Felucca set off from Yelvertoft in April. She headed north then west, over the top of Birmingham and down to Worcester. That wasn’t the end, nor the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning.
We sailed around the Midlands and up to Llangollen, then made a daring and potentially decisive foray east to Manchester, chickening out just miles from the city and escaping west up the Bridgewater Canal at the last minute.
With the coming of summer, we were no longer two lonely boaters up against the forces of the Canal & River Trust. Guests entered the fray, bringing much needed manpower and supplies, and thus heralding a decisive change in momentum. A long and protracted battle over the Leeds & Liverpool was followed by an intense but short victory over the Huddersfield Narrow: the original crew much bolstered by helpers at the locks who brought chewing gum and nylon stockings.
And now we are sweeping through the soft underbelly of the waterways: the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals. The boat moors in Congleton to consider our next steps.
It’s Tehran, it’s Yalta. The great generals smoke cigars and get the maps out to consider where we’ll go next. The Coventry and Oxford canals, perhaps, and the Upper Thames. Conquest of the River Nene to Peterborough. Doubtless, a few days of austerity following several weeks of boozing and eating.
But summer’s lease has all too short a date. The allies know in their heart that a Cold War is looming: a fight against an evil empire of darkness, ice, and winter mainternance stoppages. Time to start stockpiling an unnecessarily formidable arsenal of logs and kindling!