The following excerpt arrived in my inbox over Christmas and appears to be from the journal of an anonymous Merchant Navy skipper.

23rd December ’07

After 3 days fogbound, we found ourselves under clear skies in open sea. The navigator swiftly fixed our position and discovered we had been drifting South the whole time while enshrouded. Knowing of a nearby harbour town, we steered for land.

We made port and immediately sought a suitable hostelry. This was a civilised town and we soon came across an ale-house selling the brews of Messrs. Fuller, Smith and Turner (and incorporating those of Mr. G. Gale). In these comfortable surroundings, we settled with a few welcome pints of HSB to plan our onward journey. It was amid this discussion that the bos’n suddenly leaped to his feet with alarm and pointed across the room. Our eyes followed his trembling finger until alighting on what had turned him so pale.

Behind the bar were several bags of Seabrooks crisps.

We turned to the navigator who assured us without reservation that our latitude was 50°51’04 N. This fellow, his head full of star charts and arithmetic, knew little of the ways of snacks and expressed some bewilderment at our shock. The bos’n and I know our crisps, however and we were keenly aware how rare it is to sight this species so far from the towns and cities of the North.

The bos’n, fearing the sighting was a terrible omen, insisted we remain ashore for the next few days. He’s a superstitious man but the sight of those distinctive white packets where honest bags of Kettle Chips ought to be had shaken my nerves. We’ll set sail again on the 27th.