Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sailing/Slaving on Solway Lass, and my final days in Airlie

The Beautiful Solway Lass in all her glory!

Homesick for Simon!
I arrived on Solway Lass around 5pm and was put straight to work with a bottle of brasso. At first I thought the crew were a bit off, but I soon realised they are just a tight nit group have have been working together on the same ship for years (with the exception of the hostie, knickers (aka: Nicola), for whom it was her very first day on this particular boat). And often find the ‘volleys’, as we’re known, as more of a hindrance than a help. But, (and thank you dear mother for teaching me how to work my fingers to the bone!), I soon proved my salt (what a strange idiom), and was quickly accepted.

Me Snorkelling! Mmm sexy!
My daily routine was to wake at 6am, and clean both male and female toilets and showers, then polish all the brass on the boat, set up brekkie, pack it all away and wash and dry up (for 30 passengers!). Then my day was my own to join the other holiday-makers, until lunch where I would do the same, and again with dinner. On day one we went to Whitehaven, it was beautiful. The sand really is completely white, and the sea clear and turquoise, just stunning. Day two saw us snorkeling at Blue Pearl and Hayman island. Fantastic couple of days. Played with a giant fish (maybe 5 feet long!) called Precilla, meanwhile my good friend who I met on board, Mary-Lou (german), had a tremendously skilled osprey land on her head and catch one of the many fish surrounding us! It was hilarious – you should’ve seen her face!

My favourite spot on the ship
The final day was, and I promise I am not shy of hard work, bloody hard work. From half 5 in the morning I did not sit or rest untill I got off the boat at 5pm. I scrubbed, scoured, hoovered, washed, dusted, changed every bed and pillowcase, cleaned and mopped the gully, stock-took, cleaned staff quarters, sprayed bed-bug deterrent spray, took up the urine sodden mats of the gents loos’ (nearly puked). And all this while what started as a small pimple under my arm, developed into a very painful and horrific looking coral infection. I was exhausted and in agony!

View infront of me
 When I had finished my duties the crew were very complementary, singing my praises, what a great Volley I had been, how I was welcome back anytime. I was really quite proud of myself and grateful for the acknowledgment. Ash, the bar girl, even made me one of the crew rope anklets, which I don with pride! I couldn’t wait to get ‘home’ to my second family, I was exhausted!
View behind me
The last thing I thought I wanted was the Baker family Christmas party at Wendy’s daughter’s house that night… but as soon as I was back in the company of my wonderful hosts, I felt totally revived! We drove up to Conway area, (Brady drove me in his old banger of an Astra!), and we very quickly got into the swing of things, downing beers though a horn (which I thought, due to aussie accents, was being dubbed 'the bee horn', when infact, they were being much more descriptive in calling it the 'beer horn', though the slightly less accurate name of 'bee horn' stuck and we all found this hillarious!) Jȁgermeister shots swiftly followed, and I had to beg Wendy to have my last one as I was nearly under the table (at least I wasn't ON the table with my hands in the air and knickers around my ankles a'la Loulou!), Godbless Wendy, she took a bullet for me that night...we were all hammered. Me and Em (Wendy’s 22 year old daughter) arm-wrestled and dicked about like real sisters, Brady was a constant source of entertainment, what two awesome people, a total indication of Wendy’s mothering skills!

Em does Bee Horn

Brady does Bee Horn

Phil does Bee Horn

I have never felt so close to a family that weren’t my own flesh and blood. I bloody love these people. Actual, real love. We decided it’d be a great idea to call Simon, all 7 of us steaming drunk. They all cannot wait to meet him and the rest of my family. No idea what time we crashed but we awoke feeling rather worse for wear, especially Phil who drank a lot of Jim Beam, and could only be roused from the table by us all singing a Beatles Medley!x
Brady Retard - Haha!

Sunday started bad and got a whole heap worse, (those who don’t know me well or are a bit squeamish may want to skip the next bits!). First I tripped over a drum kit and cut my foot open, then on the way home I thought it’d be awesome to quickly pop into town and get a frame and a photo printed of all of us, along with a thank you card for W&P. This ended up taking ages, and then the photo place couldn’t print the picture for another half hour (my bus was at 11, this was at about half 9am!), so we rushed back, I tried to pack, in the mad rush I accidentally flushed my mooncup down the toilet (don’t ask), which made me cry (hungover AND hormonal), all the while my coral infection is getting so bad I am in constant agony everytime I move my right arm. Brady and I make our silly excuses and rush back to town to collect the photo, then the frame breaks, I run into the chemist at a million miles an hour and  show the pharmacist my underarm (even he winces) and says I must see a Doctor but gives me some cream anyway – I forget to buy tampons. We dash home, I give W&P the shitty, broken frame, and they are of course, delighted with it (because they are beautiful people), and they take me to the bus stop.
My super second family

We say our goodbyes and they leave as I hobble onto the bus with a very sore foot and a weeping, blistered underarm. I am crying, and bleeding. And I have a 6 hour trip to Rockhampton.

During my journey, I get a text from Wendy saying she keeps finding little reminders of things I had left, like the cold tea in the fridge which she made me for my sunburn. Then, having completely forgotten telling her all about the word ‘lods’ between me and dad, and how it originated, I get a text simply saying “miss you lods”, I wept silently for about 3 hours.

I cannot wait for Simon to arrive so we can go back to Airlie for the biggest party ever.

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