'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 narrowboat 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.
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 www.narrowdog.com