The last-minute addition

Name: Rizwan Mirza.

Bed: Double bed / seating area in main cabin. Place #6 on diagram.

link to photo: Portrait of Rizwan

Once upon a time, Mark and Rizwan despised each other. They couldn't give many good reasons why, but that didn't stop them insulting each other on sight. They were not what you could describe as good friends.

Then, a small number of weeks before the canal holiday was due to begin, Mark, Rizwan and John went on a school-organised trip to Talybont (Wales) for a few days. On their return we discovered that Mark and Rizwan had become good pals. Impressed as we were at first, some of us soon saw the downside when Rizwan decided, seeing as he and Mark were such good pals now, that he was joining us on our canal trip. More accurately Finbar, Ben and I saw a downside. Mike and John had no problem, and neither did Mark until he realised how truly pissed some of the group were that he'd agreed to Rizwan's inclusion in the plans without even asking the group.

link to photo: Rizwan

For over nine days Rizwan begged for a decent reason for my not wanting him to join us. And after nine days I still could come up with none. Well, nothing I could put into words. I tried to explain to Rizwan that I saw him as a bit of a maniac, someone who could cause trouble. And none of us knew him that well, except maybe Mike.

But after all those days of begging, and after overhearing dodgy plans to smuggle Rizwan onto the boat, Finbar and Ben gave in, and I could think of no reason not to do the same.

link to photo: Rizwan the strongman

And so, after much fucking about and squabbling, Rizwan was approved as part of the crew.

He seemed quite excited too, even though, being Muslim, he wasn't going to be drinking alcohol either. Apparently he was just looking forward to having a few laughs. And given the reputation I'd built of him based on stories of previous holidays he'd been on, I didn't like the sound of that at all.