Two hundred men dig far and deep and wide, embedding bricks from Oatlands in the bottom and sides
while recycling its better timber for lock after lock, and adding, in just two years, nine miles of new direction to the wayward Wey, until their third spring of graft,
when the eight-blade stitchwort clusters on the banks, meadow-edge alders explode with titmouse giddiness and the young gentleman paces a broad enough berth around nesting swans where, this dandelion day,
an orange-tip pootles as the slow-running waters meet,
at Papercourt, to make his father's navigation complete.
She shows me the death notice she's cut from The Times of the man who was her boss in the early 'Fifties; tells me how she asked him on the Monday if he'd enjoyed his swim when he sank in the Boat Race, and how she played practical jokes upon him without any rancour; and now he's died, aged eighty-six, another acquaintance gone from her dwindling list.