Matt Gaw in conversation
On the evening of Matt Gaw's visit to Browsers Bookshop, we had to compete with meetings taking place all over town. I'd heard from so many people who were sorry they couldn't join us but had prior engagements. There's always something going on in Woodbridge!
But Matt's account of canoeing along Britain's rivers still managed to draw a good gathering to the bookshop. Many of our audience were members of clubs associated with getting on the water on our own River Deben.
Matt delighted us with his bashfulness as he confessed to having no experience of canoeing when he embarked on his year travelling along Britain's waterways.
His friend, James had built a 17ft wooden canoe and, having built it, he wanted to try it out. Yet neither of them had ever been in a boat before.
They survived a short jaunt along the Stour and enjoyed the experience so much, they decided to explore other rivers. First they travelled in Suffolk, and then they went further afield.
There were a few mishaps, one a rather more serious sluicing when on the Thames. And they soon learnt that keeping their belongings in the boat in Waitrose carrier bags wasn't a great idea, but their naivety and their childlike delight in trying something new was charming and certainly inspired this audience to think about how they might explore the water in a new way.
Matt has a growing reputation for his beautiful descriptions of wildlife and the natural environment. He certainly captivated this audience with his account of a sighting of a beaver in Devon and how otter poo is a useful tool for helping children learn about 'wild writing'!
Matt was visiting us at the launch of the paperback for 'The Pull of the River'. He revealed that he had just submitted the manuscript for his next book which is due out in the autumn and is currently top secret! We hope he'll return to Browsers when he can tell us more.