Winchester bid for frigate ride to South Pacific
OUR deep penetration agent at the New Zealand Ministry of Defence (yes, honest) called us from Wellington to say that a certain Simon Winchester - an eminent scribe of this parish - had asked if he might hitch a lift from Auckland to Pitcairn Island on a New Zealand Navy frigate.
Why Simon should desire to visit this remote South Pacific island where only two ships, both from the New Zealand Navy, call each year, is his business - although we would all like to know, right? But, as our man in Wellington pointed out: ''We are quite happy to get Mr Winchester to Pitcairn Island, but we'll also have to arrange to pick him up later to get him on his way to his next destination, which apparently is Panama.'' He added, with touching concern: ''We can't just leave the poor chap there.'' Well, we can't see why not. That old naval sea dog Captain Bligh of Bounty fame didn't harbour such qualms.
One thing's for sure, though, Cathay Pacific won't be rushing a plane to the Pacific outpost to evacuate Mr Winchester.