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Author Topic: Nautical "Strange but True!"  (Read 151573 times)

MikeK

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #450 on: October 14, 2009, 07:59:26 am »

During my short attempt at anchor swallowing I worked for Wimpey as a hydrographic surveyor (to be truthfull more of the surveyors gopher  %) ) We were staying at one of the small hotels around the corner from the Rex and wandered in now and then. I have a memory of someone in a penguin suit playing a grand piano and a lady (or was it two ?) gently torturing a violin  :D All in all a bit of a time warp back to more genteel days, but it seemed popular with grannies of a grabbing inclination. I suppose the Rex has turned into something far more unattractive nowadays ?

Mike

PS Re the feedback, I always feel I am interrupting the flow of a very interesting story, I suppose if there is none one could start to wonder if anyone is awake out there. There is, Bryan, there is aplenty !  :-))
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #451 on: October 14, 2009, 08:59:08 am »

So here we go again,eh? I hadn't realised you went to the "Grab a Granny" night at the Rex. To come all the way down from Thurso ,man: you must have been desperate. Or did you travel on the "go-anywhere for 50p" ticket. Even so, you must have given some consolence to the poor shaky mite of your choice....but as they all wobble when they walk I couldn't be sure which one it was. The grinning one without teeth, I thought. My dresses are made up for me by my 6 year old adopted Capuchin. As "he" (or perhaps "she"...can't tell yet) is Brazilian there isn't much conversation....but who needs words when your'e in love? Most nights at the Rex "it" does a "stand-in" night for me. Gets more applause, but I get the money. Perhaps Floras talents went far beyond our shores. Who knows.  BY.

Bryan,
I think your medication needs adjusting.  %)

Barry M
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #452 on: October 14, 2009, 05:09:19 pm »

Furthermore, any lady with a zimmer was given a 10 yard start.  :-))

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #453 on: October 14, 2009, 05:57:15 pm »

During my short attempt at anchor swallowing I worked for Wimpey as a hydrographic surveyor (to be truthfull more of the surveyors gopher  %) ) We were staying at one of the small hotels around the corner from the Rex and wandered in now and then. I have a memory of someone in a penguin suit playing a grand piano and a lady (or was it two ?) gently torturing a violin  :D All in all a bit of a time warp back to more genteel days, but it seemed popular with grannies of a grabbing inclination. I suppose the Rex has turned into something far more unattractive nowadays ?

Mike

PS Re the feedback, I always feel I am interrupting the flow of a very interesting story, I suppose if there is none one could start to wonder if anyone is awake out there. There is, Bryan, there is aplenty !  :-))

Poor. poor Mike....you obviously fell under the spell of the long departed "Mina and Mitzi"....and the pianist was probably Harry "I've never had a music lesson in my life" Atkinson. Ah, we had such a plethora of talent in these parts then. Personally I blame the invention of the Zimmer Frame for the demise of the Grab A Granny night....the little dears can now be seen in their hundreds scooting up the A19 towards pastures new. And so all that's left in Whitley Bay as the sun goes down (if, in fact, it ever actually comes up in the first place) are many establishments where, for a moderate fortune , one can get absolutely legless, fall into a ditch, have a fight and get your suit torn off. A bit like Singapore used to be ,really. Perhaps that's why we have so many people of the Orient settling here. Wan Chai Hei....BY.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #454 on: October 14, 2009, 06:43:11 pm »

Ah but production of the Broon is now moving to Yorkshire and thus a strange calm should settle over Geordie land. - Maybe

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #455 on: October 16, 2009, 06:47:39 pm »

Sorry about this,folks, but I'm going to backtrack all the way to Portsmouth. As I've mentioned earlier, I found this to be a god-awful voyage and so I think I must have unconciously erased it from my memory. I was moaning on about this to my other half...and within a minute had dumped all the letters I'd written during that "voyage" in my lap. So missing out the "lovey-dovey" and domestic stuff it becomes more like a diary. Consider this to be an adjunct to the last posting.

It would appear that the departure of the "Task Force" (as we were named) was filmed by many TV outfits. No doubt they dwelled on faces of weepy kids and "others". Always happens when the RN goes to sea for more than a week. But I doubt if any of the footage got aired beyond Hampshire. After a couple of days at sea regaining our sea-legs and just generally tidying up the ship I got my copy of the "Group" training programme up to Malta. Bloody Hellfire...it WAS Portland all over again. Mornings and afternoons was always to be taken up with RASing or Flying. (even though most of the RASs were "dummy" ones for practice). Then the "Boss Man"..or more likely some staff officer within the promotion bracket..wanted a copy of our projected internal training programme for fire-fighting, search and rescue (using the IR cameras), damage control, man-overboard (how many of us had ever seen that one for real?) and all the other gubbins that would push us a damn sight harder than the multi-manned RN ships. I hadn't expected the trip to be all sweetness and light as this isn't the RN way, but it did give me the first inkling that I may have made an awful mistake by agreeing to this so called "cruise". Considering that the basic crew of an RFA "O" class would be around the 85 mark, all this frippery was going to play hell with crew morale and ship maintenance. You, dear reader, must understand that any (indeed all) of the expected evolutions involve the entire ships company....or nearly so, whereas the RN ships can sort of parcel out everything into only the groups of people directly involved. I'm sure you can work out the impact on us for yourselves.

