The Cruise of the Dondevoy

    


I went into the city to find myself a job. I enquired at the museum about archaeological digs, but on finding that they only paid a five-pound food voucher every week, I went to the Employment Exchange. They could not be much more helpful, but told me that there were jobs for "students only" at the City Engineer's Department. I managed to get the address of the place from him, but discovered after a long and expensive bus ride that he had directed me to the Housing Department for some reason, possibly so that no-one could say that he had given me the job, me not being a student.

I eventually found the right place, just round the corner from the canal basin in fact, and was taken on as a street sweeper, to start on Monday, at just under twenty pounds per week, and working "a week in hand".

Late in the evening, I heard the sound of a boat, and on looking out saw a full length narrow boat coming into the basin. A young man sitting on the bows shouted out "Stop!", and the engine was put into reverse just in time to stop the boat from crashing into the end of the canal. It turned out to be a party of Venture Scouts who had taken the wrong turning at Hawkesbury Junction, and were now very annoyed because they had to get back to Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal by the next morning. No chance of that, I think. They gave me some coffee and biscuits, and we talked about canals for some time before retiring to bed.


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Copyright ©1972 Ben Newsam. The author of this diary may be contacted at ben.newsam@gmail.com