‘Bill joined the Thames Conservancy Navigation section as a relief lock keeper and started what was to be his lifetime career on 31 January 1966. We have since found out that he didn’t fit the profile and that Peter Bowles, the Navigation Inspector who appointed him was told by the Chief Inspector to get rid of him - because he had been a Salters Skipper and he was IRISH. Fortunately Mr Bowles ignored this instruction, otherwise this would have been a very different story.
‘We moved to Eynsham in October 1969, with the boating season at an end, rather a depressing time to move to a lock house which was cold and damp, so much so that I thought about packing my bags and taking our young sons back to live with my parents. Somehow we survived that first winter. I had a part time job in the University Radiation Protection Office. We bought an old banger Morris 1000 which took the family shopping once a week to Waitrose in Witney and even made it down to Dover the following summer for my brother’s wedding.’