An excerpt from Wind in the Willows

Nice? It's the ONLY thing, said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolute nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, he went on dreamily: messing - about - in - boats; messing----'
From 'Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Lock 13 Basingstoke Canal - No gates

Upper gates with balance beams removed
Still strong enough but in need
of a retirement package!
The Basingstoke Canal Authority removed the gates from Lock 13 (just round the corner from my house) this afternoon in preparation for them to be measured and replaced.





Towpath side upper into
retirement
They have certainly paid for themselves because I think they went in in the early 1980s so they have probably done 30 years (give or take) - they look as if they have but that's what they are there for.

Someone may well prove me wrong on the length of time they have been in.
The last lower gate
on its way out


Monday, 28 January 2013

Basingstoke Easter Cruise to King John's Castle

Hazell Nut and Leo No2 on the Basingstoke
in Brookwood Christmas 2012
The plan is still as originally envisaged - to Bridge Barn (Woking), Brookwood, Deepcut, King John's Castle and return; all our planning is based on the original plan a couple of posts back, but we just cannot go firm on anything until we have a meeting with the Basingstoke Canal Authority which is in the diary for 14:00 on Friday 01-February-2013 - that's this Friday. So please bear with us - we hope to have a firm plan (all things being equal) late on Friday afternoon.



Outline plan remains:
  • 29-March - (Good Friday) Woodham Junction to Bridge Barn (Woking)
  • 30-March - (Easter Saturday) Bridge Barn to Brookwood
  • 31-March - (Easter Sunday) remain in Brookwood and visit Brookwood Cemetery (largest in Europe)
  • 01-April - (Easter Monday) Deepcut
  • 02/03/04/05-April - On the top two pounds of the Basingstoke
  • 06-April - (Saturday) Deepcut, Brookwood and St Johns to end up at Bridge Barn
  • 07-April - (Sunday) Bridge Barn to Woodham Junction
(For a lovely (Kiwi) boaty type story please click here - it brought tears to my eyes.)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Stoke Bruerne in the snow

 
Louise at the Museum kindly slipped outside for me this afternoon and took some photos of Stoke Bruerne in the snow before it thaws later this week.  Thank you Louise.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Redway Lock - Basingstoke Canal

Pete's widow (Marguerite),  Phil Riley
(Chair of SHCS) and Robin Higgs
The stone commemorating Pete

I was privileged to be invited as a Committee member of SHCS (now Basingstoke Canal Society) and Commodore of Byfleet Boat Club to the official naming of Lock 11 (top lock of the St John's flight) as Redway Lock in memory of Pete Redway (known, I am sure, to a number of you, especially those who have been good enough over the years to attend WRG summer camps on the Basingstoke).

It was the 'old campaigners' who were there but we had the pleasure of the company of our local County Councillor and chair of the Joint Management Committee of the canal (Linda Kemeny), her partner John Kingsbury (a former Mayor of Woking) and many people who knew and had worked with Pete and the Redway family on the canal over many a year.

We followed up the official part of the day with a very convivial visit to the local pub - the Rowbarge.



Friday, 18 January 2013

Update on 'Return to the Basingstoke - Easter 2013'

We had a meeting in my local pub today (despite the snow).  The trip up the canal is to be sponsored by the Basingstoke Canal Society (formerly Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society).  This really just confirms that to the best of our knowledge Deepcut will be open and it is our intention to exercise the locks and travel to the limit of the navigation in the week after Easter.


Outline plan remains:
  • 29-March - (Good Friday) Woodham Junction to Bridge Barn (Woking)
  • 30-March - (Easter Saturday) Bridge Barn to Brookwood
  • 31-March - (Easter Sunday) remain in Brookwood and visit Brookwood Cemetery (largest in Europe)
  • 01-April - (Easter Monday) Deepcut
  • 02/03/04/05-April - On the top two pounds of the Basingstoke
  • 06-April - (Saturday) Deepcut, Brookwood and St Johns to end up at Bridge Barn
  • 07-April - (Sunday) Bridge Barn to Woodham Junction

To Brighten your spirits

Feeing a bit down with another survey on my house today - can't understand what's going on and unable to move the boat yesterday due to low water levels in the pound coupled with a silt buildup that no one seems to want to address.  Irritating.

However my friend Sue in Tenby sent me a link to this video which raised my spirits.

