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Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Home for Christmas...

We're not sure if we're really home, or if we're hallucinating due to lack of food and drink.  At the moment, we don't much care.
We seem to remember being pushed shore-wards at alarming speed by the Great 'Fat' Whale of Norway.  Both of us remember that,  so it must be true, surely.   We reached land at about 5 o'clock this morning - Christmas morning - and managed to leap ashore and throw the painter round a rock to secure Fancy, before she could escape.
It wasn't easy, weak with hunger as we were, and we wouldn't have managed it but for the assistance of the forward momentum provided by the Whale.
"Thank you, Whale!"  we cried.
"Don't forget me lads!  Throw me some food as soon as you get the chance."  The Whale circled slowly in the deep water of the Bay.
Not too far behind him, circled the other coracle - the Big One.   When we got back to the Outcrop, I found my most powerful spyglass and had a look at it from the livingroom window while Geoffrey set to in the kitchen, lighting the fire and getting some breakfast on the go.
"Sausages, egg, bacon, fried bread, tattie scones, beans....yes, that should do.  Brown sauce.  Mustn't forget that.  Toast and marmalade for afters, and a large pot of tea," I heard him murmur, amidst the clattering of pans, and the spattering of hot fat.  Comforting, homely sounds.
"That coracle's carrying a ragged black flag at half-mast,"  I said. "What do you make of that,  Geoffrey?"
The kettle whistled.
"Same as you,  I imagine,  Tuppy.  She's a Death ship, come to claim her own during the Dark Days of Winter.  Let's chuck a sausage sandwich down to the Whale and then light the signal fire.  We'd better warn the others."
"What others?"
"You know.  Our neighbours.  The Fulmars.  Stormy Petrel. The Narks.   Doctor Wilson."
"Wilson?  The Narks?  You must be kidding."
"Well, the Tupfinder-Generals then. Although, I'm quite certain he'll already be aware."
"Oh I can't be bothered Geoffrey.  At least, not until I've had my breakfast and a serious nap.  Surely nothing bad will happen today.  After all, it's Christmas.  Goodwill to all.  A time of joy and starlight and happy faces crowded round a homely fire over glasses of hot punch.  Everyone will be busy with their Christmas dinners and stockings and presents and stuff."
"Not everybody,  Tuppy.  Think of that poor Whale, circling round and round all alone in the cold and the dark.  All he has to eat is what we throw down to him."
"But that's his natural environment Geoffrey.  He's a Whale.  He can't manage on land, just as we can't manage in water."
"I can.  I'm a gull.  I can manage water, land and air."
"Don't be smug!   You know what I mean.  Not everyone can enjoy Christmas like we can,  but there's nothing we can do about it so we're just going to have to blot out the guilt with insane amounts of food and drink,  and hopefully every other nasty memory.  Is that breakfast ready yet?"
"Oh dear Tuppy.  That's not the way to approach things, at all."
"Well I can't help it,"  I snapped," I'm tired and I can't manage moral dilemmas and guilt on an empty stomach.  I hope you've made plenty tattie scones."
"I have,  Tuppy.  I have."
"Black pudding?  Don't say a word.  I can tell by the look on your face that you forgot."
"Well to be honest Tuppy - and I know this is very poor timing - I think we need to give up black pudding."
"Oh?"
Geoffrey swallowed anxiously.  "I want to go macrobiotic Tuppy.  There, I've said it."
" I'll have your full-cooked then."
"I didn't mean right now!  It's something for the New Year. You know the kind of thing."
"I do."
Phew!  I thought.  Macrobiotics?  It'd be yoga next,  if I couldn't nip this in the bud, and giving up smoking and opium.  And then where would we be?  Life wouldn't be worth a candle.  I'd need to keep a close eye on Geoffrey.

We sat by the fire and ate in silence, and then dozed pleasantly in the warmth as we waited for the sun to creep above the horizon.

And we tried not to think about the lonely Whale, swimming round and round in the cold dark water, or the coracle of Death, as it drifted ever closer....


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