W&G AC - A Personal opinion

A Personal Opinion

This blog is my personal opinion and reflections on my role as secretary - it is not the official

position of the club.

Start 20 January 2021, close 1 May 2022


11 May 2022

Closing This Blog

So many things still going on but I think it's time to draw this blog to a close.

Since the last entry I received advise from the EA that of the two grants I applied for on behalf of the club, one (for electricity supply) has been approved but the other (for bank restoration) on wasn't. However, the club is grateful and the £2,500 will enable the installation of a solar powered system.

Membership renewals have now closed and I'm deep into new member invitatuions. Why? Oh why do some people say that they will join, I send all the paperwork, then.......nothing. If you don't want to join just say so! It saves wasting my time and means that I can make the offer to those who actually want to join. As the club has a limit of 200 adult members and I have to manage new members to make sure I don't exceed that.

OK, that's it, nice to end on a rant.

I hope this has given those who read it some insite into the efforts the elected committee put into running the club.

Tight lines, Peter


29 March 2022

Electricity supply at the pond - Developments and options

We have, it seems, finally reached the end of this road.

The Cottrells are asking £2,500 for wayleave, Network Rail demand £2,840 for approval. It comes to something that the work itself would be in the region of £1,000. The paperwork and permission cost four times as much as the work.

I think this wll make it too expensive but that will be decided at the next meeting.


16 February 2022

Electricity supply at the pond - Developments and options

After not hearing anything for a while I sent an email to a whole variety of prople at SSEN. I got some information back, the Cotterells have been contacted and the forms sent a couple of weeks ago but nothing back from them.

I've also asked SSEN to see if they can take a spur from a supply already on NR land, then we can bypass the Cotterells entirely - watch this space.


1 February 2022

Electricity supply at the pond - Increased costs

Had an email from SSEN, apparently Network Rail will charge £2,840 for wayleave. This covers their consultancy and safety checks, it's a statutory requirement and is non-negotiable.


28 January 2022

Electricity supply at the pond - Wayleave

Round and round in ever decreasing circles, it seems.

SSEN are trying to contact the Cotterells in order to get wayleave and I'm trying to do the same with Network Rail.

I am in contact with our SSEN project manager, Liam, and he is surprised how difficult it appears to be to get hold of the Cotterells, there's no phione number or email so he's written them a letter. Watch this space.


18 January 2022

Electricity supply at the pond - Booked with SSEN

I've had various emails and a conversation with Martina Hardwick at SSEN. We've agreed a visit from their site manager to assess the work on Friday 28 January. SSEN will call the groundworks contractor the day before to arrangn a time for the meeting.


14 January 2022

Electricity supply at the pond - Update

Since getting the quote from SSEN I met the ground-works contractor at the pond. He gave me a quote for the work involved in running a cable under the ground from the SSEN joint to the pond side. The committee agreed the costs and I've passed the SSEN invoice to the treasurer for payment. As soon as this is paid I'll be in contact with SSEN to arrange for their project manager to meet our ground-works guy so both sides know what is happening.next.


13 December 2022

Access to disabled platforms

I've agreed the costs for finishing the access to the disabled platforms. Work will start (and hopefully be complete) w/c 17 Jan.


22 December 2021

Newsletter

Spent a few minutes compiling a newsletter with brief details of what's happened this year and our plans for next. My! Haven't we been busy little bees? I've sent an all-members email with a few bits and pieces, and included the link to the newsletter, also taken the opportunity to update the website.


21 December 2021

Electricity supply at the pond - Update

I've sent a message to the contractor regarding a meeting and have yet to hear back.


9 December 2021

Electricity supply at the pond - Quote

I've received the quote from SSEN, coming in at £520. This doesn't include the cost of the groundworks, weatherproof cabinet etc. I'm to meet a contractor (Lee) at the pond soon to discuss this, get a price and report back to see if the club wants to go ahead.


5 December 2021

Electricity supply at the pond - Application

After much back and forth I had a call from Vish at the SSEN install team on Friday, I couldn't really do much as I was at the lake side fishing (blanking). However, he has sent me an email and after cheching with chair & treasurer I have replied. According to Vish we should get the quote for installation within 2 working days (so by Wednesday at the latest).

Fingers crossed.


22 November 2021

Electricity supply at the pond - details of the aerator

Richard (treasurer) kindly dug out the receipt for the aerator and gave me the make, model and supplier. I have contacted the supplier in the UK by phone, he gave me some, but not all the details and said he would get back to me. No response so far so I've emailed the manufacturers in Italy. I wrote my question in both English and Italian (via Google translate) and wait to see if they respond.


15 November 2021

Electricity supply at the pond - Application, part the second

I have received an email from SSEN asking for additional information about the aerators (current, starting current, starting method etc etc.). I called SSEN and tried to explain that this is less than a domestc electric mower would use but they insist that they have the information before they can proceed. It's a box checking exercise but they are being dogmatic so I'll do my best to get the info to them. Matt is trying to find out the make and model of the aerators and I can work from there.


11 November 2021

Electricity supply at the pond - Application

I finally got through to Network Rail and after a few phone calls to our Distributed Network Provider, Scottish and Southern (SSEN) and Network Rail; I have got enough information to apply for an electrical connection. I had to "blag" my way through sections on power use but we're not going to be using much, certainly less than a house would consume. So, we wait and see.


5 November 2021

Electricity supply at the pond

Still trying to get hold of someone at the Network Rail easements and wayleaves team but despite phoning at least once a day for 10 days (getting voice mail and leaving three messsages) I can't get hold of anyone. I've sent another email asking for a call back. Fingers crossed that a) they call back and b) when they do it's good news (or at least not a total knock-back).


