David Blagrove was a working boatman carrying coal, timber, and a cargo of hardboard and cocoa residue at the time when the canals were immobilized by the "great freeze" of 1962-1963. This text chronicles the last years of narrow-boat carrying. It is a detailed account of a past era, inhabited by the last generation of canal boating families. It records the problems the boating community suffered in the early 1960s and their helplessness in the face of un-moving bureaucracy, and insuperable weather conditions. The book also records the methods of working the boats.