The Battle of Trafalgar…

Geoff Hunt Victory breaks the line

…in 2009:

Nelson: “Order the signal, Hardy.”

Hardy: “Aye, aye sir.”

Nelson: “Hold on, that’s not what I dictated to Flags. What’s the meaning of this?”

Hardy: “Sorry sir, you’ll have to read this.”

Nelson (reading aloud): “‘ England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion Or disability.’ –

What gobbledygook is this, Hardy?”

Hardy: “Admiralty policy, sir. We’re an equal opportunity employer now. We had the devil’s own job getting ‘ England ‘ past the censors, lest it be considered racist.”

Nelson: “Gadzooks, hand me my pipe and tobacco.”

Hardy: “Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free Working environments.”

Nelson: “In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle.”

Hardy: “The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It’s part of the Government’s policy on binge drinking.”

Nelson: “Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we’d better get on with it ………………… Full speed ahead.”

Hardy: “I think you’ll find that there’s a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water.”

Nelson: “Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow’s nest please.”

Hardy: “That won’t be possible, sir.”

Nelson: “What?”

Hardy: “Health and Safety have closed the crow’s nest, sir. No harness; and they said that rope ladders don’t meet regulations. They won’t let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected.”

Nelson: “Then get me the ship’s carpenter without delay.”

Hardy: “He’s busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck, Sir.”

Nelson: “Wheelchair access? I’ve never heard anything so absurd.”

Hardy: “Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently-abled.”

Nelson: “Differently-abled? I’ve only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn’t rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card.”

Hardy: “Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency.”

Nelson: “Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons.”

Hardy: “A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won’t let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don’t want anyone breathing in too much salt – haven’t you seen the adverts?”

Nelson: “I’ve never heard such rubbish. Break out the cannons and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy.”

Hardy: “The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.”

Nelson: “What? This is mutiny!”

Hardy: “It’s not that, sir. It’s just that they’re afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There’re a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks.”

Nelson: “Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?”

Hardy: “Actually, sir, we’re not.”

Nelson: “We’re not?”

Hardy: “No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn’t even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation.”

Nelson: “But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil.”

Hardy: “I wouldn’t let the ship’s diversity co-coordinator hear you saying that sir. You’ll be up on disciplinary report.”

Nelson: “You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King.”

Hardy: “Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it’s the rules. It could save your life.”

Nelson: “Don’t tell me – health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?”

Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there’s a ban on Corporal punishment.”

Nelson: “What about sodomy?”…

Hardy: “I think that’s legal now.“

Nelson: “In that case, kiss me, Hardy.“

(Source: Gates of Vienna and The Lambeth Walk; image taken from Deep Roots’ German translation.)

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