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on 14 September 2012
I bought this book for my husband. Here is his review:

For many the attraction of a boat lies in getting away from it all. Steffan Meyric-Hughes would seem to turn this dream on its head by taking a small boat to London and yet this is a slow, watery London of unmanned locks, dark tunnels and turning tides. It's also a London brimful of secret histories which the author spills along the way, meanwhile grappling with oar, sail and tent.
This is a thoughtfully written, honest and engaging book - I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 20 December 2012
If you love London, you'll love this book. And if you loathe London, it might just convince you to reconsider.
The author mingles little known tales and facts about London and the history of sailing with musings about life, modernity and everything. The kind of book that makes you long to be on the move, meeting odd characters and having adventures.

Warm, funny and touching, with moments of darkness and drama.

I couldn't put it down. My favourite read of the year.
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on 2 September 2012
This was a truly gripping tale of one man's solo journey around London. I loved the descriptions throughout and the little details of London life and a life growing up on water. It would be good for anyone who wants to read a travel book about London that has an unusual twist (as its written from the water's edge not the land). Also funny at times and made me think about the world we live in today.
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on 2 September 2013
Having cruised the London Ring twice, (minus Bow Creek and the Barrier), I thought I would enjoy this. For me it reaches its peak in Chapter 8 with the delightfully written meeting with Frank at the residential moorings above Hanbury Locks, a passage which I found quite moving. Also, the cat in Chapter 7 brought good pictures in my head.
The problem with books like this is that the authors tend to divert from their main topic to introduce various irrelevant reminiscences from their past lives in other parts of the world. This is no exception and I found myself jumping chunks to get back to the journey which I had paid the money for.
I don't regret buying the book and found much of interest, but, oh dear, a book about this fascinating cruise which never once mentions the wonderful Little Venice and the Maida Vale tunnel beyond, (neither of which can be avoided on the cruise), but instead regales us with South Africa, Thailand, and other exotic places, shows a disregard for fully reporting the chosen topic. Little Venice is a true highlight of this journey. So, as I say, curate's egg, good in parts.
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on 31 October 2012
A delightful little book about sailing and rowing around London. Which to be completely honest I didn't thing that you could do!

He journey takes him on the rivers and canals of North London, and then back on Thames to his original starting point. The book is part travel, and part London history, with a mix of reminiscence of previous sailing adventures.
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on 27 September 2012
Steffan Meyric Hughes sure can write a good travel documentary - mind, he should being a world class traditional boat journalist. I've read his stuff in the glossy magazine 'Classic Boat' where he's been working for several years. But, behind that, there is obviously a much more in-depth mind than the normal run-of-the-mill journalist. Now, anyone would have thought that a quick seven day (I think it was seven days but to be truthful that seems irrelevant now)jaunt rowing, sailing, motoring, even punting, around London in a small boat would provoke a pretty boring account of high-rise buildings, bridges, floating scum and God knows what else. But this book is different to many of the other yachtie books around. It's as much a catalogue of many aspects of his past than a straight account of a voyage, there's much philosophising on the world and, at the same time, the unearthing of many secrets of the metropolis that I as a coastal fishy fella, never name all the residents of the fine city, didn't know. It's encyclopaedic from that point of view whilst, at the same time, retains the charm of slowly travelling along canals (which I love too) and there's several weird and wonderful characters to meet along the road - sorry waterway! Oh, thanks to Nick and Matt for loan of the boat too....!!
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on 31 January 2017
This could have been so much better. The author travels by boat along the Thames, the Brent, Grand Union, the Lea, back on the Thames and a sojourn along the Wandle in south London. There are some interesting anecdotes but very little of the metropolis that is London comes across. If you know London you'll be familiar with a lot of the places mentioned; for someone unfamiliar with London this book would not tell them very much. I suspect the author was trying to cater for a nautical readership and a general readership, but he doesn't succeed in either. Anyone who has explored the Thames would know there is a wealth of history, both good and bad, literature and heritage to be encountered.
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on 16 October 2012
I loved this: I loved the story of the trip around London and the way the narrative branched out into tales (past Thames disasters on film, canal adventures, secret lives on the Thames) and reminiscences. Great structure, utterly readable - compulsively so in fact! Everyone who loves London should read it, sailors should make a space on their tiny boat bookshelves, and all readers of good prose should buy it.
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on 29 October 2012
The author keeps you engaged from beginning to end in the charming 'Circle Line', with an effortlessly entertaining easy style, celebrating the capital's unknown, unseen waterways . A civilised, witty, warm-hearted tour of both watery public thoroughfares and private reflections, Sam Meyric Hughes proves a consistently fine companion. He's now on my 'authors to look out for' list...
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on 10 October 2012
Cracking read on the whole, and lots (Lots?) of stuff that, as a Londoner, I never knew. Tunnels and power stations and secret rivers and obscure facts about London's river always fascinate me.

I could go on about some of those facts and figures I most enjoyed reading - indeed I would have liked more of London and not quite so much of the diversions abroad and into childhood, which made it read at times like an early autobiography, albeit peppered with some rather serious and wise philosophising that belies the author's tender-ish years.

Having said that his upbringing by the Thames and the strong attraction he will always feel for it came out the most strongly. Surfing on the power station wave - wouldn't be allowed these days for sure... What larks!

As an inveterate sub editor I picked up a few things that need changing in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions. Stephenson never challenged for the America's Cup, and SAS and SBS surely stand for Special, not Secret, Boat and Air Services. And he has a tendency to explain terms that needn't be explained, such as the meaning of bathyscape, but then this is meant to be a book for all, not just those steeped in boats.

I also detected a slightly world weary tone to the writing (which is nevertheless rich and descriptive), rather than the kind of implausible optimism in the face of adversity one finds so amusing in his fellow Thamesophile, Jerome K. Cheer up Steffan!
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