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We came back on the ferry this weekend from the Isle of Arran to Ardrossen in the west of Scotland, and it was a rough crossing. But the CalMac Ferry doesn’t mess around with any of that airline-speak about being concerned for our comfort and that’s why we can’t get up to use the bathrooms whenever the plane jiggles. (Despite the fact that plane jiggling is what makes us really, really want to use the bathrooms…)

assembly or muster station image

Passenger Assembly point. Or Cerberus the Three-Headed Dog Guarding Hell?

No, the CalMac Ferry folk are not just non-airline types. They are SCOTTISH non-airline types. So their safety announcements basically tell you that if you hear a bunch of short beeps followed by one long one,  the boat is in deep s**t and if you’d like to avoid a personal remake of The Titanic, you need to get yourself over to the Assembly Station. (That’s the sign with the icon that looks like Cerberus the Three-Headed Dog—appropriate, I suppose, when you realize that Cerberus is the guardian of the gates of Hell. Yeah, go there…) If you don’t want to meet up with Cerberus in the very near future, you’d better follow every instruction from crew members like they were written on stone tablets just delivered along with the storm outside. Oh, and then they usually mention that if you’re feeling “unwell” (because you’ve been lined up at the bar since the boat pulled out and now all that rolling and pitching has produced its not-unexpected outcome in the form of beer that’s about to come back out), you should move to the center of the boat.

NOTE: this is from last summer. This weekend's ferry trip poured rain and pitched the boat around. Picture taking was not a priority...

NOTE: this is from last summer. This weekend’s ferry trip poured rain and pitched the boat around. Rainbows were not available, and picture taking was not a priority…

The ferry was almost at the end of the crossing when we heard the announcement that everyone should find a seat and batten down—and under no circumstances try to return to their vehicles—because there was a “swell” on the approach to the terminal. The passengers at the bar took this seriously, and several moved to the center of the boat, where they…er… returned the pints and drams they’d been sucking down.

I started to worry about the dog. She loves the car but isn’t so enthusiastic about other dogs, so we’d left her asleep in the rear of the car. What if the ship pitching and rolling woke her up? What if she needed to…move to the center of the boat?

CalMac Isle of Arran Ferry [Image credit: © Copyright Gordon Hatton and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.]

CalMac Isle of Arran Ferry [Image credit: © Copyright Gordon Hatton and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.]

You have to understand that the Hub and I differ in our approach to being owned by our dog. I get up at 0:dark-thirty because she whimpers. He mentions—regularly—the bills that our “free” dog from the shelter runs up for her meds, or her spa-vacations at Auntie Norma’s while we’re away, or her plane fares which are four-times-the-cost-of-mine, or the unfortunate drug reaction that caused her to eat the back seats of his car (although I really can’t see how that was her fault…).

So just as I was just starting to voice my concerns about the dog’s emotional state, the partner of my bosom for the better part of the last several decades looked up from his phone. “Yeah, the dog is in the car on the bottom deck. She’ll go straight to the bottom. I’ll miss the car.”

The rest of the trip did not go well at our little table, despite the fact that the ferry navigated the swell with much more aplomb than the crowd at the center of the boat. When we got back to our car, the dog was snoring. She opened her eyes, accepted a biscuit, and went back to sleep.

Relations in the front seat were not nearly so cordial.

Can I get back to sleep now?

Can I get back to sleep now?