I caught my assistant steward blankly staring at a wall for a solid two minutes yesterday, Mark the chef has started randomly screaming while organising the fridges. Surely there’s more carbon dioxide than oxygen in the air from all the sighing and yawning and one of the deck crew asked me where to put the cutlery this morning as if he hasn’t been on the ship every single day for the past two months. We are coming up to our 8th week at sea and everyone is becoming a little bit delusional. I just keep dropping things- cutlery, cups of tea, pieces of chocolate into my mouth… and with scenes from the Theory of Everything filling my head like a tsunami I googled said problem with my decrepit fingers but fear not for fatigue was among the list of possible reasons why my hands won’t work.
Oh, and am I fatigued. Getting up at 5.30 every day consecutively for weeks on end definitely takes its toll. I’m past the stage of having the energy to go to the gym so I’m currently chubbing up for crimbo, the space between my thighs closing in like a bonus level on total wipeout, times a’ tickin’ and he who dares enter is more than likely to be flattened. Not that that will be much of a problem as I don’t think Santa will be bringing me a man this year, so I shall utilise the heat generated from my chub-rub to, oh I don’t know, bake some mince pies or something. But all is not doom and gloom and I’ve actually had quite a nice week, you’d be surprised at my ability to squeeze the positivity out of what is a mouldy little lemon of a situation- but here I am, a smile on my face because I’m sat in bed, thighs stuck together, with a hot cup of tea and some gluten free gingerbread that I made yesterday. I know my job is somewhat of an unanswered question, people not really knowing what it is I do and what I get up to when I just disappear for months at a time, so instead of give in to my cabin fever I thought I’d make a list of things that I have been doing that have made my week that little more enjoyable.
Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast with Greg Davies
I always loved Greg Davies, but this. This is something else. In this interview Davies pushed Hugh Dennis out from the top spot on my list of favourite comedians and deservedly took a pew. I ADORED this. It was a shitty day and I had a shitty job to do that would take me all morning so I plugged in my headphones and had a scroll through the new podcasts I had managed to download during a rare slice of shore time. I’m usually not really one for comedy, which is weird because I am literally one big joke and spend a good 99.2% of my time laughing at my own hilarity. But I thought this was absolutely brilliant. And why wouldn’t I because HOW funny is Greg Davies in The Inbetweeners? Why had I just assumed that his genius could only be stretched as far as his role as a sarcastic headmaster at a sixth form college? Oh how wrong I was because I was in stitches during this podcast and had to stop several times during my deep clean of the crew mess to wipe a rogue tear from my smile-induced aching cheek. If you do one thing this week you must make it listening to this podcast.
Re-discovering Arctic Monkeys Suck It And See album
When I’m in the laundry and I’m ironing away you’ll usually find me in deep thought over an episode of The High Low but recently I’ve dropped Dolly and Pandora for I have re-discovered the Arctic Monkeys. Of course, Florescent Adolescent and Mardy Bum are in regular rotation on my pretend-to-be-working playlist but I had completely forgotten just how good SIAS was, especially up loud on me’ UE Boom. Listening to the Arctic Monkeys always makes me feel my age. I say this because I personally feel that with all my life experiences and what not my mental age is about 26, but when I listen to AM I feel like I want to wear chunky boots that my grandma would hate and t-shirts with holes in them and maybe even smoke a cigarette. They remind me of that brief spell of partying I did back in 2015 before I voluntarily retired from my rebellious teenage years after just two months of being eighteen. They remind me of boys. Not just boys but ‘boyyyyys’ in a high pitched, the way your parents take the mick out of you when they’re trying to embarrass you way. And yes I do still think that Love Is A Laserquest.
UNO and the banter that accompanies it
Now this one isn’t just over the past week as we always have games and giggles but it deserves a mention because it always brightens up my day. When we were in Punta Arenas recently I ventured into town and found a tacky Chinese Mall where I purchased what is undoubtedly the sketchiest pack of UNO cards ever. With wee beach scenes for backgrounds these babies cost me a whopping 1,600 pasos (roughly £2) and have been a topic of controversy due to the increasing amount of arguments had and the line between a harmless game between friends and genuine hatred for one another being compromised on several occasions. Last night’s entertainment consisted of Micky trying to cram the words ‘Onion Ring’ into every song that came on and failing to understand the whole matching syllables thing; I fell in to an Onion Ring of fire works whereas Bye Bye Miss American Onion Ring sadly does not.
TV Series Luther
It was good wasn’t it. It was a good series that was taken from us far too prematurely, and if they ever try that nonsense with the likes of Peaky Blinders I’ll be writing a formal complaint. Recommended to me by a friend this time last year I watched an episode with him and thought it was pretty pants if I’m honest, but he swore by it and his taste is usually spot on so I started watching it this trip and low and behold it was as good as he said. Although a little haunting at times, I did find myself feeling a bit anxious in the hours after certain episodes, but that just goes to show that it’s excellently made. My irrational disliking of Idris Elba due the disappointing flop that was The Mountain Between Us was quickly resolved, although I still think John Luther is a bit of an asshole as a character, no offence Idris #Idrisforbond.
My weekly bake day
So I’m a stewardess, which is basically just a fancy name for a housekeeper but with some added responsibility. I’m charge of the general maintenance of the ship, as well as looking after all the scientists needs and officers cabins, linen and other bits and bobs. Basically I’m like the mum of the vessel. I also help with service during mealtimes but that’s usually where my duties in the galley would end, however thanks to the Chefs I have recently managed to incorporate a bit of baking into my schedule. I love baking and have done since I was really little, you’ll often hear my dad parading around bigging up my baked goods to anyone who will listen (thanks dad!) so I was very pleased when Mark kindly granted my request to bake something for one of the boys birthdays. I now choose a little something to whip up once a week and the requests have been flooding in (Johnny Mac I don’t think I will have time to make your strange Scottish soda scones but I will try my best) and it’s such a welcome break from all my usual chores. Yesterday I made blueberry and blackcurrent jam crumble topped muffins, ohhhhh yeah. Sadly I’m gluten intolerant so I’m relying on the authenticity of the harmonised ‘hmmms’ for validation.
Decorating the ship for Christmas
Today I was paid to put on tacky Christmas music and decorate two big trees with hideous baubles and scraggly tinsel. I nabbed the 3rd officer off his watch to assist me and we became everyone’s worst enemies with our festive spirit as we erected and lashed the plastic evergreens to the walls in the mess and bar. So while you’re all at home enjoying the most wonderful time of the year I’m still stuck staring out at a never ending body of water in what is definitely the least Christmassy of settings- a big metal ship. But today I got to at least try to pretend I could tell it was December and that Christmas was coming, so that’s all I can ask for I guess. I had to try to resist the urge to pinch a mug of Marks red cooking wine, microwave it with a dash of cinnamon and pretend it was ‘mulled’ as is per Christmas decorating tradition, but given that it was not even nine o’clock in the morning and being pissed at work is a sackable offence I thought it best to stick to tea.
Fun trivia and the unity it provides
I have mentioned before that the RRS Discovery crew have taken ‘quizzing’ to a whole new level. I have never before in my life met a group of people, including myself, who love a quiz as much as we do. Pirates will be turning in their sea graves when they learn we’ve swapped rum and whores out for evenings of question and answer games and a bowl of shared peanuts. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but I feel like an oracle. I feel like I am leaving the ship as a fountain of knowledge, warn your locals ladies and gents for I will be entering pub quizzes galore upon my eventual return to the UK and woe betide for I shall win. An excellent bonding activity for all ages and a great way to fill your brain with seemingly useless knowledge that one day may impress someone you want to sleep with.
The dinner I had today
A last minute pre publication addition- I just had to slip in how bloody delicious my dinner was today. I had a gorgeously rare seared tuna steak in garlic butter with a fresh tomato and onion salsa on top, ½ a homemade bean and brown rice burger patty that was crunchy and flavoursome, salty spinach, al dente broccoli, pickled red cabbage and a spoonful of avocado. I died a little bit when I ate it and plated the exact same up for tomorrow’s lunch which my thighs are very excited about already.
I feel like there’s more but I can’t think right now and I’d like to get into my pjs and watch Hot Fuzz so that’s what I’m going to do… 9 days left folks, 9 days left.