My estate agent rang this morning.  It seems that the survey undertaken eight or so weeks ago was a valuation survey for the Building Society.  The solicitor for the purchasers wanted to ensure the Titles(s) to the property were 'good'.  Now that those criteria have been satisfied there's to be a structural survey which I thought had been done eight weeks ago.  It's a lot like everything in life - communication.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Return to the Basingstoke - Easter 2013

Whilst we are still to make formal arrangements with the Basingstoke Canal Authority the Basingstoke Canal Society (previously Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society), Byfleet Boat Club and the local branch of the IWA are working on a return to King John's Castle at Easter this year.

Many boaters have said they would like to come so here's an outline plan of what we would like to happen.
  • 29-March - Good Friday - Woodham Junction to Bridge Barn in Woking
  • 30-March - Easter Saturday - Bridge Barn to Brookwood Country Park
  • 31-March - Easter Sunday - Guided tour of Brookwood Cemetery / Return to Bridge Barn for those not tackling Deepcut
  • 01-April - Easter Monday - Bridge Barn to Woodham Junction for  those returning to the Wey / Deepcut for those going to the limit of the navigation
  • 02-April to Friday - 05-April - Tuesday - on the two top pounds of the Basingstoke
  • 06-April - Saturday - Down Deepcut, Brookwood and St Johns to Bridge Barn
  • 07-April - Sunday - Bridge Barn to Woodham Junction
There are three cruising options as we see it at the moment:
  • River Wey to Bridge Barn and return
  • River Wey to Bridge Barn and Brookwood and return
  • River Wey to Bridge Barn, Brookwood and King John's Castle and return
If you are interested in joining us with your boat for this opportunity please reply to this post with your details (just enough in order for me to contact you). Once we have agreement for the trip and licence details we will be in touch.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Another trip to Stoke Bruerne

Another trip to Stoke Bruerne today to clear things with the Conservation Officer at the local council and to talk to a builder about project managing the work required.

I am pleased I didn't just go to meet the conservation officer. The officer was, to my mind, totally unprepared for the visit, took no notes and no photographs - I come from a background of having to deliver come what may; it was easier to give the Chief Exec of BA his information than to find excuses for not delivering it and that meant it had to be ready by about 06:30 each morning. It became a matter of pride over the years that we could count on the fingers (of both hands!) the number of times we didn't deliver on time - that doesn't seem to be the case with people who work for local authorities IMHO.

The builder, on the other hand, was very pleasant and business like, he listened to what we had to say, took notes and made arrangements to return next week.

We had a lovely lunch in the Boat Inn, we then went to Blisworth Marina to see if I would like to moor my boat there (I would) and then on to Braunston to get my friend Rodney a part for his Gardner 2LW from Tony and Paul Redshaw.

Rodney has been so good to me - helping and offering advice, challenging my thoughts (always a good idea) and generally being an all round true friend - I am most indebted to him for his help, sense of humour and kindness.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Plans for 2013

Still basking in the reflected 'pleasure' of having got four boats to Brookwood Village after four years of no boats - we had such a wonderful time.

2013 looks as if it will be a busy year. Stoke Bruerne looms on the not too distant horizon - I would like to try and get an early exchange so I know what I am doing - I just dislike the house buying/selling process in this country so much and everyone feels vulnerable even if they are like me and in a tiny chain. Why it can't be more like Scotland is beyond me.

I am not going to seek reelection to be Commodore of Byfleet Boat Club - I have enjoyed my time at the club very much and made some wonderful friends who I hope will remain friends forever. Much the same can be said about Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society (now of course the Basingstoke Canal Society) - I have been involved for about 25 years and still feel passionate about this lovely canal - we'll have a final fling at Easter and go to the limit of the navigation at King John's Castle (please reply to this post if you want to come). You take take me away from the Basingstoke but you can't take the Basingstoke out of me. I have enjoyed my volunteering with the National Trust - we've always had a laugh and I feel that the work we have done has benefitted the River Wey and Godalming Navigations (to give them their full and proper name).

On the assumption that all goes according to plan there's lots to interest and entertain me in Stoke Bruerne but I think I may take some of my own advice and just spend 12 months or so seeing what goes on, what needs the skills I may have and where my energies can best be directed whilst have still have them!

2013 certainly looks as if it will be an interesting year.