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Canal volunteer turns author

They may be tough and hard-working, but the Chesterfield Canal Trust’s Volunteer Work Party has hidden depths.

Roy Stringer has been on the Work Party for many years, doing a variety of hard manual work such as mixing and barrowing concrete to help build walls and locks. He owns, and is licensed to use, a chainsaw with which he has helped to clear vast amounts of scrub along the canal.

Author However, when he gets home and changes out of his working gear, he is transformed into a veritable wordsmith. He has penned several books, the latest of which is called Ruffled Feathers.

When “Queasy” Morgan, a shady nightclub owner, tries to put the screws on an old people’s home, he gets a lot more than he bargained for. Helped by Charlie and Tiny, two of his henchmen with misgivings, the residents retaliate.

But Morgan’s problems don’t end there. When his parrot falls ill – he blames the residents – he’s forced to travel overland to the central African republic of Madoqualand for a cure. En route he almost causes a diplomatic incident in Paris, risks a charge of indecent exposure in Turkey and struggles with a water phobia. To cap it all, an over-sexed wildlife ranger gets the hots for the poor man when he arrives at her isolated ranger station.

Zany and fast moving, Ruffled Feathers presents an alternative snapshot of residential care in the 21st century. But will Morgan return home safely? And what does his parrot think about it all?

Roy himself says “OK, so it’s not as politically correct as it might be and stereotypes predominate, but it’s probably the funniest, most life-affirming novel you’re ever likely to get your mitts on.”

Ruffled Feathers, is available in paperback from Amazon or Lulu.com for £8.99, and as a Kindle download at £1.99.

Meanwhile, Roy can be seen every Sunday, come rain or shine, at Staveley Basin helping to build the new Staveley Town Lock.