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There we were, on a dark winter's evening, heading for a six hour sea crossing from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire, on the old reliable iron car ferry. Sure, we had booked the new super duper fast shuttle speedy thing called The Swift but, apparently, these new vessels can't really sail all that well if there happens to be a puff of wind on the Irish Sea, so inevitably, they are often cancelled. Indeed, the first one that was built and sent to Holyhead was nicknamed by the locals, “The Eternal Flame,” because it never went out! Now they do go out, but the new term “Vomit Comet” has alarming portent.
Anyway, there I am, the wife, four kids, and a dog, just finished breakfast at 5 am, an hour and a half out of Holyhead, when I hear over the tannoy system, “Is there a doctor or nurse on the ship?” I, of course, discreetly sank further into my …