Car 5

Mr Neil Sylvan

Outward appearance

Balding, fit, but chinless. Brown sweater, trousers and boots, but his tartan shirt collar is in vibrant colours. Neil nods, laughs, crumples forward as his companion completes his story.

Inside information

Analyst for a City merchant bank, who captains Passenger 153. They are selecting a trailer to haul one of Neil's boats to The Boat Show at Earl's Court.

It's all a bit of laugh. The boat is a six-foot dingy from an old cruise ship. They have entered it in the Classical Yachting exhibition. It is, after all, by definition a classic boat. They've had a lot of fun pretending to be insulted that the Show don't want it. Now the Show has agreed to exhibit it. They can't wait to see the look on people's faces.

What he is doing or thinking

His chum asks: so what's our next adventure? "The Club Supper," Neil replies.

"Oh, you're joking," says Tony. "I said adventure, not a wake."

"You haven't heard about our outfits," says Neil. "I reckon tuxedo tops. Tailored shorts. And yellow wellington boots."

"With waterproofs?"

"And Sou'westers," says Neil. "Very elegant."

"Now what will the wives wear?" They exchange a gleam of understanding. The real reason for being a sailor is to get away from patients, bosses, aggressive barrow boys, wives, spreadsheets and diaries.

This could be the last year for Neil. Running a boat costs money. Things at the bank aren't good. Something funny seems to be happening with some of their futures in the Far East. Mind you, nothing they haven't seen before at Barings.

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