that dislodged all sorts of debris, but our trusty volunteers have resolved these issues.
~Wallbridge Lower Lock (SO846051). Ongoing, no real change since ENews 2013-09.
~Cheapside (SO849050). As you may remember there were potential problems with the nature of the silt here as hydrocarbons were found to be present in the initial samples. Retesting has resulted in some good news, namely that most of the little beasties are organic as a result of plant decomposition. Just one small location may contain the more hazardous variety and options for clearing a through channel are being evaluated.
Geotechnical investigations will be involved in the form of trial bores and pits.
~Bowbridge (SO857042). Ongoing, no real change since ENews 2013-09.
A fuller version of Dave's report can be found on the CCT website at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/restoration-update-from-sdc-601.php
~ Logs
~ Cruise with Santa at Saul
~ Christmas cards
~ Calendar 2014
~ Key fob
~ Baseball hat
~ Cotswold Canals books
All available through the CCT website!
Log Delivery Service information at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/log-delivery-service.php
Christmas goodies information at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/shop.php
For further information (including contact details) about any items marked by an asterisk, please go to www.cct.teamconnect.org.uk and the Message Boards that can be found on the Activities and Rosters page. To become a registered volunteer follow the Register Me Now link.
Mondays and Wednesdays from 09:00*: Maintenance activity at Western Depot Eastington.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 09:00*: Maintenance activity at Eastern Depot Eisey.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00: Introductory volunteer sessions aimed at those new to volunteering. Meet Wallbridge Visitor Centre. Existing CCT volunteers more than welcome.
Wednesdays and Sundays from 09:00*: Work Parties at Griffins Mill Lock.
20th – Eastern Branch meeting Trout Inn Lechlade 19:30
22nd – Prof. Mark Horton (a CCT Vice President) at Stroud Sub Rooms 19:30 "Coasting Along." Tickets GBP8 in advance, GBP10 on the door. See http://www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/prof-mark-horton—coasting-along-581.php
for ticket information.
23rd/24th – NWPG at Griffins Mill/Ham Mill Lock. CCT volunteers welcome
26th – CAG meeting Bell House Wallbridge 19:30
27th – Wildlife Walk with Martin Wright, starting from Visitor Centre Wallbridge. See www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/winter-wildlife-walks-582.php?p=5
7th/8th – Santa Cruises at Saul Junction
11th – Wildlife Walk with Martin Wright, starting from Bonds Mill Cafe Stonehouse. See www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/winter-wildlife-walks-582.php?p=5
14th/15th – Santa Cruises at Saul Junction
21st/22nd – Santa Cruises at Saul Junction – the final weekend!
If you have any item you consider newsworthy then please send me an email, although I would ask you to bear in mind that I always look for a connection with the Stroudwater, Thames and Severn or the CCT before considering any article for publication.
Any and all feedback – preferably good, but bad as well – is more than welcome.
PLEASE NOTE. We keep your email address on an electronic database for the sole purpose of contacting you in this way. We will never pass it on to any third party.
David Pagett
Editor, ENews