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P&O Ferry Rotterdam–Hull

January 2006
Social Research Before It’s Too Late
Travelling back from Holland on the overnight ferry we went to the cafeteria as usual and watched what everyone was choosing to eat as we always do – for the P&O North Sea Ferries are a source of social research that is possibly going to fade soon and then where will we be? The cafés on these ferries have a help-yourself buffet that you pay a fixed amount for, and you can then choose any amount from an immensely wide range of options, including roasts on a carvery, Indian or Chinese, salads etc etc.
A Pink Snowperson
On this particular trip I happened to decide on roast beef I think, or it may have been pork, anyway, I was at the vegetable counter and helping myself to some mixed mange-tout and red pepper, and I was carefully picking out the red pepper in excess of the mange tout, because I thought it looked to have been cooked less energetically, and I spotted a woman out of the corner of my eye who was regarding me with some disapproval, though this wasn’t, I think, because I was picking out the red bits but because I was choosing to eat any of this unspeakable red and green mixture at all; I could tell from the look which was a definite I-know-what-I-like one, so I kept an eye on what she was eating, which turned out to be two chunks of roast beef, roast potatoes, and chips. She then followed up with some cheese and biscuits, then a creamy sponge dessert, then ice cream. She was the shape of a globe, with another, much smaller, globe stuck on top, which was her head. She looked rather like a snowman, except not white, more a kind of blotchy pink. Her friend who was with her was not quite so large, though still immense by most people’s standards, and I noticed that she couldn’t finish her chips and declined the final ice cream. There’s a study to be done on the P&O ferries, before they turn into a pumpkin.
Or Not a Pumpkin
Or before they stop doing low-cost day-trips, or before they cease providing an all-you-can-eat-for-a-fixed-price buffet.


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