Sunday, October 29, 2006

Das Boot

In 8 days time I am steaming across a storm tossed Bay of Biscay in a plague ship – it is my destiny.
36 years ago while queuing to see a Lloyds underwriter I first saw this particular ship on the back of a magazine and liked the sound of it. I never thought about it again until it miraculously rematerialised in late September.
Every morning the news programs were full of tedious stuff about the size of the bags you could or could not take onto a plane and the different objects you could or could not take and vast hordes of would be passengers getting held and fed up.
I was asked to arrange a surprise holiday for Ann’s birthday by her mother and couldn’t face all that flying nonsense when the idea of a cruise occurred to me.
I rang to see what was available close to the date and leaving from the UK.
The Black Prince was leaving Liverpool on the 7th of November for France, Spain and Portugal. Instantly my mind went back to that Lloyds office long ago and the picture of the Black Prince in the magazine and I felt compelled to book it. I must say that we have never been on a cruise and have never wanted to or looked into it or have any knowledge of cruise ships. I recognise the names Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and Aurora but that is all. I did feel that I had to book this one though.
Having paid the money it then occurred to me that we would be travelling most of the time back and forwards across the Bay of Biscay in a small cruise ship, during November; the Bay of Biscay not being known for it’s gentler side.
Ann was stunned and pleased by her mothers present but she recognised the name of the ship instantly as having been recently in the news for ¾’s of her passengers going down with some vomiting virus. I don’t read the papers or pay too much attention to the news since history invariably repeats itself and I have seen it all the first time round. I keep hearing in my head Eva Cassidy singing ‘People get ready there’s a train a coming you don’t need no ticket just climb aboard’

No comments: