A date for your diaries for Saturday Fortnight if you can get to Faversham. TS Hazard is the Sea Cadets building down on the southern Creek bank right by the swing bridge. Best parking might well be Bank Street main car park up by the swimming pool (pay and display on Saturday, possibly still free Sunday) or you could try down at Standard Quay (though I think Cambria will be off sailing) and enjoy the very pleasant walk back up the picturesque Abbey Street, parallel to the Creek.
Faversham Creek Trust are now motoring well in their drives to get the Creek back open and to do up the creek-side Purifier building as an apprentice training facility cum workshop. They have published this significant picture of the main gut-way of the creek (below the swing bridge) after Medway Ports engineers had dragged something called a “plough” straight down the length of it to create a straight channel down which the muddy silty stuff from the basin and swing-bridge operations could make it’s fast exit seaward without stopping at Standard Quay or Iron Wharf for a rest. They have also published pictures of the engineers down at the base of the swing bridge sluices with huge backward “Vax” hoover-style pumps stirring up the accumulated silt round the gates so that the gates could open and close. More recently I have also seen some nice pics of the Purifier windows being opened up again to let the light in, where they’d been boarded and bricked up to stop vandalism and squatters while the building was basically abandoned. All this is on the lovely Faversham Creek Trust website on http://favershamcreektrust.com/ where you can also read all the other news stories and sign up to be emailed the latest news.
Dave B is making scurrilous remarks that I may have coerced this article out of him …”seeing as you practically forced my arm up my back”. What a suggestion! Anyway, seriously, I am delighted to receive the following from Dave describing his mission to Ipswich and Pin Mill over the weekend.
“We arrived at Pin Mill late in the morning of 29th June”, says Dave, “to find just Edith May and Melissa present for the race though Betula was at her mooring by the Butt and Oyster Pub. A quick spin down to Shotley revealed the Reminder at Harwich, then back to the Butt and Oyster for lunch. Off to Ipswich Dock and things were much more promising, with Centaur, Lady Daphne. Ardwina, Marjorie, Victor, Lady of the Lea and Phoenician all present and soon to be joined by Thistle and Hydrogen who were waiting to lock in. We decided to head back to Pin Mill and on the way spotted the little yacht barge Rosie Probert at Stoke Quay. Pin Mill was still quiet but some of the Edith May crew were at the pub and it would have been rude not to stay for a drink.
On the way back to the car I stopped to ask a local where Bob Roberts had lived. He was somewhat bemused having received that morning a letter from Sheila Roberts telling all about the re-dedication. He asked our connection with Bob and we explained we were part of the Trust. His name was Ron Watts and he’d sailed with Bob on the Cambria in the past. He kindly walked us down to the cottage where Bob had lived.
On the following morning were headed off to the Butt and Oyster for Cumberland Sausage and Black Treacle basted Bacon rolls and coffee. Bring on the race. A short drive to Shotley and onto the point and somewhat surprisingly Mirosa was leading the Edme and the Marjorie in the bowsprit class. Edith May was leading the fast stays’ls but had been overhauled by Melissa, Repertor and Decima by the time they reached Lowestoft. Reminder was following and Victor we think started but then seemed to change his mind and joined the following Hydrogen, Thistle and Kitty. The slower barges were next up with Ardwina, Centaur and Lady of the Lea going well, but sadly a collision between Lady Daphne and Phoenician meant an early return to Ipswich for both. Cygnet, Dinah and Cabby (not certain if she was racing or following) were the last barges to pass us at Shotley.
It was an interesting race and as the barges headed back into Harwich harbour Mirosa was leading with Edme appearing to follow the wrong course and having to double back in order to sail up the Stour. Mirosa did well and stayed ahead of Edme to win the Bowsprit class. Repertor overhauled the Melissa to win the stays’l class and Centaur held off Ardwina in the slower class.
All in all it was a very interesting race with good picture opportunities but sad that Lady Daphne and Phoenician came together early on.”
Thanks for that brilliant report Dave which certainly gives you the Record for most Barges “seen” in one blog and mentioned in one report. I make it 22 seen and Cambria mentioned, so 23! It was a definite barge-rich environment. Today’s photo is one by Dave of Decima during the match.
Mark C is off for a sail this weekend with Ian Ruffles and Denis Johnson. I’m guessing that means the old girl will be out and about, and not available for visiting. I will ask around and see if I can find out any more. Meanwhile here is another of Mark’s excellent pictures, this one with all the sails down but not quite squared away at the end of a sail.
I’m hoping Dave B will furnish us with some kind of a report on his weekend of chasing the Passage Match and then the Pin Mill Match, including stopping off at Ipswich. I have a cracking picture of Decima to use with it (Taken by Dave , of course). I have this taster, though, from Ed Grandsen of Edith May via Facebook. “Highly competitive race yesterday,” posts Ed, “With Melissa and Repertor untouchable in the staysail class with very fresh breeze. We had a grand tussle with Reminder before hunting down Decima at the finish, although needed a bit more time to get by. Won 3rd prize, and 1st over start line, beating Victor by 2seconds! on Edith May Trading Company‘s timeline.” Exciting Stuff, Ed!
