On the spur of the moment in 1989, Jim Hutchinson and his wife Sue swapped their new, modern narrow boat for Owl, a dilapidated historic 'josher' built in 1928, and in urgent need of rescue.
This book shows what is involved in project managing a major restoration with all the mistakes, problems and eccentric characters that Jim, Sue and eldest son Tim encountered. They called on experts to do the major steelwork, but fitted out the boat themselves. Jim had to learn how to run and maintain a rare Seffle semi diesel engine, and later a magnificent Kelvin.
The earlier history of Owl has been carefully researched: its carrying days in the 1930s and 1940s; its transfer to British Waterways for maintenance duties; its time as a hire boat and then a camping boat; its sale to a succession of private owners; and finally, its slow decline until bought by the Hutchinsons.
Jim, a classics master, Sue a primary school headteacher, and Tim a children's book illustrator, had no previous experience of restoring an old boat and had to learn as they went along. The result is a much admired and sympathetically revived piece of history. Owl's future is now secure and it has been handed on, after thirty years under the custodianship of the Hutchinsons, to the next generation.