By Paul Jamison



Chapter – 32

Paul’s viewpoint

We’d just emerged from the southern portal of the Harecastle tunnel and were enjoying the warmth of the sunlight again after the nearly two mile journey through the heart of Harecastle Hill. I pulled the boat over to the moorings for the water point and Will with Eric and Steve tied up and connected up our hose to refill our water tanks. As soon as that was done we set off again southwards down the canal towards Stoke-on-Trent.

“Where’re we heading for today?” Rick asked me.

“I’m hoping to finish up near Stone this evening. That’ll give us a relatively gentle final day tomorrow and I thought we’d eat out on the last night,” I suggested.

“Do we moor up in the boatyard when we get back tomorrow?” Liam asked.

“No. I plan something a bit more interesting than that, but we’ll have to wait and see if we get along as well as I believe we will, okay?” I said a little mysteriously.

“Oh, he’s got secret plans!” Rick laughed, and then added “We’ll all have to ‘wait and see’ now.”

Liam started giggling and I said


“You guys are just so funny when you start that mysterious talk stuff. I can’t help laughing,” he said.

“Oh, is that all,” I feigned huffy,

“Yeah, that’s all for now,” Liam giggled back and I looked at Rick and Craig both grinning away and I couldn’t help but laugh too.

“Okay, guys, its six miles till we get to any locks. So let’s just enjoy the scenery,” I said smiling.

Craig took over the steering and for the next mile I sat enjoying the bright sunny morning as we moved southwards down the canal towards Eturia, the first and original site of the Josiah Wedgwood potteries, one of the reasons for the building of the canal way back in the eighteenth century, to transport the china clay to the potteries and the finished articles from there to docks and eventually all over the globe, a task taken over by the railways in the 20th century, with Wedgwood having their own railway station, and finally by road transport in more modern times. There’re still plenty of the old bottle shaped brick built china kilns, standing some thirty foot high, preserved at various sites by the canal as one passes by.

It was about an hour when the junction of the Trent and Mersey canal with the Caldon canal appeared and the first lock of the day just after the junction. The twins with Will and Jus hopped off as we approached the lock and quickly had the gates open.

“How many locks are there here?” Craig asked.

“Five in all,” I replied. “Three here together and then two more a little farther down, okay?”

“We’ll go and set the next one then,” Liam said. He and Craig grabbed windlasses and headed off down the towpath to open the next lock ready for us.

“Where’re we meeting with our Mum?” Steve asked from the lockside.

“At bridge 104,” I replied. “We’re stopping there for something to eat,” I explained.

“Oh good, food!  At bridge 104?” Steve and Eric repeated.

“That’s right,” I smiled.

It took just over an hour to do the five locks in the Stoke flight and another quarter of an hour before we passed over the aqueduct with views of the city centre to left and right as we did so, a reminder of the world we’d left behind for a while, but which was never that far away from the pleasant reclusiveness of the canal.

After we’d come through the last of the Stoke locks I turned to the twins and asked

“Want to do some steering for a while since you’re leaving us later on?”

“Yeah, please,” they both replied happily.

They readily accepted and for the next couple of hours they took turns in steering and became extremely competent at it, needing little or no correction, even when passing the very occasional boat going the other way.

As we approached Trentham lock, a drop of nearly twelve feet, I said

“Last one before we stop for a break, okay?”

Craig, Liam, Will and Jus hopped off and operated the gates and paddles while Rick and I showed Steve and Eric how to control the boat in the lock, something they both caught on to at once and we hardly had to help at all. As we left the lock I showed them how to keep the stern close to the steps so the lock crew could easily hop back aboard and then we headed off to our rendezvous at bridge 104.

As we approached the bridge I saw a figure watching from the middle and turning to the twins said

“Looks as if your mum might be here already. Steer through the bridge and bring the boat to the towpath just the other side, okay” I said.

“Okay,” they replied grinning back at me.

I called to the others to get ready to moor up and Will came back to the stern to collect the mooring spikes and hammer.

