This is the entrance to Chirk Tunnel on the Llangollen Canal; I am hidden in the dark as the narrowboat enters the 495 yards of dank dark underground waterway dug into a Welsh hillside. The boat is the Anglo-Welsh Water Daffodil which we hired out of Nantwich in 1977; once considered a very desirable boat, the odd example can still be seen on the waterways in private hands, most in a sorry state.
At the entrance, nearly hidden, stands young Alice waiting to be lifted back on the boat before disappearing down the rabbit hole. I have not kept on good terms with Time who is not to be trusted – I realise that this version of Alice Liddell will now be in her late thirties:
`If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.’
`I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice.
`Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’
`Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’
`Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock’.
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.