Out in the backwaters
IENJOYED Octavia Pollock’s account of sailing aboard the Nancy Blackett (‘We did mean to go to sea’, July 12). When I was nine years old, in the summer of 1938, my mother and father took my brother and me in a seven-ton Harrison Butler-designed cutter, Cora, from the River Deben into the Walton Backwaters. There was one other boat anchored in the Backwaters, the Nancy Blackett, and a genial man with a big grey moustache sitting in the cockpit said to us: ‘Would you boys like some cake?’ We climbed on board and chatted amiably—in those days, there were so few yachts about that it was common practice to exchange visits.
My father rightly guessed that this was Arthur Ransome. One of the sequels to Swallows and Amazons was Secret Water, which was set in the Walton Backwaters—i feel sure Ransome was working on that lovely story at the time we met. Tony Uloth, Hampshire