COCKEREL’S IN THE CUT
John Blunn was born in 1934 to a canal boat family working for Fellows Morton & Clayton; today he’s still boating – “I must be one of the oldest boatmen on the canals,” he says – and this is a record of his 82 years spent mainly on the cut. In the early days it was horse-boating, with stories of horses bolting, falling in the canal, or sneaking off early with sacks tied around the horses’ hooves so that other boaters wouldn’t hear you getting ahead of them. After the war, working on the motor boats, he and his wife ran their open pair – with a cockerel and a pair of hens aboard! Moving off the boats for the sake of their young children, he was soon back working for British Waterways’ piling crew, bought an early Springer leisure narrowboat, then retired and toured the system. He’s still boating, with no plans to ever leave the cut.
Cockerel’s in the Cut, John Blunn, Canal Book Shop, canalbookshop.co.uk, £10.95, 978-0-9955180-0-1