Part 4 – in which the PD gets stranded ashore and Lil receives a visit from the DTI – Page 2

Tuesday, August 12th
At some ungodly early hour, I awoke and went out for a run, taking the Roman Emperor with me on my Walkperson. He was presenting the Breakfast Show for Chris. (I asked Mark later if he felt any fitter for sharing the exercise with me, but he said he didn't.) Mark was already enthusiatically plugging Chris's book, coupled with the information that the author would be signing copies of it later on the pier. By the time I got back to my room, I had decided I'd better phone the ship. I told Allan Trainer the bad news about the books' continued non-appearance, so that he could warn Mark. Plugging a product that wasn't available would only antagonise the anxious Anoraks who were foaming at the mouth to be the first to get their hands on a copy.

(Picture: With Chris stuck ashore, someone cheap was needed for the Breakfast Show. Roman rations at the ready...)

To everyone's immense relief, the sea had returned to her calm mood today, and Ray, Chris and I caught the 8.30 tender. First Mate, John Cooper, a man with a sharp mind and an even sharper sense of humour, had quickly entered into the spirit of the occasion and became one of Lil's favourite sons. As we came aboard, someone remarked upon the fact that John's shaven head was showing distinctive signs of regrowth. Referring to the old Radio London commercials we were airing for the first time in thirty years, he replied, "It's that Vitalis!"

(Picture: Caroline is stunned by the amazing effect Vitalis has had on John's bonce...)

Paul Graham suggested to me that I might like to consider staying overnight on the ship on August 13th. He escorted me down the ultra-long ladder to the hold to show me around the Guest Suite which was available in the Executive Caravan. I had no kneed to spend the night on the Yeoman Rose, having already paid for a comfortable night's accommodation at Wix - not to mention the breakfast that I never got to eat. Being absent for the night clearly would not enhance my reputation with my landlady, either. This, however, was the dilemma: what if the North Sea decided to get her surf up again and I couldn't get back on board the ship for the last day? I simply couldn't take the risk of missing being there. Also, there was the major consideration that a shipful of depressed disc jockeys might appreciate having a woman around to console them. I rang Fluff to inform him that the following night I would be sleeping with two men.

(Picture: The Guest Suite on 'hold' for me...)

Meanwhile, the ship had an unexpected visit by representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry. To the uninitiated, this is the government department responsible for issuing the Restricted Service Licences, under the terms of which Radio London was operating. DTI inspectors are prone to checking on radio stations that have been granted the temporary licences to ensure that everything is above board. They appear to be particularly paranoid when the broadcast is coming from a ship. (I wonder why?) Two such inspectors had arrived aboard their own dinghy, requesting to check the output of our transmitter. This, of course, created more 'stand-down' headaches, delaying the first of the fully-booked tender trips. As Allan, our engineer, was ashore, we made the gentlemen a cup of coffee while they awaited his return. The chaps absolutely insisted on paying us one pound for their refreshments, and this gave John Cooper a brilliant idea. The pound should be the first money put towards creating our next incarnation of Big Lil. Thus began the legend of The DTI Pound.

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