19 Oct 65 : Time to wrestle! : Cap Finisterre, Pacific Ocean

This continues the letter dated 10th October 1965, which began:

Pacific Ocean,

Dear family,

Tuesday 19th October

The latest news is that we shall be arriving at Sydney tomorrow (Wednesday) at about 7 o’clock in the evening, which unfortunately is too late to dock, so we have to stay at anchor in the bay until early Thursday morning.

I’m sure it will be very frustrating to be able to see civilisation and not be able to join it. However I shall be able to go ashore on Thursday (after I have done the breakfast things) and the rest of the time there will be all mine.


Cap Finisterre at Auckland NZ 2
Tony’s photo of the Cap Finisterre


Sunday was another bad day. The chief steward went on another of his drinking bouts and was blind drunk all day, and was very difficult to get on with.

At one point, at Sunday lunchtime, while all the passengers were sat waiting for their soup, I was wrestling on the floor in the kitchen with him, while Heinz, the second steward, pleaded with him to start serving the passengers. It’s all very funny when you look back on it.


img378 USA Tony - must flip photo!!
Tony (in America.)


I was talking this morning with one of the passengers. She is Australian and is with her husband. Since his retirement they have been going away every year for six months and have now been to every country in the world except Russia. They must be very well off.

She told me about a shipping company that takes ‘workaways’ from Australia to the Middle East, so I have taken the address. It would be very convenient if we could work our way again as it would save us a lot of money. If we went on that particular line we would get off at Aden and drive on from there. Still this is looking a long time ahead and we shall have to see what happens between now and then.

The weather has been quite cold for the last few days but today it has started to get a bit warmer, the weather forecast says rain for Sydney. But it may clear up before we get there. I hope so anyway.

To be continued… 

Note from Tony: The scene in the ship’s kitchen was quite hilarious really, twelve passengers all seated waiting for the first course of their Sunday lunch – whilst in the kitchen next door, absolute chaos.

Gustav the chief steward was blind drunk and completely out of control. Luckily for us, after a heavy drinking bout he became a happy drunk and was prone to laughing a lot – but when drunk, he liked to wrestle with someone!

He was quite a strong fellow and on this occasion decided to wrestle with me, which is how I ended up pinned on the kitchen floor desperately trying to fight Gustav off, whilst Heinz stood pleading with him to think of the passengers!

After what seemed like ages I somehow managed to untangle myself, and left Gustav lying on the floor laughing hysterically. Heinz and I then proceeded to serve the passengers their lunch – as they sat in the dining room talking, completely oblivious to all the dramas which had taken place just next door… 

Note from Tiffany: This has been a tale I’ve often heard, growing up – it became part of our family mythology, and always made me laugh as a child! One of the things that I love about revisiting these letters is getting to read the account from the time it happened. It’s pure Fawlty Towers

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