Inchcock stood outside his uncle's house. He had money in his pocket, food in the rucksack on his back, sturdy hob nail boots, but not a clue where he should go. An idea struck him it had fallen off the advertising sign above his head. "I will go to Europe" he said to himself.
Paddington Station is the gateway to Europe, so why was Inchy at Victoria train station?
He had decided to get the boat from Dover, a cheaper and more interesting travel option.
The good ship Hispania sailed from Dover, sounds of passengers retching echoed across the calm azure waters of the English Channel. Inchcock stood on the upper deck, the prawn and pickle sandwich he devoured did nothing to endear him to the retchees. Within a couple of hours the ship had docked at Dunkirk. Inchcock could have sworn he asked for a return ticket to Calais, never mind, this was fate and no one must tempt fate by going against its will.
Once ashore, Inchy searched through his pockets until he located a piece of paper giving the address of his God parent, Monsieur Lynton of Lille. Land owner, Industrialist and Hedgehog polisher. The man was a legend among his countrymen. Not in France, of course, in England where his antics on the dance floors of London's West End night clubs were etched in the minds of those present. He was also a member of the notorious Cole Hole Gang.
Our intrepid traveller arrived at 3454 Rue Gambetta, Lille. He knocked on the solid oak door with his not so solid hand. Monsieur Lynton heard the "Ow!" and went to investigate.
"Ave vous un cuppa?" enquired Inchcock.
"A oui mon brave what the hell you doing here?" asked Lynton.
"I come to find my fortune and have a ripping adventure into the bargain" said Inchy.
"Good" replied Lynton "I need someone to smuggle a friend of mine into England".
Inchcock was happy this is what he had been waiting for, danger, excitement and adventure.
The next morning Monsieur Lynton gave Inchy a wad of cash and the key to a Morris Minor van painted in British Gas livery. He was directed to 765 Rue Roland the home of Madam Queen Mudder opera singer and window cleaner. Inchcock picked up his passenger she was to remain hidden in the back of the van until they reached The Strand, London.
Inchy was not a fan of opera this was confirmed by the person sitting in the back of the van singing an aria from Chas n Dave's Christmas sing-along. The duo arrived at Calais in the early hours of the morning Inchy purchased a ticket then drove onto the ferry. The singing from inside the van alerted the purser who began to ask difficult questions.
"What's the square root of 99?" asked the Purser.
"I don't know" replied Inchcock "What is the square root of 99"
"Have you an unpaid passenger in your vehicle?" enquired the Purser.
"No sir, only the tools of my trade" answered Inchy.
"And what trade would that be" said the Purser.
"Gas sniffer" replied Inchcock.
"So where is the singing coming from?" asked the Purser.
"The back of the van, I have an LP of Gracie Fields sings U2" said Inchcock.
That name made the Purser shudder with fear he had suffered the voice of Gracie
Fields during the war and had no intention of suffering again.
"Right, well, keep the bludy noise down then" advised the Purser as he walked away.
Inchcock would be nineteen by the time the ferry docked at Dover, he had travelled and was now a smuggler, his life had taken on a new meaning and the sky was the limit, literally.