Whitmore’s father Eternally Wise was a very gentle soul, not someone suited to raise a daredevil child with entrepreneurial tendencies and no need for sleep. A mild jolly looking man with greying hair and a predilection for pomegranates, He worked in central London as an accountant for the legal firm Birchcroft and Barnes.
Both Birchcroft and Barnes had passed about two centuries ago after unfortunately falling ill after attempting an English Channel crossing in a converted bathtub. It was for charity and they had signed up sponsors (mostly from members of the local Birdwatching and Cutlery Historical Society) to the tune of over £450, a fortune in 1817.
They had employed a local metal worker called Philip Twisk to install ballast linings, a canvas cover and pedal powered engine. Local seamstress and coincidentally chairwoman of the London Birdwatching and Cutlery Historical Society, Olivia Trusk, provided the cushions and the flag. Sadly for Birchroft and Barnes, both Twisk and Trusk neglected to seal off the baths plug hole and just before the ill fated journey a cheeky local basset hound called Maximus Brown (ironically owned by Olivia Trusks older sister Evangeline, the renowned local Roman Historian) leapt unseen into the prepared bathtub and made off with the rubber plug.
Unsually the plug was shaped in the form of a frankfurter, hence one cannot really blame Max.
The leak wasn’t noticed until they were approximately halfway between England and France, this was due to the fact that Birchcroft had been sitting over the hole and being of the more rotund persuasion his rear had amply served as a stopper. On thinking he had spotted a rare Artic Crested SeaSwallow he leapt to his feet allowing sea water to rush up and into the craft hence sinking their attempt within minutes.
The lawyers were both rescued by HMAS Brinkwater who happened to be passing at the time while out patrolling his majesties borders but later sadly succumbed to severe pneumonia that even heavy administrating of tea and whiskey by their devoted housekeeper Mrs Wilhomena Frisk could not remedy.
Their firm carried on however and became quite successful in family matters, sheep protection issues and tax law. It now employs 12 people, one of those being Mr Eternally Wise, and still resides in the original Victorian offices on Temple Street WC1.
Excerpt from "Maggie Goldsmith and the Book of Tunnels" by R A Haupt 2018