Canals are my Life
By Iris Bryce
This is the second in a series of the books covering the travels of Iris and Owen Bryce aboard their narrowboat Bix in the 1970's.
A two year boating sabbatical became a way of life when the intrepid pair decided to take short term work to fund their watery wanderings. This was in the late 1970's when the UK was in one of its boom swings (remember them?) and work was readily available - providing they were flexible.
The book is short, just 100 pages long with a handful of black and white photos by Derek Pratt covering a period of about five years. Given its brevity it focuses on places or events of particular interest rather than a detailed description of the journey itself.
The couple led this nomadic life, running weekend courses on jazz and canals (not at the same time), playing in bands and accepting paying guests from time to time. They mostly found work during the winter months and then an idyllic picture of the summers tempered by the pain of being distant from their family in the south.
Their wanderings therefore has a southerly bias and it was on these waters that the most interesting events happened. These events included a tidal surge overtopping the Limehouse lock gates (pre Thames Barrier?) and then their long tidal passage to and from the Medway - still one of the rarest inland waterways routes.
In short this book is the bit in the middle, filling in the gaps between the opening and closing . A good book in a great little series.