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Pole to Pole

Day 41: Odessa to Istanbul

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleUp on deck, the girl from Ilkley has a fierce nose bleed, and all sorts of previously unseen crew members appear to help her. Felix, clutching an ice-bag, orders them all around, having her blood pressure checked and her brow wiped. But the strangest encounter is with the lovely Lyuba, proprietress of the bar. I had discovered that, up in the bows, the Junost sported a swimming-pool. All of six feet long and five feet wide, it is in fact nothing more than a large packing case with a tarpaulin draped inside to hold the water. Deep end and shallow end change places with each roll of the ship. It's hardly large enough for one fully-formed adult, so when I see Lyuba's neat but ample figure clambering down towards me I adopt an air of nonchalant British lounging, as if there's nothing more normal in the world than sharing a waterlogged packing case with a Russian barmaid. But Lyuba is in the box for some fun, and having told me that her name means 'Amore . . . love' she splashes me with water and asks if I have a woman.

'A wife . . . yes,' I reply, as if the two things are quite incompatible.

'Is she engineer . . . technician?'

An image of Helen with the Black and Decker comes to mind, and as we splash around in our boxed fragment of the Black Sea, Lyuba and I fall into intimate conversation about schools, children and how we miss our families.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 41
  • Country/sea: Black Sea
  • Place: Black Sea
  • Book page no: 92

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