Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Celebrating World Toilet Day - with a topical post

SH*T - Did you know 19th November is World Toilet Day?

Celebrated in 53 countries the World Toilet Association (WTO) is working towards eliminating the toilet taboo, improving toilet and sanitation conditions and delivering sustainable sanitation worldwide.
 
It was news to me. But to celebrate, I have included part of an appropriate scene from the forthcoming novel, THE UNFORTUNATE ISLES by M.C. Muir (due before Christmas).

 
Being surprised by a mermaid-like apparition while sitting on the ship’s head – here are the responses from some of the crew of His Majesty’s frigate, 'Perpetual'.
 
Excerpt from Chapter 16: The translucent water off the islands of Fernando de Norohna.

A dull thud vibrated from the forward strakes and jolted everyone’s senses.
  ‘What was that?’ Captain Quintrell called, haring up the companion from the gun deck. It was the sound made when a 4lb shot hits the hull, but there had been no calls and he had heard no cannon fire.
  ‘Don’t know,’ Mr Parry replied. ‘It was from the bow.’
  Hurrying for’ard the pair scanned the water expecting to see another ship or submerged rocks, but there was neither. The six fathoms of water beneath the keel were crystal clear revealing a smooth sandy bottom beneath the keel. Bare feet padded along the deck, as sailors ran around the ship peering from the rails to port and starboard, but nothing could be seen.
  ‘Mast head, ahoy. Do you see any ships or boats?’
  The lookout turned a full 360 degrees. ‘No, Capt’n.’
   ‘On your feet, Smithers,’ Mr Tully bellowed after almost tripping over the legs of the sailor sitting on the deck. ‘Get out of the way!’
   ‘You there!’ Mr Parry called to another sailor who had leapt off the head in such a hurry his breeches were still wrinkled around his ankles. ‘For goodness sake, man, attend to your dress. The captain is talking to you.’
 
 
   The captain continued. ‘From where you were perched you must have seen something.’
   Prescott hitched up his breeches but didn’t answer. His face was drained and his hands were shaking.
   ‘What is wrong with him?’ Oliver asked his lieutenant.
   Smithers answered. ‘Stupid dawcock said he saw a mermaid. I told him he was as barmy as Bungs. Then he changed his mind and said it wasn’t a mermaid, it was an angel.’
   ‘Mind your tongue!’ Mr Parry reminded.
   Oliver raised his eyebrows and exchanged a puzzled look with his first lieutenant.
   But Smithers hadn’t finished. ‘The oaf said he heard it knocking like it wanted to come aboard, and when he leaned over to see what it was and it rose up from the water and tried to bite him. If you ask me, I think it was trying to kiss him.’
   The men standing nearby smirked, but Prescott’s expression did not change.
   ‘Thank you, Smithers,’ Mr Tully said sarcastically. ‘We don’t need any of your stupid remarks.’
   The captain turned back to the sailor. ‘Enough of this cock-and-bull rubbish, Prescott, what exactly was it you saw?’
   ‘It’s just what Smithers told you, Capt’n. And it scared the livin’ daylights out of me.’
   ‘Just as well he was sitting on the head!’
   ‘Smithers! Get below this instant!’
   Mumbling and dragging his feet, the old topman left the deck.
   The captain continued. ‘And what did this mermaid do after it popped up out of the water?’
   ‘It sank back down and I didn’t wait around to see if it would come up again.’
   Oliver turned to the other members of the fo’c’sle division who were standing within earshot. ‘Did anyone else see this apparition?’
   Murmurs about mermaids and sea monsters ran round the foredeck, but no one had seen anything, although several admitted to hearing the sound of knocking.
   ‘Sounded like the carpenter in the hold with a wooden mallet,’ one said.
 
   ‘It was no bloody apparition,’ Prescott claimed. ‘I tell you it was real and I don’t ever want to see it again.’
The answer to what Prescott’s apparition is will be revealed when the book is published.
 
 Pics: HMS 'Endeavour' replica, The 'Star of Greece' figurehead is located at the Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide, South Australia. Fernando de Norohna image from Wiki Commons.

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