JUST as well they don’t allow guns on this ship otherwise the launderette on Deck 7 would be a war zone.
There are two critical governors that human society (that is you and me and any number which is more than us) finds particularly beneficial even when we bridle against them.
At the top is authority. And, in support, providing authority with some structure, there are rules.
There are some places on earth where these totems of civilisation are not present. And one is is the Nautica launderette where there is no authority and no rules.
There are four washing machines, four clothes driers and up to eight contestants - but no rules.
It really does bring out the worst in humans.
Anyway I’m not disclosing my answers to this dilemma and other imponderables like global terrorism until the forthcoming publication of my memoir, Araldite and Other Solutions. You won’t be able to put it down.
And so here I am at the island of Nosy Be in Madagascar. In the small port town of Hell-Ville to be precise (yes, you read it right).
Madagascar is such a poor place but so rich in scenic beauty. It’s last coup was in 2009 when a democratically elected administration was overthrown in what was called the vanilla revolution.
Since then Andry Rajoelina, self-proclaimed usher of the Fourth Republic and president of the High Transitional Authority, has governed without feeling it necessary to receive recognition from the international community.
This doesn’t worry the locals. “It’s a soft revolution; it is a bit like a holiday every day,” said one.
Nautica anchors off Nosy Be and is soon surrounded by an impressive sails-force of outriggers bearing bunches of bananas, raffia hats, wooden souvenirs and conch shells.
Ashore, among the cafes and bored policemen of Hell-Ville, are small huts where you can purchase anything made of vanilla (a Madagascar specialty) and fine textiles.
In reality, apart from a surfeit of police buildings, the most distinguishing feature of Hell-Ville are the faded pedestrian crossings notable only for their skid marks.
These include the Distillerie de Rhum (which I’m sure you can translate) adjacent to the Distillerie d’Ylang Ylang (to be consumed in only small quantities as it is a perfume made famous by Coco Chanel and is included in her No 5 offering).
It was not on my agenda to try either, so I can report no further on this.
And so, after a nice sweaty walk around Hell-Ville, I made my way back to the dock and returned on the tender to Nautica. Where I’m keeping well clear of the launderette as the militant forces may well have been on the Rhum.