Canal Boat - - News -

There can­not be many rivers in the world with any­thing like as much writ­ten about them over the years than the River Thames – and rather than sim­ply adding fur­ther to this vol­ume of writ­ings, Christina Hardy­ment has writ­ten a book which records and quotes from many of the other people who have writ­ten about the Royal River over the years. It’s di­vided into seven sec­tions, in­clud­ing: Liq­uid His­tory (which be­gins with the ear­li­est known writ­ten ref­er­ence to the river, by Julius Cae­sar); Writ­ers’ Re­treats, quot­ing lit­er­ary fig­ures such as the ec­cen­tric Dante Gabriel Rossetti with his Chelsea river­side menagerie; Messing about in Boats and Dead in the Water, cov­er­ing the river’s lighter and darker sides re­spec­tively; and a whole chap­ter of Thames verse.

Writ­ingth­eThames, Christina Hardy­ment, Bodleian Li­brary, bodleian­shop.co.uk, £25.00, 978-1-85124450-8 AS THE SPRING-CLEAN­ING sea­son for the wa­ter­ways hits its peak, you can read else­where in this is­sue about vol­un­teers haul­ing tyres out of the BCN, the Canal & River Trust work­ing out how much junk the av­er­age lock con­tains, and a sludge-suck­ing lorry vac­u­um­ing silt from the En­gine Arm. But in the Far East, they’re tak­ing mech­a­ni­sa­tion of canal-clear­ing to the next level: Sin­ga­pore’s Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Agency has chal­lenged re­searchers to design a robot canal-clean­ing boat. It will need to record and video its work as it picks up lit­ter, and alert of­fi­cials if there’s any­thing it can’t shift. Per­haps it’ll catch on over here too: watch out for an aquatic R2D2 com­ing down the Farmer’s Bridge flight one day… –

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