Ace ferretter out of bizarre barge stories, Dave B, publishes this picture of the spritsail rigged barge Rosie Probert moored in Ipswich (Dave and Mrs B are up there for the Pin Mill match) and asks “Does anyone know anything about her?”
I went on a little internet scurry and was only able to find the following, which is probably not a very good answer (so if anyone out there knows any more, please pile in).
You can buy a 6 by 4 inch picture of her on ebay at http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/rp5607-UK-Sailing-Barge-Rosie-Probert-Photo-6×4-/390426304421?pt=UK_Collectables_Postcards_MJ&hash=item5ae7389fa5#ht_2541wt_905
Rosie Probert is actually a character from Dylan Thomas’s poem, Under Milk Wood, where (so Wikipedia tells me on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_Milk_Wood) , she is “Captain Cat’s deceased lover, who appears in his dreams.” We are told that “During dinner, Mr. Pugh imagines poisoning Mrs. Pugh. Mrs. Organ-Morgan shares the day’s gossip with her husband, but his only interest is the organ. The audience sees a glimpse of Lord Cut-Glass’s insanity in his “kitchen full of time”. Captain Cat dreams of his lost lover, Rosie Probert, but weeps as he remembers that she will not be with him again. Nogood Boyo fishes in the bay, dreaming of Mrs. Dai Bread Two and geishas.” There you are – culture already!
I also found this in the “Maldon Little Ships Club Newsletter” at http://new.mlsc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/MLSCNewsletterNov10.pdf . On page 10/11 Di and John Rogers describing an East Coast Cruise say “John and Di went to the top of Orford castle with its splendid views across to Orfordness with its strange wartime pagoda like buildings. Whilst looking upstream towards Aldeburgh we even spotted my brother’s “half size” barge Rosie Probert coming down the Alde from Snape. We managed to book a meal in the famous Butley Oysterage and then John Boyce decided that it was time for afternoon tea……” and so on.
No, the title does not refer to our ‘Go-Live’ event yesterday, which went off, as we’d expected, seamlessly. We are now all on the new site and you cannot see the old one. Many thanks to the two main ‘movers and shakers’ in this process, Sue Fielder of Open Sandwich, and Anthony Thornley of Blue Ant. You have probably by now sussed that you can comment directly on these posts through the site, rather than having to email the Secretaries. I would love your feedback, so please do comment if you have any ideas for improvements or can see any issues. I cannot promise, as they used to say on Cornflake packet competition entry forms “to enter into correspondence” with you, especially if this is taken up wholesale, but I will reply to any that I think are appropriate. You can, of course, still email the Trust using CambriaTrustSecretary@live.co.uk.
Meanwhile I loved this shot by Chairman Bruce Richardson of the chaotic scenes on the Thames during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant of the flotilla, I am guessing taken from the deck of Cambria. You may not be able to see this in the reduced-size reproduction I have to use on the website, but the worried expressions on the faces of the two police boat guys at the bottom of the shot, and the guys in the pilot-cutter (bottom left) as they crane their necks every which way looking for possible problems between the mad-cap boaters speaks loudly of “What have we let ourselves in for now!???” Excellent. Nice, one Bruce.
Not that long ago we noted that Friend Nick Ardley had spotted that SB Trojan’s hull had been “tidied” away to make room for the Olympics. Today the “Barge Blog” takes up the story, having spotted this link.
“Back in the early part of the year,” says BB, “the SSBR Committee heard reports that the SB Trojan, which apparently had been abandoned on Leigh Marshes, had been removed by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and destroyed. We learnt of this through a story that a man had been injured by the fall of a steel wall, although strangely there was no mention that the steel wall in question was part of the hull of a Thames sailing barge – not your everyday building accident!
Everything then went quiet, but yesterday a report appeared on “The Echo” newspaper’s website, headed “Southend Council removed and destroyed Thames Barge it says was falling into a dangerous state”.
It seems that the diligent David Hurrell had been at work and had revived the story, (please contradict this (asks BB) if that is not the case, David).
Southend Council is being reprimanded for not taking steps to establish the history of the vessel and its importance in the story of Thames barges and the river. Trojan was moored at Leigh’s Two Tree Island, and was the former headquarters of the Leigh Motor Boat Club. She had been a feature of Leigh Marshes for more than 20 years.
David is quoted, as an SSBR member, as being disappointed Council officials did not give somebody the chance to restore the barge. He said: “She would have made a really good restoration project but Southend Council decided to destroy it”.
The article goes on to quote SSBR Vice Chairman, Richard Walsh, who said the barge was the last survivor of a group of eight boats built to carry 180 tons of cargo on the Thames. Richard went on to say, “Her demise is a serious loss to our maritime heritage; a loss with no obvious serious attempt by the Council to establish its importance nationally and its local trading history relevance.”
Thanks for that, Barge Blog
Meanwhile, this is the Go-Live day for the new website. May the technical gremlins steer clear!