Wilts & Berks Canal 10th-11th February 2001
London WRG on the Wilts & Berks….
London WRG Wilts & Berks weekend: Feb 10-11.
Many moons ago, there was a time before the Foot and Mouth started when we used to work somewhere other than Basingstoke. Dave 'Moose' Hearndon reports from those distant times...
Everyone that was expected turned up on the Friday night, strange that we all met in a pub! Pete Smith and his lovely wife were there to greet us. After sampling the local tipples, Maria and I were suffering - we had just stuffed ourselves with Indian Cuisine up on the high street, (very recommended). We adjourned to the Hall, nice clean hall with mod cons like flushing loos etc..
After the normal round of toast etc. off we went to bed. The central heating was roaring, no problem, until during the night someone decided that the heating was making too much noise and turned it down. (Beside the point that he had put himself beside the quiet heating and our hero Marcus was sleeping next to the loud one)
Saturday Morning bright and bushy, and B****dy cold, we find that during the night as people got colder and colder they actually started to put their clothes on. After a lovely cooked breakfast with the added goodies of mushrooms we were all set. Off we went to site.
This dig was supposed to be a part of the Dig Deep project, working on the Summit lock. But would you believe it the lock was under water, more rain had been forecast for the weekend, and the decision was taken that it would be waste of time in pumping the water out for it to fill up again as the water table is still so high.
So we were found a bit of scrub bashing, which when you looked at it for the more hardened members of LWRG, who worked on Dauntsey in the early days, was nothing... a few little saplings etc... nothing much...
It is so easy to be taken in by nature! The saplings had thorns 4 to 5 inches long and they hurt, the brambles were just as vicious, the Day of the Triffids again!
By the end of play Saturday, the fires had roared (big mound of ash, good sign), a large portion of the scrub had been sorted and some very weary battle-hardened troops went back to the hall.
'Scoff' on Saturday was going to be special: it was Peter Smith's birthday and his wife was going to roast the meat and we were to supply the veg. With our Martin cooking the veg and Nadia (Pete's Wife) cooking the meat and supplying a very nice selection of red and white wines - a merry meal was had by all. After the washing up we all adjourned to the pub.
A few more beers etc. later back to the hall, to sleep, the heating was left on all night (surprising that). It was cosier.
Again after a lovely breakfast with even more mushrooms, we set out to site, and carried on with scrub bashing. By afternoon tea break all the scrub was down on the towpath side and burnt very nicely, Maria and I had decided that this was our time to leave. And started the long road home.
All had a very enjoyable weekend; I had some very pretty scratches on my arms and legs. Now raring to go on the Thames and Severn.
‘Moose’ & Maria
Reprinted from Navvies No 186