This was inspired by a story that hit the internet recently about a morbidly obese lady who had set up an online begging bowl to pay for her weight reducing operation, knickers elastic, rubber band or whatever they call it. In spite of being broke and unable to pay for her operation, the National Health Service had now let her down. Her sad story was that the NHS were going to do it but had now decided she didn’t qualify and were refusing to pay for it. She had gone ahead and booked it private anyway for around ten grand. She was hoping her story would touch the hearts of the charitable public.
Her troubles had now got worse, ahh! The media sniffing around for a story that would touch their readers hearts and kick the cruel NHS at the same time, discovered that the fat lady was not singing quite the same song and they discovered that her husband had inherited some cash, about enough to pay for his roly-poly wife to have her desired operation but . . . and here’s the rub, they had spent their windfall, wait for it. . . . . . . . on a luxury holiday cruise. Here endeth the fat lady’s tale as far as I am concerned along with her all hopes of a free operation.
I wrote a while back of a travel brochure that broadens the behind; it’s called a Cruise Brochure. They say that travel broadens the mind but I think that travelling on a Cruise Ship just broadens the backside.
O.K. a Cruise Liner may put on half a dozen lectures, force feeding culture to the masses with classical civilisations and the history of mankind etc. but travelling universities they ain’t. These lecture rooms are laid on to give a bit of interest to overfed passengers whilst they rest their bloated, sun-burned bodies in a cool air-conditioned theatre, between meals.
When the Liner anchors offshore and crew members help the more adventurous passengers out of their sun loungers, where they have been relaxing after a vast lunch, down the accommodation ladder to sit their fat bottoms on comfortable seats in the ferry boats and then ashore to be helped into a comfortable air-conditioned coach seat, where they can relax as they are taken to view the volcano at Etna or Stromboli (no its Thursday so it must be Vesuvius) from a safe distance.
They then retrace their steps until safely back on board to their cabin to change in time for dinner. What a dinner? “More larks tongues or perhaps a few slices of roast swan, Madame?” I don’t pen this as a travel writer but as someone who was fattened regularly on the great Cape Liners and even once on the greatest of the Queens, (I also met a few of them ducky), this particular one was the RMS Queen Mary crossing the Atlantic. My goodness! I got so sick of eating Italian Truffle shavings and caviar; even now I cannot look a foie gras in the belly. I even prefer the humble crab to a lobster.
My job as an Extra, Extra, Junior fourth officer was to put my good training as a ship’s navigator to good use by showing the rich, over weight and over fed passengers around the ship, having to flirt with their trophy wives and then join them at their dining table to dine right royally. Heigh Ho! It’s a hard life at sea.
It was a long time ago and both the Cape Liners and the Atlantic Liners carried richer and fatter passengers than modern day cruise liners but the recipe is the same. Ask any ship’s steward and he will tell you that most of the sea-sickness is due more to over indulgence than to motion.
The Roman’s had a good idea when they set aside a room next to the dining area which they named a “vomitorium” so that they could binge and purge, “excuse me while I throw up, but tell the waiter chappie, that I’ll have another crepe suzette when I get back”.
Lie back and relax, pass the gin old boy, the sun is over the yard arm somewhere on one of the oceans. I bet that when Freddy Mercury sang of Fat Bottomed Girls he had met them on a cruise ship.
Going back to my original Fat Lady’s troubles perhaps she can spend her time while laying on the sun-deck (I don’t think that she could fit her rather broad backside into a deckchair) writing further begging letters about her plight after her life was ruined by the rotten Mejia for letting the cat out of the bag and the horrible travel company who wouldn’t let her cancel and give her money back when she was found out.
I know just what she means because as a former journalist and a former travel agent normally we are such suckers for a sob story; in fact we would usually have been the first to donate to GoFundYourself or whatever it’s called.
I’ll leave you with the words of one of my favourite sea shanties “Come all you no hopers, you jokers and rogues. We are on the road to nowhere let’s find out where it goes. It might be a ladder to the stars, who knows”