WRITING THE THAMES
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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