Irish debacle - Bulletin one




Following his triumphant new career as a PADI- trained diver, Don is anxious to practice his new-found skills looking for undersea treasure off the west of Ireland (Paddy, geddit!), where there are more wrecks than you could shake a stick at.

Totty has refused point-blank to be his Diving Buddy, unless the boat is installed with a high capacity boiler and pump to circulate hot water into a specially designed diving suit. No time for such a project, so that's that.

Stop Press! We're off to Ireland!!

The old boat and its doughty crew are going to re-enact the famous summer cruise of the Spanish fleet!.

As with everything on 'Deneys', the process that led to this momentous decision was a little tortuous.....

Here's what happened:

Conversation between Broontroosers and Totty:

Don - "Let's visit Ireland next summer. Perhaps we might even get as far as Cork"

Totty - "Maybe we could go a little further? I've heard that the West coast is rather pretty"

Don - "No bloody way!! I'm not going round there, it's sodding suicide."

Totty to crew:

"Your comments would be welcomed on the following matter. What do you think of making a circumnavigation of Ireland next summer?"


Peg-leg Hamilton: "Yeah, go for it! Yes please, Red. Fill it up".

Princess Sha: "What a lark! There will be real waves and lots of rocks".

Dr. Harold Shipmate: "Will there be gallons of Guinness? OK, I'm on".

Margaretta and Kurt: "Very pretty and lots of rocks you say? Just like the Baltic. Sign us up!"

Met Ace Bartlett: "We've all got to go sometime. Start in early June, the hurricane season is in late summer".

Sarah: "I'll come if I can hug the teddy bear when it gets rough". Sha:"Me too" Totty:"And me".

Totty to Broontroosers: "I've consulted some of the regulars and they're all solidly on for going right round Ireland".

Don: "What??! Bloody hell! Oh Jesus....."

So the die is cast. We set out in June, across the dreaded North Channel, turning right and making a beeline for the West coast. We will be accompanied by Emily Bear, on holiday from New Zealand, who will report back to friends Frances and Josie on her adventures.

The aim is to have gone round the Southern extremity, past (though at some distance from) the renowned Fastnet Rock and into the relative shelter of Cork harbour by the middle of July. We will leave the old boat in Cork for a few weeks to recover its breath and continue down the South coast and onwards past Broontrooser's ancestral home in Wexford to Dublin and thence to the devolved province of Ulster by mid August. At least they won't be marching at that time.

Alexandrov stands ready to chart our way!

Message from "The Prof"

Well, it's certainly exciting to hear that you are about to commence another epic voyage on the trusty 'Argo' that you call "Twin Screw" (though not in front of my children, I hope...)

The roll-call of crew members, virtual as well as virtuous, is an honourable testimony to the pulling power of Totty and Broontroosers - would that the sumps had half as much. But wait! I see one name is missing from the list!! Konspicuous by the absence that may whisper of koncealled and klandestine kommunications komprehended by krew alone is that sleuth of meta-geography, sifter of topographical klues and kartographer of katastrophic kontinental konundrums (or 'konundra', being neuter plural) - none other than Kommodore Professor Vasili ("call me Bill") Aleksandrov!!

Of course, you did not want to make public mention that the great man himself watches over the true but hidden course of the DR, which, as usual, is concealed Columbus-like, in the coded messages sent forth to the outer world, no doubt fearing that otherwise a teeming host of vulgar paparazzi will beset the pristine decks at every 'advertised' port of call...No! Not for Totty and Broontroosers the fawning adulation that would be lavished upon them by readers of The Daily Mail if they could but see before them a visual image of the gallant pair's circumnavigatory exploits; not for them the ubiquitous and much-repeated global coverage of Fox News trailing them into every desolate and wind-swept harbour; not for them the satellite map expose, revealed on Google Earth, in which even the colour of Broontrooser's troosers can be microscopically examined for CSI-like traces of previously non-broon patches (before the deficatory carnage of the 14th on-board lavatorial insurrection).

However, as before, the crew will clearly provide subtle and complex references to their true location and destinations, woven into the iridescent prose that issues forth periodically from the publicly uncharted course of their maritime wanderings...and it has started already!

I think I can venture to assert with some confidence that the twin references to 'PADI' and 'diving' contain the secret key that unlocks our understanding of their first destination: drawing a line from Ireland (whose significance was not merely hinted at, but positively underlined by the extended 'joke' about misunderstandings related to 'PADI') and the Caribbean (clearly referenced in the section about 'hot water diving systems', lobsters, crab etc), one recognizes the thrilling but ghastly truth about DR's latest heroic but perilous quest: to unravel a mystery as old as time itself (or certainly as old as my last book), and probe the dreadful secrets of........THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE!!!!

Yes - using the technique known as 'scatography' - I have already unearthed your hidden meaning, and have planted the first flag on my map of your epic 'voyage with destiny'. I look forward to hearing of your progress in untangling this Gordian knot of sea-faring tragedy and mystery, perhaps accompanied by further clues as to your next intended destination, if you unleash the secrets of the triangular territory around Bermuda often referred to, with imperceptible irony as "The Bermuda Triangle".

Beware! Choose your course carefully between the Scylla of a mysterious disappearance in that woeful and devouring strip of ocean, and the Charybdis of identifation by a photographer from The Daily Mail... be sure of one thing at least, which might comfort you through long and worried, weary, wistful - not to say 'whist-full' - nights: that none other than the Great Aleksandrov himself is casting his all-knowing eye across your perpetual, prolific, protean, perilous, prophetic and peripatetic peregrinations!

God's speed!

(emailed on behalf of Professor Aleksandrov by the Bahraini Women's Insitute of basket weaving)