Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington
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Narrow Dog to Carcassonne
By Terry Darlington

Narrow Dog to Carcassonne

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Format: Paperback

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Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington

Book Awards

  • Shortlisted for Saga Award for Wit 2005.

Book Description

'We could bore ourselves to death, drink ourselves to death, or have a bit of an adventure...' When they retired, Terry and Monica Darlington decided to sail their canal narrow boat across the Channel and down to the Mediterranean, together with their whippet Jim. They took advice from experts, who said they would die, together with their whippet Jim. On the Phyllis May, you dive through six-foot waves in the Channel, are swept down the terrible Rhone, and fight for your life in a storm among the flamingos of the Camargue. You meet the French nobody meets - poets, captains, historians, drunks, bargees, men with guns, scholars, madmen - they all want to know the people on the painted boat and their narrow dog. You visit the France nobody knows - the backwaters of Flanders, the canals beneath Paris, the heavenly Yonne, the lost Burgundy Canal, the islands of the Saone, and the forbidden ways to the Mediterranean. Aliens, dicks, trolls, vandals, gongoozlers, killer fish and the walking dead all stand between our three innocents and their goal - many-towered Carcassonne.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780553816693
ISBN-10: 0553816691
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 27mm)
Pages: 432
Imprint: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 3-May-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...

Books By Author Terry Darlington

Narrow Dog to Wigan Pier by Terry Darlington Narrow Dog to Wigan Pier, Paperback (May 2013)

At seventy-five, the author and Monica Darlington had done everything they could think of doing, including starting a business and becoming athletes and running a literary society. Lately they had become boating adventurers and he a bestselling writer. But in their Midlands canal town in November, life was looking dull and short on surprises.

Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, Paperback / softback (March 2008)

This is the hilarious and true story of two senior citizens and their whippet dog who hatch, plan, and carry out a "lunatic scheme" to sail from Stone in Staffordshire to Carcassonne in the South of France.

» View all books by Terry Darlington


US Kirkus Review » A retired British couple takes their canal boat on a cross-Channel expedition.When some pesky person asked why the author and wife Monica had abandoned the quiet pensioners' life and taken to the waterways, Darlington explained it as "an adventure before it's too late. They say at our age you are at the end of vigour." This became something of a running joke during their travels, since this lively pair was obviously far from decrepit. After all, they were adventurous enough to accept a friend's booze-soaked challenge to sail through England and across the Channel to France, then wind their way to Carcassonne in their 60-foot by 7-foot narrowboat, "a preposterous shape" for attempting this never-accomplished feat of seamanship. As company, they took along their trusty whippet Jim, "a dog that hates boating." Though the setup seems to promise a lighthearted travelogue, and Darlington does occasionally display a bracing, dry wit, their journey was often colored by bleak memories of the destruction and suffering the author witnessed as a child during World War II. In one the most moving instances of emotionally charged reminiscence, Darlington felt the presence of his long-dead father and longed "to press my face against his rough air-force trousers, and smell the tobacco and feel his hands on my head." Unfortunately, those moments of luminosity are rare in a text more notable for overblown vacation babble, long-winded stories, grand overstatement and pompous bombast - plus some daunting British slang impenetrable to all but the most seasoned Anglophile. Boat enthusiasts will appreciate the insider terminology about locks and dock life, however, and Darlington's gentle swipes at the French (whom he quite likes) are mildly amusing.Some entertaining moments amid the tedium, but best saved for a reader's retirement years, either as inspiration or to fill a lot of spare time. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Terry Darlington

Terry Darlington was brought up in Pembroke Dock during the war, between a Sunderland flying boat base and an oil terminal. He survived and moved to Staffordshire, where he founded Research Associates, the international market research firm, and Stone Master Marathoners, the running club. Like many Welshmen he is talkative and confiding, but ill at ease with practical matters and liable to linger in public houses. He likes boating but knows nothing about it. Monica Darlington comes from Radnorshire.Her father was a gardener and her mother a housemaid, or perhaps it was the other way round. She has a first class degree in French, has run thirty marathons, and can leap tall buildings with a single bound. Her three children have all reproduced themselves, removing doubts about whether she and Terry are the same species. She quite likes boating but knows nothing about it. Brynula Great Expectations (Jim) is sprung from a long line of dogs with ridiculous names. Jim can run at forty miles an hour.He is cowardly, thieving, and disrespectful and hates boating. Visit their website at

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