Random musings from the front line (well, more like the support trench, or perhaps the castle 10 miles away, supping Chateau Lafite with the General Staff) in the battle for curiosity, inertia, grammar and a Dachshund called Colin.

Friday, August 12, 2005

What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?

So. I'm back. It's been a long old 6 weeks, almost continually at sea, with the end result of having no money left, So THIS is why I got up this early!severely damaged kidneys, some cracking photographs and the new skill of managing to function on only 5 hours semi-drunken sleep a night. Despite rumours to the contrary, it's my job, rather than an extended aquatic holiday, and it's brief periods away like this that actually confirm to me that I'm (sort of) in the right business. Every job has it's pros and cons, and I'm at the stage now when I get itchy feet and mentally write them out on a fairly regular basis...

Pros
Good money(ish), lots of travel, seeing fantastic sunrises, sexy uniform (every nice girl/boy (delete as applicable) loves a sailor), the "not being in an office" factor and the opportunity to be out of mobile phone range for days at a time.
Cons
Could be (a lot) more money, travel is limited by ship programme and luck-of-the-draw job allocations, British weather at sea tends to lead to more multi-coloured yawns than multi-coloured skies, uniform makes you look like a Securicor Guard, the paperwork is never ending (and at least offices don't throw books/papers/computers half way across the room in bad weather) and it's actually rather annoying to be out of mobile phone range for days at a time.

Wise words from the good people of Ramsgate (captured by authentic crappy-Nokia-cam)But, nevertheless, I shall probably remain where I am. In what other profession can you travel to ports such as Ramsgate, where you are given a fairly clear municipal instruction on the behaviour expected (see photo left), and thence to Amsterdam, where a location is provided for that very purpose (see photo below right)?! I have seen, in the last month, a cornucopia of dockside red light districts (no, I most definitely did not partake), many Faces have been obscured to protect the not-so innocent!dangerous varieties of Belgian Beer (never drink "Kwak" Beer - it's 11% alcohol!), the most incredible assortment of tall ships (plus many warships, small ships and old ships), the inside of a Dutch police wagon at 5am(long story, not nice), some of the worst nightclubs in Europe (generally those to be found near the seafront of small British ports) and a lot of alcohol-fuelled roistering, with the occasional episode of good-natured nudity. But it's over now. And I can't pretend I'm not relieved!

Highlights? The Trafalgar 200 celebrations (see my previous post) were superb and a real honour to attend, especially as the tabloid-predicted "Red Fleet" vs "Blue Fleet" sensibilities proved to be complete rubbish and the entire day was about the plucky British against the evil Swimming off Barclays BankFrench. Five days in and around the Channel Islands were also very enjoyable, and in a "tweak the nose of neo-feudal plutocracy" move, we anchored off the private island of Brecqhou. This beautiful place, home to the secretive millionaire Barclay twins, is notorious for gun-toting thugs in speedboats ordering sightseers and bathers to "get orff my land", but (un)fortunately we were left in peace to have a dip in the glorious sunshine. If one didn't require £5,000,000 in liquid assets to reside there, I think the Channel Islands would be quite a nice place to live. Maybe I'll buy the Spectator or something - non-stop orgies, informed soft-right-wing opinions, and the opportunity to own a large neo-classical palace on a rock near Sark. Sounds like a life I could get used to.

Lowlights? Erm, probably the end of my long term relationship. But that's a separate (and rather private) matter entirely. I now have a few weeks off to regroup, recharge, and replenish my funds. And then I'm going to try and work out how to get people reading my blog occasionally! Happy August...

5 Rants & Replies:

Blogger WordWhiz said...

Absolutely gorgeous pictures!! I posted a comment back to you over at my place. I'm glad you're back!

3:15 pm, August 12, 2005

 
Blogger zoe said...

oh gawd - there's a photo of me somewhere in this house standing outside the 'Cockring' too - but i'm sure we're not the only to have posed there ....

4:16 pm, August 12, 2005

 
Anonymous CarolineM said...

Ha, you were lucky to get away with that swim off Brecqhou. We went up really close on a friends rib last month but I didn't dare take a photo in case they had snipers trained on me :-)

11:06 pm, August 12, 2005

 
Blogger Merkin said...

If only I had a telephoto lens - it's a very impressive castle (if a bit Footballers' Wives-like). But as I said, we swum (swam?!) in peace. Maybe for my next trick wI'll take a dip in Buckingham Palace duckpond...

10:11 am, August 15, 2005

 
Anonymous CarolineM said...

They have real cannons there too. Safer at the Palace I'd say.

11:05 pm, August 16, 2005

 

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