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 Rhône, 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 Saône, 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.