Friday, January 18, 2019

SDC Thursday Group

by: Ian Moody

Yesterday saw us splitting the team. One group worked at Gough's Orchard lock, shifting the stones and winching out buddleia roots. The other team headed up to Bourne Lock to do a bit of a tidy up.
At lunchtime I took the opportunity to provide some more hands-in-the-air training. Still a work in progress I'm afraid...

Ham Mill Update - Weds Jan 16th

by: Andy P.
6 folks arrived (Bob, Duncan, Richard, Mathew, Vic and Andy) to find the tree stump finally lost-thanks to Alan J and very strangely, most of the water had gone from the canal. 
This did allow the full size of the collapsed wall to be revealed.  Its big, very big.
A very early 16t load of type 1 was delivered ready for the towpath
First job was to lift and then Bob cut and placed the coping stones very carefully onto the top of the bypass weir.
Then concrete was added to the base to get the correct drainage levels. A very time consuming and difficult job but it does look very nice. The fence was refitted and another job wiped from the to do white board.
In the meantime the temporary by pass tow path was attacked with the mini digger and revealed another tree stump. Positive energy washed over us, as it was not as big as the previous one. However as it was slowly revealed, it was still a metre across with lots of side roots.  The 4 man axe team lined up taking turns. It did not get easier with practice.
As night started to fall and the rain eased off we called it a score draw, us v the stump. But it is moving and has to come out.

Some becoming routine and some new horizons

by: Myron

Wednesday saw the Boat Team fielding three full crews again.

Goliath went through Ryeford locks to carry out a few tasks down towards Stonehouse way. All were completed successfully.

Margaret moved a hopper and then the crew joined the Weedie crew at Dudbridge.  Here, we were happy to find Delilah at the top of the locks, but waited with trepidation for Weedie to come into the pound.  Would it get passed.  It did, easily.  Then with Weedie and Margaret moored up at Wiggals Yard, the two crews set about seeing how far up the canal we could get Delilah in the rest of the day.
Did I mention that Weedie has been brought down to be able to work on fitting the new mesh, which incidentally arrived at WD yesterday.  We hope to do this at the landing stage at Stonehouse Court, where the large flat field right next to the landing stage makes a perfect working area.  Also, Delilah needs to go in the other direction to join up with Samson, which will play a big part in what is effectively change of gender for Delilah, specifically fitting the new crane to it.  Can we really continue to call her Delilah once this is completed.  Have too, as its unlucky to rename a boat while it’s in the water.  Maybe we can nickname it Delboy. There’s another thing, boats being ‘she’.  Not very PC but a fifty foot barge called Samson with a great crane on it, is not the most feminine of images.  Goliath has a similar gender problem in my mind.  I think I’ll just have to settle on calling the boats in our fleet ‘it’.
Anyway, Samson is currently moored just below Griffin Mill lock, so that’s where we had to get Delilah.  This was new territory for it, and quite a daunting prospect, as we would have to bow haul all the way.  This is never the Boat Team’s favourite pastime.   I believe the furthest Delilah has been before was just through foundry lock, but I might be wrong.  The task progressed really well, except for the fact that it started to rain steadily around twelve o’ clock.  It was a bedraggled crew that arrived above Wallbridge mid afternoon.  We’d made excellent progress, so we called it a day and invaded the Heritage Centre for a late lunch and a warm up.  They didn’t mind at all.  It was still raining when we came out, and we still had the walk back to Weedie and Margaret, which then had to be driven back to base and put away.  A very successful day all round.
Thursday found the weather dry and sunny, albeit cold.   Five of us met up, ably assisted by David from the Landing Stage Team.  We were soon on our way, hoping to finish by lunchtime.  Unfortunately, one of our number became quite unwell at Capel’s Mill.  He became dizzy and was really out of it for a good few minutes.  The most expedient way to get him to hospital, was for his wife to pick him up.  I’m very , very glad to say that he checked out ok.  But it was a salutary reminder that we all need to be looking out for each other.
After this set back we resumed the journey East, ‘there be dragons there’.  The twists and turns around Capel’s Mill were actually great fun to negotiate.  Bowbridge lock was a new experience for us, and then Delilah was finally reunited with Samson. The final task was to get Delilah passed Samson. This was so the crane on Samson is up against the right end of Delilah where we want the crane fitted. This was achieved without any great bother. Before setting off back, we had a discussion with Alan to map out what jobs needed doing first on getting the crane fitted.  Anybody good with an angle grinder.  The walk back to the cars was so much more pleasant than the day before, finishing off a very satisfying couple of days

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Bench Team head west

by: Will F.

