When the chips are down

To Trinity House last week for the retirement party of a good man. Karl Lumbers is stepping down from his role as loss prevention director of the UK P&I Club. Two unusual things happened. Someone told the truth about how the press works and a senior P&I Club director made a joke which was funny. Neither of these are frequent occurrences.

Truth first. Karl said in his speech that he had always tried to be helpful to the press and he had never been mistreated or misquoted. Imagine, a man who was unfailingly approachable, helpful and honest with journalists and they didn’t get him wrong in two decades of reporting. Makes you wonder what goes wrong with the ones who do claim to be misquoted, doesn’t it?

And the joke. Nigel Carden, Karl’s boss, remarked that he was recently in North Africa and the cab driver asked him what he did for a living. “I work in insurance,” he said. “I insure ships.” There was a moment of silence while the driver looked at him in the mirror to check if he was serious and digested the information. Then he began to laugh like a maniac. Finally he was able to speak and he stammered out, “Why potatoes need insurance?”

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