A ship shape and scanty sea shanty

overcoming fear of the blank page

I recently won a lunch and tour of the P&O ship The Pacific Dawn. I’m a huge fan of boats and ships, but up until a few weeks ago the biggest ships I’ve been on have been car ferries. The ferry from Dover to Calais many years ago was, of course exciting; but it was part of an absolute marathon bus ride I took from Cleethorpes to Zagreb, and the excitement may have been from merely being outside the bloody bus.

Once, from Dubrovnik to Bari, I learned that it is impossible to use a squat toilet on a ferry.

The tour and lunch aboard the Pacific Dawn was to celebrate its first birthday with P & O. The ship itself was painfully, woefully, middle-class, middle-aged, white and straight, and while it was fun for a brief while I don’t think I could ever do a whole cruise. Whether by design or good fortune we were seated with the only other gays at the whole event, which made lunch infinitely more tolerable.


The toilets were certainly ship shape, but there was a queue of 4 women in front of me and only 3 cubicles. This was toilet ‘rush hour’ – between the main and dessert. We had been directed to use these toilets by the banquet staff and I was surprised that they didn’t make more toilets available. I can understand that they didn’t want people wandering over the ship, but 3 cubicles is pretty measly for a whole banquet hall of people. I wonder how they fare when the ship is full?

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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