27 October 2021

Thames Water = latest

After a few abortive attempts and voice mails left by me I get through to Christine this morning. She will chase up the team to find out what is happening, I especially need to know to be able to advise Bob if the match this coming Sunday can go ahead or not.

Update 10:30am: I've had a call back from Christine, she advises me that TW only have permission to continue to work until Friday 29th. She says that the hole should be backfilled tomorrow (Thursday) and the resurfacing done on Friday. Therefore the pond will be open on Saturday and Sunday's match can go ahead.


23 October 2021

Thames Water = again and again and again....ad nauseam

Well, it turns out that the people at Thames Water lied through their teeth when I was told the work would be completed by Friday (yesterday). There's still a huge hole (and no workers - naturally).

I've not a clue when TW will finish and, being a Saturday, there's not going to be anyone I can contact. I'll try to call and get more information on Monday.

This is the third time this year that they've dug up the same bit of piping - and it's our water bills that pay for this incompetence!


20 October 2021

Electricity supply at the pond

Over the last couple of weeks I've been in communication with Network Rail about an electricity supply to the pond. This is re-opening a conversation I had with them over 2 years ago, at the time they rejected our application as they don't allow private supply. This rule hasn't changed and once again we had a rejection.

NR did offer me a small glimmer of light, we can ask the "Distributed Service Provider" (in our case Scottish & Southern) to put in a supply. I've been sent a document with some details on the process so will follow that up.


20 October 2021

Grove Station and worried members

I've had communications fro members who are concerned that the plans for a new railway station at Grove would have an impact on the pond. I'll do a bit of digging on this but as this is still in the preliminary discussion phase I don't think we need worry for a good few years yet.


19 October 2021

Thames Water = again and again and again

Heard yesterday (Monday 18th Oct) that Thames water had, for the third time this year, dug up the access to the pond. This morning I tried to call my main contact, Christine Graham, only to get a voice mail asing me to call Kayley. Of course, Kayley didn't pick up, but there was an auto-response suggesting I call Abdul. Guess what? - Abdul didn't answer either so i left a message.

Next I went back through my records and dug out the general office number for the freshwater team (0203 467 3258). I suppose it's the "freshwater team" to distinguish it from "foulwater". I managed to talk to a very helpful guy by the name of Will. He tried to put me through directly to the developer services team. Unfortunately, he couldn't put me through but did speak to someone who will check what is going on and they will call me back by 1pm.

Update

Had not one but two calls from Thames Water staff. The most informative was from Christine, she sounded embarassed that this had happened again. She had spoken to the team onsite, the bad news is that it is not possible to use a drive-over plate as the hole is both too wide and deep for this to be safe. However, slightly better news is that this work is only expected to take a week (as opposed to 2 weeks for the earlier work) and that we should have access by this Saturday.

9 October 2021

Pond visit

Not a fishing day or with anything specific to report but as it was a nice afternoon (possibly to best we'll get now until next year) I went and had a look around the pond. It was quite busy with about 10 anglers on there but as the day was absolutely still, not a breath of wind, and sunny the conditions weren't ideal and most anglers were finding it hard going. It was, however, good to see a mixture of angling styles (it is a mixed fishery after all). I saw anglers fishing the feeder, the waggler, the pole and a couple with boilies/buzzers. Personally, I'm not sure about this carp-orientated approach on a water of just half an acre, but each to their own and no rules were being broken.

It was also good to see the floating islands that were installed and planted up earlier this year in full verdant growth, irises, sedges, mint and other plants were all looking vibrant and healthy, I hope the fish appreciate the cover but they certainly help break up the outline of the hard-landscaping.


24 September 2021

Website update - Rat problem

To try to head-off the annual series of calls for the club to "do something" about the rats that invade the pond every October I've updated the website advising that the club will not take action to poison, trap or shoot the rats, to do so would be a sisyphean task, as fast as we culled the population more would arrive (apart from the fact that Network Rail may object to us leaving poison or carrying guns on their property). Hopefully this will work but I still expect the plaintive voice calling for action.

This issue always resolves itself come November when the colder weater starts killing a few off. All we can do is try to ensure we don't encourage them by leaving food, cleraring swims at the end of a session is always a good idea, even if there isn't a rat problem.

21 August 2021

Scale collection - an ongoing project

In order to further the project to collect scales from crucians, bream and roach so I can send them to the EA to get growth rate data I went to the pond for the weigh-in at the memorial match. Oh! How it rained! Soaked, I was!

Anyway, managed to get about 15 more sets of fish scales, I need 30 sets of scales from each of the 3 species, so more collecting to do.


16 August 2021

Meet contractors at the pond

Another day.....another meeting with contractors at the pond. This time to try to get done what should have been achieved at a work party, but, if we can't get anyone to attend we'll have to pay for the work - to the detriment of the club finances.

I spent an hour or so with the contractors, explaining what needs to be done and why. They gave me a rough guide price and I'll discuss with the rest of the committee before committing the club to the (considerable) expense.

Cancel the social barbeque

Having arranged the social barbeque to follow the memorial match on 21 Aug I've had to cancel it with the pub because of a lack of interest from members. Only 3 people had said they wanted to attend - and one of those was me!

Honestly, we work hard to make this a club, as opposed to an extended commercial fishery, and get absolutely no encouragement from most of the membership.


31 July 2021

Work Party

What a disappointment, this was a well advertised event, I arrived at the pond just before 8am, by about 9am we had 6 others – from a club of 200 members! I know that some of the regulars had legitimate reasons for not being there but if just half our members gave us just 2 hours a year we could get so much done.

