|Dragonfly Branch Report Summer 2009 (No.113)|
Although not on the patch the major event in May, as it was for all other Branches, was the opportunity to describe our section of the waterway to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall on 26 May at the Bowood Golf Club. I highlighted the fact that the restored waterway would need to be connected to the rest of the system which is where Jubilee Junction came in. Although only 150 yards long it was a small step for the canal but a huge step for canalkind. (Where did I get that from I wonder?) The heavy use of the towpath by walkers and dog-walkers was much appreciated by The Duchess.
On a more mundane level vandalism is still an issue around the site. The fence is still often cut although the wheelchair accessible kissing gate right next to it is left permanently in the wide position. The former mobile phone cabin has had the handle damaged, presumably in an attempt to break in, and it was impossible for anyone to get in. However, great minds were brought to bear, mainly Mike Matthews', and the lock was able to be relieved of its damaged components and access is once again possible.
There has been no more information about the Thames Water reservoir which is now planned to be built across the site in five years time rather than next year. However, a look at the rainfall charts on the internet shows that this year since January the rainfall has been half the normal average. Perhaps the start date will be brought forward again if the prospect of standpipes in the many new housing estates planned for the county become a reality.
Talks on the canal are still requested fairly frequently, booking ahead two years at present, and usually result in a donation to the Trust. The audiences are not the usually expected enthusiast societies but a very wide range and have, I believe, resulted in new members joining.
Finally some good news on the bidding front; our Awards for All bid entitled Working Safely with Chainsaws eventually satisfied the Big Lottery and we have a grant for £5,487 for a comprehensive range of equipment. Should you have any trees in the Oxfordshire section that need attention please let me know. Bear in mind the bird nesting season will last until the end of September so felling is unlikely but processing fallen timber should not be a problem