Last Boat North

Last Traffic: NarrowBoat, Summer 2012

Michael Streat

To mark the 50th Anniversary of Blue Line's founding, we republish an eloquent article written by Michael Streat in 1970 at the very end of Blue Line’s carrying activities

This is a personal statement and I begin with a personal anecdote. Many years ago, when the world was young, I took part one hazy evening in a planchette session. Someone asked the attendant spook if I would ever write a book. ‘Yes’ came the immediate answer. What would it be called? Without a second’s hesitation the upturned glass flashed backwards and forwards across the table to spell out ‘Last Boat North’. A good title, and uncanny since my wartime association with boats was behind me and there was then no indication that my future was to be bound up with them. I never wrote that particular book, and I never will, but our last boat north recently tied up at Braunston for the last time, ending an era that goes back beyond living memory, and the occasion moves me to try to pay tribute to those involved in this undramatic saga, whose tough and (generally) cheerful like I shall not see again. When someone or something dies there must be a moment of still…

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