Sunday 1 August 1971

1968 The Summer of Love plus one

Two weeks that changed a life - the Captain's very first boating holiday
Summer 1968

It has been said that if you can remember the summer of love in 1967, you wern't really there!

Well I have to admit that due to my tender age (6) I have very few recollections of the year that free love ruled supreme, but by own summer of love happened 12 months later in 1968. This was the year I first encountered the inland waterways, and an intoxicating experience it was too. Never mind marijuana, I had mud, and weed was the stuff that constantly clogged the prop. It was a heady mix which proved scarily addictive, and from which I have never fully recovered.

Yorkonought on the Welsh Canal 1968

Never mind shooting up the Shroppie, within two weeks I was Main-lining through central Brimingham!

Yorkonought under one of the Llangollen Canal's classic wooden lift bridges 1968

I have recently gained access to some digitised copies of 35mm slides shot during this first two week trip, which saw four of us (Capt Snr, Matilda, Dr D and yours truly) make a trip from Nuneaton to Llangollen and back again. These faded photos brought home the basic nature of boating holidays 40 years ago. Forget fridges, showers, hot water and pump out loos, let alone 240 volt electricity, heating, washing machines and TV's. This was boating in the raw, four people crammed into a 26 foot plywood box called Yorkanaught, pushed along by an unreliable outboard motor with a propensity to shear its split pin every time the prop encountered the least resistance.

Thinking back to the mod cons, all we had was a bucket for a loo, a two gallon jug of fresh water, a two burner gas ring and a 'fridge' called an 'Oh so cool' which was a primitive predecessor of the cool box.

Captain Ahab aged 7

Eh by gum, it were hard back then - modern boaters - they don't know they're born.

Sadly, neither my father nor my brother were profligate photographers, so the records of the trip are intermittent and focussed on the picturesque. It's a shame that they didn't get their cameras out as they passed through the BCN on the way back because whilst views of Grub St Cutting are unchanged by the passage of time, the industrial landscape of Birmingham has been almost completely lost.

Norbury Junction 1968

I have used computer wizardry to restore what colour was left and I will post a selection of these shots over the the next few days, along with a few recollection of that heady first trip.

Happy days.


Jim said...

So you're at it as well now, Andy - and beating me by a few years too! My first trip wasn't until 1970 although showers and even running water were unknown on board and the engine had to be started by hand!
Those were the days.....


Andy Tidy said...

The amazing thing is that these slides were converted by using a digital camera with a close up lens with the slides laid on a light box!
I did have to tinker with them to get some colour back - but not a bad result.

Jim said...

I might try that method myself, Andy, although if it works I'll just have wasted £70 on a scanner!

Andy Tidy said...

My brother bought a scanner and then found the camera with a lightbox approach delivered superior results.
I am going to get a close up lens for my Cannon and have a go as some more. Have already "borrowed" the lightbox from work.