02 September 2008

Holloways ashore

There are many boaters out there who will tell you it was a sad day when Mike and Liz Holloway of Snecklifter fame decided to hang up their windlasses and head back to dry land. With the news that their trusty boat - and home of seven years – has now been sold, it is truly the end of an era. Mike and Liz represented everything that is good about the canal community – they were (and indeed remain) warm, charming, hospitable, fun, generous, helpful and hugely appreciative of the unique way of life they enjoyed. For them, cruising the canals was always regarded as a privilege, not a right, and their wonderful journal will stand as fitting testimony to their gentle exercising of this privilege. One thing I always liked about the Snecklifter posts was that it was rare indeed to find a discordant note struck at any time – read blog posts today and it doesn’t take too long to find someone moaning about something. Don’t you realise how lucky we are to be able to do this?!

It says all you need to know about the humility of the site’s main author, Mike, that when he left the cut, he didn’t want to continue writing because he didn’t think we’d find it that interesting. I remember stuffing my face with one of Liz’s ham sandwiches (or was it a slice of date and walnut) and telling him that he was mad if we thought it was just the cut that brought us all running. Following Mike’s logic, no-one from ‘those days’ would ever bother with them again – and yet there they are firmly ensconced in the Peak District, enjoying regular visits and emails from all the old gang. What we valued then and what we continue to value now is not two folks who go boating (or walking or down the pub) but two folks who welcome complete strangers as long-lost friends.

Thankfully, the Snecklifter site lives on. Liz has manfully stepped into the breach vis a vis updating it but I’m hopeful of persuading Mike to come out of purdah and pick up his pen again. Not to mention his windlass, because if they think they’re done with Bosley locks, they’ve got another thing coming. In fact, they’re pencilled in for most of the Huddersfield Narrow as well but sssshhh, don’t say anything....

No comments: