Taxi arrives , destination……TITANIC HOTEL..?

Any previous INTEL had suggested a short trip on the Liverpool/Leeds Canal system , Liverpool end , obviously, on a barge no less, and I imagined an interesting day, filming and photographing old buildings and such, recording the stories of their personal memories of life on, and around the canal, from the rest of the group. Always a mix of fact, history, and humour.

11.30am. Board “NEPTUNE”, a 12 seater Ferry/WaterTaxi, under the flag of TITANIC HOTEL FERRY TO MANN ISLAND, Crew – – Captain, + 1 matelot (skilled in the art of rubber dingies!)

Setting sail, we leave the Titanic Hotel, and Sandon Dock, and the group seem happy, relaxed and excited to be on the move. The stories begin to flow, with encouragement from Admiralette L. Yates, RN(Really Nice) and are recorded as best we can (what with the loud, and constant phut, phut, phut of the ferries diesel motor).

We pass through Collingwood Dock and on into Salisbury Dock. After a leisurely spin around Salisbury, we turn south, toward Trafalgar Dock, and on to Mann Island and the city centre.

Connecting Salisbury to Trafalgar Docks, is a short channel known as “SID’S TRENCH”. Who SID was, is a subject for research, but his trench is maybe 1000 yards (500metres) in length.
The Captain keeps to the port side of the channel, as we enter SID’S TRENCH, explaining that there maybe some unsteadiness and ominous scraping noises from the bottom of the boat, as we pass over the built up silt on the bottom of the channel, the water level of the dock system had dropped.

As we got about 1/4 of the way along the trough that is SID’S CHANNEL (a trough compared to the size and grandness still obvious within what is still left of Jesse Hartleys original design) the Earth rose to meet the Nethermost of our reality (what started as the odd bump and/or grind on the keel, soon led to total cessation of forward momentum, and a crunching sound that shuddered to halt, and the sudden silence.

Immediately Admiralette Yates (RN) confers with Captain and skipper, and the situation is resolved by half the passengers being dingied-up,and returned to Sandon Dock, and the jetty at the TITANIC HOTEL.

The rest of the passenger’s (except for me, who was requested by the Captain, to stay on board (to act as ballast, in an attempt to save the ship), were returned to base, to be reunited with their fellow voyagers.

Meanwhile, back aboard the stricken ship, the heroic Scot (that’s me!) assists the Captain in his efforts to refloat the gallant NEPTUNE,

Under instruction of the Captain, the Scot, bravely, steps toward the bow of the boat.
“Hold on tight lad, ” says the Captain, “Were gonna go for it…?”

One hand on the wheel, the other on the power lever, the Captain slams the engine into reverse, and pushes full power to the engine.

Blue deisel fumes pour out of the exhaust, as the NEPTUNE , slowly but surely , backs her way, bow down, stern up, scraping and bumping along not only the silt lined bottom of the channel, but also along the side of Hartley’s dock edge, the NEPTUNE pulls herslf free…….much to the relief of the Captain!

Admirallette Yates (RN) steps up, and cancels any further maritime action, in respect of further , planned naval action, involving our fellow history researchers planned for later that day.

She also orders a commando style, solo digital film raid by the skipper and a member of the Digital Pioneers Group, who was sent out, alone, to grab the images required to complete the project. Needless to say, the job was done.

The DHG is stood down, and returned to FACT HQ, for a bit of a picnic and some further,

Like most great days out with the Digital History Group, this day may not have gone the way as planned , but another adventure , all the same…..?

P.S. Why , do you think , that it was the Scot who was left to go down with the ship?!

Answers on a postcard to : laura@fact

hopefully, final, recording for PROJECT APP.

Like most great days out with the Digital History Group, this day may not have gone the way as planned , but another adventure , all the same…..?

P.S. Why , do you think , that it was the Jock who was left to go down with the ship ?

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