For sale: Aircraft carrier in grey, 1981, 621,551 miles

FOR SALE The Ark at her decommissioning ceremony this year
FOR SALE The Ark at her decommissioning ceremony this year
Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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They do say that boys will always have their toys, it’s just that as they get older the toys get bigger.

Well, I’ve got my eye on the biggest toy of the lot. Forget a drop-top sports car, or a Harley Davidson. I’m going for broke to mark my mid-life crisis.

Yep, I’m seriously thinking of putting in a bid to become the proud new owner of Ark Royal.

Imagine the one-upmanship of being able to say that you own a pukka, ex-Royal Navy aircraft carrier. a 210m-long, 19,000-tonne national icon. Makes the neighbour’s shiny new company car look a bit sick, doesn’t it?

I haven’t checked out the Ark’s advert yet (apparently it’s on the Ministry of Defence’s version of AutoTrader called edisposals.com).

But I guess it goes something like this:

Aircraft carrier, 1981, in battleship grey, okay condition but could do with some tidying. One owner, never raced or rallied (but took part in 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Bosnia conflict).

Has done 621,551 nautical miles, but regularly serviced with main dealer stamps. No tax or MOT. Can be viewed at Portsmouth Naval Base. £2m ONO. No timewasters.

I fear I have some competition though. Apparently 17 parties viewed the Ark last week, with ideas including turning her into a tourist attraction in Gibraltar, using her as a heliport or floating her off to Hong Kong or Macau as an international school.

Do you think they all turned up, ran their hands along the hull to check for accident damage and respraying, then asked to see the engine turning over before taking her for a quick spin around the harbour on trade plates?

Was there a man in a sheepskin coat and trilby from the MoD waiting on the quayside with the paperwork and a hire purchase agreement? Do they take p-exes?

It all seems like a very undignified way to get rid of the beloved Ark.

Ah well, if I don’t win the auction, there’s always the fallback of a cheeky bid for any of the ex-Type 42 destroyers HMS Exeter, HMS Southampton and HMS Nottingham – also for sale on the eBay-style MoD website. How much are they?