6 Nov 2012

And Then There Were A Couple Of Birds….

Got your attention?  You may be disappointed.

The Filthy Engineer posted a joke – an old joke, but, hay, look who’s talking, relating to a bird, a bloke and a boat.  This jogged my mind back to the past and a couple of true birdy and boaty stories.

The first relates to the cooks pet canary which spent its days in his cage hanging outside the galley singing happily.  Just to clarify, it was the bird in the cage.

One Saturday, known as sports day as we held fire and boat drills, me and another young fool beside, were instructed to fire off a couple of large Co2 fire extinguisher.  A combination of a miscalculation on our part aided by an unfavourable wind, lead to the demise of that little yellow fellow.  The cook, understandably, was not best pleased with this result which, in turn, resulted in us two fools having to sort through all our food with great care for the rest of the trip.

Another boat, another bird.  The Cabin Boy, who,  according to the bawdy ballad, was a wily lad, ended up with a caged canary obtained from some place down Africa way.
{Note; owing to various news items of late, I better point out that a Cabin Boy was the lowest ranking steward on mans boats.}

Each evening the Cabin Boy would take his caged canary out on deck to let the little guy get some fresh air.  He’d sit the cage on the deck at the front of the superstructure to be clear of windage.

Time passed and the little guy got more and more confident and opened the cage door more and more.  Over time it came to pass the canary would hop out of the cage, fly round the general area and then return to his cage.

Came the fateful day the canary got a tad too close the the ships side, lost a bit or superstructure protection, then ended up clear of all protection.

At this point the canary, despite his best frantic, flappy efforts to get back inboard, was rapidly being left behind.  The Cabin Boy, being a caring kind o’ kid, rushed to the Bridge to try what he knew was his only option. 

”Sir, my bird’s getting left behind!!   Please stop or slow the ship down so he can get back inboard!!” 

As luck would have it the Chief Mate, who’s watch it was, was not alone.  So it was the Captain who looked over to the lad and replied, “Son, you’ve just learnt a very valuable lesson.  Never, ever let a five knot canary out of his cage on a fifteen knot ship.”

The canary?  End of.

I have a ‘monkey on a boat’ story but I’ll leave that for another day.

Quote;  Herman Melville.

“A whaling ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.”

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