Throughout Autumn we had superb weather for the most part, although it rained heavily a couple of times, washing the mortar from between the bricks and turning the site into a small-scale representation of the Somme. Then came the frost with the ground frozen solid in mid afternoon. Since then we’ve had snow, so in December not much got done.
Since the last report we’ve completed the gabion wall and put a cap of slabs and bricks on top. The pub wall which these are designed to protect has turned out to be in worse condition than we thought, and will have to be underpinned, which will hopefully be done in the New Year, after which we can install the drains and the water pipe which will run behind the gabions, then install some form of garden for the Boat Pub.
We’ve also completed the retaining walls on Lock 9a and made a start on cleaning out the enclosure in preparation for levelling the floor. This will enable us to install the hollow column of blocks which is designed to take the water from the upper pound into the lock when the sluices are open. The column is by way of being an experiment, being formed of hollow blocks with horizontal and vertical reinforcement. The test will be whether the system is watertight, without being encased in concrete. (photo)
A small job was to cut an overhanging branch off the Oak tree next to the enclosure. Paul Reeves’ son did this for us (photo).
Another pending job is to resume the repair of the Sand Wharf, which was started in May but has lapsed until now. The wall is solid, being five courses of bricks thick, but requires about five courses of brick to bring it up to the required level. We’ve selected some of the old bricks to do this, others for the coping will come from the scrap blues at Fosseway. The front face will also be re-pointed. We’ve driven a track down the canal bed to reach the site, and Peter Buck has kindly obtained a cement mixer for us. Thanks also to Tony C for ordering in materials.
At the aqueduct a corporate group has extended the towpath past the Toll Motorway culvert towards the Aqueduct. This will allow us in due course to extend the path over the Aqueduct, for which there is now planning permission. Roger and the green team have recently done some work on the hedgerows close to the Sand Wharf.
A Happy New Year to you all.
Words & photos: Phil Cheesewright.
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