Read an Excerpt
A CAST OF CHARACTERS!
The people who populate this book, at least to begin with, are those from The New Number One, the last book of my ‘Michael Baker’ trilogy. I suspect many of you will have read those books, but I think it might be useful if I remind you of who they all are, and how they fit together.
You will meet many new characters in this book – but they will fit in as my story progresses! What follows here is a quick explanation of the central families as they were in August 1957, and how they all inter-relate. On the boats, people and families were often intertwined in quite complex ways – ‘a bit of relation’ was a common way of describing someone who was connected with you in some slightly distant fashion that would have otherwise taken a lot of explanation!
I hope you will remember the names that follow with affection and sympathy from the other books:
Michael Henry Baker: ‘Mikey’, 28 years old, the ‘boy off the bank’ who was ‘adopted’ by old Alby Baker (Boatman, now deceased) after running away from home in 1940. Previously known as Michael Thompson.
Harriet Baker: 27, Michael’s wife, daughter of Henry and Suey Caplin (Boaters)
Caroline Baker: ‘Carrie’, 20, born Caroline Martin, ‘adopted’ into the Baker family after the death of her parents in a boating accident.
Albert Baker: ‘Alby’, 7, son of Michael and Harriet.
Susan Baker: ‘Susie’, 5, daughter of Michael and Harriet.
Frederick Baker: ‘Freddie’, 2, their second son.
Samuel Caplin: ‘Sam’, 23, brother to Harriet.
Virginia Caplin: ‘Ginny’, 23, his wife, and sister to Michael.
William Hanney: ‘Bill’, 61, ex-Boatman and ‘uncle’ to Michael.
Violet Hanney: ‘Vi’, 60, wife to Bill.
Joshua Hanney: ‘Josh’, 18, born Joshua Martin, sister to Caroline, ‘adopted’ as an orphan by Bill and Vi.
Steven Hanney: ‘Stevie’, 27, ex-boater, best friend of Michael and second son of Bill and Vi.
Eleanor Hanney: ‘Ellie’, 25, wife to Steven, born ‘on the bank’ in Knowle, Warwickshire.
Grace Hanney: ‘Gracie’, 7 months, daughter of Steven and Eleanor.
William Hanney: ‘Billy’, 32, boatman, oldest son of Bill and Vi.
Sylvia Hanney: ‘Sylvie’, 30, wife to Billy, born ‘on the bank’ in Alperton, West London.
Emily Hanney: ‘Emmie’, 8, daughter of Billy and Sylvie.
William Hanney: ‘Little Bill’, 6, son of Billy and Sylvie.
Violet Hanney: 3, second daughter of Billy and Sylvie.
Joseph Caplin: ‘Joe’, 35, oldest son of Henry and Suey (ex- boaters) and brother to Harriet and Samuel.
Grace Caplin: ‘Gracie’, 34, his wife and daughter of Bill and Vi Hanney.
Jack Caplin: 12, oldest son of Joe and Grace.
Rose Caplin: ‘Rosie’, 10, daughter of Joe and Grace.
Gabriel Caplin: 8, second son of Joe and Grace.
Henry Caplin: 6, third son of Joe and Grace.