Narrowboats brought to 'life'

Published: Monday, 26 October 2009

NARROWBOATS have been brought to 'life' in a series of childrens' books, prompted by a child seeing their faces.

It was a former assistant chief constable whose grandson noticed narrowboats had faces that resulted in a series of childrens' books based on the Oxford Canal and the Thames.

Dan Clacher, of Yarnton, wrote a couple of stories for his two grandchildren, that proved so popular with them and their friends  that he published them himself, and sold 2,000 copies in just four weeks.

Own personality

The main character in his books is the narrowboat Muddy Waters, with the stories about two boats, each having their own personality, and they  explore the canal network. Muddy Waters, is described by the author as wise, capable and with special powers, although he rarely uses them.

Dan, who worked for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police before retiring, told that it all started when he was walking the Oxford Canal towpath with his grandson Alexei, who noticed that down at his level the boats seem to have faces, with different expressions. and relates:

"I gave them some characteristics and told him some stories and we made all these different adventures."

The first two, The Jolly Boatman's Lesson and Poppy at the Boatshow, which cost £2.99, feature Godstow Lock, Thrupp Wharf, Dukes Lock and the weir by the Trout pub.

The third book, Pearly's Welcome to London, will be published on  9th November,  and later adventures will take the narrowboats to Gloucester Docks and Falkirk Wheel in Scotland.