Caroline Quentin plays Mrs Bumble in this mash-up of Charles Dickens’ best-loved novels. She says: I had no real make-up whatsoever – sometimes my cheeks were made a bit redder. I had to remind myself of Oliver Twist again – and read my favourite, David Copperfield.’


This probably serves to illustrate how uneven Jardine’s mind was; he genuinely thought he could successfully keep a filthy, shrieking dangerous primate as a secret guest. The Old Man got wind of the stowaway shortly after we had dropped off the pilot on leaving Pointe Noire and he sent the chief mate aft to find out what was going on. Jardine took fright when he heard the mate was on his way and he flung the monkey over the side. The crew were outraged at Jardine for his heartlessness and he took a beating, which put him in his bunk for the next two days. Jimmy kept his parrot for several weeks before selling it on to the deck storekeeper. Although fraternising with the crew was discouraged, we ignored this rule when it suited us. Jimmy used to spend a lot of time talking to a fireman and a deck boy, both of whom also came from Glasgow. I used to tell him that I could understand the monkeys and the parrots better than I could the three of them, when they started talking together in rapid-fire Glasgow street slang. By this stage of my life I was a keen drinker – mostly beer – although I had not made any foray into drugs. This changed when I became friendly with one of the junkies – a friend of Leech’s called Gus.

Leave a Reply

24 − 14 =