THE COUNT-DOWN to the Rugby World Cup begins in earnest. From all over the rugby-playing world, people are converging on the Land of the Long White Underpants. It’s an epic. Most are flying in, of course. I know of some who are going by sea. I know of one seafarer in this great migration who is currently still landbound.
Readers might recall a fellow who used to write a regular column in this newspaper under the nom-de-plume Wordsworth. He also occasionally stood in as Idler. Members of Point Yacht Club and Beachwood Golf Club remember him by his real name, John MacDonald.
Wordsworth/MacDonald now works in Dubai. He has developed a taste for sea voyages. Not for him the luxury liners, all the force-fed entertainment. He and Lady Linda take a cabin on a freighter and ply to distant and exotic ports on an elastic timescale. They savour the romance of life at sea, the total relaxation of doing nothing except consume three meals a day and a couple of noggins in the evening in the ward room with the skipper and his officers. It’s total switch-off.
But Wordsworth/MacDonald is a restless soul, a compulsive writer. He can’t leave the keyboard altogether. So, when on these voyages, he writes a daily blog which he gets onto the internet via the ship’s electronics. He began it when on a sortie to China a few years ago. It was highly entertaining. He is writing it again.
He and Lady Linda have made a complicated arrangement for the World Cup – by sea from Dubai to Singapore; by air to New Zealand; by air to Malaysia; from there by sea to Malta; then back to Dubai by air.
Meanwhile, the Irish Times is running a daily feature on the great migration to New Zealand. They’ve seized with alacrity on the Wordsworth/MacDonald daily blog.
It’s entertaining as ever, but with some unexpected twists. It seems Wordsworth/MacDonald has experienced some severe hiccups with the Dubai bureaucracy. They lost his passport which he’d handed in for some sort of visa hassle to be regularised.
According to the blog, Lady Linda blames him entirely. She says he should have sorted it out in February, but left it to three days before sailing. It seems from the blog that Lady Linda used some rather unladylike language when the problem came to a head. One gets a strong impression of gamma rays bouncing off the walls of the apartment.
The upshot is that she had to sail without him. Right now she’s on the high seas with a whole lot of Ukrainian officers and a Filipino crew. Wordsworth/MacDonald has flown to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). From there he will take a train to Singapore (it’s connected to the mainland by a causeway), where he will lovingly meet her when the ship docks.
The Irish Times are getting their money’s worth but I sense tension in the air. The path of true love ne’er ran smooth.