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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 55: 18 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysI manage a run later in the day, but only up and down the sheltered starboard side. The weather is worsening - rain pelting down and the wind's sighs becoming shrill screams. Roger looks cheerful. Apparently he's just encountered the captain who greeted him with 'Bad news for me, good news for you'.

A fast-developing frontal depression is advancing on us from the south west. Force 7 or 8, it should hit us this evening.

Up on the bridge the barograph has plunged and the captain is carefully marking the path of the storm from his own observations and from information he receives from Ocean Routes, a subscription weather information service run by the Americans, who supply a daily faxed weather chart and regular telex up-date of conditions.

The evening's video is Live and Let Die. The gathering storm makes for an interesting game of table tennis. Scrabble is brought out later in the Doctor's Day Room which Roger has christened 'Mike's Bar'.

Eleven o'clock. Mike's Bar has just closed and I'm in bed with Oscar Wilde - Richard Ellman's biography that is. The wind is moaning and the ship is shuddering as if re-living some awful childhood trauma. The containers creak and clang mournfully below my window. I haven't taken any anti-sickness precautions. I want to see if I need to.

Difficult to write now. In the bathroom poltergeists are at work. My shower curtain draws and undraws itself. First a toothbrush, then the toothpaste, then the toothmug topple into the basin. Put them all to rights, but as I turn over to try and sleep, I hear the Scrabble slide the length of the table and spill onto the floor. It's an uncomfortable night. Impossible to lie in one position for more than a few seconds. As the ship rolls the body tenses waiting to counteract the roll. Instead the ship decides to quiver and pitch forward. It's like having your cradle rocked by a giant with a twitch.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 55
  • Date: 18 November
  • Country/sea: Pacific Ocean
  • Place: Pacific Ocean
  • Book page no: 185

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