A TALE OF 2 GERRYS, 1 JOHN AND AND A CHEON. 25/4/17.
Here we are three hundred yards north of Upper Trebanos Lock, not fifty yards from where we lose the canal in an 800 yard pipe. The section is not the prettiest but that is far prettier than not being able to see it at all. The Swansea Canal Society and the Canal and River Trust are doing our best to get this dowdy quarter of a mile up to the ‘wow factor’ level of the mile below Lower Trebanos Lock. We have started off by repairing the eroded towpath banks, commonly referred to as ‘wash holes’. For this task we were joined by two new volunteers. On the right, in the orange top, is John Jones, who is one of the instigators of the new Pontardawe to Ynysmeudwy work party that will have its first organised litter pick on Sunday May 21st. At last, we will be able to tap into the potential of volunteers who work during the week or are full time students. This is a very welcome advance for the society. We have been unable to do full justice to the maintenance demands of the northern half of the canal for some time now and,at last, we can begin to redress this failing.
On the left of the picture is one of the two Gerrys named in the title of this blog. Gerry the First, is a freelance TV producer who used to work for ITV Wales. He came all the way from Penarth to work with us which says something about our reputation. Or maybe I misheard hims and he actually said Pennard. He hopes to get a piece done for TV on our activities here.
As you can see from the photo below on the left, John and Gerry the First both worked very hard. At the end of the morning we had lain sand bags over a fity yard length of canal bank. Our regular volunteers were also busy rescuing stone work from the canal walls which had fallen into the canal itself over the years. This will be used to build up new walls on top of the sand bags which contain a quick setting hard mix.
Our second Gerry, pictured on the right next to Andy (resplendent in his corporation hi-vis jacket), had travelled less far the Gerry the First to be with us. It was either Brynammon or Ammanford he came from though, I fear I cannot remember which. There was definitely an Amman involved in it. He was on the canal on behalf of the Green Flag Awards committee to judge us for the upcoming 2017 awards in the Best Kept Public Spaces Category. As many of our volunteers were dragging out the never ending supply of beer cans which travel the 800 yards of piped canal from Pontardawe Town Centre to Trebanos in under twenty minutes, I hope he was impressed.
Just in case I have concentrated a little too much on individuals in the above paras, I have included this rather lovely photograph below of all those who worked so hard today and richly deserved their morning refreshments. At least twenty five, I make it. This short cake-break in our restoration activities was of particular significance on this occasion. Our artis-in-residence for the six months from November 2015 to June 2016 had sent us a gift of an embroidered tablecloth. Cheon Pyo Lee, is an artist now resident in New York, but we remember his stay with us with particular fondness. Given Cheon’s creative flair, he was not interested in the pristine cloth that left his home in the USA but rather what the table cloth would look like once it had been besmirched by the hungry hordes, the ‘Local Saints’ as he referred to us.
So we set to it with a will and every possible material from tea and coffee, to fruit cake and canal silt was ‘spilt and stained’ into the cloth. I was on hand to record the before and after effect as below. The exhibit will now be sent to Newtown where it will be part of a display of other works that Cheon produced whilst in Wales.
We wish him well in his artistic career and thank him for allowing us to join in with his work from across the Atalntic.