Saturday 29 June 2013

My butler caused the blister on my bottom

Not directly, I admit, but if it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't still be nursing a raw patch on my buttock. The travel editor of the NZ Herald is also implicated, although in a more tenuous way.

I recently sailed with Silversea on a week's cruise from Alaska along the (no comment) Inside Passage to Vancouver, on their delightful 380-passenger small ship Silver Shadow. Fortunate enough, thanks to an earlier cruise with them, to know that my stateroom came with the services of a graduate of the Guild of Professional English Butlers, I intended this time, for the purposes of the story commissioned by the Herald, to make full use of this feature. I even wrote the first sentence before I left home: "It would have been uncool to ask, but I hope the butler appreciated my new knickers". (I have, incidentally, done this sort of thing before, and it backfired then, too, that time involving a dead mermaid under Brooklyn Bridge.)

The backstory was that, having decided to take the butler up on his standard offer to unpack my suitcase for me, I had specially gone out before leaving home to replace my comfortable but sadly saggy underpants with a whole new set complete with snappy elastic (foreshadowing). That I did so, at surprising expense, the day before the shop had a 60% off sale is neither here nor there; although I'm still not over it.

So that's just what happened, and I had the real pleasure of returning to the suite to conduct a kind of treasure hunt, discovering my clothes and other items stowed in unexpected places throughout the stateroom's walk-in wardrobe, bathroom and many drawers and cupboards. My nightie is still not over the thrill of rubbing up against real clothes, on a hanger for the first time in its life.

The other services performed with cheerful efficiency by handsome young Kripesh are not the subject of this post, although it's tempting to regard them as the ganache icing on the rich chocolate mudcake of a Silversea cruise experience. Back to the blister.

Some days after the cruise ended - a triumph in every way other than the result of the Trivial Pursuit tournament, in which our Operation Deep Freeze team came third, to the deep dissatisfaction of Delta Don, whose long pencil calculation of an interest-rate sum I'm sure he still maintains was correct - I was in Banff. There I went on a trail ride through the woods, to breathe the pine-scented air, look for wildlife, get up-close with all that nature. It was, I admit it, purely my mistake to opt for the serious 3-hour version, rather than the frivolous 1-hour taster in the company of city girls who started shrieking before they were even mounted. (Mind out of the gutter, please.)

The first hour was pure pleasure, the second very, er, real, and the third sheer torture, as to ease the pain I stood in the stirrups, leaned on the pommel and sat crooked on Marshall, who compensated by constantly bearing right and scraping me up against tree-trunks and bushes. When I got back to the hotel, it was to find that the tight and snappy elastic of my new knickers had raised a 50c-sized blister on my right buttock, which subsequently burst and wept and caused considerable discomfort for the rest of the trip which involved, collectively, days' worth of sitting on several buses, two trains and an aeroplane. It's only just healing now, two weeks after the event.

So, quod erat demonstrandum. The butler caused my blistered bottom. But I forgive him, because of the freshly-drawn bubble bath with candles and rose petals, and the beautifully-lettered billet-doux, that awaited my return from a glacier excursion.

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