Steve and Eric saw their mum and returned her wave before steering the boat to the towpath and brought it smoothly to a halt while Will and Jus hopped off and held the mooring ropes as Craig hammered in spikes to moor to. We’d just finished and Steve’d shut off the engine when their mum walked down from the bridge along the towpath towards the boat.

Both Steve and Eric rushed off the boat to join their mother and were animatedly explaining their exploits when they arrived back at the boat for me to greet Mrs Clayton again.

“Well, you can see they seem to have survived both ‘Heartbreak Hill’ and a long tunnel,” I said with a smile. “Shall we go off to the works and find the cafeteria?” I suggested.

“Are we visiting the Wedgwood factory?” Liam asked. **

“Yes, we are. I’ve booked a factory tour for you and we can eat there, look around and chill for a couple of hours,” I said. “I hope they’ll enjoy it and it’s not too ‘educational’ though?” I asked Mrs Clayton.

“No, not at all. It’ll do them good to learn something new,” she replied smiling.

The twins shouldered their packs that they’d got ready and we all made our way to where Mrs Clayton had parked. As soon as they’d loaded their kit into their car, we went towards the factory precincts and followed the signs for the Visitor Centre. I collected our pre-booked tour tickets and as we’d plenty of time before the tour began, we headed for the cafeteria and all the boys elected for a burgers, fries and Cokes meal, while Mrs Clayton, Rick and I had filled baguettes with tea.

After we’d eaten we joined some other visitors at the start point for the guided tour. It began with a film of the history of the company started by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759 in Burslem nearby, before moving to Eturia and finally to their present site. After the film, which included explanations of the way the pottery and fine china were made and decorated, we went into the factory itself and watched the craftsmen at work making and decorating the wares.

Once the tours were over we had a walk round the factory shop and I looked at some of the superb dinner services on display. Rick sidled up and grinningly said

“Look all you like, but we’ve enough at home, I think. Don’t you?”

“Yeah, you’re right as usual,” I reluctantly agreed.

“We’ve already got three. Surely that’s enough?” Rick pressed his point.

“Yeah, of course… but it’s nice just to look anyway at this lovely stuff,” I replied.

“Yeah, it is. I agree with you there,” Rick smiled as he replied.

After the tours and we’d had a good wander round the shops we said our goodbyes to the twins and turned back towards the canal and our boat. It was almost four o’clock.

“Right guys,” I said, “we’ll head off from here and we can stop anywhere between here and bridge 99. It just depends on how far we manage before it gets darker, okay?”

Craig and Liam started to get the mooring ropes sorted while Rick started the engine and let it run before Will took the tiller and we set off down the canal once again.


* * *

Will’s viewpoint

I’d enjoyed going through the tunnel a lot despite the cold water streaming from the roof down our necks in some places. It was a good change from the very hard day we’d had going up Heartbreak Hill with its thirty locks. I felt pretty fit too and I could now steer without needing help. So I was feeling good about everything.

“Where do we stop tonight?” I asked Rick

“Oh, somewhere suitable between bridge 101 and 99, okay?” he replied.

“Okay, then,” I said as I concentrated on steering for a while.

About forty minutes later and just after passing under bridge 100 I said to Rick

“Shall we stop? Bridge 99 is not far ahead now.”

“Yeah, good idea, just toot the horn and we’ll pull in to the towpath anywhere here, okay,” he replied.

I gave a short toot on the horn and Liam and Craig appeared from the stern cabin.

“Wassup?” Craig asked.

“We’re gonna moor up for the night now,” I replied.

“Okay,” they said and took out the spikes and hammer from the locker and got ready to jump off as I brought the boat to the side and reversed to stop it. They jumped onto the towpath and quickly hammered the spikes in and moored the boat. Once back on board they dumped the hammer in the locker and we all went below after I’d turned off the engine for the day.

Paul was in the galley preparing the meal, so I asked

“What’re we having tonight?”

