The tannoy crackles into life
"Now hear this! We have been ordered back to the UK to patrol Channel waters to intercept up a new wave of migrants crossing from France. We will make cautious passage via a number of ports, combining our passage home with a number of courtesy visits. Number 4 working rig under way with Whites in port until Gib. That's all."
In the wheelhouse the 1st Lt shifted against the chart table. "How long do you think we can string it out, sir?"
"Our orders say 'dawdle'. So I reckon we can take six weeks or so. Maybe develop an engine fault - that could give us another four weeks if needed. The last thing they want is us working the box in the Channel and actually picking up migrants"
"But I don't understand why we've been ordered home, sir? We were doing perfectly well not picking up migrants from Libya, so why go back home to not pick up migrants from France?"
"Politics, Futtock, politics. We have to be there to prove that the government is compassionate and humanitarian, but without actually rescuing anyone who would embarrass the Home Secretary. He's still reeling from putting that twelve year old with a full henna beard and three wives into Knob Hill Secondary. And right now not rescuing Channel migrants has greater priority than not rescuing African migrants"
"Some of the lads were talking about the old days, when they used to board yachts looking for hooky fags and baccy, sir. Or maybe catching some Rupert with a K of skunk. Now they say it's just lying in port with a maintenance watch and sunbathing"
"What's wrong with that? You've never been stuck in a frozen muddy creek near Hull, Futtock, waiting for a non-existent landing of Superkings and missing the final of X-factor. Thank God we had those TV satellite domes fitted before we sailed"
"Oh. And do get back into men's clothes before we reach the Western Approaches, Number One. Those sarong wraps really won't do for Pompey."
|HMC Seeker - ordered home 31/12/18, as at 0700hrs GMT 13/2/19 berthed at Gibraltar|