I noticed this vast chocolate Titanic in a bakery window in the city of Lugo in northern Spain last summer. As the shop was closed at the time, I never got to ask who made it; why; how much it cost; or, above all, whether a luscious sponge cake, layered to correspond with each of the Titanic‘s many decks, lay concealed beneath its chocolate exterior.
It came to mind today because of a picture I didn’t have room to use in yesterday’s Raising The Titanic post, which unless I’m very much mistaken shows another truly Titanic cake.
“Re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” has come to mean making a pointless gesture in the face of certain catastrophe.
When the Titanic really was sinking, and all the lifeboats were gone, baker Charles Joughin hit on a more practical plan for the deckchairs: he threw them overboard.
As he told the British Inquiry into the disaster, he threw fifty chairs into the icy Atlantic through the ports of B deck. “Was it to give something to cling to?” he was asked. “I was looking out for something for myself, Sir”, he replied.
In James Cameron’s Titanic, Joughin appears as a comedy drunk; he’s right there clinging to the rail next to Jack and Rose as the ship goes down.
In real life, he had the last laugh. He let go of the rail at the very last moment, and told the inquiry “I do not believe my head went under the water at all. It may have been wetted, but no more”.
Joughin never needed his floating deckchairs; he managed to clamber onto an upturned lifeboat, and survived the sinking.