Friend of Cambria David Rye follows up on my stuff about Charles Dickens’s features in the Mainsheet magazine a couple of days back by sending me a link just in case we’d not spotted it. This is from the blogger “In the Boatshed” and is at http://intheboatshed.net/2012/09/27/dickens-goes-off-on-one/ and is amusingly and disrespectfully titled “Dickens goes off on one” . (Those of you who read the earlier stuff will know my lack of love of Dickens so you can imagine how I was amused by someone else ‘dissing’ the old gasbag). In this the blogger picks up on the book “Dickens’s Dictionary of the Thames from its Source to the Nore” written by Dickens’s son, also called Charles D, as follows…
“Writing is often about making an argument, and an argument well made can provide fine entertainment, particularly if they’re extended, draw in evidence from many sources and finally achieve the status of a good rant.
Charles Dickens’s Dictionary provides several of these and the following quotations about the geezers who manage dumb barges on the River Thames is one of the best.
‘Barges. – Although the extension of the railway facilities in the country through which runs the Upper Thames has has very considerably reduced the number of up-river barges, there are still many engaged in the carrying trade. That they are useful may be taken for granted; that they are possibly ornamental, may be a matter of opinion; that they are a decided nuisance when a string of them, under the convoy of a vicious steam-tug, monopolises a lock for an hour or so, admits of no doubt. And the steam tugs themselves are an abomination. They are driven along with a sublime disregard of the interests of persons in punts and small boats – in this respect resembling their more distinguished cousins, the steam launches – and raise a wash which, one would suppose, can be as little beneficial to the banks of the river as it is to the peace of mind of anglers and oarsmen. Nor are the manners and customs of their crews, or of their associates the bargees, such as to conduce to the comfort of riparian proprieters or pleasure seekers. Practically, they seem to have things all their own way, and to do and say just what they like. All that can be done is to give them as wide a berth as possible, and to be thankful, at all events, that there are not more of them.
…and so it goes on, rather Brilliantly! I will leave you to follow the links and read more yourselves, but thank you David Rye, and especially thank you to Mr “In the Boatshed” (Mr Gavin Atkin on this occasion).
One of the joys of being able to live on the barge is the chance to try out the hammocks. I leave you with this picture of yours truly chilling on board. I like a good hammock.