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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 39: 2 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysNorman Tuddenham and Pat try hard to inject some human interest into what is essentially a cool and unsentimental business operation. They show us the swimming pool, which has the brightly-painted figure of Snoopy on the bottom. 'My wife says that's what I look like,' cracks Norman. They're both very game and go for a splash around for the cameras.

There was, as we know to our cost, no extra room for supernumeraries aboard the Susak, but on the Neptune Diamond, perhaps to compensate for the factory-like existence, wives are allowed, even encouraged, and Pat is one of three aboard.

We meet the others for a drink before supper up in the captain's cabin. The room, with patterned sofas and family photos on the table, is neat, tidy and domestic and could, one feels, be as easily at their home in Broughty Ferry as in the middle of the South China Sea. The chief engineer and his wife and the radio operator and his wife remain shyly silent throughout. It's a new crew. They mostly joined the ship at Singapore and are as familiar with the captain as we are. On deck earlier today I encountered a painter who asked me my nationality. 'British,' I told him, 'like your captain.' He looked surprised, 'Is the captain British?' Norman and Pat propose a party for tomorrow night so that everyone can get to know each other.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 39
  • Date: 2 November
  • Country/sea: Pacific Ocean
  • Place: South China Sea
  • Book page no: 126

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