Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tots to the Queen

While waiting for dinner at the Life Bar & Grill near Falmouth Harbour in Antigua, we notice a group of English expatriates toasting the Queen.  We had observed such behavior before when we had stayed at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, but did not realize that Tots to the Queen was a mobile organization.

Peter, pictured on the right, is the current “Rum Bosun” for The Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda.  He explained that occasionally the location of the tot was moved due to the closure of the normal hosting establishment.  However, he explained the Friday night’s tot would be held at their normal digs in Nelson’s Dockyard, and that we were invited as his guests.

Nelson’s Dockyard

With its place in British Navy history stretching back to the 1670’s, Nelson’s Dockyard is a fitting home to a club that requires a test on Royal Naval history for its aspiring members.  Prior to the daily tot there is a reading of Royal Naval history pertinent to that day.  An especially good day includes a reading whereas the English were once again victorious over the French.

A tot at 1800 hours to signal the end of the working day was a proud tradition of the Royal Navy until 1970 when sadly it was discontinued.  The Tot Club, however carries on the proud tradition, “To confirm daily allegiance to and/or respect for the Crown by proposing the Loyal Toast to Her Majesty, the Queen.”

Picture by permission of the Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda

After the “Reading” the Queen is toasted.  There is a toast for everyday of the week. 

Friday’s toast - “To a Willing Foe and Sea Room and the Queen, God Bless Her.” 

Guests are then required to drink a full Tot (1/2 a gill of Pusser’s Blue Label Rum).  Lady Guests may drink a half measure, however all aspiring members (lady or gentlemen) must drink a full Tot.  An aspiring member is required to drink seven full Tots within 14 days.  Should your liver hold out, after the sixth Tot, an aspiring member must take a verbal test on Royal Naval History.

Picture by permission of the Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda

Being more than merely a social club, The Tot Club engages in many activities within Antigua including donating funds and “Destroying Nature to Preserve History.”  The Tot Club was once listed in a UK magazine as the world’s second most prestigious yacht club.  Hmm, I wonder what was first.

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