Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wandering up and down

Ann n Sue are enjoying their walks with the dogs, now that Sue has recovered from a virus infection. The canal between Seend and Semington offering many interesting tracks and paths. Ann has a map printed off the computer, while Sue has her magic GPS. Following the public foot paths round farm buildings can be difficult where mud and fences force detours.

We had stopped at the visitor moorings near Seend bottom lock. A boat there had been left for some time for it had a 'parking ticket' stuck to its window and it was empty. A passing boat caused a mooring pin to come loose by going too fast. This caused the boat to drift across the canal. As it was late in the evening we decided to leave it there. Next day another boat wanted to get by so they, with our help, managed to pull the abandoned boat back to its mooring.

Swing bridges and an aqueduct

Continuing to Semington we had to operate no less than 3 swing bridges within a mile of each other. Sue n Vic were in front and so they opened the first and we went on to the next. We opened that and they the next! Then we opened the next lock and both went in. Just before that lock the canal went over an aqueduct. It was back in 2004 that we both came this way when the aqueduct was being built. A road now passes under the canal.


Chris came up on his motor bike to see his mum. Just over an hour was enough for him. Always a worry for us but it was good to see him. And he got home safe.


Next weekend our friends Mary n Ray came. They were camping at Sells Green not far away. As it was a nice day we took them through a swing bridge to the winding hole, turned and returned. Ann had made soup which we all enjoyed.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A speech by Lord Stodart

I have just received a letter from my MP regarding the reduced grant to British Waterways from Defra. He does agree that Defra is incompetent and enclosed a copy of a speech by Lord Stodart of Swindon in the House of Lords made on the 5 th. March. Here is part of that speech.

"My Lords, I thank the committee for its report and the noble Lord, Lord Radice, for the manner in which he presented it to the House. However, in spite of finding no evidence of a culture of corruption in the EU, I am afraid that the report will not dispel the deep-rooted conviction that fraud is endemic in the EU and costs about £2 billion a year."

"I remind your Lordships that in 2005 the United Kingdom made a gross annual payment to the EU of £15 billion, and a net contribution of £6.1 billion. The new seven-year financial settlement will further increase those figures; indeed if Britain's rebate is removed in 2009, our contribution will rocket to around £10 billion net per annum. That is very serious money, and our tax payers have the right to expect that it will be properly spent."

"There appear to be no sanctions available against the Commission for neglect or mishandling of the finances, or anything else for that matter. Yet British tax payers are being fined by the Commission for Defra's mistakes and faulty administration in the single farm payment scheme. Apparently, that fine will amount to £305 million - that is £5 for every man, woman and child in this country, or £10 for every worker. They have a right to be resentful that we should be fined in this way"

"Pressure on the Commission to put its financial house in order should be maintained, so that taxpayers in this country and throughout the EU can be assured that no part of their imposts are fraudulently converted or not well managed. It may very well be the case that, as it was suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, the Commission should employ an international firm of accountants, either to examine its accounts or even to run its financial affairs."


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Out and about in the sunshine

We have been moving slowly west and stopped near Seend. The canal is a bit exposed to the wind because there are few trees. There are some swing bridges to operate which are for farmers and walkers so it is very rural here. Walked up to Seend where the Post Office had our post. It was a lovely sunny day so we took a picnic with us. Found a spot in a field and sat on a fallen Horse Chestnut (conker) tree trunk. Studied the view across a clear valley in the sunshine. Sue was searching for a few of those 'Geo-Cache' boxes. Took a while to find one tucked out of sight in a hedge row. Wrote in its log book to register the fact that the 'Narrowboaters' had found it. A number of clues are found on the internet to give a location and a GPRS points the way to the hiding place.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Moving down the Caen Hill locks

We had gone down a few locks from Devizes the day before. After such a long time in one place it was a real treat to move again. The sunshine and warm spring like day made for an enjoyable trip. Paul came at 10 o'clock to help. Vic, Paul and Ann set up the locks in front as we progressed down the hill through 19 wide locks. No Problem and Moore 2 Life were driven together into each lock all the way down. A matter of pride to guide both into the lock together with only a few inches clearance without hitting the sides. Sue had previously made some tomato soup which we all consumed once safely moored below the flight at one thirty.



Saturday, March 03, 2007

Save Our Waterways

At Devizes for the weekend with a gathering of boaters, fishermen, canoeists and other waterway users to protest about the swinging cuts in Government funds. DEFRA's poor management of EU subsidies has resulted in the EU imposing heavy fines. A disgraceful situation after so much effort has been made in the past to restore the waterway system by volunteers and local authorities.


No Problem and Moore 2 Life join in the protest

People support

A gathering of supporters listen to a speech by the local MP

A blocked canal

Many boaters gathered to blockade the canal.  8 boats across the canal at Devizes.  We all made a noise at 12 o’clock