Just a Minute
16 August 2021 | Found in marina toilet, torn into squares and nailed to door.
The Old Fogeys Mediterranean Winter Liveaboard Yacht ClubMinutes:
(Incorporating the Chipping Norton, summer cruising only, Jessies Association)
Patron: Albert Steptoe (Deceased)
Commodore: Captain S. Morton
Weekly General Meeting
1. Quorum / call to order.
2. Apologies for Absence:
(Medical / Dead / Piles Playing Up Again / Went to Wrong House (or boat, or bar) / Fell Asleep / Fell in Marina / Forgot.)
3. Minutes of last meeting.
4. Report of Neighbourhood Watch Sub-committee
5. Report of Finance Sub-committee.
6. Report of the Everything's Going to Pot Sub-
7. Report of the Covid 19 Special Temporary Ad Hoc Sub-committee. (Now in second year)
8. Q & A Session.
9. Any Other Business.
10. Close of Meeting.
In the Chair: Captain S. Morton S/Y Matador
On the Floor: Captain A. Du Beke S/Y FT
Under the Table: Most of the other members
Minuting secretary: Captain R. Newbury MV Birvidik II
I/C Tea & Biscuits (& Beer): Mrs S. Morton* S/Y Matador
First Aid & Incontinence Precautions: Mrs E. Newbury* MV Birvidik II
* = Ladies given special dispensation to attend on the grounds of their possessing specialist skills.
Item 1 - Quorum:
The Chair reminded the meeting that, in view of the unfortunate outbreak of amoebic dysentery and the limited provision of toilets in the marina, it had been agreed to reduce the quorum to five. After three recounts it was agreed that the quorum had been reached once Captain Pebbledash and his Jack Russel, 'Vector', both of S/Y Both Ends Now, had finally arrived.
Item 2- Apologies for Absence:
Captain Stroppygit of MV I Know My Rights - under arrest for lèse-majesté following a full and frank discussion with the local Chief of Police regarding the taxation status of said motor vessel, and the correct lane to use when going straight on at a roundabout.
Item 3 - Minutes of last meeting:
Passed nem con. (Although Captain Newbury wanted it officially noted that whoever took the last minutes was an ignorant cretin. Said minutes misused 'fewer' and 'less' three times, contained two instances where a sentence was ended with a preposition, split four infinitives, generally played fast and loose with apostrophes, peppered the whole document with unnecessary exclamation marks and sported no fewer than seven spelling errors. The fascist chair told him to shut the fuck up and get on with today's minutes.
Captain Clenchknees of S/Y Dribble made a correction. His absence was not due to his piles playing up again, as minuted, but to prostate problems. His Chalfonts were fine at the moment, thank you very much.
Item 4 - Report of Neighbourhood Watch Sub-committee:
Captain Shrivel of MV Yes Dear reported that his wife told him that a woman at her yoga class had been told that her sister's boyfriend's cousin had seen three suspicious types in dark clothing and big boots, carrying what she could have sworn were firearms, casing the boats and obviously noting down their vulnerabilities on a clipboard. After lengthy discussion it was agreed not to raise the matter with the Port Police on the grounds that it probably was the Port Police.
Captain Shrivel's wife further reported that 'Er who was no better than she should be, Mrs all fur coat and no knickers from MV Slack Alice was continuing to bring the cruising fraternity into disrepute by entertaining gentlemen callers on board, and what, she wanted to know, was the committee going to do about it. Several members visibly reddened, and Captain Cakewalk of S/Y Absolute Doddle stammered that it was all probably very innocent, and they were in all likelihood merely workmen, brought in to fix the plumbing in the aft stateroom, which was in a terrible state, you should see it.
This interpretation was agreed nem con, Mesdames Morton and Newbury being disqualified from voting on a technicality. Something to do with hormones - PMT? HRT? PTSD? OCD? Menopause? HGV? - I don't know. Woman stuff.
Item 5. Report of Finance Sub-committee.
