2016-01-05 Tue

Clear Thinking

Christopher Greaves Home_DSCN3495.JPG

Let me guess:-

Those 38 who did NOT comply, they are all above-board and honest bands, right?

Those 38 who did NOT comply, they are none of them trying to hide anything, right?

Writing

Here is my second essay from yesterday, warts and all:-

Boats and Ships

For my tenth birthday my parents took me to Australia.

May was a month that seemed to last forever, I had no real idea of what was going on.

Elizabeth and I watched Kipps the mongrel be carried away and so the next day when it was Dinkyís turn, we hid the cat.

Shortly after that our parents sent us to live with Grandma for a week, then they joined us, and the next day we traveled in Dadís Aura of Anger by rain to Southampton.

They never explain that a real ship doesnít look like the ships in the pictures.. A real ship is just a huge wall of black painted steel that stretches to the sky and at a too-far-to-walk distance either side as you emerge from the dockside shed.

There is a corridor you go along, or rather up, or both actually, then more corridors and stairs leading to a windowless room.

My bunk is the top bunk, so itís a bit like camping with the GFS at Shap, but at Shap all we saw moving was the Scotland-bound mail-train, whereas on the SS New Australia we get to see some white cliffs growing smaller.

Also my mother growing weepy.

There is a routine, and it does not involve the swimming pool because of an outbreak of something or other, so instead of rinsing our bodies in chlorinated salt-water, the kids sneak off and invent games until the parents ban that activity.

Our parents, Dad especially, grow tired of our company. The ogre says to us ďWalk around the deck eight times and then Iíll tell you a secretĒ. I walk the full deck eight times, but Liz cheats and takes a shortcut. After eight laps my dad says ĎYou just walked a mileĒ and I resolve (1) never to be a parent and (2) to leave home ASAP and become a mathematician.

We pause in Port Said but no one is allowed off the boat. One English guy wraps half-pennies in cigarette foil and tosses them into the water to fool the diving boys. My mother drags me away because she doesnít want me to learn what? How to swear in Farsi?

We are dragged up on deck pre-dawn. There is a huge fare. ďLook! Australia!!Ē. Thatís it? A giant birthday candle? WE are trundled back to bed.

At 10†a.m. we are tied up wharf-side. The rain descends in sheets. My dad says ďThatís it. Iím going back!Ē

Iím so glad they didnít.