Cousin Jo asked me how old mummy allatsea was. Seventy nine going on a hundred was the reply. Funny old thing, just two or three years ago mummy allatsea could out speedwalk most forty-yearolds, party till dawn, host the world to death and still look ok for her years. Then the rabid alcohol addiction really took over, the fall and broken hip, new hip, fall again, repair hip thing , all took their toll. It’s awful to see. I lose sleep because all she’s become is a stagnant settee sitter, a bedroom tippler, a bollox speaker, an oxygen thief. Why do I lose sleep? Because, at least I think because, she wants to be like that. It’s not nice.
She’s given up and handed over all responsibility to God. Her Catholic God. There is only one, and he, for God is a he because it’s ritt, she says, looks after good Catholics who light candles and believe in weird stuff and preach intolerance and abuse the young.
It’s God’s will.
That’s all right then.
In the meantime, allatsea junior is outside blighty once again, attempting to earn an honest crust. This time he’s in Egypt and he’s on a very fine Norwegian (although registered in the Isle of Man) vessel which is about to spool on some 29 km of very fancy umbilical cable type stuff. There’s a bit of a fly in the ointment as he writes because the Egyptian customs chaps have declined to ‘clear’ the host vessel inwards, citing some irregularities with the paperwork. Bugger and bugger, that’s a blow. Until this little malarkey is sorted out the stuff is staying well and truly on the boat wot brought it here from bonny jockland.
Go on have a guess? How many times was allatsea’s passport looked at and fiddled with by chaps in uniform today, from the time he arrived at the Dimattia Port Offices (at 0910) until he was finally given a pass (at 1400) to enter the docks and finally board the vessel?
Around eighteen times!! Wonderful isn’t it. So efficient and expeditious to business in the 21st century. Egypt is not alone in practising this lunatic over-complexity of the simplest of matters. Oh indeed not. Their close neighbours Israel, sneeringly superior (they think) to their Arab borderers are just as bad, just as twattish. India, is also a fine example of using three dozen processes where one would do, as are most of the West African states. Indeed, from a mariner’s point of view, Europe is a shining beacon of expedient cross border processes and stress free inward clearing. But not for long of course, not with those nutters in the ukip brigade and similar demanding we all go back in time. They’d be much more at home in Egypt methinks, or Israel. In the meantime let’s get that wall built, get on with a bit of subsistence farming and moaning around the campfire about all those horrible foreigners wot roooinned evereefink.