River Wissey Lovell Fuller


May 2012

NOTE: For new readers, my wife, Deannie, is also known as Management or Head Office.

What is it with women and their handbags?

Completely inadvertently, and by accident, I have discovered an infallible way to upset Management – chuck her handbag into the river, I repeat, completely inadvertently and by accident, of course. We had gone down to wash the boat, which is moored at Southery. The interior cushions are protected by dust sheets and they do get dusty during the winter – I blame the farmers! I gathered up a dust sheet, subconsciously thought it felt a bit heavy, held it by the corners and flung it open to shake all the dust into the water. KERSPLASH! I looked down to see a black leather toolkit I did not recognise floating in the water, saw the strap and the little dog on the leather and the penny dropped with a resounding crash – it was her handbag. Fortunately, I had done my big shake at the bows of the boat, where the water is shallow, and not over the stern of the boat where the water is 30 feet deep with nothing to stand on. Happily, I was able to reach down from the pontoon and grab the bag quickly before it sank. Although full of water, it was intact.

I emptied the bag and dried all the contents; they were spread out all over the inside of the boat. Of course, the mobile phone was wet. I remembered that our daughter-in-law had tried to kill a similar mobile by immersing it in water all night (don't ask) but had failed to kill it. Suitably cheered, I dried the phone and, happily, all was well.

By the time Deannie returned from her chores in the clubhouse, the bag had dried and the contents had been returned, somewhat water damaged and crumpled. I think the mud on the outside of the bag gave the game away and I have to say that, although obviously very upset, she was really good about it, asking questions like “Why did you do it?” (Suggested answers on a postcard please)

The resident pheasant and his mates

Regular readers will recall the problems I have with wildlife invading our garden ( I do include Bluebells in that category although they are not strictly “wildlife”). Every year, a beautiful cock pheasant, with a distinctive bright red and white neck, lives in the garden from January until April. A couple of years ago I described his haggard and exhausted demeanour, incomprehensible until I realised that he had seven wives and was obviously seriously henpecked, in the metaphorical sense. He has seen sense and, this year, he has only been entertaining two ladies, usually starting the day's routine at 4am. The three of them stand under Head Office's bird feeders, gazing upwards at the tits, sparrows, finches and other birds, willing them to drop stuff onto the ground for the pheasants to eat. The bird feeders empty rapidly and the pheasants are fat, so the system is working. They do trample everything remorselessly under their feet but the bluebells seem to survive!

Fred Olsen

I am writing this two weeks before the deadline because Deannie and I are about to set off on the first of our Fred Olsen cruises, with me as the ship's doctor and Deannie in an entertaining hostess-type role. I have, at long last, sorted out all the uniform. The original tropical trousers they sent were virtually transparent. I went on the internet to see what to wear underneath and was advised against going “Commando” - disastrous if you get wet or the sun shine too strongly – I was directed to a lot of sites where one could look at trouser bulges (not my taste!) and several sites suggested a thong – equally unacceptable. Management nearly wet herself laughing at all this and was even more incapable when I showed her my new white shoes. I solved the trouser problem by getting them to make me some trousers lined to the knees and by purchasing some white silk boxer shorts which reach the knees. Fortunately, our first cruise (Southampton, Portugal, Spain and back) does not involve crossing the equator where all the officers get thrown into the pool and trouser transparency rules the day! Actually, I much prefer the winter uniform – blue jacket with sleeve rings, dark blue trousers and black shoes – but we have to change from one to the other when leaving the Bay of Biscay on the outward journey and vice-versa on the way back.

Mobile Phones

There can be nothing more irritating than other people's mobiles. On a train home after a busy day - “Hi, Darling, it's Peter. I'm on the mobile. Yes, I know I'm on the 6.30 and not the 4.30 but I had a long meeting – No, not with that floozie from the typing pool, but with the boss. No, darling, you're the only one in my life, yes, cross my heart”. This was still going on 10 minutes later when a completely exasperated young woman sitting opposite and trying to sleep, yelled in a loud and distinct voice “Hey, Peter, turn off that bl**dy phone and come back to bed!

Best wishes to you all – Ian Nisbet

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