15 June 2006

hms lancaster


I had all sorts of silly hello-sailor clichés ready to embellish my account of evening aboard, but all I met was enthusiasm, courtesy and ram-rod straight decency.

My first ever soirée of this kind, plus my first chance to meet and observe le tout Corfu toffery - impressive and, in the case of the local talent, eye-boggling.

Fit young men of impeccable, austere good manners served drinks and food from the largest-stocked bar I have ever seen.

chopper view, hms lanacaster cocktailI kicked off with a brandy dry and allowed my glass to be filled by a breathtaking jacqueline tar whose greenest of eyes held my unctuous gaze with genial disdain. As my glass emptied, an observant rating magically appeared at my side and offered a refill from his brimming jug of apple juice. I shamefacedly confessed to being on harder stuff and made to stumble off in search of the brandy when he informed me that that was indeed what his jug contained. The other was whiskey.

frolics aboardAfter knocking it back for an hour or two, the list reduced itself even more exclusively as "some of us" retired to the Robusto restaurant for top-notch nosh in distinctly un-Corfu surroundings.

Before I leave the deck of the Lanacaster, a mention of the unease I suddenly felt after an hour of quaffing and nattering - unease at feeling quite so at ease. Couldn't quite put my finger on it until I glanced round and realised:

  • Not a hint of greenery in sight
  • Not a whiff of window-box, nor sliver of stem
  • No horticultural implements casually draped across the helicopter gun ports.
  • Polite Banter: Not a jester's josh on the jardinerie. Clean language throughout.
  • A blissful evening, with not a jot of "business with Nippon".

    dinnerRobusto: More vino and vivacity before carefully home to a litre of H²O.

    Because I now know that she GooglesTM herself, I'm henceforth sprinkling these posts with meta tags galore to the saintèd Hilary Whitton Paipeti, editrice of The Corfiot, whose URL I know to no longer bother to cite since it doesn't actually lead to an online version of our monthly de rigueur  reading.

    But I am beholden to Ms Paipeti for being so incredibly nice about my much earlier uncouth posting where I sulked about no-one coming up with broadband sites for my pal Gwyn and blaming Hilary's silence on some wholly invented distraction with the local property market.

    At time of writing I was nowhere near Corfu but venting from a garret in Washington state, so I had no idea what I was talking about.

    In her place, I would have reduced me to tatters but the distractingly fanciable HWP just gave me a teasing finger-wag and wafted off in her floaty gown and sixties style granny shades. That's actually worse than being slagged off, which is why I'm smarting still.

    A thoroughly excellent evening and well worth the cotton-wool mouth the morning after, albeit *not* the way I intended to visit the British Cemetery to honour Dad.

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