There is so much to be done that we may need to employ contractors, at great expense. Maybe we should charge a working party exemption (say £20) to members who can, but won’t, help.

30 July 2021

Junior members

Well….that was an interesting discussion on WhatsApp regarding junior members. It all got a bit “aerated” at times and it is safe to say that there is no consensus about changing the rules on junior members, so it’s probably for the best to put this one to bed for a while.

It all started when I posted a note about kicking a couple of teenage lads off the pond (no permits) and how I think we should be encouraging juniors, suggesting we change junior membership to 18 years and allow 14 and over to fish alone (without adult supervision).


Pro comments included :

“It certainly keeps them from causing trouble”

“well worth further investigation and discussion especially if it helps get more kids into angling and off the streets”

“The more interested they become in catching fish and with members passing on their knowledge to help them the less likely they are going to cause trouble down there, just because they have been buggers in the past doesn’t mean they will in the future with a bit of help from a local angling club”


Against comments included:

“Knowing what I know about these two I’m not sure that’s a good idea . Sadly they’re not the most pleasant of individuals”

“I for one wouldn’t want teenagers as young as 14 down there unaccompanied as a blanket rule . Some kids are perfectly fine at 14 but most are not”

“You only have to look at how many people have died in the heat wave for swimming in open water kids should have to have a adult with them”

“paying member don't want their days fishing ruined but teens with no care of the rules down the pond, and big disadvantage the pond has there isn't the space to escape it"


27 July 2021

Preparation for Work Party and non-members fishing

There was a bit of a panic on Monday as the high tempeatures over the weekend left lots of fish gasping for oxygen on the surface. Danny got the aerators running and I went down at about ten o’clock. All looked well, apart from a single carp there was not a fish to be seen on the surface. We’ll all have to keep an eye on this.


On Tuesday I went to the pond to have a quick chat with Matt about Saturday’s work party. I found a couple of kids fishing without a permit and asked then to leave (by heck! I wasn’t that lippy when I was a kid, not rude, but just putting his point quite reasonably). I felt a bit bad about forcing them off, they “only wanted a bit of fun” and were doing no harm (but no landing net etc).

However, it did get me thinking, we need more youngsters in our sport and we’re not doing a great deal to encourage them. So I’ve put a note out of WhatsApp asking for comments on 2 points:

Fstly, extend the junior ticket to 18 years (instead of the current 16 as there’s hardly anyone under 18 not in full-time education) and, secondly, to allow juniors aged 14 and over to fish unaccompanied.

I think that may well light the blue-touchpaper, time to stand well back!


22 July 2021

Disabled platforms

After several attempts I've spoken to the BDAA, unfortunately, the contractor has been "pinged" by the NHS app and he's self-isolating. Consequently, there's no further update on when these are likely to be finished.


21 July 2021

Ongoing work at the pond

I have received costs for the continuation of the bank-shoring work, this equaltes to roughly £200 per meter for gabion cages or £300 for the steel "I" beams and oak timbers. There's much there for the committee to discuss.

The BDAA organised the delivery of the remaining steel work for the platforms with a firm promise that they'll finish all work by Friday 23 July. So far, not a sound from them and I can't get a response when I call them, so....sigh....this continues.

Netting, I've spoken to Martin at Moore & Moore about netting out 300lb of small roach this coming winter, we're in discussion with The Plough AC to see if they want them. If not, I've a couple of other options. What we don't want to do is have to pay extra to get them buried.

7 July 2021

Splendid fishery

What a wonderful mixed fishery we have at the pond, this was brought home to me when, with a couple of spare hours, I went to the pond intending to fish shallow, whip-style, with pellet. Fishing just 18 inches deep I took a succession of roach and rudd, then fluked a crucian, by the end of the session I’d had loads of roach to 12oz, rudd to 8oz and 3 more crucians (so the first one was maybe not such a fluke).

Next to me a member was fishing PVA bags of pellets on a straight lead, he had a couple of tench that looked well over 4lb (and lost a carp), next to him a pole was being deployed to catch bream and crucians.

That, to me, looks like a good mixed fishery and I feel proud to be part of the team to pick-up and continue work done by earlier generations of committee members and try to keep this fishery as a splendid resource for local anglers.

30 June 2021

Work at the pond

Having grown plants for use at the pond I thought it best to get them in place before they took-over the cold-frame. With the assistance of my good lady wife we planted up the second floating island with water mint and some rushes (kindly donated by Vicky), The island was moved one peg up from its temporary home to between pegs 8-9. This looks a much more likely place for it to be permanently fixed but this can be discussed at the club meeting. Some purple loostrife and foxgloves went in between and behind pegs 15-18, these should (in theory) give summer colour and be self-seeding. Just have to hope they don't get strimmed-out by an over-eager gardener.

I have also chased both the contractor for bank-shoring work at the pond (for his prices for the next stage) and the BDAA (for a date for completion). I have been promised both pieces of information by the end of this week in time for my report to Tuesday's meeting. Fingers crossed!

23 June 2021

Membership - Closed

Well, that’s it for renewals and new memberships for another year, just a bit of tidying up. There are a couple of people who have paid their membership but not sent me their photo or form. Sorry guys, but I’m not chasing this. Until you send me the documents you can’t have your membership card and, therefore, can’t fish.

Do I sound at the end of my tether? Oh, yes! If anyone comes back to me and says I should have chased I’ll point them in the direction of this blog so they can see what is involved in being secretary, and bear in mind, this is just a small club. Imagine what is required from a secretary of a club with many hundred members and a dozen or so waters.

I don’t begrudge it, but some need to understand and realise that I have more than just their concern to worry about.

