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Post card;Summer School

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On the boat, we foot passengers were shuffled like a pack of cards and thrown down in new combinations all over the crowded, high seasons decks.

Children bumped into one another.

Parents looked for somewhere quiet to sit away from the video games.

Young couples ate enormous, nervous meals, while single people roamed back and forth between the restaurant and Duty Free.

As land came into sight, one asked another 'Do you know the way back to the coach?

I think it's on Whale Deck.' A conversation begins with 'May I sit next to you? God it's hot in here!

Do you mind if I open this window?' We take off our coats, settle back, peel oranges.

Shall we speak in English or French?

Are we going on holiday? Or home?

Do we mind knowing each other's name?

Hugo Williams has a fortnightly column in 'The Times Literary Supplement'. His pamphlet 'Some R amp;B and Black Pop' is published this summer by Greville Press

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