Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Moaning Oldies On The Ocean Wave

'Oi, you,' a passenger once shouted.

'Me?' I meekly replied.

'Yes, you. The one who looks like a bulldog sucking on a bumblebee.'

I thought about this in the strangest of places. I was on a boat, crammed together with many other tourists on the way to the Farne Islands, near the Scottish border. It was half-term week and the weather was fine for the first time in three weeks, meaning every Tom, Dick and Harry was heading for the islands to see the varied bird life at nesting time.

It was the moaning old couple sitting close who brought back this unhappy memory. I overheard their less than polite conversation. In fact they were verbally knocking seven bells out of each other, in a similar way to how the passenger had spoken to me on the bus all those years ago. Hard comments still hurt.

'To think I've got to spend the whole trip sitting next to someone who looks like the back end of a bus,' said the man. In the ensuing silence I couldn't do anything other than stare at the woman, in morbid fascination to see if there was any resemblance of truth in what her partner was saying.

It was hard to tell as most of her face was hidden by a knitted woolly hat.

'It's better,' she replied slowly and deliberately,'than having to be with someone who looks like an eider duck's arse.' Amazingly an eider duck flew over the boat as she said this. her partner went quiet and he resembled a flamingo's nether regions as he blushed. The surrounding passengers looked out to sea and tittered silently.

The partner clenched his fists and began to stand. I thought he was about to throw her overboard. He was thwarted by the pleasure boat captain's announcement:

'I am slowing down so that you will be able to see the seals on the left of the boat,' he said. All the passengers began to rise out of their seats 'DON'T all stand up and go to the left hand side of the boat for chrissakes,' came the voice over the loudspeaker. 'We'll bloody well tip over.' Everyone sat down and the boat slowed its violent side-to-side rocking motions.

Landing on the island it was like a scene from a Hitchcock film. Tourists wearing a variety of headgear were being dive bombed by the angry Terns who were protecting their nests. In the middle of the carnage I saw the couple who had been so abusive to each other on the boat, running along the path, waving their arms in all directions as they received multiple pecks on their heads. I never saw them again.

They were replaced by another moaning couple on the return trip.

'Don't think it was very good value, those Farne Islands, not very good value at all,' said the man.

'No,' said the woman. 'I hope that we won't catch any diseases or something as I got pecked on the hand.'

Oh ... Lord help us ...

1 comment:

  1. Honestly - what do they expect if they disturb nesting birds?