Adrift : A Secret Life of London's Waterways
From deep winter to late autumn, from east to west, Adrift takes the reader on a tour of the people, politics, history and wildlife of London’s canals and rivers. Blending nature writing, social observation and memoir, Helen Babbs invites you on an eye-opening journey into a different side of the city.From Walthamstow Marsh in the east to Uxbridge in the west, Helen Babbs journeys along London’s waterways on a canal boat called Pike, putting down roots for two weeks at a time before moving on. Taking in the River Lea and the Lee Navigation, the Regent’s Canal and the Grand Union, she explores the London landscape in all its guises: marshland, wasteland, city centre and suburb. Adrift charts a year of Helen’s life on Pike, exploring the changes wreaked by the seasons as well as by developers, and recounting the practical trials of living aboard. It is a story of mapping and discovery, of escape and opting out, but also of making connections and finding home. Just as the coots and cormorants dodge the detritus of a large city, so too does Helen wend through the beauty and the dirt to reveal an intimate and unusual portrait of London and of life.