This report feels somewhat overshadowed by the all the events surrounding the official opening that have occurred over the same period. Much has been, and will be, written about this fabulous occasion so other than a small passing reference, this will be left to others. As usual, this report focusses on the not inconsiderable accomplishments the work party achieved.
Over three days of gloriously sunny weather, volunteers worked in Phase1A continuing repairs to the wharf on the offside and also making a start on repairs to the towpath-side wash wall immediately south of Crickheath Bridge. Wash wall repairs use a lime mortar to a particular ‘recipe’ specified by CRT. We spent the Saturday trialling the mixing and application of the material with very gratifying results. Elsewhere, there is a small area of finishing off to be done at the south end of the wharf wall also using mortar. This was cleared, prepared and a start made on completing the wall which will be finished next month. The old hand-cranked mixer, a relic coveted by the British Museum, did us proud starting first time (almost).
Due to volunteers also being involved with opening event activities, a decision was made to hire no plant this work party. Plant work will resume next work party but on this occasion, high volunteer numbers on Saturday and Sunday allowed further substantial progress to be made on the wharf wall. Further lengths were completed ready for replacement of the coping stones. Many new areas of the wall were cleared, cleaned and prepared. Large quantities of material required for repairs was dug up and recovered from the ground in front of the wharf. The hole left by removal of the ‘monster stump’ has now almost been closed following a monumental amount of preparatory work.
A special note of thanks goes to Judy Richards, stalwart provider of cakes and sausage rolls to countless work parties over the years. To commemorate the official opening, Judy baked a wonderful fruit cake enjoyed by the work party volunteers. Whereas our oldest volunteer, Fred, had the honour of cutting the cake on Friday at the official opening ceremony, it was only fitting that our youngest volunteer, Josh, was given the honour of cutting Judy’s cake for the volunteers. A big thanks to Judy and Josh.