I woke up today with a supreme feeling of well being; my night watches had passed enjoyably discussing a wide range of subjects including Quisling, the Nazis and second homes with Steinar and the banking crisis with Richard. Between times I had slept blissfully and arose at ten to a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs served by Carl. Things were going too well and my mood took a sharp downturn when the skipper, Otto, asked me if I was able to repair the Jabsco electric toilet which had ceased to work the previous night. I’m not sure why I was selected for this loathsome task, but I must confess to having pedigree when it comes to recalcitrant marine toilets. Years as skipper of a riverboat had made me a dab hand with a combination of bleach and a very large cake knife which I called the ‘knife of justice’ this I used to stab any blockages with (I later discovered that one of my crew was also using the same knife to chop up his lunchtime treat of tropical fruit). I also vividly remember asking one of my crew to ‘deal with’ one of these blockages and being told rather smugly that he ‘wasn’t paid enough’ to carry out this task. I pondered using this tactic on Otto, and then realised I wasn’t getting paid anything at all. Grimly I rolled up my sleeves and started to take the toilet apart, cleaning out pipes furred up with the hideous detritus of ten years worth of successful bowel movements and a macerator jammed solid with hair and what looked like roast beef. Sitting in the shower tray as a mixture of urine and shredded excrement swilled around me gave me plenty of time to muse on a range of subjects; homelessness, mutiny, death by some disease brought on by handling six year old faeces… you get the picture. I also remembered with a swelling of pride that Fletcher Christian had been a Cumbrian like myself and felt a strong surge of brotherly respect for that ne’er do well lothario.
Anyway, the job is done (pardon the pun) and I am ashamed to admit to feeling a slight swelling of pride every time the fully serviced toilet flushes with new found vigour. The rest of the day has passed relatively uneventfully. Steinar has been fishing, but despite wrestling a number of fish, his travails have been fruitless and they have all escaped. Carl has spent the day slaving in the kitchen, almost without respite. I can’t believe how good humoured he is in the face of mountains of dishes. We also had reason to celebrate at lunch, as we officially reached the halfway mark. Good news. We marked the occasion with some Cava and then basked in the afternoon sun ruminating on a range of subjects. As I sat back, admiring the azure blue waves, I made a solemn promise to never eat roast beef again.