“Chicken in tomato sauce with pasta tonight guys. Is that okay?” he replied.

“Yeah, that’s great, thanks,” I said, as I made my way towards the bathroom to clean up before dinner. Jus was right behind me and after we’d done the necessary we both went through into the cabin and sat down at the table.

Liam came through with Craig. They’d been tidying up the mooring and then’d cleaned up in their cabin. They slid into the seats beside us and we waited for food to happen.

Rick came to the table with an armful of beer bottles and Coke cans. He set them down and said

“Okay, cutlery, please, guys. The meal’s nearly ready. Help yourselves to beers and Cokes.” and went back to help Paul dish up the food.

We got the cutlery organised and helped ourselves to a drink and then Rick and Paul brought the food to the table.

“Right, enjoy, everyone,” Paul said.

“Cheers!” we all said back, raising glasses as we did, or in Jus and my case Coke cans!

“We don’t have to start as early as we’ve been doing tomorrow, okay?” Paul was explaining to us as we ate our food.

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, we’ve only got about six or seven hours cruising left, if all goes as I expect. So we don’t need to be up at dawn, okay?”

“Great, can we lie in then?” everyone laughed back.

“How many more locks have we got left to do?” Jus asked.

“I think it’s only eleven or twelve left now. That’s it. We’ll have done the full circuit of a hundred and ten miles and ninety seven locks all told,” Paul replied. “Oh, and no, not really a lie in, but say a nine o’clock start. How’s that sound?” he finished.

“That’s okay,” I said. “We’ve been up and going much earlier than that most days since we started,” I added.

“Yeah, but it’s the holidays. This is earlier than for school some mornings,” Jus moaned.

“Try telling that to those bloody ducks what keeps waking us up at crack of dawn every morning so far!” I replied heatedly.

We all laughed, but I had to agree with him, I thought to myself.

“But, have you all had a good time though?” Paul asked between mouthfuls.

“Yeah, definitely,” Jus giggled. “It’s been a brilliant week. I mean, I nearly had to go to my aunt’s while Mum and Dad went to Paris that would’ve been sooooooooo borrrrrrrrrrrring really,” he giggled at me across the table.

“It’s certainly been good exercise. I’ve shaken some muscles into working again,” Rick commented, while smiling away at Paul.

“I’ve found some I didn’t know I had,” Craig laughed.

We all laughed at that.

“I’ve definitely got stronger arms than at the beginning of the week as I’m sure winding the lock paddles got easier as the week’s gone by? Perhaps I’ve imagined it though?” I said.

“No, you prolly have a bit,” Liam chipped in. “I’ve got good shoulders and arms from swimming loads, but they’ve got better this week with all the lock gear winding. I’m sure of that,” he added.

“I think you’re a little taller,” Rick said. “I mean you’ve grown a bit, I’m sure, since we first met you back in the summer,” he added.

“You really think so?” Liam asked.

“Well, yes, it looks like it to me, but you’ll have to wait till we’re back at home to measure yourself. I haven’t got a tape with me this trip,” he added.

We all carried on talking for a while longer and then we sorted out the washing up and tidying of the galley. Craig helped Jus and me with the bed unit and we flopped out on it for a while just listening to everyone chatting.

“I’m going for a shower and then to bed,” Liam announced.

“Me too,” added Craig and the two of them went through to their cabin.

I looked at Jus and giggled as he was making round eyes and grinning widely at me. He rolled over and snorted to himself and I tried not to crease up as he was giggling away and then turned to me and said

“Have you been doing any ‘growing’ recently,” and giggled loads again.

“What sort of growing?” I asked back quietly in his ear, giggling too.

“Perhaps we can check on that later,” he replied in a whisper and winked as I grinned widely.

“What’re you two giggling about?” Paul asked with a smile.

“Nothing really, just about growing taller. I don’t seem to have put any on this year,” I replied as sanely as I could.

“You have actually. We had to get new school trousers this term for you. Remember how the old ones were way up off your ankles?” Paul replied.

