“Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING...absolutely nothing...half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing.”
So, spoke the Water Rat to The Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s children’s book ‘The Wind in the Willows’. You can read the whole chapter here. It happened to be my Mum’s favourite book at school, when a chapter was read out each day by her teacher. I wonder if she was remembering that quote in the picture below.
For Sepia Saturday this week we had a choice of themes taken from the picture prompt, but Alan only had to mention ‘boating lakes’ and I was off on one of my reveries. I spent many happy hours of my own childhood on the boating lake at Highfields in my home city of Nottingham; sadly there are no pictures in the family archive to record this. However, I recently acquired this rare photograph of my Mum and her older brother from approximately 1930. I think it’s rare because, despite my best efforts I haven’t been able to find a picture on the web of any similar craft (unless someone out there knows better). There are many old photographs of rowing boats, dinghies and sailing boats, even pedaloes, but not a hand-cranked paddle-boat.
We think it was probably taken in Oxhey Park, where there was boating, bathing and other recreations. I haven’t been able to find any similar pictures of the park to support this theory and it’s possible that it could be some other place entirely. Mum said, “Can you see that I am pulling a face in the picture?” Yes, we can! Mum seemed to think there was an altercation between her and her brother Billy about who should have control. It looks as if they each have a handle of some sort to turn the paddle wheel, so I wonder what the grimace was about.