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16 October 2014

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Howard's End

By Howard Griffiths
October 2006, Wrexham
A digital story from Yale College

"Many years ago it was my job to maintain the canal between Llangollen and Ellesmere. One summer we were organising works at Llangollen and we needed to get a work boat there. The nearest one was moored at Chirk so I volunteered with my boss' permission to take the boat to site over the weekend and at the same time give my family, including the mother-in-law, their first taste of life on the canals.

The sun was shining and we had a picnic on board as we set off from Chirk. Everybody on board was happy as we entered the black hole that is Chirk tunnel. With it being dark, mysterious and their first time the children and the mother-in-law were somewhat apprehensive but once we emerged into the sunshine everybody was saying how brave they were and "I wasn't scared, were you?" The worst was over, or so they believed.

As we ate our picnic on the move passing under Ronliff bridge everybody was at peace. We rounded the corner and suddenly we were in bright sunshine and entering the aqueduct. I had a slight grin on my face as my mother-in-law threw herself to the deck of the boat and was frozen to the spot unable to move. She was absolutely terrified.

The children took it all in their stride and wondered what had happened to Granny. "Why is Granny on the floor, Dad? Doesn't she feel well?" She remained in this position until we cleared the aqueduct, turned the corner and went under two bridges. She passed away a few years ago and was a brilliant Granny and mother-in-law. She'd forgive me for most things but couldn't forgive me for taking her across the aqueduct."

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