Thursday, August 03, 2006


According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the 'art of moving, lodging, and supplying troops and equipment'.

In a decidely non-military context, that's what I've been trying to sort out this week: planning, as far as is possible, to ensure that people and things are in the right places before, during and after our forthcoming trip. The starting point was to get an itinerary from Canalplan - an amazing website. Two itineraries in fact, to take account of our passage through the Standedge Tunnel, which is booked for August 16th.

Lockboy, sadly, has too hectic a social life to accompany us this time, but we have recruited Number One Son to provide extra muscle on the first leg of the journey, along the Huddersfield Narrow, where I fear it may be much needed. The only hitch is that he has to be back down south for a wedding (not his own, fortunately) on the Saturday. The best plan I could come up with was to put him ashore at Stalybridge and onto a train home via Manchester. I've booked him a Virgin advance ticket - a bargain at £16.50 - but if he doesn't make that particular train we're looking at at least £74. So in a way that's the most time-critical part of the journey.

We'll drive up to Huddersfield on the preceding Saturday - so Jim needs to be able to get back to collect the car from there once we've arrived at Stretton. Stretton Wharf is five miles from the nearest railway station - hopefully someone will be found to give him a lift!

With personnel all in the right place, we turn our attention to Things. Andante is a pretty small boat, especially for three people, so we want the minimum possible amount of stuff on voyage. But there are loads of things we'll need once we get there to start smartening her up. So that all has to be fitted into the car ready for collection. And then there are the books and things I need to take home after the whole trip's over in order to take them to London for the new job. There are five boxes of them, so I've enlisted the help of a colleague (thanks Pete!). He lives about seventy miles along the south coast from us (another weekly commuter) but what the hell, it's all Down South, so he's going to bring those for me when he's next 'passing'.

Well, I just hope I haven't forgotten anything too vital. Bet I have.

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