Between the innocence of infancy and the recklessness of adultery comes that unique specimen of humanity known as a seaman. Seamen can be found in bars, in arguments, in bed, intoxicated. They are tall, short, Fat, thin, dark, fair but never normal.
They dislike ship’s food, Chief Engineers, writing Letters, sailing on Saturdays and ‘dry’ ships. They like receiving mail, paying off day, nude pin ups, sympathy, complaining and beer.
A Seaman’s secret ambition is to change places with the owner for just one trip, to own a brewery and to be loved by everyone in the world.
A Seaman is a Sir Galahad in a Japanese brothel, a psychoanalyst with a “Readers Digest” on the table, Don Quixote with a Discharge Book, the saviour of mankind with his back teeth awash , Valentino with a fiver in his pocket and democracy personified in a red Chinese prison cell.
A seaman is a provider in war and a parasite in peace. No one is subjected to so much abuse, wrongly accused, so often misunderstood by so many as a seaman. He has the patience of Job, the honesty of a fool and a heaven-sent ability to laugh at himself.
When he returns home from a long voyage no one else but a seaman can create such an atmosphere of suspense and longing as he walks through the door with the magic words on his lips;
Have you got an ale then?