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Falling in the cut

They say that you can only be a ‘true boater’ if you’ve fallen in the cut. I can happily say that I’m NOT a true boater! J on the other hand, IS a true boater.

On a very, very chilly January morning at 8am in 2018 we were moving our boat, Linnet, to the water point as we’d run out of water. 

It was bright & sunny but super cold with whisps of steam rising up from the cold canal surface up into the crisp blue sky. 

It was just a few minutes cruise and as J was mooring the boat he slipped on the icy gunnel and whoosh! he was in!! It was a bit exciting! 

Etta was just a little babe so I had to make sure she was safe and quickly jumped out onto the towpath to try and haul J up a little further so he could get a grip and pull himself out. 

He had all his winter gear on; winter jacket & boots and he was HEAVY! In typical boating adventure fashion he fell in BEFORE we had filled up with water which meant an extremely chilly start that morning but still having to do boaty things without being able to have a lovely hot shower! 

I’m sure every boater out there has a similar tale of woe…

Taking a look

A couple of years later I discovered a book called ‘Ramlin Rose’ written by Shiela Stewart and learnt that the original canal folk referred to falling in the canal as ‘taking a look’. 

I absolutely love this term and sometimes wonder why it got lost along the way. 

I guess because most people living and working on the canal were illiterate and through time this sweet colloquialism became less and less as the canals too were used less and less and the trainlines were used more and more.

Ramlin Rose

If any of you are interested in the more human side of the canals history ‘Ramlin Rose’ is an extremely interesting read and really a one off. 

There are many, many books out there written about which boats carried what material from the north to the south on which canals and vice versa. 

These are accurate and factual reads, but they never ever tell you about the families, women and children, who worked, travelled and lived on the waterways. 

Shiela Stewart tracked down the very last boat women in their old age who had lived and worked on the last working boats before they passed. 

She collated all their verbal tales of life on the canal and wove these factual stories into a fictional tale, the beautifully written Ramlin Rose. I am the lucky owner of a signed copy! 

When we bought our boat Ramblin Rose (yes, with an extra ‘b’) the owner passed on the novel too. 

Living on the canals now with kiddos could sometimes be a challenge, but my goodness, absolute kudos to the women who brought up children on the canal in the 1900s. That really was relentlessly hard work.

We took a cruise on a friends boat this morning in the sunny sunshine and I’m happy to report that no one took a look and it didn’t feel like hard work in the slightest!

Love, Mollie x

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