My Court and I made final preparations after swimming up from our lair, 4001 metres beneath the good ship ‘Tenacious’. It was a long way to fin, as trident in hand, fins on our feet we boarded the ship. My vivid fish-scales matched my sea-green arms and face. My Queen, Neptunia, was looking her very best too – all beautifully made up and with the brand new shell bikini top I bought for her birthday. We both sported matching fish-net stockings. Long John Silver, the Pirate King, had handily locked all the Permanent Crew up so that we had free reign of the ship. All the Pollywogs had so many crimes; every single one was guilty. Give them their due, once they had admitted their guilt, they all paid due obeisance, knelt in the paddling pool, took the ‘medicine’ administered by my nurse trio (except some spat it out!), kissed the fish that I proffered and let my barber attack their unruly locks and beards. We were kind and gave them a walrus wash-down, before allowing them to pass as ‘Shellbacks’ and continue their voyage across my Oceans with a fair wind.
Since yesterday we have moved from late Autumn to late Spring in a flash of King Neptune’s trident. Yesterday evening at 20:59:53 we crossed the line under the careful steering of Aft Starboard and with much fanfare and cheering from the voyage crew.
This morning we awoke to a beautiful sunrise and much anticipation amongst us all as to what the day might bring. For days, rumours have been rife, and the instructions in the wake up call to wear only our oldest clothes added to the anticipation.
The ceremony commenced mid-morning, announced by Pete the Pirate (in heavy disguise) and King Neptune’s attendants – the Barber Surgeon, the Policemen, Nurses and Sea Creatures – gathered at the main mast to welcome the King and Queen on board. After the King and Queen had secured the successful takeover of the ship, they took up their places to pass sentence over their captives.
Starting with the permanent crew, each hapless pollywog was taken to face their charges and punishments amidst cries of “guilty” from all present. Having been found guilty (there was no option to plead innocent, despite one or two attempts) they were administered a red medicine from a syringe and an interesting gluten free and vegan concoction which looked like it had already been eaten.
The Barber Surgeon performed haircuts to suit all styles regardless of instruction. Close shaves were also provided with a cutlass of fearsome proportions. The final ordeal was to kiss the fish which had travelled with us all the way from Cape Town having spent the voyage nice and chilled in a deep freeze. Little did it know when it was born that it would be abused in such an inglorious manner! Deck showers were enjoyed by all administered by the Walrus and directed by the Dolphin.
So now all crew are Shellbacks – what a shame we don’t have a tattooist on board!
In other news we now have two paddling pools in which we will gratefully wallow on the hot afternoons between here and Antigua. The wind has dropped and we have handed all the square sails and we have dolphins on the port side.
And, finally, Peter would like to congratulate Eleanor, Eva and Gabrielle for becoming a Sargent and Lance Corporal and Cadet in St John Ambulance.
Aft Starboard: Maggie, Bill, Roly, Gee, Peter, Andy, Stuart and Paul
The line crossing cast:
Neptune: Captain Barbara
Queen Neputunia (resplendent in her shell bikini and sarong): Lee
Barber Surgeon: Cookie
Pete the Pirate: Pete
Policemen: Niall, Roly and Phil
Nurses: Colostomy Carol, Vasectomy Maggie and Menicectomy Maz
Sea Creatures: Gweneth the Dolphin and Bill the Walrus