July 18, 2007
On Board S/Y Bushido—Last Friday the 13th was not a good news day. I was in Ibiza, sailing around when the papers were brought in and I read about the death of my old and very good friend Nigel Dempster. Actually it was a blessing. He had been suffering for years and every time I spoke with him – to him rather, as he was unable to toward the end – it was getting worse. Talk about the end of an era. How I miss the good times with him. Then over the telephone we heard that Huntsie Schoenburg, my 19-year-old nephew, a six foot four blond Yale student, and the sweetest and kindest boy I know, has to have chemo for a brain tumor. (The outlook is good, however, as the thing was discovered on time). Finally the results of the trial in Chicago. My friend Conrad Black beat nine out of the thirteen charges, but it doesn’t look good, according to press reports. I for one am standing by him, and even if the worse happens, he is a strong man who will do his time and be back. At least I hope so.
Now for some slightly less depressing items. A coarse low-lifer by the name of Alastair Campbell writes that Princess Diana declared to him her dislike of Prince Philip. Yes, and pigs, however subsonically, do fly. What I’d like to know is how come Diana never told others, people much closer to her than Campbell, about her dislike for Phil the Greek. I was an acquaintance, and I once asked her point blank, while dining with her in my house, what she thought of Philip. Her answer was certainly not what Campbell claims. In fact it gets worse. I remember distinctly that a lady friend of Diana’s, one who had gone on a few trips with her, had told me how Di never, but never had a bad word for any one of the royals, especially the Queen and her consort. So who is to be believed? The poor little Greek boy or the coarse Blair knicker-sniffer? I leave it up to you, dear readers. Bu one thing is for sure. Judging only by this, how reliable are the rest of the diaries? I trust the Hitler ones which appeared in the Sunday Times during the Frank Giles era a bit more.
And speaking of vulgarians, I didn’t spot too many oiks in Ibiza, a place known to draw them like you know what draws flies. I suppose they’re all in St Tropez. What struck me on the Spanish isle was the politeness of the locals. While tied up in the harbour a large, grotesque cruise ship pulled out at record speed, its wake forcing my sailing boat to bang against the gin palace next to us. My captain radioed the cruise ship and I could hear the captain claiming he was not responsible. By his actions I knew he was no good. By his accent I could tell he was Greek. So I told him what I thought of his seamanship, and also added that I had been a frequent visitor to his mother’s whorehouse when I was young. I could hear him swearing away but for some strange reason the cruise ship did not halt in order for her captain to seek satisfaction, but steamed away like a pregnant penguin—and I apologise to those Eton-like mammals who do no harm to anyone, unlike that old whore’s son who passes himself off as a captain.
Be that as it may, it’s nice being on my boat sailing around my favourite sea. I crossed from Ibiza to Le Lavandou, 365 miles to the northeast on a port tack all the way, 40 hours non-stop. We averaged around 9 knots, sailing all the time throughout day and night. The crew is finally perfect. A Swiss cook, a Czech steward, an Aussie deckhand, a Kiwi engineer, and an English captain whose grandfather is still with us and who was a rear gunner on a Lancaster throughout the war. (And went down four times and lives to talk about it, just). I have said it before and will say it again. A good crew makes all the difference; a bad one is impossible to overcome no matter how good or modern the boat is. I have finally struck gold with mine.
Being in the Med, of course helps. The civilisations that rose and fell on the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea were the makers of the history I’m interested in. Screw Tahiti or the Straits of Malacca. The two great countries of the Med are Greece and Italy, and without those two countries you’d have squat today. And, I suppose, I have to bring in Egypt. Which brings me to the last point. Jihad. Post-Christian European secular elites are avoiding the M-word, as in Muslim. The first thing the Americans did after 9/11 was to ensure Muslims were not blamed for the twin towers disaster. (And flew out the Bin Ladens to boot). So who was responsible? The Catholics? What crap. The average Frenchman or German or Englishman understands that the situation of Muslims in our midst is dysfunctional, but the governing elite insist on pretending that all is well. More crap. At least on my boat I never have to come across either group—Muslims or politicians, as long as I stay away from shore, that is.