HMS Coalition had a bit of bother in harbour as she was readied for her 5-year voyage to Erewhon, wherever that is.
The new crew of HMS Coalition had a bit of bother in harbour as they readied her for her new 5-year voyage to Erewhon, wherever that is. First the new captain managed to get snagged on that old mole built in 1922, and someone waved the Admiralty Code in his face which said he was not allowed to land on the mole or have anything to do with it, it was the exclusive property of the right wing barnacles and always had been.
Then the first mate and chief purser was found to have nicked £40,000 which he shouldn’t have done and he became “Man Overboard”, but was so beyond recovery that no one even bothered to throw him a lifeline.
Having gained the open seas without further mishap, the weather forecast was decidedly stormy: China and America entering a double-dip, the eurozone mast was buckling against some strong headwinds and under-currents and threatening to snap, while the loans on the good ship itself were payable for longer than the estimated lifetime of the good HMS Coalition.
Some were questioning whether the captain was wise to put to sea at all in these conditions, especially as next week he has to negotiate the twin rocky outcrops of Scylla and Charybdis, now known as CGT and pension caps. And then a crumpled figure from Brussels turned up uninvited on the bridge and demanded to see next week’s sailing plan before it was even handed to the bo’sun, the cheek of it.
These rocks are threatening HMS Coalition as the crew is very much split on these issues: the old barnacles are threatening to open the sea-cocks, while the lefties fear that the split will pop the rivets holding HMS Coalition together.
Some passengers tried to take out employment insurance for the duration of the 5-year voyage but were refused and told to hedge their positions by a visit to Messers William Hill or Ladbrokes, who were only offering odds on the first year of this particular odyssey. The omens are decidedly murky and the crew has done well in the first three weeks to resist any show of mutiny.
Some of the older hands, however, are upsetting the younger members of the crew, including the captain, with their yarns about May 1931, with tales of soup kitchens, of over 5,000,000 unemployed seamen, of savings accounts onshore being wiped out as banks went bust, and it was no good sailing anywhere as everyone was in the same boat, just as the captain announced, “We are all in this together!”
Somehow, this call to duty didn’t seem to help anyone at all. One old-timer with a peg-leg and a parrot on his shoulder was reminded of the continuing slump of 1933 when the parrot announced, “We’ve got nothing to fear, except being bloody afraid ourselves!” The captain ordered the parrot to be gagged, but somehow this only served to emphasise that the parrot knew more from experience than the youthful captain.
Anyway, the crew told the old-timer to stop his yarns, and so he yawned instead at the folly of the inexperienced ones in denial, as the parrot thought how difficult it is to teach humans anything at all. Maybe the chief purser had been right all along, jumping overboard like that while the ship was still in the harbour.