Friday, 9 June 2017

It all seems a bit fishy...

I was Queen Neptune on Tuesday. No, I’m not suffering from delusions of grandeur after standing in the equatorial sun for too long; it actually happened! We held a Crossing the Line Ceremony for those amongst us who had not yet crossed the equator in a nautical fashion. The “deities”, Neptune and his wife, were invited aboard by the Captain. The trustworthy shellbacks meanwhile (1. I am not making this up, 2. They are people who have crossed the line before) rounded up the scabby pollywogs and brought them to the court of Neptune, that they might be judged for their crimes against the God of the Sea and then permitted to enter his court. Food waste was poured all over them and they had to kiss a fish, before being permitted to call themselves shellbacks.

I was asked to be Queen Neptune on the grounds of being one of the only women on board who had crossed the line previously. I felt curiously disadvantaged as a woman playing a woman! The motorman who was in the role before me had borrowed a bra and rigged it up so that it squirted kahlua and milk on the kneeling supplicants. I’m not sure that actually possessing the correct XX chromosomes can ever live up to the ability to lactate kahlua on demand.

I did my best though.  I made myself a chiton from a bedsheet. I would just like to get some crafting brownie points here by saying I went bold and sewed it freestyle. That’s right people, no pattern and no pins. Just pedal to the floor and keep your fingers crossed. And then of course, be prepared to wear the monstrosity that you made... Regrettably, after donning this garment I looked less “awesome majesty” and more “ Lenor” so I decided that the Queen of the Sea should have scales on her face. And that, children, is what social mobility is all about. You start off as a pollywog, work hard and in nine months, you too can have a scaly face!
From left to right; the barber, Neptune, myself and the Doctor

King Neptune and myself sitting in state

The pollywogs did wonderfully well. I may have slipped them a few condoms for use as water balloons (Daily Tides Headline: Queen Thetis in Shock Double Agent Exposure!!!) and both myself and Neptune were attacked with squeezy mustard by a pollywog who had concealed the bottles under his top whilst his offences were being read out. With a cry of “No surrender!” he leapt forth, whipping the squeezy bottles from under his shirt and firing the contents at King Neptune and myself. Even now, this tragic and disturbed youth is being keel hauled (He isn’t really; we ate him. Burp.).

And now, having crossed the equator into the Northern Hemisphere, the long journey home begins. I’m due to get off the ship in Cape Verde and then I fly home to Heathrow. My long suffering other half has promised to meet me with a suitcase full of clothes (my stuff from the ship is starting to look pretty tired) so that we can have a bit of a jaunt around the UK visiting our families! This was a little disconcerting. We arranged what he should pack over the phone. Apparently I have “industrial carpet shoes” which I hope translates as “your adorable half boots by Irregular Choice in herringbone fabric”. But nevertheless I shall have different things to wear, which will be lovely!

So what happens after that? Well, hopefully next week I’ll provide you with a post on the joys of Cape Verde, then I have a top secret post, and then I’m rejoining the ship in Southampton! Yessir, for those who didn’t know, I was offered a little extension to my trip. The JCR is heading North for the Arctic and I’ve got my chance to go and see some polar bears. So keep reading patiently because I’m not going quiet just yet...


  1. Long live the QUEEN (and expert blogger).

  2. Fantastic post! Look forward to hearing more, apologies you havent heard more from the SWMUK 17 team (our emails have been bouncing). Hope all continues to go well!