Dress of the day, sea boots and oilskins!

Every now and again since I swallowed the anchor I get a fit of nostalgia and forget just how horrible life could be on the Grey Funnel Line and I have a look-see at the Rum Ration Website, just to swing the lamp with like minded bubbleheads.

I stumbled across an entry from retired shipmate and I pinched some of his blog to share a chuckle with you.  Although I don’t suppose it will mean a lot unless you’ve been there and done that’, so a little imagination is called for.


Here’s how to recapture the atmosphere of the old days and simulate living on board ship.

Build a shelf in the top of your wardrobe and sleep on it inside a smelly sleeping bag. Remove the wardrobe door and replace it with a curtain that’s too small.

Wash your underwear every night in a bucket then hang it over the water pipes to dry.

Four hours after you go to bed, have your wife whip open the curtains, shine a torch in your eyes, and say “sorry mate, wrong pit”.

Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the centre of the bath and move the showerhead down to chest level. Store beer barrels in the shower enclosure.

When you have a shower, remember to turn off the water whilst you soap.  Every time there is a thunderstorm, sit in a wobbly rocking chair, and rock as hard as you can until you are sick.  Put oil instead of water into a humidifier and set to HIGH.

Don’t watch TV except for movies in the middle of the night. For added realism, have your family vote for which movie they want to see then select a different one.

(Mandatory for engineering types) Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day to re-create the proper noise levels.

Have the paperboy give you a haircut.

Once a week blow compressed air up through your chimney. Ensure that the wind carries the soot over your neighbour’s house. When he complains, laugh at him.  Buy a rubbish compactor but only use it once a week. Store up your rubbish in the other side of the bath.

Wake up every night at midnight and make a sandwich out of anything you can find, preferably using stale bread. Optional: cold soup or canned Ravioli, eaten out of the tin.

Devise your family menus a week in advance without looking in the fridge or larder.  Set your alarm to go off at random times throughout the night. When it goes off, leap out of bed, get dressed as fast as you can and then run into the garden and break out the garden hose.

Once a month, take every major household appliance completely apart then re-assemble.
Use 4 spoons of coffee per cup, and allow it to sit for 3 hours before drinking.

Invite about 85 people who you don’t really like to come to stay for a couple of months.  Install a small fluorescent light under your coffee table and then lie under it to read books.
Raise the thresholds and lower the tops of all your doors in the house. Now you will always hit your head or skin you shins when passing through.

Whilst baking cakes prop one side of the cake tin while it is baking. When it has cooled, spread icing really thickly on one side to level it out again.  Every so often throw your cat in the swimming pool, or bath and shout “man overboard” then run into the kitchen and sweep all the dishes onto the floor while yelling at your wife for not having secured for sea properly.

Put on the headphones from your stereo. Do not plug them in. go and stand in front of your dishwasher. Say to nobody in particular, dishwasher manned and ready, sir. Stand there for 3 or 4 hours. Say, once again to nobody in particular, “dishwasher secured”. Remove the headphones, roll up the cord and put them away.

Enough! Enough! I’ve just remembered what I liked about the “Andrew” it was the bit when we were sailing up the Channel, then ‘hard a port’ into Portsmouth Harbour, flying a paying off pennant at the masthead and the quartermaster ringing down ‘Finished with Engines’.  . . . . . . . . . . .  “Attention on the Upper Deck, Face Aft and Salute”


About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply