An added bonus?

Who says research is the boring bit?

I have spent the last two days researching for my novel. Sometimes research can be a time-consuming chore but I think I have found the answer. Set your characters in an interesting location and then you have an excuse to visit. Now we are allowed to travel again, (following any recommendations, of course,) we can start to explore again.

So, to get the feel of the waterways, where one of the characters in my novel lives on a boat, I took a trip up the canal.

My journey started at Gayton, on the Northampton Arm, where I was lucky enough to watch a narrow beam boat being lifted out for blacking. In the company of boating friends I was able to ask lots of questions and learn a few technical terms.

Up, Up and Away

I took my camera and notebook and hitched a lift with a boaty friend as far as Bugbrooke on the Grand Union Canal.

Bridge 35

This is only four miles from the junction but it was a glimpse of life aboard: the slower pace, the closeness to nature,

Other Canal Residents

and an interesting look back to the time when the waterways played an important role in transporting goods as industry grew.

Keeping watch

This picture shows the cross-over bridge where horses would climb the bridge to cross the canal when changing to the tow path on the other side.

Cross-over Bridge

Now home and time to start writing again.

Join the Conversation


  1. Back in the years BC (before children) we had a day-boat which we would take up the river Lea and the Stort at weekends and for a week now and then. We slept in our sleeping bags (with three Jack Russells) perched on the narrow seats along the cabin’s sides and had a canopy added over the back by a local company that repaired hoods for convertibles – for cooking with our gaz cookers when it rained. I loved our weekends on the river.
    This was before the move to renovate the Waterways and some of those old locks were h-e-a-v-y.
    the weekend our outboarde broke down, we spent the sunny Sunday walking back along the river to pick up the car so we could drive to collect the outboard for repair. Nobody pinched the boat in the week it was tied up along the river, which kinda points to the general desirability of the little craft – but that was decades ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy my research, not just for my novel but for short stories, my blog and pieces for our local history group. I think many writers enjoy this part of the activity, learning whilst visiting. I have found Google Maps, libraries, newspaper archives, the camera and the dash cam useful tools. However, the sheer enjoyment of walking or travelling the routes my characters use and seeing the world through their eyes, for me tops the lot.


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