Nevin's Notes

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The Independent Online

Doomy times for the Royal Navy: powder running low; sails flapping; and old sea dogs stirring, waiting for the beat of Drake's Drum.

Portents and strange happenings abound: have you heard about Bostie the Budgie? He appeared, no one knows whence, aboard HMS Westminster, off Plymouth, perched on a Jack Tar's cap, happily took food and water, then dropped stone dead at the sound of the frigate's general alarm bell. Sailors are a superstitious breed: he was buried at sea with full honours, but as omens go, it's not good, is it? I recall another ex-budgie who at least managed a few words when he was found dying at the bottom of his well-appointed cage: "Who moved that bloody ladder?"

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