19 June 2021

Membership - now closed to new members (2)

Now I get the grief: "but why can't I join?".....because I've been waiting over 6 weeks for your form/photo/money and can't wait indefinitely on the off-chance that one day you'll send your fees. So it's defer to 2022 or removal from the list.

18 June 2021

Swift Ditch - Closed

Oh Heck! If it's not one thing it's another!

Just as soon as we get access to the pond restored, access to Swift Ditch becomes an issue. This is a really delicate issue, the land is joint owned and the 2 owners have fallen out. One owner says that we have access and can fish, the other says we don't, and can't.

Relationships between the 2 land owners have reached such a low point that communication is by lawyer's letter. The land owner who has given us permission has already taken legal advise and been told that their position is correct, W&GAC can have access. However, given the vitriolic nature of the relationship between the land owners the club has taken the decision to not inflame the situation at the moment and therefore close the fishery temporarily until the matter is resolved.

I apologise to any members affected by this but I'm sure you can undersand the awkward situation the club finds itself in, through no fault of its own.

If anyone knows of a stretch of the Thames that is open for a club to lease we'd love to hear from you.

17 June 2021

Membership - now closed to new members

Membership has now reached its limit of 200 members and I'm in the process of contacting anyone who was told they could join, expressed enthusiasm, but then did nothing about it. It's no use whinging now if I spoke to you at the beginning of May, sent you the application form and instructions, phoned twice since then to check you still wanted to join and still, 6 weeks later, haven't received any payment or documentation. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't just hold a space open on the off-chance you'll take any action, it's next year or never, now.

17 June 2021

Thames Water - update 2

Yesterday (Wed 16 June) Thames Water finished their work on Station Road and we now have access to the pond. This morning I called Thames Water and spoke to a very friendly lady (Christine Graham) who apologised for the lack of access and has promised that a flag will be put onto their systems to say that any further work at that location will need to allow vehicular access.

I hope that there is no further work and that we don’t actually have to test the reliability of TW’s systems, not that I don’t have confidence in them........just saying!

Last time we had this issue with access, back in March, I foolishly thought that was the end of the matter and binned all the paperwork with contact details etc, not this time! Oh No! Christine's direct line phone number is now safely recorded.

14 June 2021

Thames Water - update

The hole remains! Matt asked if I could get hold of someone at TW for an update, so........

A whole morning, wasted, trying to get through to someone, anyone, at TW who can help - mind you, just getting to speak to a human can be difficult enough. It's not the people on the phone who are the problem but the tight-fisted, greedy bastards who sit on the board and fail to staff the teams effectively, whilst paying themselves huge bonuses.

Anyway - live and learn - who knew that the track behind the pond is actually called "Station Road".

I finally managed to speak to someone (Kyle) in the clean water operations team (0203 467 3258 if anyone's interested). He has raised the issue with the relevant team and I am promised a call back within 24 hours, the job reference number is 1019781787 (just so that I've got a record of it this time). It helped that Kyle is an angler so, when I mentioned at I represent an angling club and can't access the fishery we had a point of reference to help the conversation along.

So, now we (I) wait for the call.

9 June 2021

Thames Water

Bloody Thames bloody Water have gone and dug up the entrance to the pond, again! Matt spoke to the contractor and apparently they didn't do the job last time because - after digging the road up - they realised they had the wrong part (and I thought the idea of privatising the water companies was to make them more efficient, obvioulsy not - it was just a ruse to fleece the users).

Matt is to meet the contractor again this evening (Wednesday) to find out when the road way will be reinstated.

3 June 2021

Anti-algal dye

At the meeting on Tuesday I was tasked to order the anti-algae dye for the pond. This is now done, I spoke to the sales department at Dyofix to check the quantity needed and 1Kg will be enough for one complete treatment. I've ordered 2Kg to give us an immediate application and allow us to reapply in August. We'll monitor from there and see if we need another dose in October/November.

Given the fish-kill over the last 2 days (2 tench and a few roach) I hope we're not too late.

25 May 2021

New members

I must admit to a certain frustration at times, new members are all too keen to join, some act promptly and send everything through but some....oh dear!

I have sent application forms to enough people to fill the club to its maximum 200 adult members, I can't send more in the off-chance some will not respond, so I'm left hanging on, chasing people to see if they are actually going to join. What should be a simple process of sending out the paperwork, receiving the forms back, duly signed, along with a photo, then checking against the bank download before finally sending out the membership cards becomes one long round of iterative chasing.

15 May 2021

Work Party

I arrved at the pond a good 25 minutes before the work party was due to start at 9am, By 9:15 not a soul had shown up then, just as I was about to head home, Bob & Vicky arrived. There weren't enough of us to do a great deal but sufficient to get the pond ready for the match on Sunday.

13 May 2021

The photogaphed man

I have received an envelope addressed to "Wantage and Grove AC" containing 4 identical passport photos. Just that, no name, membership number, waiting list reference....nothing, nada, zilch! So now, not only am I club secretary, I have to adopt the mantle of detective.

However, a WhatsApp appeal may have enabled me to identify the culprit, whatch this space for updates!

13 May - Update - Yes! Got him, thanks to Matt for giving me his forename, from that I was able to check and there was only one person with that name who has paid his fees but I've not received the application form, a quick phone call confirmed and all is back on track.

12 May 2021

Platforms for disabled anglers

The BDAA team arrived bright and early on Tuesday (11th) and cracked-on with work on pegs 5 & 4. I had a long chat with the main man, Terry, I explained that we had a match on Sunday and would need the swims, he assured me that the platforms would be fitted and fishable by Sunday (even if all the rails weren't in place)

Went down again today (Wednesday 12th) only to find a singular lack of people working on the platforms. However, pegs 5 & 4 are fishable as they are and the unfinished platform can be moved from peg 3 temporarily to make that fishable.

