"The Oldie is an incredible magazine - perhaps the best magazine in the world right now" Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail and former Editor of Vanity Fair

Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


I ran away to sea. By David Pybus

Articles | By David Pybus

Ocean notions: Brigitte Bardot and Dirk Bogarde in Doctor at Sea (1955)

After 25 years as a cruise-ship lecturer, David Pybus adores life on the ocean wave

My cruise-ship career started last century with a phone call which I thought was a scam. I was known as the Indiana Jones of Scent after my career in the perfume business. The career has its advantages. If I didn’t come home smelling of perfume, my wife would shout, ‘Where the hell have you been?’ The man at the other end of the phone asked if I would like to give a 45-minute talk about perfumes on a two-week cruise for me and my wife in the Indian Ocean. I hung up. The next call, a few minutes later, was more insistent and infinitely more believable. After many years aboard, I’ve grown used to all the jokes on the more- advanced-age cruises: ‘I’m the only one on board with my own hips;’ ‘Even the portholes are bifocal.’ The best one was ‘I don’t know how old the lady is that...

I’m afraid this isn’t one of our six free articles available in full, which are set out in the first two rows of the ‘Magazine’ page.
Please click here to find them.

To buy a digital version of this issue for just £1.99, click here