I Spy Canal Boats

As a "baby boomer" I grew up with the I-Spy books that were published in the 1950s. They were a form of spotting book for children that was not just based on vehicles (trains, planes and buses) but for a range of situations where children might need to be entertained.

As the books point out, I-Spy is a very old game, but I can vouch that it was nevertheless fascinating. It certainly made you observant of your surroundings which I suppose might not be a feature of the modern hand-held play consoles.

I was therefore very interested to find a pristine I-Spy book (Number 14) on Boats and Waterways on eBay. It was a 1950s version published by the News Chronicle. I was the only bidder and I got it for less than a £1.

So what of my bargain? Please enjoy the first few pages that happen to cover canals and narrow boats! And before you ask, I didn't have a copy of this book when I was child. A shame really.

I am impressed with accuracy of their descriptions and the T & S Element boat featured on Page 3. It is also interesting to note that Big Chief I-Spy, as the mythical setter of the game was called, chose to include a canal-side inn to be spotted on Page 7. Was this for parents interest?

By the way, Redskins were those that participated in the game. If you got 1,500 points you could become a Redskin with (in this case) the tribal rank of Boatman (First Class). For every rank you obtained you got a feather for your head-band and moved up one place at the Council Fire. What a different world!