Narrow Dog to Carcassonne
By Terry Darlington
(Delta, Paperback, 9780385342087, 336pp.)
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
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"We could bore ourselves to death, drink ourselves to death, or have a bit of an adventure..." It was absurd. It was foolhardy. And it was glorious. When they retired, Terry Darlington and his somewhat saner wife Monica—together with their dog, a whippet named Jim—chucked their earthbound life and set out in an utterly unseaworthy sixty-foot canal narrowboat across the notoriously treacherous English Channel and down to the South of France.
Aboard the Phyllis May, you’ll dive through six-foot waves in the Channel and be swept down the terrible Rhône. You’ll meet the French nobody meets—poets, captains, scholars, madmen; they all want to know the couple on the painted boat and their narrow dog. You’ll visit the France nobody knows—the backwaters of Flanders, the canals beneath Paris, and the forbidden routes to the wine-dark Mediterranean Sea. Aliens, trolls, gongoozlers, killer fish, and the walking dead all stand between our two-person, one-whippet crew and their goal: the ancient, many-towered city of Carcassonne.
A tale of travel, travail, dubious wine, a balky pump, and a boat built for only a few feet of water, this exuberantly inventive and hugely entertaining odyssey of the spirit, senses, and heart will enchant lovers of France, England, and all that lies between.
Terry Darlington was brought up in Pembroke Dock, Wales, during the war, between a flying-boat base and an oil terminal. He survived and moved to Staffordshire, where he founded Research Associates, an international market research firm, and Stone Master Marathoners, a running club. Like many Welshmen, he is talkative and confiding, ill at ease with practical matters, and liable to linger in pubs. He likes boating but knows nothing about it.
Following the publication of Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, Terry, his wife Monica, and their whippet Jim planned to sail the Phyllis May down the Intracoastal Waterway from Virginia to Florida—an adventure which, should they survive it, will be the subject of their next book, Narrow Dog to Indian River, coming from Delta in 2009.
"Written with the author's glorious sense of humor, this is one of those journeys you never want to end."—Good Book Guide, UK
“A rich and winning comic debut, destined to become a classic.”—Daily Telegraph, UK
“One of the most hilarious travel memoirs ever written!”—Booklist