Thursday, July 2, 2009

We returned to St Katherines Dock

From Queenborough on Monday afternoon and found that the Management wanted us out of the West Basin and over into the East Basin. It would be a shorter walk to the showers and it was a little bit more private.

Digression time:
While living at the West basin, we were literally in a fishbowl, with people cutting through the docks for Tower Station, they would pass on a catwalk about fifteen feet away from the boat. This meant gawkers and looky-loo's and the inevitable tourists with their cameras, snapping holiday pix of the Wildebeest crew.
Digression OFF
We were on the Left Side and moved to the right side at the end of a long pier.:

View Larger Map

After we got ourselves situated, we got a visit from "John", the local Customs guy.

Yeah, yeah. I get it... Here is our papers and the original Importation Document...

Since we were in a quiet marina, I asked John why we had to give up a certificate each time?

His answer was not satisfactory, but it was one of the last times I ever had to show the pink page.

Then, John decided to do a count of liquor bottles, since you can only have two liters per person...

I called Bullsh** right away. What if I bought the hooch locally?

"No problem, the bottles show the Queen's Tax seal". Answered John.

"Uhh, no, John. These show no tax tag because I buy them at the Navy and Army/Air Force Exchange, I can buy eight liters a month, and I can keep buying as long as I have ration coupons. You don't expect me to actually pound down eight liters a month, do you?"

"Well, we can seize your liquor..." Threatened the nice Customs man.

"Ok, go ahead. I go whine to my boss, Admiral Smith, he goes and has a chat with Admiral Crowe, who happens to be the U.S. Ambassador, who might be a little unhappy that one of his boys was being picked on, unnecessarily, just because he has a sailboat." "I don't see you Customs guys hassling the troops up at Ruislip, for having too much untaxed booze."

The Customs Guy changed subjects; "Do you happen to know the owner of "Acquilion"?"

", No".

"Well which is it?"

"We are sort of acquainted, we met last weekend, nice guy."

"You might want to choose your friends a little more wisely, that individual is being watched and is suspected of smuggling."

Talk about changing my attitude!

"I hardly know that cat, at all! No sirree, don't want to be tarred by that brush!"

"Be sure you keep away from that crowd. Oh, and keep this conversation to yourself, would you, please?"

"Yes sir!"

Man, I couldn't wait to ask about this "Prycey" guy!

One good thing did come out of our little conversation; Customs never bugged us again. John might stop by and say "hello", from time to time, but I think that Customs was content to know that we were very harmless and that we were what we seemed, two new boat owners in a foreign land.

Next up: Calais, France!

Oh yes!


Buck said...

"I don't see you Customs guys hassling the troops up at Ruislip, for having too much untaxed booze."

Nor at RAF Uxbridge (or High Wycombe, where I actually lived), and that's a great good thing. OTOH, HM Customs could have had a legitimate beef with me as I provided a couple o' few of the Queens Loyal Subjects with a LOT of Jack Daniels Black during my stay. As gifts, tho... and not as trade. Now I may have received gifts in return, but no money changed hands. :D

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Yes indeed, Buck.
I never did anything illegal (Like Black Marketing), I was always paranoid and the returns were not so good as to be worth the risk. But I did enjoy sharing our goodies, too. Our friends enjoyed the T-Bone steaks, which were illegal in the UK. (No beef on the bone...!) The Air Force was good enough to fly in U.S. Beef.