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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 77: 10 December

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysAlso open on the bridge's wide map table is the next Admiralty chart - Lizard Point to Berry Head, a smaller scale map of the English Channel, Central Part, a book of port operations and pilot services - open at Le Havre - and a Mariner's Routeing Guide Chart, incorporating passage planning charts. There is a book with full details of local currents. 'In the English Channel the streams separate on a line running Hastings-Dieppe.' As an old sentimentalist, I'm rather glad to see all this written material laid out bedside the radar scanners and the computer screens.

After lunch we record for posterity our rendition of Under Milk Wood with Nigel bringing a fine Burtonian gravitas to the part of Eli Jenkins, the Professor giving the definitive Captain Cat and Dave scuttling between Willy Nilly, Third Drowned and the tape recorder. Angela, Ann and Simon all deserve Oscar nominations.

Considering only Nigel lays claim to Welsh blood it comes out well, and the final lines are still resounding as the pin-point of Bishop Rock lighthouse mounts the northern horizon. The Scilly Isles, then Lizard Point and the lights of the Cornish coast follow. Home base is tantalisingly close. If they could loan me a lifeboat I could be ashore in half an hour, and home three days early. As it is the English coast recedes as we turn away to the south for Le Havre and the estuary of the Seine, and soon the only lights I can see are those of other ships, and above me, of a magnificent night sky.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 77
  • Date: 10 December
  • Country/sea: Atlantic Ocean
  • Place: English Channel
  • Book page no: 244

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