Had to swap our duties

Published: Monday, 07 October 2019

JOHN Stewart is quite right that, on many narrowboats, it is the husband who steers the boat into and out of locks while the wife is on the bank working the gates and paddles, writes Graham Booth.

I have sometimes jokingly asked the wife why she doesn’t get her husband to do the hard work and the reply usually comes back ‘I wouldn’t feel confident to steer the boat in and out of a lock'.  The photograph shows Evelyn steering Rome into Tyrley Top Lock

EvelynRomeBecame very proficient

We used to work this way but, as Evelyn became less and less mobile over the years, we had to swap our duties.  She then became very proficient at boat handling and got many complimentary remarks from gongoozlers while I struggled with the increasingly stiff paddles and heavy gates.

Unfortunately, the time has now come when neither of us feels we are up to navigating the boat safely so ‘Rome’ is being put up for sale, but we still have fond memories of 44 years canal cruising.