Canal Traditions and Culture

Calico Jack - a boat based 'pirate' band are definately worth a listen.  Catch them at a festival this summer.  High energy/feel good/folk/gypsy/pirate/sea shanty-esque. for more information.


Your work is very good and i

Your work is very good and i appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts.keep writing…

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Ramlin Rose, Yellow on the Broom, and Red Rowans and Wild Honey


I wanted to recommend three books, only one of which is about boatlife and only two of which I've read! If you're a boat-dweller, you will find much that is familiar in these stories of travelling women, though "Rose" travelled by boat and Betsy by foot. At the same time, you will find so much new and fascinating - whole ways of living we have almost forgotten,  but that are well worth remembering. I liked Betsy's first book so much that I have the sequel on my wishlist at my favourite second hand book site,

"Ramlin Rose: A Boatwoman's Story" by Sheila Stewart (ISBN: 0192853023)

The story of life on the canals, at the turn of the last century. Sheila Stewart writes with heartfelt simplicity of the hardships and joys faced by the 'narrow' boat people. Although a fictional tale, the life of Ramlin Rose is based on the lives of several boatwomen that Ms. Stewart interviewed and came to regard with friendship and respect. Although evoking a way of life that has now largely disappeared, the story is by no means nostalgic or sentimental. The author deftly captures the dialect and 'lingo' of the canal folk, and paints a vivid pictures of birth, life, disability and even death aboard boat. Sheila Stewart resurrects this forgotten way of life with such passion and poetry that more prominent authors must envy her skills! Her seamless, simple prose almost drags the reader headlong into the book, making characters come to life in the mind's eye and turning the mundane events of canalboat life into something that stays with long after the book is back on the shelf. The sketches by David Miller compliment the text exactly, and the pictures of canal families also fit perfectly into the story.

"The Yellow on the Broom: The Early Days of a Traveller Woman" by Betsy Whyte (ISBN: 1841581356)

I've recently been re-reading one of my favourite Scottish books "The Yellow on the Broom" by Betsy Whyte and had forgotten just how good it is. First published in 1979, and kept in print by the Edinburgh publisher Birlinn, it is an account of the early years of a member of a family of Scottish travellers, circa 1930. A second book "Red Rowans and Wild Honey" continues the story up to the mid 1940s, and later editions include autobiographical material from Whyte's later life when she settled in Montrose...Read the rest of this review at

"Red Rowans and Wild Honey" by Betsy Whyte (ISBN: 1841580708)

============= I live on my narrowboat with my cat, Bella.

Width of article

i can't read the previous stuff, 'cos the width is set to something mad, and I have to scroll horizontally for each line. I suspect it hasn't been turned off, either. SYSOP!