Friday, April 17, 2009

Extraordinary start

My boating life is dogged by jaw dropping coincidences. This is not the greatest of them (that would be hard to beat) but it's pretty good.

I get up this morning before five, quick shower, breakfast, cup of tea. Just as I'm about to leave I realise that I've nearly finished my detective novel and will have nothing to read on the train. A quick glance over my library books but nothing grabs me. Then I suddenly remember the final two 'Working Waterways' books I bought a couple of months back. I've read Maidens' Trip but that still leaves one. Was it or Anderton for Orders or Hold on a Minute? A quick glance down the contents page in the dark confirms that it's Tim Wilkinson's Hold on a Minute, so I stuff it in my bag and leave the house to catch my train from Newhaven at ten to six.

So I'm on the train to London, finish Careless in Red, and take out the boating book. Savouring every word, I read all the forewords, and it's at this point that my jaw first drops, but I carry on reading to be sure. The author and his wife, in 1948, take on a pair of boats from the DIWE, and the book is an account of their experiences trying to make a go of the life. And their boats are Chiswick and Bawtry. I swear I did not know this.

Tonight, if I am not too exhausted to keep my eyes open, I shall be in Chiswick's back cabin, reading about what that very boat was doing sixty years ago. Extraordinary.


Jim said...

That was my first thought when I read your previous post as I had just finished re-reading "Hold on a Minute" for the umpteenth time. How lucky you are to actually be aboard such a boat.

Anonymous said...

And Tim Wilkinson came from Berko.
He left a considerable legacy which help fund the restoration of part of the Wendover Arm.