Swinging the Lamp

Thames Estuary Tidal Tales

Nick Ardley

Nick weaves his magic amongst salt, marsh and mud discovering lost endeavours dripping with bladder wrack...
Date Published :
November 2016
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
Color and B&W
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781781554982
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
In stock


Pure salt water courses through Nick Ardley’s veins: he was brought up on a Thames spritsail barge and ‘sailed’ the high seas on ocean going ships. For many years he weaved his way through the Thames estuary’s tidal creeks and rivers, mostly aboard his clinker sloop, exploring, noting and investigating, with his mate beside him. The estuary of the Thames is a world of constant flux. It is an artery of modern commerce and archaeology of past industry peppers its rivers and creeks. Flooded islands have become the domain of myriad of birds, nesting on hummocks of saltings and feeding on mud flats. Rotting wharves festooned with bladder wrack alive with life, the time worn ribs of barges the perch for cormorants. Around all of that, man has created new uses for disused lime, cement and brick docks. Boatyards, marinas and waterside housing have emerged like a water born phoenix from industrial ashes. Wending in and out of this, Nick Ardley weaves his magic, commenting. Beneath Whimbrel’s swinging lamp he muses about old souls, the relationship of humble spritsail barge and shoal draft yachts, but all along he is alive with enthusiasm for the environment in this little corner of England.

About The Author

Nick Ardley was born in 1955 and brought up on a Thames spritsail barge. One of four children, he and his siblings soon became the crew. His working life was spent as an engineer officer with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, but upon retiring from ‘big’ ships Nick fell into writing, being asked to tell his childhood story. He now writes avidly about his love and enthusiasm of sailing among the rivers and creeks around the Thames and its estuary, discovering its industrial history. Christobel, Nick’s wife and the ‘mate’ in his yarns, has grown to love the saltings too.

More from this publisher