Apparently ‘there is nothing – absolutely nothing, half so worth doing as – simply messing around in boats’, according to Ratty in that much-loved children’s book The Wind in the Willows. And to test out this theory I decided to spend a few days meandering along the Leeds-Liverpool canal. Now, being a rather spoiled freelance journalist, I normally spend holidays travelling to exotic destinations. Last year’s jaunts included a luxurious stay at an Indian palace followed by a trek around the Amalfi coast. So I was rather apprehensive about exchanging my customary decadent voyages for a few days in West Yorkshire where weather conditions are rather unpredictable to say the least.