Saturday, June 5, 2021

Warnie Lewis, ditchcrawler

So, a while ago the new issue of THE JOURNAL OF INKLINGS STUDIES arrived --always a welcome event. The two articles that stood out for me this time around were a piece on Warnie Lewis's experiences as a ditchcrawler -- that is, the owner of a narrow canal boat he used to take little holidays exploring various spots all around Oxford -- and an insightful well-sourced look at the famous Lewis-Anscombe debate.

The canalboat piece is by Don King, who I hope will expand his researches into Captain Lewis (as he was at the time) into a book one of these days. While Warnie's boat sometimes gets a passing mention in his brother's biographies, I had no idea that Warnie wrote several essays about his experiences,* including advice to help others better enjoy their shared hobby and how to cope when things go wrong.

King's article quotes generously from eight essays, which are very much in the voice of W.H.L. as we know it from his journals. The Bosporus, which he had built to order, emerges as a leisurely alternative to the Lewis brothers' walking tours. Unfortunately Warnie only got to enjoy the boat from 1936 through 1939, when wartime restrictions and rationing made it too hard for him to carry on.

The other piece is more complex and I think deserves a separate post of its own (though it'll take me a day or two to get it drafted).

current reading: LETTER OF JOSEPH CONRAD (the bookmark dropped out and had trouble finding my place, so decided to take a hiatus) and a light novel (more portable)

*published in THE MOTOR BOAT AND YACHTING magazine.

No comments: