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A quick break

Although we are fyachlelingly behind schedule, before continuing on to India, Fatty insists on having the ship refitted with new kitchens, dining rooms and a bakery. This is exasperating, the refit is taking ages and we are going bonkers with boredom. George, to pass the time, paints a red-breasted merganser, I tell George that it’s a very nice merganser, Juan tells George that he should paint something that is actually worth looking at and, if he is going to paint something breasted, he can think of a much better subject than a stupid merganser. Fatty says a mitre is a good subject, and passes me instructions on how to fold a serviette into a mitre. Looking at the instructions, I say that, compared to the art of painting, which can be difficult and take a long time, folding a serviette into a mitre is childishly simple. Six hours later, angry, and having failed to produce anything that looks remotely like a mitre, I have to explain to Fatty that the instructions are wrong, and nobody attempting to follow the diagram will ever make a mitre from a serviette. Juan has a go, creates something horrible, and tells Fatty that there must be something wrong with the serviette; Fatty says that, no doubt, we are both right; however, after quickly folding the serviette into a neat mitre, he suggests that it might be that we simply need more practise.

I tell Fatty that I definitely do not want to practise folding serviettes, I would rather disembowel myself, and, anyway, the serviettes only become unfolded when people use them, so folding them is a waste of time. Fatty says that we fold our clothes up when we’re not using them, and unfold them to put them on, and we don’t have a problem with that, so the same should apply to serviettes. Juan looks surprised and says that he didn’t know that clothes could be folded.

The senseless tedium of this conversation is making me ill, so I remind Juan that we are at an airport, so it will be easy to borrow an aeroplane, and, while Fatty completes the refitting, we may as well take a quick break and head into town. Juan says that this is a wonderful idea and, to celebrate, he breaks open the Vintage Linkwood, Bowmore, Glendronach, and Blair Athol Private Reserve, we drink toast after toast to Fatty and his wonderful art of folding, salute breasts, of all colours, and drink to finding somewhere to land, then, staggering out onto the airport, we borrow the first aeroplane we can break into and head into town, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary