Friday, 24 February 2012

Aden: Random Memories 17e: The Return of The Natives: Attention all shipping

We boarded the ship for the very last time. There was the final party to look forward to and the possibility that if the weather in Biscay was rough, more seasickness to look forward to.

The politically incorrect design for the children's party dinner menu.
The final party is a dim and distant memory. It was a jolly affair. I am sure we had to wear party hats and probably play games, but I can’t really remember a thing about it.

Our cabin was next to the wireless room. We heard all kinds of signals. I presume they were incoming. Then one magical day a voice announced “And now the shipping forecast...” the litany commenced. We were nearly home. Ever since then, at the sound of the opening words, there is an eternal 9 year old who knows a major change in his life is imminent.
Thankfully Biscay was calm. We sailed across tranquilly. Eventually, one cold foggy morning we woke, the Caledonia motionless, in Liverpool. We went through the immigration formalities. A customs man was fussing over our boxes. My mother kept telling him she had bought the Braun food mixer in Aden, and all he wanted to know about was the camphor wood chest which we had had since Singapore. Consequently we went through customs without having to undergo the Spanish Inquisition, which is more than can be sad for a family we had befriended on the ship. Their boxes were all being emptied out and every item scrutinised. I felt so sorry for them.

© 2012 Gwailo54

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