Friday, July 09, 2010

Tarka and the Bilge

Warning. This is a bit nasty.

Shortly after I met the Dear Northerner she came and me and chumrades to Sardinia for a spot of yachting. Being a lady of delicate sensibilities and somewhat vapourish we decided to practice our nautical wit upon her and suggest that as it was a nature reserve there would be no using the heads for solids at all. Not just wipeage, but jobbies as well.

On her arrival I presented her with dutifully labelled freezer bags and six squares of Mr Andrex's shiniest and said there you go dear - this is your very own personal collection for the week.

Poor dear was so traumatised she was astonishingly constipated for a whole week. A feat she bettered in India mind you - with events coming to a grisly conclusion in a deserving Hotel in Munnar. (Another story - but it took a double Tarka Dhal and three Senokot maxis to dislodge it......)

So Her next sojourn upon the ocean wave was to require a more wholesome methodology for relief.

A plan was hatched.

Now the marine facilities are small-bore by comparison to the British Standard Bog. They tend not to account for neither the modern diet, not the fact they may be needed in a seaway.
A stance must be maintained such that one does not fall off the throne, yet ensure one doesn't feel the effects of one's remains accidentally and at the same time cope with any pitches and rolls, without falling off at the wrong time and Tarka making a break for the bilge to join his mouldering chums below the decking.

Hence was born The 'Tip and Grimace'.

Just think - using grab-rails over-head and wedging the feet against the door one can accommodate all eventualities and not have any embarrassing accidents at the same time - whilst encompassing all the actions and outcomes and grisly nature of it's failure.
For some strange reason we both found this highly amusing (her humour clearly dragged down to my schoolboy level).

The word has now morphed in to merely requiring the bath-room.

Tip and Grimace.

Kind of a ring to it too, eh? Think of it next time you are caught short in the Dog and Duck and need to void yesterday's curry.

I did say this was a nasty post.... :-)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Petroleum Spirit

It will please old readers to know that I am the owner of a new chapmobile. Well - new compared to the old Alvis. It is actually coming up on her third birthday and her first with me.

It is NOT green. Oh No. A throbbing 3.2 litre hippy thrashing V6 petrol guzzling non-green car.

The tax now costs me as much as my first car did.

Also probably why I don't drive it very much.

The Life Aquatic 1

A busy Greek Supermarket, yesterday.

The privations of the life aquatic tends to suit a chap. One can cheerfully eschew the drawing room, unlimited real ale and access to the new chapmobile for a few weeks bobbing about on the briny, taking potshots at the French and a god-given right to drink rum for breakfast. Sodomy is optional, the lash essential.

Not the usual scumsail flotilla life for us in the Aegean, either.

Rampant individualism oft flying in the face of folk wisdom or marine training calls the day.

And it is as thus one flew out t’other week off to the Cyclades to introduce the Dear Northerner to a life on the ocean wave - a ruse to the idea that we should retire to a marine existence – sort of a pensionable version of water-world, sans avec Kevin Costner.

I have taken two prior Miss Chaps to this place with limited success. They prob don’t read this anymore which is just as well. Neither were suitably amphibious to cope.

Now there is a separate post coming about her appreciation of the marine facilities known as the ‘heads’ however it is worth reflecting previous and recent experience on the daily privations of life afloat.
Namely:  supplies.

I have known a couple of girls get through fresh water at ludicrous rate. Now, every chap knows the trick for making his pants last a month – and lets face it – most of the time one can spend the time in one’s birthday suit as there isn’t a soul about. Add to that baby shampoo to wash in the sea (it really works) and shaving the head to keep the worst of the weevils at bay then one can settle into pelagic squalor with joy.

Previous Miss chaps have tended to guzzle fresh water – but they have neglected seamanship duties normal to a fellow afloat – such as tidying up after themselves.

Dear Northerner is the complete opposite. Like a good Yorkshire lass, she is exceedingly house proud and if the boat had a front step, she would have scrubbed it. Now admittedly she had a Yorkshire taste when it came to the local food....nothing ‘dirty’ , ‘greazy’, 'garlciky' or ‘oily’. (That excludes almost all Greek food)...
But she took it upon herself to supply a level of 'tween decks cleanliness that would make an Admiral proud. However she did tend to use a lot of the valuable fresh water for this - and .....a lot of 'products'.
Now, a chap tends to sluice everything out with sea water, pump out the bilge and then set about a large Aubreyesque dinner of sea-pie, moussaka, baklava, salad, fish, baked chicken and spotted dog, washed down with ouzo, retsina, metaxa and liberal quantities of mythos.
The Greek Islands.
They are somewhat remote, pleasingly non-commercial and backward and ideal for basic comestibles. Sun baked, whitewashed Choras reveal little but tomatoes, salt fish and grizzled old widows scowling over their fly-blown laps. Sea-miles away from Blackberry reception and modern conveniences. And I might add - Tescos super store.
I had provisioned our little ship with all the kit we needed for a fortnight afloat. Undaunted I was dispatched when first we touched ashore (Skhinoussa, as it 'appens) to acquire some 'products'

It is indicative of the dear gel that I got this as a shore-going shopping list.

Rubber washing up gloves
Antibacterial wipes
Antiseptic gel
Floor cleaner
Toilet cleaner
Stainless steel cleaner
Washing up liquid
Tin foil
Pan scrubbers
Metal scourers
Brillo pads
Sponge cloths
Kitchen Roll

To her ongoing horror I returned with Anchovies, Ouzo and Coca-cola.

PS: Ouzo + Coke is a particularly astonishing tipple. Heartily recommend it.