The Floating Cinema

Driver of The Floating Cinema barge. He said he took the job because he wanted to slow down in life, and with the barge topping out around 4 mph, I think he found a good fit!

Last Saturday, on the second half of our much longer than anticipated walk, the driver of The Floating Cinema canal barge (above) was kind enough to offer us a ride from one lock to another. While this act of generosity was interesting in and of itself (and allowed for some new photos!), it was also incredibly fascinating just to learn about The Floating Cinema!

Although normally stationed in London, the barge is traveling around England using the canals, and hosting events along the way.

Crofton Beam Engines at sunset.

One of these gatherings took place on Wednesday, the 24th of June at the Crofton Beam Engines (above). The oldest working steam engines in the world, it was constructed in 1807 and was absolutely essential to the building and maintaining of the canals.

The view from the beam engine window!
The view from the highest story open to visitors of the beam engines.
The Dead Rat Orchestra
The Dead Rat Orchestra

My favorite part of the evening, though, was the entertainment provided by the Dead Rat Orchestra (above). These brothers sung folk music dating from the days of the canal builders, while also providing the history of the song and/or a comedic anecdote, and did so with a smile on their faces, a laugh in their bellies, and a beer in their hands.

The field next to the Beam Engines, just before we left.

Although we went to this event on a whim with low expectations, both The Floating Cinema and the Dead Rat Orchestra were worth the drive, and this event truly reflects one of my favorite professor’s sayings:

No one does history quite like the English! – Molly McClain


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