Friday, 9 December 2011

Patience and The Motorway

Which motorway sign has the greatest connection with our boat?

Probably not the signs for water or bridges that you might first think of.
- though these could be useful ...
What about ....

or (ouch) ...

No, the connection - admittedly obscure - is with the sign for domestic animals.
Why a cow?

In the late 1950s and early 1960s Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert created a wholesale redesign of road signs that heralded the development of motorways in the UK. The new system became law on January 1st 1965. More detail from The Design Museum.
The cow on the sign warning of farm animals was drawn by Margaret Calvert and was based on Patience, a cow on her relatives' Warwickshire farm.
So Patience the cow, Patience the boat.

Patience  describes the state of endurance under difficult circumstances and is one of the seven heavenly virtues. Given that Patience the boat has endured grounding, near collision, and being clogged by weed, all at a maximum speed of 4 mph, the name would appear appropriate.
According to Jim Shead's Waterways Boatnames  Patience is the 68th most popular boat name of the moment, with 34 examples of boats in that name. Our Patience appears twice in the list, but still, we have a more popular name than I expected.

Other famous Patiences include:
the solitary card game, an uninhabited island off Rhode Island, a comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, a 14th century poem, a gulf off eastern Russia and a moderately common forename.

"Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can; seldom found in women - and never in a man."

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