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Hugh Marriage Posts

The number seven

This month I have seven updates on stories which have been running in this column. First, the Rivermaid is now based in Salcombe so that she can be used for estuary cruises when there is not enough water to run to Kingsbridge. This will help keep her financially viable. The Dartmouth to Salcombe ferries have been disrupted by poor weather but have proved popular on the days they have managed it. Second, water quality. The Environment Agency considers that the…

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Good fences make good water quality

The quality of water is an appropriate topic for a parish magazine, so I’ll make no apology for returning to it. Just after I had written last month’s piece I heard of a YouTube clip on the success of fencing cattle away from streams to keep beach water clear of ruminant runoff. http://www.youtube.com/user/ECSFDI shows the Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer, Lizbe Pilbeam, talking to John Tucker, who farms on the Aune. Insomniacs will also have heard Richard Foss, who farms near…

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A rural myth corrected and good news for water quality

Writing about the harbour has its risks – I sometimes get an ear-full from irate readers but, thankfully, not too often – and one of those risks is that you are given stories in good faith which turn out to be the rural equivalent of urban myths. A particular example is the story that one of the large outboard engines which was stolen on a high tide in September had been found in Canada. Well, it seems that this particular…

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Repairs to Jubilee Pier, a new ferry and some new buoys

At the last moment South Hams District Council decided to repair Jubilee Pier after all. The boulders have been re-pointed and the whole structure has been bound with a stainless steel band, anchored in some way into the middle. What is more, South West Water are looking into the possibility of removing their sewerage tank from inside the pier, which may make it possible to fill the void with something more structural. All this should do for another five years…

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This isn’t Cornwall but the Duke owns it

As a civil servant, I often had occasion to show foreign visitors round Parliament. Usually the most difficult part was explaining why (in those days) the House of Lords consisted mainly of people who were there because of something their ancestors had done – sometimes centuries ago and including acts which are not fit to be described in a family newspaper. Europeans in particular could not understand a hereditary upper house: to be honest, they were genuinely astonished by it…

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Easter 2010: times and places

One of the amusing elements of my working life was having to learn new language when a Government changed. So Conservative governments used to talk enthusiastically of “crime prevention”; Labour governments spoke equally enthusiastically of “crime reduction”. Civil servants have to get on-message straight away. As it happens, I always considered it easier to talk about “crime reduction” – indeed, I used to say that crime prevention was impossible whilst crime reduction was easy. Crime reduction becomes easier if you…

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Jubilee Pier is getting serious

It is only a few months since I wrote about Jubilee Pier but things are going from bad to worse. The story so far: Jubilee Pier is the ferry point for the East Portlemouth and Kingsbridge (“Rivermaid”) ferries. It is also the breakwater which defends Salcombe against swell from the sea. The pier has been falling down for ages and was cut back about 10 years ago; but is still falling down. South Hams District Council (SHDC) owns the pier…

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Where angels fear to tread

It’s cold and quiet and there isn’t much going on in the Harbour. So one’s mind can safely turn to dangerous things – like harbour dues. Harbour dues are seen by some as fees for a service, and by others as a kind of kill-joy tax. They are, of course, the basis of the harbour’s funding: without harbour dues there would be no facilities. But nobody relishes opening the casket of how harbour dues should be levied. Like most forms…

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A happy new year

As we are about to start the New Year with the new smart Batson pontoons – some say that they look like a racetrack from East Portlemouth – it’s worth reflecting that there have been some pretty significant initiatives in the harbour over the last three years. Some of the bigger changes have been new pontoons also for visitors, now with fresh water; a new pontoon in Kingsbridge; dredging in Batson Creek; introduction of a six-knot speed limit; some tightening…

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A puzzle for Christmas

With Christmas on us, I will pose a puzzle this month. Not the usual kind of Christmas brain-teaser, but a real-life puzzle about what to do next. It concerns the Normandy and Whitestrand pontoons at Salcombe. Their significance depends on where you live. If you live on the Salcombe side of the harbour, Whitestrand is where you keep your tender to get to your mooring. If you live on our side of the harbour, Whitestrand is where you try to…

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