Thursday, October 28, 2010

Postcards From The Pond 6

Thursday 28 October 2010
Lat 24 degrees 45.25’ N  Long 32 degrees 37.14’ W
Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean

Actually I can be more precise about our current location. If you take a map and draw a straight line between the Canary Island in the north and the Cape Verde Islands to the south and then think of this as the hypotenuse from which to construct a right angled triangle. At the point where the right angle is formed, we can be found. Probably. OK, possibly.

Being far from land makes you adopt a geometric approach to life. You can stand at the top of the ship and slowly rotate following the dead straight horizon with your eye (I did this yesterday to considerable comment from a brace of passing waiters). Rotate around far enough and you will get back to the point you started from and all you will have ever seen is the flat sea and the fathomless sky. The horizon seems like the straightest line you could ever conceive of but your 2nd Form Geography tells you that this world is all about curves and circles. It’s a paradox. There again, perhaps its cabin fever.

Despite all this pondering, the party remains well. Each day H and I compare scores : he counts his day in terms of the number of miles he has power-walked around the deck and I count mine in terms of the number of words I have added to my manuscript. “6.4 miles”, he will say to me, “18 hundred words”, I will counter. “625 calories” he will respond. “Elspeth Fromm has been arrested” I say.

Meanwhile the girls will shop or go to demonstrations of ice folding or serviette carving or whatever. When overtaken by a surfeit of courage the GLW and I go for a swim and ponder the enigma of swimming in a pool, encased in steel, floating on a sea of tropical water. Last night at the theatre there was an appearance by “international soul sensation Jimmy James” whom I vaguely recalled from the 1960s when he fronted a group called Jimmy James and the Vagabonds. Maybe so many days at sea makes you more responsive of entertainment of any sort, but he really was sensational. We went to bed last night humming Motown classics to ourselves as we drifted across the Atlantic and flirted with the equator. An enigma floating on an ocean of paradox.

Greetings from the sea, AB


  1. Well, at least there are no sharks in the pool! :O)

  2. I can relate to your floating world having had a five week journey from NZ to the UK many years ago but I am sure that I didn't do it is such style as you are experiencing. The thing that struck me then though and it most probably still is that way is that life at sea is like living in a remote land, nothing else touches it and meals and the like become all important. But meals still are important to me as I have just walked 16km and am really looking forward to my breakfast! Keep enjoying your floating paradise.

  3. Wait till you hit the ice skating show!

  4. I've never been on a cruise, but I imagine that it's like being on camp; for that short while, the outside world ceases to exist with any degree of reality!

  5. Jimmy James ! Sounds Like Your Having A Great Time.Enjoy!


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...