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Fascinating description of a time of change
on 3 January 2013
The author worked on the Clyde during summer holidays from Glasgow University. He combines this with earlier childhood memories, particlarly of Arran. He worked on several routes, and gives a real feel for some of the old ships that were still working at the time, some dating from the end of the nineteenth century. I particularly enjoyed the information on what happened to the ships afterwards (some went to the Greek islands).
He enjoys the ships, but isn't unrealistic in his assessments. The challenges of steam power are well described, including the noise, smell and vibration on some of the older boats. I remember some of the ships he describes, but I think I would have enjoyed the book even if I hadn't. The transition to diesel, and to car ferries, is explained clearly, and I learnt a lot about the social context in which the ships operated, which helped to make sense of the changes.