Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group

Report by Helen 'Bush Baby' Gardner.

KESCRG Lichfield weekend 8th/9th September 2007

I've not written for Navvies for a while so whilst under the influence at this KESCRG weekend I offered to write up the dig report - and since I actually went on-site I feel qualified to do so.  Obviously I forgot and so the details may be a little sketchy ...  Friday night saw the usual gathering of volunteers from everywhere except Kent and East Sussex with the added slight twist of security more appropriate to the National Waterways Festival - at least once we were in our cars weren't going anywhere.  Due to lack of nice local pubs Mark II had found details of one.  Drawback - a good drive away.  Solution - pregnant volunteers.  Thanks to Dr Liz and Smudge / Mrs T for ferrying us to a pub that had a very reasonable choice of exciting beers.  Dave Miller arrived with a dead car so is also grateful to the pregnant volunteers for the lift back to the scout hut.
I drove back to my boat (moored locally) and my bed leaving the others to head back presumably for more beer and toast.  Due to the excessive security arrangements it took me quite a long time to get in the next morning - Eli was catering and produced scrambled eggs that weren't welded to the pan - so it can be achieved.
Site was Tamworth Road and most of the work was done on lock twenty-five err... six??  - the one next to the lady's garden that we have access to now - you know - the one below the one we finished. Editor please help.  Viv and Fast Eddie went off to rearrange some bits of field by digging holes and planting trees.  Meanwhile Bitch, Tweedle, Jason, Mark II and probably some others were moving big bits of stone that the society had acquired from a railway bridge - very nice stone it is indeed and it will come in very useful - and I have a feeling it was free.  The rest of us and the locals set up a brickie production line in order to make some headway on the bywash.  Progress was made on the tricky circular outlet hole and the other bricklayers managed to get one complete course on both sides the whole length and two courses for quite a lot of it.  We also backfilled the side nearest the lock with concrete up to the first course to stop those nasty roots upsetting our bywash.  Now that the first course is in bricklaying will be much quicker and it will soon be finished - hurrah.
The bricklayers were of course supported by a crack team of mortar mixers, concrete producers, clean brick movers and occasional brick cleaners.  There were, of course, the usual conversations between unreasonable brickies and hardworking brickie's mates.  Why are they called brickie's mates - brickie's slaves more like it.  The brickies only actually had reason to complain about 3 mixes (one liquid, one too sloppy and one lumpy) but we made at least 4 so I've no idea what they were moaning about.  (Do you think I've laid it on too thick Mrs Jones?? excuse the pun).
Saturday night saw a fab dinner, probably some alcohol and the KESCRG AGM.  It was all minuted properly so I'm sure if you want to see the details you can contact the secretary.  There was lots of talk by Roy of bush bashing which I'm concerned about on so many levels - it's scrub bashing Roy.  Lots of individuals keep KESCRG functioning so thanks to them all - I'm not going to risk naming them now because I'll miss someone - they know who they are.

Very pleasant weekend - a 4 minute drive home to the boat - thanks to Eli for cooking, Ian for being a gallant leader, Lichfield (in particular Bob Williams) for having us and everyone for not telling North West I'd absconded.
Helen "Bush Baby" Gardner

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