Call me Gareth. Some days ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or nothing to do, I decided to accomplish what Captain Ahab never could, to find and slay the great white whale - Moby Dick. People told me I was crazy, the city of Manchester not being know for its large whale population, but I pointed out that there was water (the canal) with fish in it (well, condoms and dead bodies but a hungry whale will eat anything, except asparagus as for some reason they revere it as the god of the land) ergo there must be whales.

My endever began, as all great expeditions should, with a quick scout of the terrain I would be hunting in. I reasoned that as I had never seen a whale they were either very difficult to spot or lived in an area of Manchester that I had never been. The latter seemed more likely, as I'd heard that whales could be quite rambunctious and found it difficult to hide for any great length of time. Unfortunately this realisation left me with an awful lot of ground to cover and so I needed some way to cut it down. Thankfully the average Mancunian is a wealth of useful and unbiased information so I decided to trawl the pubs for news of the elusive Moby Dick. After a few false starts, some people tried to claim that whales live in the sea (I think these people may have been part of an anti-whaling lobby attempting to throw me off track) I struck gold, a real life whaler. A couple of hours later I was beginning to grow tired of trying to extract information about whales from his long and rambling stories about cloth and measurements. In the end I told him he was the most uninformative whaler I had ever met. He said that was probably true as he knew nothing about whales (the animal or the country) seeing as how he was a tailor. I was livid, almost a whole day wasted with nothing to show for it. What was I to do? Then inspiration struck, if you wanted to find a lost animal you put up posters. Such was the success of this approach that one kind old lady, god bless her, even offered to ask around her neighbourhood. Her suggestion that Moby Dick was an odd name irked me slightly but I set her straight. "There she blows!- there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby-Dick!" Unfortunately my shouts were attracting attention so I had to make quick my escape.

The next day I decided that I should use a more scientific approach to catching my nemesis. Knowing that science could at times be a bit tricky, my first stop was the local library, in order to do a little research. Two things really bugged me about the, supposedly, helpful library staff. Firstly they expect you to know exactly what you're looking for. "Whales," I cried repeatedly, only to receive blank stares and the occasionally frightened glance. Secondly their superior attitude. When it turned out that what I thought was a whale was in fact an eel, damn my sheltered inland upbringing, rather than help me they just laughed. It is my unfortunate duty to report that the whale catching fund is now £50 lighter, leaving us with a princely sum of £2.38, due to the need to repair the damage I caused with a book on flower arranging and a particularly sharp pencil.

After the library incident I wandered the city desperately hoping for a glimpse of a white hump. Only once did my hopes lift but it turned out to be only a bread van. I at last, after two long days searching, came to the depressing but irrefutable conclusion that there are no whales anywhere.

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