Captain Pivot-Table of MV Spreadsheet Too reported that, in real terms, marina fees are going up, pensions are going down, prices are going up, availability of goods is going through the floor, and taxes are going through the roof. He essayed that, in his professional opinion, and with the unique insights afforded him by 25 years as an accounts clerk, this was hardly surprising in view of bloody fucking Brexit. The chair reminded Captain Pivot-Table that, after the disgraceful language and intolerable physical violence shamefully displayed at the 'Getting to Know You' dinner, the committee had agreed that the organisation would be studiedly neutral vis a vis this matter and that there would be severe consequences should anyone mention Brexit again. A voice from the floor (unidentified) said "You just said Brexit" at which another unidentified voice called out "So did you!" The minuting secretary said he couldn't be arsed to minute this drivel and would merely cross reference to the script of The Life of Brian.
The Chair further reminded Captain Pivot-Table that in the light of the recent bloodbath following the resolution 'This house believes that Brexit should not be allowed to divide the cruising community' the group had agreed unanimously (if sullenly) that 'This house is Brexit neutral and that from now on the B-word is forbidden in speech or writing at any gathering of the said group'.
Mrs Morton snorted that they could all make a good start by making it gender neutral and get some testicle-toting twat to serve the bloody tea and biscuits. The lily-livered chair expressed sympathy with this view, but then he would, wouldn't he?
Item 6. Report of the Everything's Going to Pot Committee.
The report was delivered by Captain Amanuensis of MV Palimpsest, on behalf of committee chair Captain Max Bygraves (absent, Dead). Having established that he wanted to tell us all a story, Captain Amanuensis set the scene by explaining that Fings Ain't Wot they use' ter be. (Murmurs of approval from the floor.)
Captain Newbury enquired as to what progress had been made in combating the atrocious decline in the standard of English in common usage, extending even to those on the BBC, let alone Yer Yoof, innit? Mrs Newbury rolled her eyes, grimaced, and gave him one of those looks of hers that could incapacitate a lesser man at twenty paces.
Item 7. Report of the Covid 19 Special Temporary Ad Hoc Sub-committee. (Now in second year)
This was deferred as the entire Ad Hoc Sub-committee was self-isolating after the secretary's wife had a bit of a tickle in her throat and someone sneezed in Lidls. The pathetic, lily-livered Chair moved Next Business but was interrupted by Captain Hingeless of S/Y Hidden Motive, who proposed a motion of no confidence in the sub-committee on the grounds that the deferment was the result of a conspiracy between Dominic Cummings and the current Chair, with the intention of planting fake news in the group's annual newsletter.
When asked by Captain Newbury why such busy people should waste their time manipulating a publication with a circulation of 12, none of whom actually read the bloody thing, Captain Hingeless argued that it was an attempt to manipulate influencers in the nautical community to counter their growing concern that Brexit - sorry, the B - word had been an unmitigated disaster for the influential cruising community. All this would never have happened if Ted Heath had still been in charge.
In a supplementary question Captain Newbury asked Captain Hingeless why he (Captain Hingeless) was still wearing that colander on his head when he (Captain Newbury) had patiently and clearly explained to him (Captain Hingeless) that plastic cannot form a Faraday cage. The fascist, incompetent, pathetic, lily-livered Chair (Captain Morton) then ruled his (Captain Newbury's) question Out of Order on the spurious and vindictive grounds of personal attack.
Item 8. Q & A Session:
The minuting secretary notes that this consisted mainly of longeurs of terminal tedium broken all too rarely by far too short intervals of light relief. He made an executive decision to record only the latter.
(Medical): Drs Hacker (MB, CHB) (Luton Technical College) & Quack (Dip. Med. Hom.) (aegrotat) (Prince Charles Academy of Homeopathy), with the more outlandish and wildly speculative advice ably corrected by Mesdames Morton & Newbury.
(Financial & Legal): Captain Pivot-Table, assisted by Captain E. Saunders of MV Miraculous Recovery.
(Local Matters): Signor Spietato Bastardo, corporate problem solver.
