Yesterday I was so tired that I fell asleep on a small bunk in a compartment next to the engine room. So tired that the clanking of the engine seemed to be in the far distance, I couldn’t even smell the heavy oil and heated diesel fumes that normally permeate the air, possibly because the heavy door to the compartment was closed.
The heat was almost unbearable; I was soaked to the skin, even though I had a small punkah-louvre above my head blowing a cool breeze over my body. The low audible hiss of air mixed with the rhythm of the far distant engine was enough to lull my tired bones back to sleep. A different noise brought my senses back to a dull awakening, it was the clanking of pipes, hot water pipes, expanding and gurgling with air trapped within; the same pipes that ran under the wooden frame of the bunk. Click pic to enlarge…As I lay floating semi-conscious, another sound entered my head, a strange sound I’d never heard before… ‘pitter – patter – pitter – patter – puff – puff ~ pitter –patter – pitter – patter – puff – puff ~ pitter – patter – pitter – patter – puff – puff’ It was coming from beneath the wooden bunk? I slowly eased my self onto the warm deck and knelt down next the sliding storage door, and opened it.
There was Nipper running along the hot water pipes with his little paw’s making the noise ‘pitter – patter – pittter – patter’ then he quickly stopped to lift his front paws up so he could blow cold air on each of them ‘puff – puff’ I grabbed him and pulled him out just as the heavy compartment door opened; there stood Merchant Marine Captain Tom Wilder filling the whole door frame. In an unmistakable John Wayne drawl he said “So-I-see-yer-found-yer-dawg”? I stared at him as I held Nipper, except it wasn’t Captain Wilder, it actually was John Wayne… “Yes mate, I found him under my bunk” came my reply!I woke up from my dream with a jolt, (‘yes mate, to John Wayne’)? I was sweating, really sweating, I swung my legs around off the bed and put my feet onto the floor and sat up. The sun was just breaking and I was burning up, I needed a long gulp of water so I headed off along the landing to the bathroom. I could still hear clanking and banging, then I touched a radiator as it dawned on me… the central heating had kicked in for the first time since the last day of winter, and there was air trapped within the radiators and pipes. I must have brushed past the thermostat control prior to turning in (I had, and it was set up on 30 degrees)! Half dazed and disappointed, Nipper brought me back to reality by stretching up and raking his claws down the back of my legs, it looked like we were all going out for an early leg stretch around the fields.Before anyone recommends I need to see a
trick cyclist psychiatrist, allow me to explain some thing. Prior to turning in I caught an old classic movie ‘Blood Alley’ with John Wayne & Lauren Bacall. What better way to accompany a film, except with a pot of tea, and cheese & crackers? After which, falling asleep exhausted with a clattering central heating system on full blast, stood side by side with John Wayne, fighting Chinese communists on the dangerous waters of the orient in a clapped out paddle steamer, with trusty Nipper only a whistle away.
It doesn’t get much better than that, unless I watch ‘The Quiet Man’ before I turn in tonight… with a pot of tea, and cheese & crackers…