I'm sure we'll get this work finished - just not sure when.

7 May 2021

Contractor meeting at the pond

Had a quarter of an hour meeting with contractors at the pond, this time to discuss the next phase of work into the corner from peg 10 and as far around towards peg 14 as the funds will stretch to. He's going to look at various options (the existing method of steel I-beams and untreated timber is probably going to be a non-starter due to huge increases in material costs), so possibly gabion cages or steel shuttering.

If we go with the gabion cages then the base could be a wide cage (say - 900mm front-to-back), then use 450mm cage above. That would leave a shelf that could be planted up. But time (and cost) will decide.

4 May 2021

Monthly club Meeting

Hooray - at last! We can all go to the pub for a proper face-to-face meeting. OK, so we had to sit outside and it was freezing cold but better by far than a flaky Skype call. Thanks go to Jonny B for his most important contribution of the evening - he got the beers in!

The meeting lasted the best part of 2 hours and there's quite a few action points for me (as expected). I'll start updating the website this coming week.

3 May 2021

Membership renewal

Well, that's it for renewals, anyone who hasn't renewed now goes on the waiting list. A last scramble around by the laggards and it's onto the people on the waiting list. Most seem keen to join, one or two "waverers" and one applicant who has since moved to North Wales, so he declined my invitation to join.

25 April 2021

Membership renewal

I know it's not my duty to call all those members who haven't renewed but five minutes spent here could save me loads of hastle later.

Why? Oh! Why? Oh! Why? ........ Why do some members change their address/phone number without telling me? How can I bloody well get hold of you if you a) don't respond to emails and b) have a new phone number.....Yes - I'm talking to you Nathan! If I hadn't contacted Bob to ask why you appear to have dropped off the face of the earth you would lose your membership.

Not just this member - but anyone who wants to stay a member - keep me informed of any changes!

Floating Islands - work party Saturday 24 April

After a desperate scrabble around the country to collect the coir matting - well, the stuff is expensive enough without the club paying £50 just for delivery! Then a chase for the pheasant netting because my original order was delayed - I managed to find a pest control company who sold me some offcuts, at least the platforms could now be built.

My thanks, and those of the club, go to Bas Sutton, Gerry Auston & Daniel Brooks for their work over a four and a half hour period! We managed to get 1 platform built, planted and positioned and another platform built and floated, but not planted or in its final position. Next work party scheduled for Saturday 15 May.

Platforms for disabled anglers

It appears that building the platforms is a greater task than the contractors allowed for. I get the feeling that they have just changed the materials that is used to build the platforms and this is causing unexpected issues. Consequenty they are going to have to come back next week (from Thursday 29 April) for a few days to finish everything off.


17 April 2021

Shoring-up of bank, pegs 5-8 (5)

Had an on-site meeting with the contractors and Matt to review the work. After much discussion we argeed to leave the work as it is and settle the invoice. It was futher agreed that we would review the work after a few months and the contractor would revisit it if anything was starting to move.


16 April 2021

Delivery of material for plaforms for disabled anglers

Having originally been given a delivery date of Thursday 15 April for the material I receved a call from the suppliers on Wed 13th that this was postponed to the Friday, with a delivery slot between 11am-3pm. I called Terry at the BDAA and he didn't know of this change so his team had to re-arrange their plans..

Friday dawns clear and bright and just before I head off to the pond to meet the other lads on site I get a call form the driver to say we're his last drop....sigh!

My thanks go to Danny, Phil, Gerry & Johnny B for sticking with it and waiting for the delivery to arive at about 2:15pm. One pallet of items was handballed off and the second brought out on a pallet trolley. Thanks also go to the driver who sat in his cab whilst an odd-ball selection of the elderly unloaded his lorry.

All in place now for the BDAA team to come back on Thursday 22nd and start the installation.


14 April 2021

Shoring-up of bank, pegs 5-8 (5)

At about midday on the 12th I went to the pond to check on progress only to see that one of the posts had moved. The contractor was on site and he said that they were getting an 8 tonne digger back in (at their cost) to drive a supporting RSJ behind the one that had moved.

On the evening I get various messages from members about a "collapsed" bank (licence for melodrama not yet approved - so let's tone the rhetoric down a bit, guys).

Yesterday evening (Tue 13th) the contractor calls me to say that the supporting pole is now driven in and the back fill will be completed.

Hopefully that will be the end of the matter.


13 April 2021

Grant from the Environment Agency

Got the purchae order from the environment agency so promptly created the invoice. I sent it to Richard & Matt for checking, Richardgave it the OK so I emailed it off for payment asap.

Hopefully the money won't take long to arrive - if I remember rightly the money for the generator in 2019 arrived quickly after the invopice was sent.


12 April 2021

Grant from the Environment Agency

All that hard work - all those emails - all those metings at the pond (well, OK, maybe only one meeting) this morning I get the purchase order from the EA for our grant to cover some of the cost of the bank restoration and floating islands.

It's an barely credible £4,500. What a great result for the club, this will take the pressure off this year's finances and allow us to start planning the next stage of work.

I will raise the invoice on the EA and get approval from Richard before sending.

High fives all round!


10 April 2021

Shoring-up of bank, pegs 5-8 (4)

I had what I thought would be a quick visit to see how the work at the pond was coming along - what a change! There is what looks to be a huge flat area some 4 feet (1.2metres) back from the edge of the pond, it is so big at first I thought that the contractors had gone further into the pond than the original bank but that’s an illusion. The bank remains in the same place but because they’ve cleared the slope away it just looks bigger.

