Stewarts look after the plants on a pair of passenger ferries called the Express & Vitesse, sailing out of Weymouth & Poole. Due to the somewhat erratic schedule we have to fit in with, these plants are looked after by yours truly, aided by Claire, my assistant.
I went to Weymouth this morning to look after the plants on Express, and found Vitesse there too. As I'm due to return on Tuesday after Easter (bank holiday weeks are busy enough for us with five days' work to complete in four) to do Vitesse, I wandered on board to see if I could get these plants done too. The boat was swarming with workmen, and no-one stopped me getting started, so imagine my surprise when I looked out of the window 30 minutes later to realise we were sailing out of the harbour.
This has happened to us before; the boat occasionally goes out to turn round or change berth, so I casually enquired of one of the other workmen (who seemed very relaxed): "Ermm, where are we off to?"
"Oh, just round the bay I think."
"Oh, that's a relief, I've nearly finished!", I replied.
"I think they're staying out for about four hours, mate", after which it became clear the rest of the workmen were there all day anyway so they didn't mind the trip out.
A short conversation with the crew confirmed this, so I gave the plants possibly the most thorough clean and prune they will ever get, and when we docked (happily a mere three hours later), I made a mental note always to double-check whether I was staying in port in future.
Needless to say I have endured a wide range of jokes at my expense in the office ('Have you brought us any Brie back?', 'How are your sea legs?' etc.), which I rather suspect I deserve.