Don’t miss Watchet Boat Museum

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The Watchet Boat Museum is one of my favourites. Just like Watchet itself, it goes its own way and hasn’t a hint of pretension, and I try to visit whenever I stay with my parents a few miles down the coast.

When I say WBM goes its own way, it really does – its exhibits include the wonderfully strange restored sailing flatner, turf boats and withy boats from the Somerset levels, and an astonishing mud horse used for collecting shellfish on the mudflats.
The site’s well worth a visit and includes no less than two potential Christmas presents: for the brave and for those who like to frame such things there are drawings for building a full-sized flatner, and for the more timid a set of plans for a model!

http://www.wbm.org.uk/

The old postcard shows a flatner off the coast at Burnham in 1905.

Flatner of Burnham, 1905

boat restoration; wooden boats; sail boats; turf boats; traditional boats

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Nelson’s Praise: a legacy of music

Two hundred years after his death, Admiral Nelson continues to fascinate and inspire the British. One aspect of his legacy that is not often mentioned is the fist-full of songs and dance tunes composed in his memory – or at least re-named after him.

A little time ago, I wrote a short article for the English Folk Dance & Song Society’s magazine about this material, and about the kinds of music and dancing that would have been popular among the seamen of Nelson’s time.

For the article, see:

eds_autumn05_pp8-10.pdf

For the magazine, see:
http://eds.efdss.org

Sailors; Nelson; music; dancing

UK waterways in danger? Keep them safe!

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DEFRA, the Government department responsible for waterways, has slashed the budgets of the organisations that manage our canals and rivers, and plans to impose further large cuts over each of the next five years. And it’s said to be happening because they’ve overspent their budget by over £200 million, and are now trying to recover it by cutting waterways funding.

The great fear is that cuts like this could quickly lead to neglect and that we could again lose the UK’s extensive working canal system. To lend your support and monitor the campaign’s progress check the website:

http://www.saveourwaterways.org/

Here’s a sight you don’t often see: narrowboats involved in a protest against the DEFRA cuts. For more, see:

http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/news/news01.htm

Protest at Castlefield

canal boats; protest