Part 3 – In steam narrow boat President’s centenary year, Tim Coghlan continues his personal memories – now returning to August, 1998, when he joined fellow Friends of President for a voyage down.
I have mixed views on Manchester. Brazen, brutish, and bleak – I have visited it many times over the years on a theme of ‘where there’s mook there’s brass’, but never in search for its beauty. In one famous divorce case, the great Mr Justice Melford Stevens said contemptuously of the luckless husband across the court, “He chose to live in Manchester, a wholly incomprehensible choice for a free man to make.” – and there he rested his case for the man’s ill treatment of his doe-eyed client. They sing sadly of the leaving of Liverpool, but no one has penned a parting word for Manchester – all seem only too glad to get away. And there can be no better way of doing this than joining fellow Friends of the historic steam-narrow boat President on Manchester’s only redeeming feature – the mighty and magnificent Manchester Ship Canal. Like a giant umbilical cord it links that place to the Mersey, the wider world, and beyond that, to civilisation itself. (Editor: I like Manchester!)