Tuesday, 29 September 2009

My daytrip to Canada part II

Now what was I saying before I was so rudely interrupted....... ah yes part II
My day trip to Canada!

My husband and I (very queenly opening that!) got on a plane bound for Italy. The difference between travelling anywhere in the world I've been and Italy is the noise of conversation. Do they enjoy noisy chat going back to Italy!
I think we went to Genoa, but only if that is by the sea, I can't remember that detail all the way back to 1982. We got on a boat launch and motored out to sea to the biggest ship I'd ever seen in my life.

Getting eventually to the right cabin, after half a day spent in what felt like a small prison cell. I unpacked my things for however long I was going to be here. Books,yes,knitting,yes,stationary and pens,yes walkman,yes, favourite teddy bear, oh yes.

The ship stunk of oil, it was something that never left your nostrils, well it was a super tanker. Walking round the whole deck was a quarter of a mile. And in the early days of being aboard, me and the other wife there would take a daily turn around the deck, till the original Captain changed and the new one clamped down on it for health and safety reasons. Which was understandable to an extent, massive pipes and ropes, anchors and all sorts of ship stuff were all seemingly littered over the deck. But it meant another way to waste time was taken away from me.

But it was for me just another straw of so many, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Howard as second mate was put on watch, so four hours on eight off round the clock, which was incredibly difficult for me when he was on nights, as I only had our cabin to be in or the ward room(bar).

There was in the first month, one other wife aboard and she was an old hand at this and instructed me in the art of cabin cleaning. Every week the Captain had the right to inspect all cabins, to see if the stewards were maintaining a decent standard for the officers. Wives on board were given a notional title of female steward, so our work of keeping our husbands cabin's clean could be inspected.

I was outraged, here I was a 28 year old successful and well qualified nurse, who'd maintained my own lifestyle successfully for years, having my dusting skills questioned!!! And there was nothing I could do about it, as it was important for my husbands job that I was submissive.... Oh boy did that rankle!

This other wife also lent me a poster and some pens to colour in!!!!! Life was that boring that colouring in, something I hadn't done since I was small ,seemed a perfectly logical thing to do. I wrote and wrote letters, especially to my sister, not knowing when we'd reach land for them to be posted.

Eventually we got up to four women on board, and then I learnt to play Canasta, a wonderful card game, which took up my afternoons. It wasn't surprising that two of the women were alcoholics and the one with the crayons was just so submissive that following her husband was a great life for her. In fact in my conversations with her I came to know more about sticky back plastic that looked like Delft tiles than I ever imagined I needed to know ever in one lifetime!

Then there was Nasi Goering..... Oh My God was there ever a meal as disgusting as this, and like most things on the ship was dished out weekly. So imagine if you will what was once probably a very good Malaysian dish presented like this..... Rice, curry sauce, a piece of gammon, a slice of tinned pineapple, a fried egg all on top of each other topped off with lashings of peanut sauce. I just used to have soup that night!

In fact other that the officers obsession with the above concoction the food was good. You could have a full breakfast, a three course lunch and a three course dinner every day should anyone have wanted it. So it was a case of learning very quickly how to restrict my food intake so I didn't just eat as I was so bored and I turned into a lump of lard.

There of course was a swimming pool on the ship, and I spent many afternoons in that. So just stick your arms out in front of you and do one breast stroke with them, do seven and you'd have reached the end of the pool. It was the only time in my life when swimming a hundred lengths was a complete doddle!!

As you can tell from this I didn't like being at sea with my husband even though we were so newly married. And when we came ashore after three months and moved into our new house,which we'd bought before we got married, then I very quickly got a job and two cats so I'd never have to go to sea again!!

Next installment will be about my day trip (promise) and the other highlights of being at sea rather than the stuff I didn't like.


miss*R said...

sorry to hear you have hurt your leg Pix.xo - I have been suffering respiratory stuff with the dust..

life on boad that ship does not sound much like fun at all.. nothing like the cruise I went on a few years back, where I was treated like royalty!

mend quickly!

Helen said...

A job and cats ... just what the doctor ordered!

Rach said...

I have every sympathy with the Ship I too would have gone stir crazy, I look forward to the next instalment..xx

Linda - Gold Coast said...

Love is blind isn't it Mandy. I'm getting cabin fever just reading this. Great read though. Sounds like you are in much better spirits already. Take good care. Linda xoxo

Pam said...

Enjoying this.Can imagine how you felt!As a young back-packer,was in the cheap passage section of a ship leaving from France.We had to bunk down near the noisy engine room. Was still sick three days after landing in Ireland, and just the thought of food days later made me sick.Stinky fuel does not make for a pleasant journey or hearty appetite,'specially if its slapped-together Nasi Goreng.Looking forward to what comes next, and hope your feeling better Byrdie.xx

Helen said...

..... anytime!

lakeviewer said...

How did you survive? It seems impossible from this end.

Linda - Gold Coast said...

Hi Mandy, are you having problems with your e-mail service? Linda xoxo

Fire Byrd said...

The next installment is on it's way, but I'm pacing myself and today I get to go out to lunch. Cause there isn't much to do with my leg up most of the time, so not rushing to do everything at once is a better thing for me to do right now. As it passes the time better.

Paula said...

Yaya, keep you on our toes :-)) Looking forward to Mandy marriage adventures...

kj said...

well, this is quite a story! i felt claustrophic reading it, which just goes to prove you are a good writer and storyteller!

now i will scroll down and see how your leg is doing.