This led me to think “there’s quite enough space between the water’s edge and the road to seat an angler. Do we need the platforms?" So…..I call Matt and he came down for a look, he agrees, there’s no need to reinstate the platforms.

What a result, that means the club doesn't have to spend time, effort and money putting the platforms back and the work party scheduled for the 24 April can concentrate on the floating islands.

To make access easier there is going to be a chain with a clip behind pegs 6, 7 & 8. To get to the pegs the contractors will cut a couple of steps (using the now redundant boards from the platforms), all members have to do is unclip the chain when they arrive and re-clip it when they leave.


Membership renewals - cash payments

I can hardly believe it, despite every missive I’ve sent about renewals quite clearly stating “No Cash” what happens? Correct in one guess, you clever old thing. I get home from the pond to find an envelope stuffed with notes (well – maybe not stuffed, but you get the idea). So I get on the phone, said member will collect the cash and either use online banking or post a cheque – I know a cheque isn’t ideal but better than folding currency.


8 April 2021

Big web site update

Lots to update on the website, most notably the publication of the match calendar. Also added details of the social to Orchard Lakes, and a call to arms for the work parties on Sat 24 April & Sat 15 May.


7 April 2021

Shoring-up of bank, pegs 5-8 (3)

Took a call from the contractor, Lee, at about ten thirty, he said he'd be at the pond for another hour or so, I wasted no time in dasing down to see him on-site. When I got there I had to wait for about 10 minutes at the entrance whilst the JCB was unloaded - that I didn't mind - it meant work was starting. Had a good conversation with Lee about what he's doing and went through a couple of extra items with him. Also, had a brief discussion about the next phases of the work needed. He had some interesting ideas that could save us money. I'll discuss at the next club meeting (4 May)


6 April meeting update

Another productive meeting, lots of things agreed (and lots of actions coming from it). Notably, the EGM agreed that juniors will no longer count towards the 200 membership limit, allowing kids to join parents without having to sit on the waiting list. Must update the website, send email etc etc.

There was a long discussion about who has priority for the platforms for disabled anglers once they are put in place. Called the BDAA for advise but they don't have a policy on it


6 April 2021

Meeting preparation

Spending a few minutes to make sure that I have everything for this evening's Skype call meeting: minutes from March, proposed change to the constitution regarding junior members, list of items for the fishery plan, agreement of spending limit for floating platforms, working party schedule, confirm new (minor) work from Lee (shoring contractor), update on renewals and the state of the waiting list, vetting of new members, discuss covid restrictions on pegs 16 onwards.

I think that's all but may keep this as a useful aide-memoir for the meeting.


Shoring-up of bank, pegs 5-8 (2)

I knew it was too good to last, these things never go according to plan - I took a call from Lee (the contractor) yesterday (Easter Monday) to confirm that there is a delay to the delivery of the timber for the shoring-up work, he expects a delay of no more than a couple of days.

I did say that there's a hard deadline of Wednesday 14 April as the BDAA are arriving on the 15th to fit the platforms for disabled anglers.


31 March 2021

Shoring-up of bank, pegs 5-8

Two steps forwards and one back, had a conversation with the contractor for the bank shoring work (to confirm he can start on the 6th), only to be told that he's waiting for the timber and it's stuck on a boat "somewhere". It's European timber so hopefully not queuing in the Suez canal.

Time will tell, watch this blog for updates.


21 March 2021

Platforms for disabled access

Well, that's a result, and no mistake. The BDAA have awarded us a grant for the cost of two platforms for disabled anglers. Delivery of material is scheduled for Thursday 15 April and work to install the platforms is expected to take 3 working days.


25 March 2021

Access to the pond - Thames water update (hopefully final)

I went to the pond yesterday (Wed 24th) only to find that all the rubbish excavated from when the hole was originally dug had been removed and the hole had been filled with hard-core to within 8-9cm of the road level (I assume in readyness to make good the road surface - by yet another team!)

This morning (Thu 25th) Danny kindly called me to say that he'd been along the A338 past the pond and that the road-surfacers were on-site. Hopefully this will see the end of the works by Thames Water and we can, once again, have access to the pond.

I can only apologise for the loss of amenity but as a club we knew nothing about it, although I tried (numerous phone calls to plead our case) there seemed no way for an inconsequential organisation such as ourselves to get TW to speed-up their process

23 March 2021

Work at the pond

I have spoken to the cointractor doing the bank work (pegs 5-8) and have agreed that he'll start on Tuesday 6 April. This means that the pond will be open for members over the Easter weekend.

Consequently the pond will be closed from Tuesday 6 - Friday 9 April to allow the contractor to work unhindered.

Also, the BDAA are to install a double sized platform for disabled angler on peg 5 w/c 12 April, again the pond will be closed during the duration of the work, details to follow once confirmed. We'll need bodies on site to handball the materials from the delivery lorry to peg 5 when the time comes.


21 March 2021

Membership renewals (3)

Here we are, three weeks into the renewals process and 72 (out of 200) members have renewed so far. I have a horrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that thre's going to be a mad rush at the end of April.


19 March 2021

Access to the pond - Thames water update

Not really much of an update, more of a frustration. On Tuesday I spoke to a manager at TW and was told the work would only take 3 days. OK, I thought, there's no point pushing our case if the work's going to be completed by Wednesday.

At 4 o'clock on Wednesday I trundle down to the pond to speak to the guys on site to discuss progress - there was nobody there, but still a huge great hole, completely across the access road, about 2m across and 1.5m deep. Even my untrained eyes could see there was no way that access would be available by Thursday morning.