Captain Playdough of S/Y Droopy asked (on behalf of a friend) whether viagra or cialis was more effective in treating um.. you know...'thingy', er.. wotsit, down there. Dr Hacker said that, in his extensive experience, each had its pros and cons, but he could arrange an appointment with a specialist on MV Slack Alice. Dr Quack added that an aqueous solution of bull's semen at a dilution of 4.5 million to one taken sublingually was more effective than both of them put together. Mrs Newbury interjected that that was a load of old bollocks, and she should know.
As a supplementary question, Captain Stirwell of MV Agent Provocateur asked if it was true that the EU was deliberately obstructing the flow of essential medicines, such as Viagra, in order to undermine the grit and resolve of our valiant negotiators. Dr Hacker replied that there was no firm evidence, but he wouldn't be surprised at anything the sneaky underhand foreigners got up to.
Dr (?!) Quack interjected that, in the case of vaccines, this would be to our advantage as vaccines were lab-manufactured toxins that were specifically designed to cause covid (and, probably HIV, ADHD & RSVP), weaken the immune system and make us all gluten-intolerant, sterile, autistics. The only proven treatment for covid, he averred, was a solution of extract of foetid dingo's kidneys at a dilution of twelve million to one, administered per rectum.
At this, Mrs Morton uttered a low, guttural growl and flew across the room, grabbed him by the hair, and drove her elbow into his face, whilst screaming an incomprehensible torrent of disparaging epithets. The only ones clear to the minuting secretary were "Unscrupulous little needle-dicked fraud" and something involving dangly objects and a pair of rusty secateurs. Before the minuting secretary could ask Mrs Morton for clarification, she was pulled off by Mrs. Newbury, shouting "Leave 'im Steph - 'E ain't worf it!"
Once order had been restored, Captain Homesick of SY Brave Blighty asked Signor Bastardo if anything could be done to alleviate the effects of the recent shortages of essentials such as baked beans, marmite, lorry drivers, and coherent, informed and internally consistent Government Policy. Signor Bastardo replied that the last-mentioned posed a bit of a challenge, but in general, there was always something that could be done about anything, and where there was a demand then supply will always find a way. Indeed, he and his associates had already been engaged to resolve these very issues by a number of influential organisations and plans were well underway. He was sure that members would be receptive to his offer of a piece of the action in return for the use of their boats and seamanship skills.
Captain Tangle of S/Y Red Tape asked the panel for clarification on the covid requirements and visa regulations appertaining to travel between the UK and the boat. General mayhem ensued on the floor. Opposing interpretations were argued vociferously but without rigour, knowledge or understanding. The subsequent interminable, uninformed guesswork masquerading as fact was excised in its entirety by the minuting secretary, on the grounds that it breached the Geneva Convention.
Item 9. Any Other Business
A formal motion was proposed by Captain Agent-provocateur and seconded by Captain Stirwell:
'This assembly instructs the committee to set up a Brexit (There, look. I said it) Sub-committee (Groans from the floor) tasked with investigating its effects, justification, history, future and implications for the cruising fraternity. (Catcalls from the floor. Shrieks of indignation from Mesdames at the use of the word 'fraternity'. Signally unsuccessful calls for order from the chair. Smug chuckling from the minuting secretary.)
Item 10. Close of Meeting.
Unable to restore order, the pathetic, lily-livered, incompetent, fascist Chair closed the meeting just as the first ashtrays, beer bottles and sets of dentures started to fly. The minuting secretary was unable to ascertain exactly what was said as the soon-to-be-ex Commodore & Mrs Morton left, but he was sure the words "That bastard Newbury", "Sore loser" & "Set this all up" floated above the melée.
The minuting secretary, (and Commodore-soon-to-be) smiled quietly to himself, tapped his papers into a neat stack, and softly left the room, deftly dodging the hail of ashtrays, beer bottles and folding chairs. All that behind-the-scenes negotiating had paid off, and the final motion was a stroke of genius. Mission accomplished.
History is written by the winners.
And by those who write the minutes.