TWELVE IN A BOAT (a personal recollection of a day well spent)
There were 12 disciples, the English Criminal Justice System is based upon 12 good men a true. It is only if you call them a dozen that you run into complications. Dozen is derived from the French douzaine (what do they know about it) and a Baker’s Dozen is 13.
We were the EBF 6 and 2 3’s who turned up at Embankment Pier on Wednesday 24th April 2012 at 12 noon, auspicious or what…. yes everybody arrived on time. In fact my wife and I arrived early at 11.50am only to find our Education Officer and his spouse, Scott the Web, the Pilgrim Father and Pilgrim Mother already in place. It was strange to have an EBF gathering where Numbers Booth had not arrived before everybody else, but as he had started his day at the crack of dawn in his office he could be forgiven as with Marcelle (our official photographer) who had been on the go since 8.30am. The team leader Enforcer Maylin and his wife arrived next with the tickets and the merry band of 12 were rounded off by Tina sporting a sun tan that erred more to paint balling than sun bathing.
The floating restaurant bobbed gently on the slightly choppy waters of Old Father Thames as we boarded and were shown to our tables.
Two tables of 6 adjacent to one another showed a level of organisational competence that promised much for the voyage in prospect.
Your correspondent felt that he had secured the best seat in the house being located opposite the pilgrim, both of us with our thoughts focused entirely upon grog.
And so as the slaves started rowing to the rhythmic beating of a drum and the boat nosed out into the watery thoroughfare ,we broke bread. Rather we received our starter which was a roulade with 2 toasted mini slices of bread, well eleven of us received this, our team leader only received one. He was calmed down, we needed him to keep his wits about him to keep the rest of us in order.
Whilst others entertained themselves with a mixture of soft drinks and lager the Pilgrim and I spliced the main brace with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc which was shared rather begrudgingly with my good lady wife. Thence onto a rather perky little Italian Red to accompany our main course again. Again and still rather begrudgingly, we shared a small glass with my dear lady but otherwise with some purpose and I have to say, without any hypnotic influence we saw off one bottle of the red liquid and started on another. Showing immaculate taste Mr & Mrs Plumley shared a rather distinguished Chilean Malbec and rather kindly shared the end of the bottle with us, two bottles having now been seen off by Mr P & myself.
There was a rather nice pudding and generally the victuals were to be applauded.
Enough of food and revelry, what about the overall ambiance of the trip. The sun glistened off a light river swell as our floating conveyance first took us up to the Houses of Parliament, did an about turn went back under Westminster Bridge and thence onto Docklands passing the various bridges and sights of London much to the delight of an ever increasingly merry band of 12.
All good things come to an end and at 2.30 so did this voyage. Those of us with any perception and knowledge of outings such as these “went to the head” before disembarking. The wisdom of this course was not only a reflection on the liquid refreshment we had enjoyed hitherto but equally the prospect of being stuck in a small capsule for over half an hour with no way out. So we left Embankment Pier and crossed over the “wobbly bridge”. I am told it wasn’t wobbly, but Brian agreed with me, it definitely was! We then joined the throng and inched our way forward to the London Eye which promised much… vertigo and a damn good view.
Such were the cultural aspirations of our merry band that I can report with some certainty that all the blokes spotted Wembley Stadium. The weather was perfect the views were terrific, apparently you can see for 26 miles and not the slightest hint of queasy tummy between the 12 of us.
It was then back to London Transport and our respective journeys home, oh happy band of EBF voyagers. I am sure we all went to sleep counting sheep (only up to 12). Henceforth we shall be known as the Dirty Dozen! Oh and by the way, no sooner had my head touched the pillow than it was 5 o’clock and I was getting up for some networking meeting or other.