I mentioned earlier that the MM has left these windy and watery shores for hotter climes. My brother, John, has a house on the island of Kalumnos and decided that he would like to have his car there. He persuaded MM to be his co-driver across Europe and they set off a week ago. I've been getting daily progress reports via 'voice text' which is as odd as it sounds: SMS text messages sent to my BT landline arrive as a rather robotic-sounding voice mail.
There was a great deal of disagreement between the two men about the route to take. In the end, John got his way on the countries to drive through ("It's my car!") but MM got to choose the city he wanted to spend a couple of days in ("Or you go alone!"). The first message came on Saturday morning: "Arrived Salzburg two nights. Luvnick." Sunday's message was: "Croatia beautiful. Luvnick." On Monday it was: "Serbia horrid. Luvnick." Yesterday it was: "Macedonia today, Greece tomorrow. Luvnick."
In case you were wondering who Luvnick is, so was I! The MM answers to many names, unless I'm calling for help with the washing up, in which case he answers to none. His given name is Timothy, so various family members call him Tim or Timothy or even Timmy. When he was in the merchant navy, he was called Nick, because his surname is Nixon and many people, including me, still use this 'nick'name and he appears regularly on this blog as MM, or Master Mariner. The computer which converts SMS text to voice text messages has given him yet another handle - Luvnick. I wonder if I should book some therapy for him on his return, to help him deal with his identity crisis?
Well, this morning he actually called me from Piraeus. Luvnick and John were having to wait for the evening ferry to Kalumnos. I didn't get many more details about the journey than I had already gleaned from the voice text messages. Croatia is very flat and really beautiful. Serbia is very horrid and the hotel was so disgusting that John refused to use the bathroom. He'll call me from Paddington on 12 July to arrange for me to pick him up.
You might think, from this description, that the MM was a radio officer, used to communicating via morse code, Aldiss lamp or flags but not so, he really is a Master Mariner. We won't be adding Peregrine Pickle to his list of alter identities; I just hope he has taken lots of photographs!