Thursday dawns and I decide to go down to the pond earlier to make sure I'm there before the team knock-off for the day. I get there at 2 o'clock and there's no one there, again! Also, it's obvious that nothing has been done since my last visit.

A quick call to my new buddy at TW confirms that the work is finished but the team that does the back fill and make good isn't booked until next week!

Ooooh, it makes my blood boil, they can inconvenience many people with complete impunity and there's no recourse. Not only W&G members but the alternate lane traffic lights remain in place, holding up traffic for absolutely no good reason.

16 March 2021

Access to the pond - update

Finally managed to talk to someone at TW in the works team. He could see the job on screen but there was no start date associated with it and no permissions received. He's checking the situation.....but don't hold your breath!

Well, what do you know - I got a call back from TW. Apparently, the work is scheduled to be completed by the morning of Thursday 18 March (just 2 days away). We've agreed not to take action (as there's little we could do between now and then anyway) unless the work overruns, in wcich case TW will try to put something in for the weekend to allow access.

Work on the pond

Cor! What a busy day!

Not only dealing with TW but have now also got a date for the work shoring up the bank between pegs 5 - 8, due to start on Thursday 1 April, however, that's Maundy Thursday so we may need to put the start date back so the pond can be fished over the Easter weekend. We'll need a work party to remove the platforms from pegs 6, 7 & 8 before work can start.

Work on the pond (2)

The busy day continues! The BDAA are now scheduled to fit the platform for disabled anglers week commencing 12 April. We're going to need bodies on site when the material is delivered as I've been told it comes on a forty-footer, and there's no way that can get down the track by the pond, so it's all going to have to be hand-balled out.


15 March 2021

Access to the pond

Had a message this morning from a member that Thames Water are digging up the access road to the pond and we can't get down there. I spend 1 hour 14 minutes and 9 bloody seconds on the phone to Thames Water and nobody really seems to know much about it (other than there is work scheduled at that site). So, off I trundle to the pond to actually see what's going on and talk to the guys on site - sure enough, there's 2 guys, a digger and a huge great hole where once there was a road. They tell me that the work is scheduled for 2 weeks and that there's nothing in their works order about providing access.

I've tried to call the works department at TW again, no answer, left a voice mail. I'll keep at it.


10 March 2021

Environment Agency - meeting at the pond

I met our local EA rep at the pond today & showed him where the work will be carried out between pegs 5 to 8. He kindly donated floatation tubes and corner return pieces to help us build the floating islands that are required as a condition of our grant application. He seemed confident that the club would be awarded a grant and that we should have a formal offer (and paperwork) within the next couple of weeks - watch this space!


9 March 2021

Meeting Update

A good meeting I felt, attended by 8 (which is as many as we've ever had for an online meeting - apolgies to Les but we couldn't get the link to work). Lots of things were discussed so lets's just list the most important as I see them. Firstly, the club closed off the year in the black, which is always a good situiation to be in.

Matt suggested that the club look at a 5 year membership to allow us to get funds up-front for major works at the pond, this is for next year's renewals at the earliest, it was decided against asking members for loans as the club doesn't want to carry debt, and I can see that's a reasochnable position.

The position of junior members was discussed and changes to the constitution will be voted on at April's meeting allow a maximum of 200 adult members and 25 junior members, thereby allowing juniors on the waiting list to get tickets straight away and joint their parents.

There were sometimes heated discussions about Colmoor Farm (do we keep it?) and the start time of matches in winter (match secretary's decision is final) - sorry Billy.

Lastly, unsettling reports have reached me of some members objecting to the rise in the ticket prices! What! Are these members totally divorced from reality? The committee works hard to keep the club going, we have to spend possibly about twenty thousand pounds in the next few years to maintain the fishery....and some people have the gall to snipe from the side lines and complain about a few more quid. A full adult membership is 67 pence a week. Go and find a sport where access to local and high-quality facilities are available anywhere near that price! #whingers


9 March 2021

Renewals (2) - Cheques, bloody cheques

Four of the blighters so far! It really is the most inconvenient method of payment, Now I have to go to the bank to pay the damn things in! Then wait for them to clear, all the while having to hang onto the membership cards thereby preventing the members from fishing the pond!

Get with the twenty-first century and pay online, please. Alternatively, go to the TSB yourself, pay by cash and credit the club's account - use the reference (membership No. & first 3 characters from your surname), then it's done quickly and neatly.


5 March 2021

Renewals

As I'm no longer at work I've lost my access to MicroSoft Office so the club membership records are held on Libre Office (a shareware package to rival MicroSoft). It looks and feels very similar to the MS package but with just enough differences to make things difficult, it would be easier if it was totally different then I wouldn't use a familiar sequence of commands only to find it's done something strange. Anyway, with a little self-education (and reading the manual) I've managed to print the address labels for return of the membership cards.

So, just continue to send the cards in, pay the fees direct to the bank account and I'll get the cards out. There's probably a delay of a few days as I get downloads from the club's account twice a week, not every day (I do have to have a life outside being secretary for W&GAC).


4 March 2021

Netting results - Update

We've had the report on the netting from Moore & Moore and there's a shed-load of fish in the pond. In summary, the rudd have all but disappeared but the roach are doing well, as are the bream. The tench seem a little out-of-sorts but the netters were impressed by the number and size of the crucians.

See the website for the full report


21 February 2021

Netting results

The netting was carried out as planned on Saturday 20 Feb, there's a page with more details on the website. To my untrained eye it went well, there's certainly no problems with the numbers of fish in there! One thing always surpises me is the lack of any predators of any decent size. The netters got a couple of chub and one, just one, big perch. Given the numbers of small roach and the way the bream are successfully spawning, it seems an ideal environment for perch to thrive. Maybe, and this is a personal opinion only, not club policy, we need a few pike to thin the roach and bream?

