Memoryscape logo Voices from the hidden history of the Thames
Ash Island
Molesey Lock
Motor Boat Club
Cigarette Island
The Pavilion
Chalets & Bungalows
Thames Ditton Marina
Waterworks Reach
The Broken Boat
Raven's Ait
Swans and Ducks
Next >>
  Picture of my float Picture of floating rubbish behind my boatPicture of Howard  
 Download Sound File (2221kb)
 Download Transcript (21kb)

Ash Island was my home for ten years, and where the 'drifting' experiment started. Houseboats have been moored at Ash Island for at least half a century and the island has a thriving community. It was here that I got the idea of making a float (pictured) out of things that were trapped behind my boat by the current of the river - bottles, a tyre, old rope and driftwood. I put deliberately put holes in the bottles so they would fill with water and get dragged by the current rather than the wind, a design I borrowed from equipment that is used to track ocean currents.

I wanted to find people to talk to about the culture of the River Thames, so I let the float go here in the hope that it would lead me to some river people.

To start off with I spoke to Howard Bissell (pictured here) who has been living on houseboats longer than anyone I know. He is the first person I go to to ask advice about any trip downstream - he used to commute in his boat to Eel Pie Island in Twickenham every day, where he had a boat repair business. We first met down there when he surveyed my boat.

   Home  |   FAQ  |   Links  |   Copyright  |   Download Audio Walk  |   Feedback  |   Ordering Walk CDs  | Press