Back in August I went for a jaunt on a steam tugboat courtesy of M-shed. It had been on my mind to investigate it after hearing that the boat (called Mayflower) was available for tourist trips. Built in 1861 she was giving tours of the docks for selected weekends over the summer.
I grew up in ex dockyard town (Chatham, in Kent) worked in Gloucester for four years and am now living in Bristol, so docks and boats have always had a special meaning for me. Whilst tourism will never fully compensate for the scale of industrial decline in many dockside areas, it can often be one small way of raising money to try and preserve these vessels which are important aspects of our industrial heritage.
The trip lasted for around half an hour and it was fascinating to have a nosey around below deck. Additionally the crew were brilliant – charming, knowlegeable and we had some really interesting conversations about tugboats, Banksy and the meaning of art to cities and individuals. In fact I nearly came away with a new husband!! ;-)
The trip was also significant as it was my first go with a borrowed SLR. Some of the photos didn’t turn out that well due to my unfamiliarity with the camera, but Mayflower seemed a fitting subject for my next photographic step. My favourite photo of the day is below.. My first attempt at real portrait photography. More photos can be found here
All in all a great trip – try it out next summer if you get the chance. Thanks M Shed!