A party from the HSC viewed the fireworks on the Thames at the turn of the millenium. The following day we had a wet but enjoyable New Year ramble starting from Aldbury in the Chiltern Hills, lunching at Marsworth where the Aylesbury branch of the Grand Union Canal brances off the Grand Union Canal.
Grace Harland organised a successful theatre trip during February 2000, six members went to see an Alan Ayckbourne play at the Lyric theatre.
Visit to Museum of Rowing and Streetly YHA - 4/5 March
We had an excelent weekend visiting the museum of rowing at Henley and walking in the Chilterns 4th and 5th March. Six of us met at the museum and walked on the Saturday, four stayed overnight at Streetley YHA and had a longer walk on the Sunday.
Here are a few pictures taken by Richard Farr:
The entrance to Henley Museum of Rowing
Walking along the Thames near Hambledon lock downstream from Henley
Some of our party in the garden of Streetly YHA
The museum of rowing is a very modern building, the architecture is of interest as well as the exhibits. There are a lot of gagety displays, eg. drawers in the wall you can pull out to view small exhibits. One display puzzled us for a long time until Richard guessed how it worked. This was a model of Henley town which you look at through a window in a wall. It was clearly a three dimensional model with the houses made from little blocks of wood and the bridge modeled in cardboard or similar. But as the recorded commentary progressed through the centuries the model changed at intervals, more houses appearing, then a new bridge, a railway station and so on. I think Richards guess as to how it was done must be correct but it involves mirrors and is a bit complicated to explain here. Our Saturday afternoon walk was along the stretch of river used for Henley regatta, on to Hambledon mill, then back over the hills.
We started our Sunday ramble from a point a few miles East of Streetley. The walk took us through woodland to a pleasant and out of the way village pub at Witheridge Hill for lunch then on to Stoke Row where we viewed the Marharaj's well. The indian Marharaja of Benares was in conversation with his good friend Mr Reade, an Englishman. The Marharaja was told how the mother of a poor English family in a Cotswold village at Stoke Row had beat her own son because he drank just one glass of water without permission during a period of drought. Hearing this, and remembering that the English had built many wells in India, the Maharajah was moved to pay for a well to be built in this English village, to provide a free water supply for the local inhabitants. The well was completed in 1864, together with a cottage for a well keeper and an adjacent cherry orchard the proceeds from which were intended to cover the upkeep of the well. Stoke Row is at the top of a hill which perhaps explains why the well is an amazing 370 feet deep. It was dug by hand, a long and dangerous job, the shaft being sunk through chalk and also layers of sand which required shoring and brick lining to avoid collapse. Since the shaft is only four feet diameter only one man could work at the bottom. A cast iron winding mechanism is mounted over the well to haul nine gallon metal water barrels up the shaft. Above this mechanism is mounted a golden elephant and over the whole well head is a decorative Indian style cupola supported on a circle of iron pillars. It is a unique relic and provided a welcome afternoon break in our ramble.
From Stoke Row we wandered back through extensive woodlands to our starting point, then drove to Henley for a teashop to round off a good weekend.
Society For Nautical Research
Grace Harland has passed onto me a letter she received in her capacity as Honory Secretary of the Dengie Branch of the Royal Naval Association. The letter is from the Society for Nautical Research , dated 14 Dec '99. This letter is a proposal to found an Institute of Seamanship. The letter says that the age old skills of Seamanship are in danger of being lost due to the use of more modern techniques and asks whether there should there be a professional body dedicated to their preservation. The Society would like to hear the views of all interested people and organisations. The HSC is doing its best to continue to develop skills in seamanship among its members but we are mainly concerned with those skills as applied by amateurs sailing even smaller boats than the above society probably has in mind. However, we do have at least one professional mariner amongst our readership so anyone who can contribute in this area may contact: Tom Peppitt. LtCdr RNR: M.Phil (Marine Science): FRIN: MNI Secretary, Small Craft Committee Society for Nautical Research email: TomPeppittQcompuserve.com The next step would be a one-day seminar in London to decide the way ahead. This would be held towards the end of 2000, date and venue to be fixed.