This morning, the flat bed Transit was readied and many men were gathered together in the yard to help lift two benches onto the loading deck for an onward journey to Saul Junction, on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, where they were duly installed.

Family celebrating Pat Pewsey

Bench in honour of Dario and Beryl Burton.
Project 'DNF' - No.5 Refit

Workforce numbers were a bit down on Monday. but much was achieved.  The turret was on final approach last time, so our first job was to reinsert the jacks and perform the final docking manoeuvre.  Something more akin to the shuttle connecting with the International Space Station!  

We had a good grip on the various vectored forces we could apply to shift the turret in all planes.  A stage was reached when there was a gentle lowering followed by a most gratifying clunk as the mating faces sat perfectly aligned.  We were half a hole out on the slew ring gear, so a tiny lift to free the ring, so that it could be rotated slightly, did the job and all the bolts inserted and tightened.  They still need the application of a torque wrench.
Next on the priority list was the mounting of the hydraulic control block in the old hydraulic oil tank, now reused as a secondary containment vessel should there be a leak.  

This involved making a couple of right angled brackets to mount inside.  Firstly, a baffle plate had to be cut out.  This proved quite difficult using disc cutters, so the rather dusty plasma cutter from the welding bay was deployed.  What a fine job it did too.  With far less fuss, the baffle was extracted.
Another area of restoration pondered over today, was the repairs to the rusty metal panels at the base of the doors and the cabin.  Here, we need to let in some new metal.  The sheet material is available, but due to the nature of the repair, we do need a fine day to do it.

A good days work by all. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Ham Mill Update - Mon Jan 14th 2019
by:Andy P.
Duncan started to repair the broken garden wall and we (Bob, Maurice, Mathew, Richard, Andy) all went into the garden to move the shed back a few feet. Dangerous.  Gravel moved up to the back of the shed, plants and pots moved out of the way, shed emptied again and mini digger gently pushed the shed back.  Lots of levelling to get it finished.
More plants donated to the bank.  More trees and plants were dug up and moved to the bank.  More trees were taken out of pots and planted in the garden.  Mill stones moved.  2 horses repositioned.  Washing machine moved. Caravan moved and levelled.  More soil found and put into the holes left by the moved trees.  Washing line is now accessible.  We are a helpful bunch and the neighbours are very pleased.  Even Dino seemed content.
A new home has been agreed for the 17 very heavy stop blanks.  About as far away as possible of course.  Tried a 3 or 4 man carry but gave that one up in favour of hauling them on the dumper and using Bobs supreme driving ability he got them as close as possible.  The numerous fence posts appeared, along with a dingy, were all neatly stack and covered.  Created room for 3 more cars now. 

Dave and Les arrived with the screw piles and hydraulic machine.  More seriously heavy stuff but a home was found.  They also took another tipper load of metal away-thank you.
Cleared the area behind the bypass fence to keep the other neighbours happy.
A plan and route has been agreed with John P. who, with his team, will re-install the towpath along the canal side when the final bypass pipes are installed.  So a last job for the mini digger was to start to make a pathway to follow the fence lines
A good mixed up day and the tree stump had its last day off.

A Tall Story 
by:Bob H.

Tuesdays are designated as our Dredger Training Day.
Today was a little different as we needed to carry out some maintenance as well.  With the weather having thankfully been dry, we decided that since the bilge pumps (three of the set of four) have proved intermittently unreliable, we have a go at fixing them.  Deck plates lifted (and screws regreased for next time) we cleaned out two of them and installed a new one for the third position.

That done, we also fixed the tiny leak on the exhaust pipe with good old-fashioned “Gun Gum.”  With that too successful (the smoke alarm in the engine room is VERY sensitive!) we continued the familiarisation of two more experienced operators.

In contrast to yesterday’s post about Dredgman Derek, one of the trainees today was John S. At 6ft 4inches, his bump cap is necessary! 

The hopper is now full and ready for the tug team and the dry boys to empty it. 

"May all your combined leaks never exceed your bilge pump capacity.