The other books

‘Paid to Live the Dream’ is also available as two separate books:- ‘A Tugman’s Tale’, and ‘Voyaging to the Sun’.

‘A Tugman’s Tale’. Life aboard Thames steam tugs in the 1960s

The front cover of the book 'A Tugman's Tale' , Life Aboard Thames Steam Tugs in the 1960s

(This book is extracted from Part 1 of ‘Paid to Live the Dream’ and is about experiences of working on the Thames steam tugs.)

Seven years of working with colourful characters in a hard environment, when ‘health and safety’ hadn’t yet been invented, was a tough learning experience for a 15-year-old lad straight from school. He tells of the long hours, the basic living conditions, the dangers – as well as the pranks and the humour. Time off was brief but was filled with escapades ashore, short trips abroad and an active love life!

This is also a deeply personal account of his early life on a council estate where money was short and you had to make your own amusements; cycling with his best friend with only one bike between them, eeling in the marshes, riding ponies at the nearby riding school before the owners were awake. Visits to the cinema were funded by collecting and returning empty bottles to pubs and also by getting up at the crack of dawn to deliver a large paper round before setting off for school.

‘Voyaging to the Sun’. Adventures on the French Canals & the Western Med.

Front cover of 'Voyaging to the Sun', Adventures in the French canals and the Western Med

(This book is extracted from Part 2 of ‘Paid to Live the Dream’, and tells of Anthony’s adventures after he left the Thames tugs (described in his book ‘A Tugman’s Tale’ and Part 1 of ‘Paid to Live the Dream’).)

 After a gruelling six and a half years spent aboard the Thames steam tugs Anthony was ready for a change. As luck would have it he saw an exhilarating film clip in a local cinema which filled him with a new resolve to pursue the goal of sailing.

Getting the sailing bug

He qualified as a yacht skipper and then set about finding work. With no previous experience this wasn’t easy, and he ended up accepting a job on a new but suspiciously doubtful looking vessel destined for chartering in the Mediterranean. Once the main fitting out was finished, he, together with his new wife  and two crew set out for the Med by way of the Belgian and French canals.

This yacht was so disastrous in its design and conception, and the things that subsequently happened were so unbelievable, that it instigated the writing of this account. It is an extraordinary and sometimes hilarious tale of misadventures and fiascos.

Some people might question whether climbing up a cliff face in the dark, being tossed around in a storm in the Bay of Biscay, and seeing a crew member almost shot could be considered the dream, but at least he was doing what he wanted to do and got paid for the experience!

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