I’m away for a while aboard the steamship SS Naldera, it’s 1930 so some of the places en route you won’t find on any modern map but in between my journey from London to Yokohama you may receive letters from Tangier, Gibraltar, Marseilles, Malta, Port Said, Aden, Bombay, Colombo, Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai. All very exciting!
Back at the depot Winston recently developed some new input software for the time machine that I was eager to try out and which ultimately got me where I am today. His new destination programming based on ‘subject’ rather than ‘place/time’ data sounded a bit confusing but basically all I had to do was pick a subject and after my mind momentarily wandered in the face of technical overload, thoughts of cheese soufflé made my input choice pretty easy. Up came a list of destination options and after carefully matching CV skills I plumped upon the fourth one down.
‘Job Vacancy – Stationery Clerk aboard the SS Naldera – Year 1930 – Soufflé au Fromage served most days.’
I’m having a lovely time aboard ship, it’s not a particularly well known vessel but that’s not to say it hasn’t had it’s fair share of notable passengers over the years, to give you a clue to just two, a well known writer who gave literary birth to the infamous detective of Baker Street London and a courageous aviator who became the first lady to fly solo from London to Australia.
As stationery clerks, every evening whilst the guests are at dinner we set about our duties. My principle role as key holder puts me in charge of opening the access doors in all the writing bureaus that furnish the guest cabins. A complex network of tunnels that eventually lead back to the stationery cupboard and mailroom links these doors situated in the centre of each bureau, it’s easy to get lost if you don’t know where you’re going but thankfully I’m working with a good team. Albert is in charge of replenishing headed paper, envelopes and postcards, Snowy checks for completed correspondence and loads it on the trolley to go back to the mail room, Lottie makes sure everyone has enough stamps, Vi fills fountain pens and sharpens pencils and Pepper fills and turns on the oil lamps to ensure a warm cosy glow for the guests upon their return. It’s a busy old shift but for the rest of the time we’re free to do as we please and order anything off the menu, including the cheese soufflé.
Our director of operations is Sam and it may surprise you when I tell you he’s a cat. Easily available historical evidence will confirm that cats were often employed aboard vessels for the purpose of rodent control, however, less is documented about the fact that in 1910 when passenger ships started employing mice as part of their in house postal systems many cats found themselves without employment unless they took a sideways promotion into the role of Post Master. Sam is a pretty laid back boss, he’s quite old now so sleeps most of the time and only comes round once a day to make sure everything is ship shape. He’s had an interesting life, having served on three previous ships that all sank in battle. Sam managed to survive all three disasters by floating away on anything to paw … a tea chest, an upturned copper stockpot and a lavatory door respectively. I guess that’s why everyone around here calls him Unsinkable Sam!
Anyway, must sign off now, shift will be starting in an hour and I’ve got to get down to the dinning room to fuel up before we start. Will write soon from somewhere new and exotic.
Have you ever worked on a cruise ship? Would the promise of cheese souffle sway your career decisions? Morris would love to hear from you, just drop him a line here or under his Instagram, Facebook or Twitter shares. © All images and story content copyright of lynncf