“Oh, yes, they were, weren’t they,” I replied. “And they were tight too,” I added.

“I needed new ones as well,” Jus added. “But Mum thinks I’ve not grown as much as last year. I put on four inches the summer before, I think,” He said grinning at me.

I nudged him in the ribs and whispered “Where were those four inches then?” and giggled.

Jus elbowed me back in the ribs and winked at me before whispering

“You can check on that later,” he replied, as he rolled over against the back panel giggling away to himself.

“Okay, guys. It looks as if Liam and Craig are done in the shower. So we’re going to shower, then turn in soon,” Paul announced. “We’ll leave you two to joke away, but don’t stay up all night, will you?” he added as they got up and headed out through the galley to their cabin.

“Nah, we won’t,” I said as they left the galley.

Jus and I got down to our boxers and sorted the bedding out. Then with a big grin to each other, slid them off and snuggled together under the covers and began to kiss and cuddle. It wasn’t long before we were well excited and Jus slid down under the covers and after a few seconds of feeling around that nearly made me giggle he re-appeared and announced

“Yes there’s definitely been some growing going on and it’s more than four inches too,” he giggled as he disappeared again.

Slowly but surely, he worked on my cock and in a very short time I felt my balls tighten and I slid my arms down and felt Jus’s back beneath them and gripped onto his shoulders as he brought me to a climax that I only just managed to hold off from grunting loudly through.

His grinning face appeared again and we kissed long and passionately. I eventually broke away and rolled him off me and then raising myself up on my elbows whispered

“Time to see if there’s been any more growing going on that needs help,” and disappeared under the covers.

I slowly licked up and down Jus’s shaft and it quickly responded to my tongue. It was only a matter of a minute or so before he was gripping the bedding in an effort to stay quiet as he came into my gob. I cleaned up and snuggled up alongside him and said

“Definitely been some growing going on down there.”

“Yeah, we can do more experiments when we’re back, okay? I’m staying at yours on Saturday as my peeps aren’t home till Sunday afternoon.”

“I know,” I replied with a knowing smile. “I have plans!”

We both burst into giggles and then after getting comfy I turned out the bulkhead light and we drifted off to sleep.

* * *    * * *

Liam’s viewpoint

Craig and I went back to our cabin to get showered and ready for bed. I was pretty tired but’d really enjoyed the day, especially the time out at the Wedgwood porcelain factory. Watching the craft potters finish the work on the delicate chinaware and the decorators doing the fine hand painting was something I’d never seen before. Craig was as equally interested and I felt as the week had gone on and we’d done so much talking, I found I was getting closer and closer to him as the days passed.

There was no hope of showering together in the tiny boat shower cubicle. So I just left the partition door open as I went in so I could carry on chatting to him as he got ready for his shower.

“Having fun?” I asked as I stepped out of the shower and took the towel Craig handed to me.

“Yeah, it’s been an amazing week… I just couldn’t have imagined this a few months ago. So much has changed for me, as well, you know,” he replied.

“Does Jamie know you’re… you know… gay?” I asked. It was just about the only thing I’d not mentioned in our many chats on the towpath between locks, or the waiting for the boat to arrive once we’d got a lock ready.

“Yes, I told him this summer when we had some proper chats after we’d got the news about Dad,” Craig answered. “He doesn’t seem to mind and doesn’t think it’ll affect him really… he’s not bothered about it so far anyway,” he added.

“Yeah, but he’s what? Thirteen?”

“Yeah, thirteen and a half,” Craig confirmed.

“Well, not all thirteen year olds are as ‘mature’ as that and he could get some backlash taunting from the village idiots in his year, I guess, is what I’m thinking. That’s all.”

“I s’pose so. He’d have said something though. He always talks to me first anyway. Plus, I always know when he’s not okay. I just get a feeling, that’s all.”

“What like the twins do?” I asked.

