We were living close by the Thames at Wallingford when I started to do gigs with Andrew Frank. Sir Max Mallowan (famous archaeologist) and Lady Mallowan (the novelist Agatha Christie) lived close by. We kept a punt in their dilapidated boathouse so Andrew and I worked out our first repertoire on the river. Somehow we ended up taking the watery name of Three Men in a Boat, which must have been homage to Jerome K. Jerome’s humorous travelogue of 1889, though I don’t remember the book as being especially funny and anyway their boat was a skiff not a punt. Perhaps the concertina counted for two, being a Jeffries Duet.
I made up a poster for us with Letraset and Cow Gum. In retrospect it seems an odd piece of marketing for a folk duo. Happily our act is still on the road, though not under that name, and that pole is in regular use propelling the same punt. In summer it’s often moored on the tidal Thames by Richmond Bridge, courtesy of master boat-builder Mark Edwards MBE, and over the years it has been towed on a trailer and launched to explore wherever a heavy punt can be manhandled over the bank and its pole can touch the bottom.
Since Wallingford days the punt has visited several other stretches of the Thames between Cricklade and Richmond, the Cherwell at Oxford, the Cam at Cambridge and Upware, the Great Ouse at Godmanchester, the Medway at Tonbridge, the Stour at Blandford Forum, the Basingstoke Canal near Farnborough, the Colne near Colchester, the Wissey near Thetford, the Bure and its broads near Acle, the Waveney at Bungay, and the Ouse north of York.
Further suggestions welcomed !