Yesterday we completed the washwall vegetation survey of the Slough Arm. Not a particularly exciting volunteer job, but eventful in its own way. They gave us a nice little phone app with which we send in photos and comments of any woody vegetation needing cutting back. I suppose recording the GPS position, writing a comment and taking and sending a photo direct to the survey database takes no more that thirty seconds each time.
There is a bit of news to report. The old Travis Perkins yard and buildings down at the Slough basin end has now been cleared, so now the basin area has a cleared and empty building site for development. Maybe something exciting will happen. What will it be? Luxury flats? A hotel? Affordable (huh!) housing. Maybe a revamp of the moorings – that would be splendid. How about a nice little park or garden? Hmm even as I write that I realise it might well be taken over by the oiks and their lager cans which are now evenly distributed along the hedgerows down the Slough end. I did notice that a CRT water tap had been installed down there, probably for winter moorers although there are none down there. What ever is planned for the area, I advise against holding your breath.
It was at that point, furthest from where I had left my car, that the pedal crank fell off my bike. Doh! I did in fact have two spanners with me, but of course neither of them were the right size. We managed to effect a temporary fix which lasted about five minutes, so we had to push our bikes for half of the way back. A lot of the towpath down their is very muddy, so the fun was quickly evaporating from the day. Stopping to eat our sandwiches at the field where they hold the canal festival, we noticed that my beloved pair of long handled loppers had gone missing, so poor Christine (my volunteer partner for the day) had to cycle back to the basin to find them. Thankfully she did.
The water down the Slough Arm tends to be very clear, mainly because very few boats get down there to stir up the mud, so it was easy to see the traffic cone standing on the canal bed in the middle of the bridge hole at bridge 10. Had we been on a boat with some sinking rope I reckon we could have got it out somehow, but from the towpath there was nothing we could do to yank out what was undoubtedly prop fodder for some unfortunate boat. Having said that, the likelihood of any boat going down there in the next month or two is pretty remote. Anyhow this morning I decided to rend in a report of it to CRT. Will they bother to send somebody down there? Answers on a postcard…