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Three Mills and the Olympics

The mooring at Three Mills has historically been the home for 20 canal boats and 31 canal boat living people. Until a few months ago when the British Waterways announced that everyone would have to leave for 18 months while the canal undergoes improvements made to transport construction materials for the Olympics. Now the mooring is home for three boats and seven people, who negotiated for special permission to stay.

This documentary project explores the Three Mills community and the people and animals who are positively and negatively affected by the 2012 Olympic canal improvements. The oldest residents of the area do not have a voice, but if they did, I imagine they would have mixed reviews about the changes.

Worms, small and pink, live in the canal mud; the mud that is usually freckled with tires, bikes and other human leftovers. For 30 years the worms have been the prey of not only birds who come to hunt when the tide goes out, but also tropical fish enthusiast Brian, affectionately called the Worm Man, and later joined by his son Darren.

Two days a week for the past 30 years Brian has come to Three Mills to hunt these worms and then sell his catch to tropical fish food buyers. After the canal improvements, the Worm Men will not be able to hunt at Three Mills because the canal, that has historically been tidal, will continuously be floating. Besides being safe from hunting birds and men, it is yet to be determined how the worms will fair being underwater indefinitely.

home sweet

Dick Vincent at his very tidy and regulated new mooring in Canary Wharf. Dick and four other narrow boats from Three Mills feel small at their new mooring next to the Dutch barges and high-rises. But the new community has warmly welcomed the little boat people. Although they have to keep their belongings clean around their boats at all times, because of all the potential eyes that could be watching, day or night, they are starting to feel at home.

gone

Plants and other random belongings sit left-behind at Three Mills mooring, until eventually the construction will start and someone will throw them away. In 18 months the boats will come back to a new and improved, continuously floating, mooring.

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