Category Archives: Working boats

Willow of Harty, Cygnet with her sails blazing with light… and the Red Sands Fort

Spotted in the Swale this weekend: the Baltic ketch Willow of Harty (sorry, Google couldn’t find much about her online) and the beautiful yawl Cygnet of London, which was built in 1906¬†Burgoyne brothers of Kingston on Thames.

And a shot of the Red Sands fort as I romped past in a F4 and blazing sunshine. As so often there were nearly no other boats around at this time of year.

Phil Underwood and the Bonnet and Belt company

I recently came across Phil Underwood, a chap I quickly learned is an excellent singer and musician – but it turns out he’s also a playwright, producer, director and canal enthusiast and runs the Bonnet and Belt theatre company.

A regular production the company puts on is Roses and Castles, a drama for the stage for four actors and one actor/musician that tells the story of the English canals from the 18th century to the present day, through the fortunes of a canal family and their boat across nearly two hundred years.

It’s based on Phil’s experiences as a boatman living on the Grand Union Canal, and features a mix of historical and original songs and music. Look out for future performances, which Phil will list here.

Here’s his song Canals of England, performed with able fiddler and singer Nancy Potts:

Britain Afloat: meet Jimmy Lawrence

Britain Afloat is on BBC One London and South East on Friday, 29 September at 19:30 and on BBC Two on Saturday 30 September at 20:00. It will also be available on the iPlayer across Britain for 30 days thereafter.

My thanks to Paul Tambini for the heads up…