24th December 2001
It might be Christmas Eve, but that is no reason for Basil to change his routine, and so I was turfed out of bed early so that he could change the bedding. I really would be happy to change my own bedding, but he won’t hear of it. Good old Basil. I wondered around dazed and confused until he had finished. The Captain was on the bridge but wasn’t too cheery so I didn’t loiter there. I went back to my cabin and put on the World Service while I washed and shaved. I expected the good old Beeb to be jolly and festive but instead there was a special report on the problems in Afghanistan. Specially depressing.
“Good morning this is the World Service from London. Today we have professor Ali Badjukabi with us talking about the new political regime in Afghanistan and then we go over to Sadjik Suva for a special report on life threatening illness, then we’ll hear from Nora Baldwin who will be talking about her home for stray cats in the North East and how she treats all her cats to a saucer of cream on Christmas Eve”.
Good for the cats, that’s what I say. What is the problem with people? Why do people think it necessary to address these problems at Christmas time? I know why; it’s because people have guilt about enjoying themselves and feel they can relieve their guilt by appearing sombre and sparing a thought for the lonely at Christmas. Sod the lonely. Have fun! This is the loneliest Christmas I have ever spent and the last thing I wanted to hear this morning was about new anti-terrorism laws, I want to hear people having fun, it is okay for people to just enjoy themselves. Pure and simple.
The Captain keeps droning on that it is a sad day and the Chief Engineer keeps muttering how “Life is shitty.” It makes me want to thump them. For God’s sake they chose to be here and are getting paid a fortune for it. The way I see it is you can mope or make the best of a bad situation and enjoy it. I’m quite cheerful (despite of my ravings) and am determined not to be like them. Obviously I wish more than anything I was at home, but I’m not and that is that. (You might pick up from this that I’m still convincing myself of all this, and it’s true, I am, but I feel all the better for it).
It’s just before dinner now and I’ve put on my shirt and trousers…it’s strange to dress up, it feels like I should be going on a night out, but instead I’m just going downstairs to dinner! Nonetheless it is a nice change. I wonder what is going on at home now, it would be half six there so they are probably in the midst of dinner, I expect Karen, Steve and the boys are there.
It’s now twenty to ten and I’ve just got back from dinner. I’ve had a few drinks but would like to drink an awful lot more. Everybody else has chucked in the towel and so it’s just me writing this to you. Who are you anyway? I still don’t know why I write this and who I’m writing to.
The meal was very enjoyable, aside from the horrible salt cod and potatoes for the main course. We had some dried fruits and snacky tings to start and some delicious cakes for pudding, and so I feel full and satisfied (would still murder a turkey if one strayed past though). There was plenty of wine, martini and whisky afterwards. The Officers usually eat in two sittings but tonight we all ate together so the mess room was quite crowded and more cheerful. Nobody was in the mood to hang around and drink though, except the 3rd engineer and myself; we sat after the others had gone and drank the rest of the bottle of whisky, which was quite a lot.
I have probably had enough to drink to be fair, but at this point I’d like to maintain this fuzzy feeling rather than abandon it. I feel an anti-climax approaching and I’m not sure what to do about it, I wish I had someone to talk to and drink with. No doubt I’d soon be spouting sentimental nonsense.
On a normal evening I’d go up to the bridge and chat to Miguel, but he’s so glum today he’s not good company. If I could speak more fluently I’d go down and see what the crew are up to, but I find it exhausting trying to understand the language, and I’ve been doing it all evening and no longer have the energy to try and translate their conversations in my head. I think the only thing to do is go to bed while I’m still drunk enough to sleep. Goodnight and merry Christmas!
24th December 2017
I didn’t know who I was writing this diary for when I wrote it, but I’m so pleased that it’s found an audience in you. Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting, sharing and liking my posts.