“No, nothing as strong as that. They have whole conversations just by looking at each other and they know what the other’s thinking without asking. It was so obvious the way things just happened without them saying anything loads of times this last couple of days,” Craig explained.

“Yeah, you’re right there, especially with gates and paddles. They seemed to be in perfect time without even looking to see what the other was doing. It seemed like that to me anyway,” I replied.

I’d dried off as we were talking and put on fresh boxers and Craig’d just finished his shower. So he shut it down and turned the waste pump out on before closing off the bathroom and sitting on his bed to dry off. He’d just dried his hair when I heard the pump gurgle so got up to switch it off and then we closed our partition door and sat facing each other on our beds. Craig looked at me and then putting both hands behind him he leaned back against the bulkhead and said

“I’ve never been happier since meeting you a few weeks back. Things had changed so much I didn’t really know what was what for a while. Now I can see a way forward from all the stuff that’s been going on this summer. I know I want to be with you. We’ve talked all week and I’m now very sure that I’m ready to move on… um, do more stuff… well you know….” he trailed off.

“I feel the same. That’s why I asked if you could stay over on Saturday when we get back,” I replied.

“Yeah, I know, that’s why I said yes then and I’m more sure now that I want to stay over,” Craig explained. 

We both stood and pressed ourselves close. I could feel Craig’s erection pressing through his underwear into my groin and I was as excited myself. We kissed deeply then eventually broke away. I looked into his eyes and saw that his feelings were indeed very much for ‘real’ and I just couldn’t believe my good fortune in meeting this lovely guy.

“Time for bed?” I suggested. “We’ve still a day of cruising to go and what we’re wanting will be better saved for back at home and more private than these thin partitions,” I suggested.

“Yeah, you’re right. let’s go to sleep then… until those damn ducks turn up at any rate,” he laughed.

I grinned back in agreement and we both slipped under the covers and Craig turned out the bulkhead lights. As I settled down before sleep I went over the happenings of the past few weeks in my mind until I drifted off myself a little after I heard Craig’s breathing slip into the regular pattern of sleep.

 * * *   * * *

Paul’s viewpoint

True to form, the local representatives of the ducks’ union turned out in force at dead on eight the following morning. I turned over and nudged Rick who was also awake.

“They never miss a boat do they?” he remarked as we struggled upright in the bed.

“Seems like it. We’ve had a quacking chorus every morning this trip,” I remarked back. “Fancy a proper breakfast this morning?” I asked.

“Yeah, good thought. Use up stuff left over. We don’t really want loads to take back home do we?” he replied.

“No, as little as possible really,” I agreed and struggled out of bed and into the bathroom for a shower.

As soon as I’d done and Rick went in for his shower I went through to the galley, filled the kettle for tea and turned on the oven for cooking up the remaining bacon and sausages I had in the fridge. There were a dozen each of sausages and bacon rashers and exactly a dozen eggs also. I was just self congratulating on that when a couple of heads appeared above the diner back grinning away at me.

“Bacon breakfast?” Justin asked.

“Yeah,” I answered. “Bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and a grilled half-tomato, I want to clear out the fridge as we don’t want to be carting stuff back home tomorrow,” I explained.

“Oh good,” the other head exclaimed. “I’ll help with that,” he went on.

Will and Jus giggled and disappeared from view for a few moments before appearing again with jeans on, pulling on tees and sweat shirts as they sorted out their bed and stuff. I laid out the bacon and sausages on oven trays and set them to cook, then turned my attention to making a big pot of tea as usual when Rick came through from our cabin. He slipped his arms round me and then nuzzling into my neck whispered something very naughty about Saturday night and what he was thinking should happen. I snorted and said

“Will a cup of tea do until then?” and then wriggled out of his grasp to pour out two mugs for him and me and a further couple for Jus and Will who’d by then finished sorting their bed and it was once again the dining table, and were watching us both with slightly amused expressions on their faces.

