Top of my reading list this week is Nick Ardley's SWINGING THE LAMP. Published by Fonthill of Stroud, this fascinating book outlines some wonderful tidal tales of our Thames Estuary. But, let me tell you a little about this prolific author and his beautifully written book.
Salt water courses through Nick's veins. Born in 1955, one of four children living on a Thames spritsail barge, he and his siblings soon became the crew. His working life was spent as an engineer officer with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. He has sailed the high seas on ocean-going ships over many years. When he eventually retired, Nick began writing about his childhood and now writes more widely about his love and enthusiasm of sailing amongst the rivers and creeks around the Thames and its estuary, researching and writing about its industrial history. Nick is currently sailing with his 'Mate' wife Christobel. With his Mate beside him, he has explored much of the 350 miles of Essex coast and Thames Estuary's tidal waterways over many years, mostly aboard his clinker sloop, exploring and investigating those nooks and crannies of which most of us are unaware in and around Essex. Nick narrates many amazing stories set in boatyards, marinas and waterside settings. Interestingly, we learn how man has created new uses for disused lime, cement and brick docks - all of this is new to me - but so interesting.
Beneath Nick's boat's swinging lamp, he muses about those old souls, the relationship of humble spritsail barge and shoal draft yachts, but always and throughout the book, his enthusiasm for the environment in this small corner of England is alive.
Nick's book published by Fonthill Media can be purchased at most good bookshops price £18.99 ISBN 978-1-78155-498-2.