I WAS interested to read the article referring to the new punts which will operate from Grasmere Hotel in Harnham (Journal, July 17).
It brought back memories of the school summer holidays of 1959/60 when I was 13/14 and lived in Harnham. My cousin was a Scout in the 4th Salisbury Harnham Scout troop and Jack Wort, who owned Grasmere as a private house at that time, was the Scouts' District Commissioner.
Harnham Scouts used to keep their two aluminium open-topped two-seater canoes (probably should be called kayaks) in the boat shed at the bottom of Grasmere's garden and my cousin, who shall remain nameless, told me that he had permission to use the canoes whenever he liked.
We used to walk in the front gate at Grasmere, past the house, across the lawn to the shed and take the canoes and the paddles.
We were never challenged.
He, with two other friends and I, spent many afternoons paddling the canoes from Grasmere on the river in Harnham up to the Old Mill, to Britford and into the Close and through to Fisherton and we had a lot of fun, including, if I remember correctly, scrumping some apples from a garden in the Close on one occasion. We put the apples in a canoe, which later turned over with us in it - and all the apples floated away.
On another occasion we were on the river by the Rose and Crown during an evening and some American visitors threw several half crowns (12.5p today) into the river for us to dive for. It was a couple of years later that my cousin told me that he had never asked permission to use the canoes and that he had only assumed it to be ok.
I can only add that all four of us are now, I believe, considered to be well behaved senior citizens.
Good luck to the new punting business - we might well take a trip and let someone else do the work this time.
Barford St Martin