Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fox's Gate

Sue's ankle was looking much better by Monday morning, we had a short cruise to Wigrams Marina. Tesco was to deliver our groceries there between 1200 - 1300, Kevin knocked at 11:45 to let us know our delivery had arrived. Once stowed I got on with washing and polishing FL's starboard side. Sue walked to the marina office and by the time she got back to the boat her ankle had coloured black and blue and was aching, so a strict regime of resting it from now on.

Tuesday - the affable Kevin topped up our diesel tank and we cruised up by Fox's Gate, Sue sitting in the cratch with foot up, we moored just as the rain started. Watched the Germans thrash Brazil in the football at one point the commentator said " the Germans will declare soon".

I  finally got around to reading L.T.C. Rolt's book 'Narrow Boat',  a book that  has been heralded by the waterway publications as the definitive work that led to the saving of the canal network from dereliction and infill. Written during WW2 ,  it tells of a nostalgic journey of several months that Rolt took with his new bride Angela aboard narrow boat Cressy, starting from Tooley's boat yard at Banbury on the Oxford canal .

It is a good read made more enjoyable as Cressy follows most of the route FL took north last year and part of our route south this year through familiar villages, countryside, locks and junctions. Ironically Rolt bemoans the loss of traditional skills and customs in the villages, farms and towns he visits , condemning modernisation in farming and industrialisation, he does so while cruising on the very arteries of industry that brought about that change, an irony I am sure wasn't lost on Lionel.
Angela hardly gets a mention, it would of been nice to read her opinion on things they encountered and if she agreed with Rolt, in the 50's the pair split up, he went  back to his family home in Gloucestershire and Angela joined Billy Smarts Circus.

Rolt's book inspired the preservation of the canal network and the forming in 1946 of the Inland Waterways Association for which the crew of FL will be eternally thankful.







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