However, a real nasty "biggy" was about to hit the fan. "We" had discovered during refit and re-storing that the ships internal accounting system had been neglected and allowed over the previous few years to a level that was both unintelligible and unacceptable to us. I'm not impugning the financial side of things. The "accounts" system is divided into 3 main sections. "V & A" (meaning Valuable and Attractive), "Permanent" (basically stuff such as fixtures and fittings plus items that have no shelf life and are in more or less daily use), and "Consumables" (not just food, but rope, paint, bedding....you name it. If "it" can be used up or worn out it is likely to be a "consumable). To cut it short, the "books" and the "reality" belonged in 2 different worlds. And "we" weren't prepared to let this state of affairs to continue. The MoD then took the drastic ( in my experience) decision to abandon the accounts and start afresh. There was, in all likelihood , some criminality involved; but as far as I know only a couple of minor heads rolled. But the "on-board" consequences was a nightmare. A complete....and I mean complete....inventory of the ships entire contents had to be taken, done and dusted before we reached Singapore, wher a team of auditors would join us an reconstitute the "paperwork" side of things.
Lord alone would know where we could find the time to do all this...or how accurate it would be. In a perfect world the ship would be sent off to anchor (after the anchors had been counted) and left there until all was done. But during an operational tasking it was nigh on impossible. Inevetably, corners were cut and "assumptions" made. Just making the best of a bad job really, but even so we didn't "complete " the job until 2 days before arrival at Singapore many weeks later.

For once the Bay of Biscay was benign, but as a "fuel saving" measure our SOA (Speed of Advance) was to be 12 knots...not the 15 we'd planned for. Sounded like a long haul. Gave "Olwen" a bit of a breathing space. Boring but busy. It was only on arrival at Singapore and saw a new main engine waiting for the carrier that the truth dawned about the slow speeds. Lying sods.
Somewhere on the sunny side of Gib. we were attacked by the French Air Force. A bit of a half-hearted affair so we ignored it and carried on with lunch...bet the Rodneys were a bit miffed though...but no sympathy from this quarter.
About this time "something political" in the world must have been brewing up as we reversed course and then spent the next week doing a 100 mile "racetrack" . This wasn't a "voyage" more like an indeterminate sentence while being blindfolded. It was around this time that I seriously thought of asking  the bosun if I could buy myself a broken leg...I'd had enough already, and we hadn't yet reached anywhere !

We also had a CTU embarked (Cadet Training Unit) of RFA cadets under the "control" of a shore based RFA officer. Only 8 of the little sods fortunately. The CTU training officer was all for an easy life and arranged for all his first-trippers to be "farmed out" to a specified ships officer (in all departments) on a weekly rotational basis. Their only orders were that "Where he goes..you go" (within some limits, obviously). The days of it being "your turn in the barrel " are long gone. It was like having a stray puppy on my heels for a week. Poor little mite never even asked a question for a couple of days...I suppose I must have got a bit soft-hearted as I began asking him the questions he should have been asking me. But over the months he developed.
A sort of lasting memory of the CTU is of their utter dismay when the ship got out of UK TV range. They were all "Eastenders" fans, and all of a sudden, unexpectedly and un-forwarned they were bereft. Quite pitiful. Odd that kids (even then) had to be pushing 18 years before some of the realities of "life" began to ease into the conciousness. Later (lots of "later") when we got back into TV range all 8 of them gathered in front of the TV "to catch up"....within 5 minutes all of them quit and rejoined the land of the living, all bemoaning the fact that in the past they'd been watching so much garbage. And so do children grow up. I imagine that now they are all now in positions of some responsibility they can look back on their first trip with many memories. I know that I can, and how different a person I am now to the callow youth joining his first ship in Glasgow in 1957. I suppose I had a small part to play in the way they turned out....for the better, I hope. Good luck to them all. BY.

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Roger in France

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #456 on: October 17, 2009, 07:11:12 am »

Good to hear about you helping with the Cadets, BY. We all have to start somewhere and the influence of a kindly, experienced mentor can achieve great things.

Roger in France
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #457 on: October 17, 2009, 02:55:26 pm »

Good to hear about you helping with the Cadets, BY. We all have to start somewhere and the influence of a kindly, experienced mentor can achieve great things.

Roger in France
Actually,Roger I did treat the cadets fairly as I still recall with some disgust how I and other cadets were treated. I remember telling myself That I would never ever treat anyone in a manner that I would not like to be treated in return. Particularly if the "other is a "junior" and unable to respond. Bryan.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #458 on: November 11, 2009, 10:02:05 am »

Awful quiet in here. Are you OK Bryan?