Notwitstanding, it was good to see so many healthy fish and I'm pleased and proud to be part of the team managing a successful, healthy, fishery - long may it continue.

16 February 2021

Ice, Ice, baby

A frozen pond on Saturday morning means that our intrepid chair, Matt and maybe a willing volunteer or two will remove the aerators this week prior to the netting on Saturday.

Please remember - do not visit the pond on Saturday as the netters need to remain covid compliant. Details of the results of the netting will be put on the web site and Facebook.


10 February 2021

Meeting - Fees

Well, yesterday evening's Skype meeting was interesting, lots to discuss, not least an increase in fees for the forthcoming renewals. The club has agreed a £5 across-the-board increase (except juniors) and the abolition of the concessionary rate, postponed for a year.

The rationale is that the club is going to need a shed-load of money in the forthcoming few years to ensure that there isn't wide-spread and wholesale bank collapse at the pond. To pardon the pun, the club needs to shore-up its reserve to meet these projected costs that could well run into tens of thousands of pounds. There were no dissenting voices at the meeting, the proposal was carried unanimously, but I bet there will be some howls of anguish from some quarters.

Anyway - it's done now and details are on the web pages.

We're all still getting used to the Skype meetings, we'll probably just about get the hang of them by the time we return to normal and can meet at the pub again (if any are left to re-open once all this is over).


Work party & Netting

The work party is planned for 9:30am on Saturday 13 February. Probably a short affair, even if the pond isn't frozen the forecast temperature won't encourage anyone to linger longer than necessary. This is in preparation for the netting on Saturday 20 February. The pond is off-limits to members on that day, to ensure Covid compliance the netters have requested that as few people as possible attend.


1 February 2021

State of the pond

Thought I'd take a (non-fishing) look at the pond, lovely day, cold (about 4 degrees) but flat calm, not a breath of wind. I was not prepared for just how full the pond was, almost to bursting! The water is up to the platform on peg 1 and pegs 15 - 18 are under water. There were a few fish moving but the lone angler on peg 9 was struggling for bites. I was hoping to get down there today as it's nice and warm but - for me - it's just not safe.

23 January 2021

The match scene

I've just updated the website with the information about the match cancellations etc. It was when I looked at the calendar I realised what a bloody awful year it's been for the match fishing types. Bob has shown the patience of a saint, reorganising matches only to find that the reorganisation has to be reorganised again!

There are two stars that shine from the match fishing gloom, one is that a lady has beaten the men to the aggregate trophy and the other is that Wantage and Grove finally beat The Plough over the 2-leg inter-club match, actually winning both home and away legs.

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again - let us all hope that as we get our jabs and summer approaches that the shackles come off and we can look forwards to something resembling normality (I mean the old normal not the new normal we're currently experiencing).

22 January 2021

Pond Netting Update

Billy Whizz has done a great job in getting the netting of the pond organised, this is scheduled to happen on Saturday 20 February and the pond will be closed on that date. Unless you have a specific invitation to attend do not go to the pond, the netting company is, naturally, concerned about covid and they do not want people milling around.

The netting is for stock assessment purposes only and no fish will be removed. However, before the netting can take place the lilies need to be cut back and the aerators removed, the club would greatly appreciate any volunteers for either of these, the easiest probably being the lily removal. Contact the club via the web contact page if you can help.


However, the way things are going at the moment, as soon as a plan is made along comes a covid intervention and buggers everything. If the date of netting changes I'll update via all the usual channels.


Match Update

All matches cancelled until further notice, Vicky Knowlson wins the aggregate trophy, see the match blog for details.

20 January 2021

Match Update

In the current lockdown I know how difficult it can be to keep members updated so I thought I'd begin a blog with general club chat of things that might interest members, but which aren't formal enough to make it to the web pages.

Whilst I try to keep the web pages themselves to dry facts this blog will be far more opinionated. Just bear in mind that these opinions are mine, not necessarily the club's.

The over-riding feature of current times is Covid, we can go fishing but not fish matches, so the pond remains open, as does Swift Ditch but I don't know if anyone's fished it for a while.

Meetings

Club meetings still continue but the convivial chat over a pint at the pub has been replaced by Skype calls - it's just not the same. However, in winter, when it's perishing cold it is easier just to dial into a call than traipse into town and try to find a parking place.


The Pond

It's absolutely full to the brim at the moment. Peg 5 remains closed as the bank is in imminent danger of collapse. We've had one quote for remedial work and I spent some long hours on the pond on Friday and Saturday last (15 & 16 Jan) meeting two more contractors for quotations. This is not an inexpensive task and to assist the funds I've raised two grant applications, one with the Environment Agency and the other with the Angling Trust, we'll find out the results at the end of March.

I've managed to secure for the club a grant from the British Disabled Angling Association https://bdaa.co.uk/ for a double-sized disabled platform to be installed at peg 5 but this can't be done until the bank is shored up. The platform is rated to two tonnes and all work will be carried out by BDAA contractors.

The netting to check on the health and density of the stock in the pond is still scheduled for either Saturday 13 or 20 February. Before this work can be carried out the lilies need to be cut back and the aerators removed. Normally Danny would do this but he's self-isolating so if there's anyone who cn help please let the club know


Renewals

Renewals for 2021 will all be by post and direct bank transfer, the club will ask for an additional £1 to cover postage costs for each renewal application (households with more than one member will pay £1 between them so long as the applications are done at the same time). Full details to follow.

At normal turn-over rates the club has a three year waiting list, so don't forget to renew when the time comes or it could be a long wait to get back in!

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