Spring 2019 blossom on blue skies

Beautiful blue skies above this sloe tree blossom along the banks of the canal and through the vale of Pewsey. Spring has sprung and the hedgerows along the towpath are coming back to life to welcome our holidaymakers cruising past on our White Horse Narrow Boats. As you relax and slow down you may like to read some of the poetry that has been written about canal. The Poet Laureate Jo Bell wrote this about Springtime in the boatyard. Our boats have had their annual makeover and are now ‘on holiday’ with their crews just enjoying the canal.

Springtime at the boatyard

You can keep your cuckoos.
We hear Spring’s first song
in the sound of angle-grinders,
brazen as a mating call across the yard:
the saw blades and the welders,
working between weathers
like a nesting bird; and swarf
as bright as daffodils on workshop floors.

You can keep your catkins;
we have rust like pollen on our skins.
We walk between steel shells
and smell the fresh blue boiler suits
of all the coming days,
when warmth will stretch our hulls
and make of summer evenings a shed
for building this year’s stories.

Jo Bell, the Canal & River Trust and Poetry Society’s first Canal Laureate. 

For the past three years, poet, boater and archaeologist Jo Bell has been Britain’s inaugural Canal Laureate – a post established by the Canal & River Trust and Poetry Society.  Jo’s poems contain such lyrical imagery as “a two-kingfisher day” and “midnight dancing at Mountsorrel weir”, but today we find her amid dirty water on her 67-foot narrowboat Tinker – removing a discarded jumper from her propeller. “My mission today,” she says, “was to empty my toilet tank, but I ended up upside down with a bread knife instead.”