Doctor Mallard and Mr Palmer looked at their latest guest, a Captain Alistair Stewart, US Navy. Captain Stewart had met a very sticky end, by being found wrapped round the drive shaft of the ship.
“This reminds me of a Captain I used to know, well mother knew him, he plied the North Atlantic. He was employed by the Cunard Line, used to sail the Southampton to New York route. The Cunard Line, as you know, Mr Palmer, is based at Santa Clarita, which over the years has become quite a centre for the filming and producing many television programmes. The Valencia area is particularly popular I believe, but I digress. It was many years ago, Mother had come into a little money and had decided that she wanted to do the ultimate travel experience. She had booked us a sea cruise to England, and the return by Concorde.”
“I always would have loved the high life, the style, but then I suppose I was born too late,” Jimmy replied, “I mean for the real style the ambiance.”
“The QE2…… The Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, one of its final trips was in 2003, the journey, was quite interesting, but we didn’t do the whole cruise. I say we, but what we had were two outside modest single cabins on the Mauretania deck. It gave mother, all the pampering that she wanted but within our budget, I mean you only sleep in a cabin, really.”
Ducky made his way round the body inspecting it, but continued his tale.
“We left New York on Sunday the 1st of June 2003, from the New York Cruise Terminal, it’s on the Manhattan’s West Side, and did you know that in 2003 the terminal handled 900,000 passengers. It was a 6 hour journey from Reston, and well I realise now that she was going into the early stages of Dementia. It was only when we got home I realised just how far she was gone. I blame myself in a way, I was a doctor and I couldn’t even recognise or diagnose my mother’s illness, but I digress.”
“Sometimes Dr Mallard, it is when you are close to someone, and their everyday actions, you don’t realise, they don’t register, the actions I mean,” Jimmy replied trying to ease the sorrow.
“Quite my boy, but I must continue. We arrived at Southampton on June the 7th, it was a delightful Saturday summer morning, but mother had been particularly difficult, she had forgotten to take her morning charcoal pills and her flatulence was a little, overpowering to say the least, she always blamed the corgis, which of course she now couldn’t. I now realise it was the quantity of prunes and Brussel sprouts she used to eat. Not at the same time I may add, but she always did like prunes in the morning or figs.”
“What happened then?” Jimmy urged the good Doctor to continue, as he handed him the marker for what was left of the Captain’s chest.
“We were in dock for the day, Mother and I, she decided she wanted to go on the Bath/Stonehenge day trip, I decided that I would like to do the Titanic Trail, a nice leisurely stroll round the town. We met up later and then it was a night sail to South Queensferry, in Scotland.”
“But Dr Mallard, was the QE2 not too big to get into the Port Edgar?” Jimmy now asked.
“Good heaven laddie, how did you learn of Port Edgar? It was, as you know, once called HMS Lochinvar and was home to the Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron………….minesweepers. It is a little known fact that Prince Charles, the future King of Great Britain, did in fact command a minesweeper, the HMS Bronington in 1976, and he used to drink in North Queensferry.”
“Fascinating Dr Mallard, so where did the ship dock?” Jimmy now enquired.
“Because it would never have got under the Forth Rail Bridge or the Road Bridge it anchored at what is called Hound Point, from where passengers are ferried to Rosyth, for processing so to speak, before travelling onto the various excursions that they may wish, either north to the highlands or into Edinburgh,” as Ducky began to peel open the chest.
“It was interesting to note, that while we sailed up to Hound Point, we were in fact almost parallel to were our deck namesake was broken up. To be correct Mr Palmer, there were two Mauretania’s and each was broken up within 5 miles of each other. The first at Metal Industries, a shipbreakers at Rosyth in 1935, while the 2nd Mauretania ended her days in Ward’s scape-yard at Inverkeithing some thirty years later,” Ducky now continued using the bone cutters to open the rib cage.
“Mother and I alighted, as we were going no further, and made our way to Edinburgh; we would not be continuing on to Norway, as we were visiting friends in the capital. Mother was going to stay a week or so, while I decided to visit York. I so wished to visit my namesake. That most famous of locomotives, the Class-A 4468 Mallard.”
“So were you going to fly back from Edinburgh?” Jimmy now asked, “Since I do know that you can fly direct to Washington via Shannon in Ireland.”
“No, mother had decided, and I was quite willing to agree with her for once, that we would return in style, by Concorde. You realise that in 1962, BOAC, that would be the British Overseas Aircraft Company, long haul flights, and Cunard formed BOAC-Cunard Ltd to operate scheduled services to North America. However this operation was dissolved in 1966. No, we were to return to New York in one of British Airways Concorde’s. 2003 was the final year that it flew to New York, so you can imagine it was quite a sentimental journey with both our modes of transport retiring, so to speak in the same year.”
“I believe it is quite narrow, very much like a bullet, and very expensive,” Jimmy added.
“Oh it was Mr Palmer. The standard return fare from London to New York in 2003 was £6,636, so you can imagine the round trip for mother and I did stretch to a pretty penny. But as I said mother had come into a little money and this was her treat as we say in Scotland.”
Neither of them heard the door slide open, and Gibbs enter the room.
“Got anything for me Duks?” was all he could ask.
“Apart from being extremely mangled, I haven’t really started my autopsy yet.”
Gibbs just looked at the two men and turning left the room.
“And for that Jethro, you can just wait until Mr Palmer and I have a cup of tea,” Ducky muttered under his breath.
“Heard that Dr Mallard.”
Summary: One of Dr Mallard's long winded stories. When he and his mother lived it up on a special holiday.
Categories: General > Family
Challenges: Planes, Trains or Automobiles Challenge
Challenges: Planes, Trains or Automobiles Challenge
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