“Despite what you may believe to be the case,” Rick announced turning to face the two boys, “being over twenty does not mean that we are ‘past it’ or ‘decrepit’ or otherwise incapable of having fun… okay?” he finished solemnly, to much amusement all round from the two boys. 

Liam and Craig appeared from their cabin and we got the boat ready to start as soon as we’d had breakfast. At a little after nine Liam loosed the mooring ropes and stowed the spikes in the lockers and the boat aided by a shove at the bows from Craig who narrowly missed going into the canal as he leapt back onto the boat from the towpath, headed off towards the first of the four locks at Meaford. Eleven saw us cruising happily towards the town of Stone and another set of three locks with a total drop of just under forty foot in all.

“We’ll take on water at Stone too,” Rick said to Liam who was steering at that moment.

“Yes, would you stop at Stone bottom lock for water and also lunch. We’ve very little food left onboard now so both lunch and dinner I planned to be off the boat today,” I added.

“Oh, at that old pub right on the canal?” Rick asked.

“Yeah,” I replied smiling away.

“There’s this very old pub after the next three locks,” Rick explained. “I think its 14th century. None of the floors are at the same level so you have to really watch out when going through doorways that you don’t bang your heads on lintels.”

“Well, there’s a nice Italian place nearby if you fancy pizza instead as we’re going to a pub this evening?” I suggested.

“We’ll let you know by the time we get there, okay?” Liam laughed.

I sat back into the stern seats and enjoyed the scenic route until the first of the locks, Limekiln Lock, came into view. The four locks of the flight were spaced evenly over about half a mile. Liam and Craig walked on to get each ready for us and as soon as we were in they moved to the next until when we reached the final one at about one o’clock they were ready and waiting on the gate beams chatting away to each other.

“So, guys, which is it to be?” I asked once the boat was in the lock and going down. “The Pub or Pizza?”

“Pizza please,” both Jus and Will replied.

“Okay, pizza,” Liam said smiling. “I mean we get a pub dinner tonight, right?” he asked.

“Yes, I’ve a nice place lined up tonight and I’ve booked it so we’ll have no problems with that,” I replied.

We moored up just below the final lock and took on water. Then as soon as we were safely tied up away from the water mooring we moved off over the bridge to the Pizza restaurant that I’d located from the guide book.

It did not take us long to get the pizzas organised and we elected to take them back to the boat to eat. Half an hour later when all were satisfied, Craig loosed off the moorings and I took the tiller for the last section of the route we’d embarked upon some seven days before.

There was the best part of four miles before we came to another lock and Craig and Liam sat in the stern seats keeping Rick and me company as we meandered down the canal past the villages of Little Stoke and Burston. As we approached Sandon I turned to them and said

“Just three more locks to go and then that’s it.”

“Are they all together?” Craig asked.

“No, they’re over a mile apart each. There’s this one at Sandon. Then over two miles till the one at Weston and finally Hoo Mill Lock just before bridge 76.” I replied.

We took our time working through the Sandon lock and waited for Will and Jus to hop back on board at the bottom steps before moving off towards Weston-upon-Trent. We were all sat down on the stern deck except for me steering. About ten minutes after we’d passed Weston the gate beams of the 8ft drop Weston lock came into view and the boys all grabbed their windlasses and got ready to hop off as I drew alongside the towpath. They all ran ahead and a moment later the sound of paddles being raised to fill the lock for us to enter could be heard back at the boat. I idled the engine and hovered the boat in the channel until the lock gates were pushed open by the boys. Once in the lock Justin and Will had the top paddles open in record time to empty the lock. Once done and they’d got the gates open Craig and Liam stayed to help with the closing as I nudged forward and waited for them to close gates and paddles and hop down the steps and back onto the stern deck before I moved off on the last stretch towards the final  lock of the circuit.

We approached the Hoo Mill Lock at about four pm. Jus called out from the bow where he and Will had taken up seats since leaving the previous lock and said

“This is it, the FINAL lock,” he emphasised.  Grinning widely as he did so.

