green - September 8, 2022Michael Nye recalls a visit to the derelict Thames and Severn canal, exploring the once ornate portals of the Sapperton Tunnel. 'Green' is the album by R.E.M. which Michael and his wife bought for the return journey.
music and the marinated mind - June 6, 2022If my interest in canals can be traced back to 1967, then I would have to say that music came first. I well remember hearing Guantanemera (probably sung by Pete Seeger) on my Grandmother’s radio when I was of pre-school age.
model making - March 9, 2022Michael Nye makes a model of the 'Mayfly' - the boat at the core of his Mayfly books. He ends up with a fully operational 18" boat complete with outboard engine and main characters.
a strange day on the wey - December 1, 2021Michael Nye recalls a family holiday on the River Wey which was interrupted by the tragic death of someone famous...
life's a gas - September 1, 2021Amanda’s birthday present was still in its first flush of newness as she steadied her elbows on the bridge parapet and carefully focussed the lens on the buildings to the left of the old canal bank.
telling tall tales - May 31, 2021They do say that everyone has a book in them but, when I wrote that first paragraph about eleven years ago I didn’t even think there was a book. A short story perhaps, but not a book, and certainly not eight of the things!
safety certificate… wot’s one of them then? - December 9, 2020In the spring of 1969, Lady Jena, the family’s 16ft plywood cabin cruiser, sank due to a plastic lid working its way through a piece of rather soft plywood.
there are less grainy photos, but... - August 24, 2020The run along the very narrow section of the feeder was very pleasant after the drive and, on arriving back at the town we found that a longer trip was available to take us over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
1966… and all that - June 3, 2020Like most people of my generation I remember England doing well in a certain football tournament. It was a big thing. I remember the winning goal which was heard loud and clear on a Ferguson transistor radio somewhere on the Thames. This was during our first holiday on a boat that belonged to the family.
so good, it went in the book - March 3, 2020Going back to the summer of 1965, when I was just nine years old, it was time for our second waterways holiday on a boat hired from T. W. Allen and sons of Molesey. This time it had been decided, in discussions that I was not privy to, that my maternal grandmother would come with us. A bigger boat was needed so we plumped for a wooden one that T. W. Allen had christened River Rose.
crump - a cautionary tale - December 1, 2019Mum and Dad, like a lot of enthusiasts in the early seventies, bought themselves a nice new Springer narrowboat. This one was one of the DIY fit, shells and had arrived the previous year. Dad fitted it out as best he could for our first holiday aboard it the previous year and, by the second season we had the luxury of cork based anti condensation paint (which didn’t work), a gas ring, and a small 12 volt fluorescent light.
spook of strensham lock - September 1, 2019“Like father, like son.” is one of those phrases that gets pushed around when you are young. I’d guess that my love of canals does, at least in part, come from my dad Charlie Nye who had a few adventures on the water long before I was born. He was the one that suggested a waterways holiday in 1964, telling my mum that we’d either love it or hate it. We all loved it and both my brother and I were infected with the strange virus that gives you a lifelong interest in rivers and canals.
falling in love again - June 1, 2019It's been a bit over fifty years since I first stood in the derelict house alongside Shipton Weir lock on the Oxford Canal. The love of all things waterways related started there, and I feel I did the long gone building some justice by letting it live again in my fictional writing. To fall for one moribund structure is probably not that bad a thing for a ten year old but I now find, at the age of sixty-two, that something pretty similar has happened.
summer of love - March 1, 2019In mid July 1967, the Nye family set off on their summer holidays which, since 1964 had been a trip up the Thames to Lechlade by boat, and then a return trip. The first two of these holidays were in a hired boat from T.W. Allen and Sons of Molesey. In the spring of 1966 a small windfall allowed us to get a 16 foot “Rutland” cabin cruiser which we again took up the Thames and back. I remember hearing the winning goal of the World Cup on a Ferguson transistor radio outside of Sunbury lock.