I nudged up to the towpath and all the boys and Rick got off to operate that last lock. It took about ten minutes to drop the last almost eight feet and I held the boat under the bridge as the guys closed the last set of gates and paddles before hopping back on board at the stern. Liam opened the storage locker and counted back the four windlasses and closed it up. I said

“Would you take my windlass and the new one we got in Middlewich and stick it by our bed, please. I’ll pack them up with our stuff later this evening, okay?”

“Yeah, sure,” Liam replied and he sorted those two out before he disappeared into the stern cabin for a few moments to return to the deck a few moments later.

“So, who’s for a lat bit of steering?” I asked

“Me, please,” Justin piped up.

“Here you go then,” I said as I handed over the tiller to him.

“Keep going steady and call out when you see the junction and that will be the circuit complete then,” I told him.

Justin and Will between them steered for the next twenty minutes and then Will called out from his position by the cabin top.

“Junction ahead,” he said.

“Okay guys, that’s nearly it,” I said.

Justin handed over the tiller to Rick and we approached the junction with the Staffordshire and Worcester canal that we’d started out from seven days before. Rick took a long blast on the horn as he made the tight turn to the right and under the bridge and there was the boatyard, the circuit complete. The boys all cheered as we went through. I nudged Rick and said

“Carry on past the yard for a bit. I’ve a place for us to moor tonight. The yard’s a bit boring really.”

“Oh I know where you’re headed,” he smiled back to me.

I nodded and said “Yes, we can have a little fun there while there’s still plenty of light,” I explained.

“Why are we going on?” Justin asked. “We’re not going round again are we?” he asked grinning.

“What and miss school?” I replied laughing. “No chance, we’re just going to a good mooring for tonight. That’s all,” I replied.

A few more minutes passed and we approached the open waters of Tixall Wide once again. I turned to the guys and said.

We can have a little fun here; it’s deep and wide so you can do a bit of navigating round the wide for a short while. You probably don’t remember this bit on the way out as you were all busy settling into your cabins,” I said.

For the next twenty minutes or so the boys all had a go at travelling round in circles and figure eights in the open water of the wide. One of Will’s turns was so tight he almost lost his grip on the tiller. A quick grab from Rick saved the day.

“Bloody hell,” Jus said, “you nearly went in then.”

“Yeah, close thing,” Will replied cautiously, as he regained his equilibrium.

Then as the light began to fade I headed in to moor up facing the way we’d come in so we’d have an easy start the following morning and we moored. Will put the kettle on and made tea for us all. I went below and came back on deck with two mugs for Rick and me; Craig and Liam were sat on the stern seats looking out over the water, tea in one hand, arms round each other waists with their free hands. Will and Justin came up on deck with their teas and leaning against the stern rail quietly looked out over the still water of Tixall Wide. With everyone lost in their own thoughts and as the sun slowly dropped down over the horizon Will turned to Jus and said


“School on Monday.”


The End

**Authors note… regrettably Wedgwood have been taken into receivership since I made the journey. A victim of the  2008/9 global recession. At this time the visitor centre, museum and shops are all open as normal. The factory part of the tour is not now available due to the fluctuations in production. 
P.Jamison March 2009. 

The route of the trip  can be followed on Google Earth. Just put in Great Hayward Boatyard, Staffs and you will find the start point.


I have to thank the following, for without their support and much practical help ‘William’ would never have become a reality.

Grateful thanks to my editor, N Fourbois for his patience with my version of the English language.

Thanks are due to Adrian from Oz who patiently read, edited and commented on early chapters.

To  Kiwi for his support, suggestions and equally patient beta reading.

And above all to all of you who wrote and told me you liked or enjoyed the story as it progressed. 
I very much appreciated all of your emails and I believe I've managed to reply to all. 

There is a full and complete downloadable Pdf version of the story with all illlustrations in situe  at my google group.

There may well be a sequel…. Watch this space. It will be only on IOMFATS in first release.
Many thanks, Paul Jamison

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