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #459 on: November 11, 2009, 03:36:37 pm »

Thanks Barry. Didn't realise you cared so much!
Yeah, I'm OK. I seem to have come down with a sort of writers block. Many of my earlier posts on this thread were about earlier times, but now I'm up to more "modern" days I've got  the conundrum that I could find describing events without implicating those involved in some events has become a problem. As I mentioned at the beginning of my last trip on "Olwen", it was a difficult voyage for me. A very large clash of personalities (not just with me but throughout the ship). This made life on a day to day basis very difficult. I'm still trying to find a way "out" without decrying the rather good job we did over a longish period. I would love to post a "warts and all" episode, but I could be unwittingly very unfair. And just writing the bald facts of the deployment would just be boring for everyone. So at the moment it's all a mental exercise until I can come up with my own solution. It will happen. Now you've jogged my feeble brain perhaps I'll get down to it again. Thanks for asking. Bryan.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #460 on: November 11, 2009, 04:14:16 pm »

Good! Just like to know that the Forum's Victor Meldrew is still alive and biting ankles.  ;)

Cheers,

Barry
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MikeK

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #461 on: November 11, 2009, 04:52:01 pm »

A Geordie Victor Meldrew - what a picture that conjures up  :o I also have been starting to wonder at the quiet from your goodself. As long as you are hale and healthy that's ok then.

Mike
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #462 on: November 11, 2009, 08:00:09 pm »

Geordieland is chock-a-block with Meldrews. Most of them seem to have joined Tynemouth Model Boat Club. If you would like 100 different opinions on a specific subject (and I use the term "subject" extremely loosely) then come and listen to this lot!
But perhaps it is just as well that Barry and Mike live at opposing ends of this once great realm of ours. Both of whom fled (one south and the other north) to escape the clutches of the now bereft (and old, and wrinkled and very,very droopy) Flora. But some of us have stayed on to welcome "The New Beginning" at "$*%)!L St.James' Park.....dot com". This has given us Meldrews a new lease of life. All is now perky in the land of League 2 (Scousers are still leading....alas).
But it's nice to know that in spite of all my deprivations and lowly origins I have managed to garner a "Fan Club" (albeit only 2). So there is some room for improvement I suppose. Anywhere between Aberdeen and Hampshire would be a good start. BY.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #463 on: November 11, 2009, 08:36:25 pm »

Ermm..... Not so sure about Hampshire; we know who hangs out there, don't we?  :o

Barry M
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DickyD

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #464 on: November 11, 2009, 08:55:03 pm »

Shipmate60 ?  {:-{
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #465 on: November 11, 2009, 10:36:01 pm »

I was thinking of The Bishop - or is he Surrey Man?  :-)

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #466 on: November 11, 2009, 11:03:51 pm »

Absolutely amazing! A simple little reply already engenders more recruits. Not too sure about Surrey though...aren't they a little too posh for us mere mortals.....what with their yachts and so on.....
But OK, I'll get back to the main thread eventually. Sorry for the hiatus. BY.
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Roger in France

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #467 on: November 12, 2009, 07:55:56 am »

The fan base extends much further, Bryan.

Roger in France
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Bunkerbarge

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #468 on: November 12, 2009, 09:28:29 am »

I think with things like this Bryan it's important that you enjoy doing it and not to let it become a chore.  Take your time and add things as you feel like it and maybe if the additional concerns of implicating people make if it difficult then perhaps it's time to consider it a finished work.  You may then find it more enjoyable to go back again and revisit some of the things you have missed from your earlier days, who says it has to be in chronological order?

Just know that when you do decide to write something there are a lot of members here who enjoy reading it, and that's from an engineer!!  Just think of some of the stories where the deck and engineering teams actually pulled together, we all had to endure the "oil and water don't mix" clowns on both sides but I have some very good memories of enjoyable times working with some good deck officers.  Even my father was a second mate before he came ashore, which of course I always put down to the fact that he failed the engineering entrance exam!!
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #469 on: November 12, 2009, 09:45:31 am »

The fan base extends much further, Bryan.

Roger in France

Quite true! At Mrs Hortensia Acorah's last 'Medium with a Message' seance, Henry the Navigator said he had sailed with you while Vasco de Gama said he hung on your every word - or did he say you should be hung for every word?  :P

Publish and be damned! Just sprinkle it with enough 'allegedlys' and change names if needed to keep the legal types off your back.
By the way, I think I've found news of Flora - watch the usual space.

Barry M
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cbr900

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #470 on: November 12, 2009, 11:58:49 am »

Brian,

The fan club has also reached the farthest of the Colonies,
we are enjoying your memories here as well mate.......

Roy :-))
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #471 on: November 12, 2009, 03:23:21 pm »

By the way I haven't forgotten about tidying this thread up but I'm at work in a shipyard and simply haven't got time until I get home again in a couple of weeks.
The shipyard wouldn't happen to be in the Bahamas would it? If so, then one of the boss-men is a relative of a good pal of mine. Let me know and I'll see if I can get you a social introduction. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #472 on: November 12, 2009, 03:30:25 pm »

Brian,

The fan club has also reached the farthest of the Colonies,
we are enjoying your memories here as well mate.......

Roy :-))
Wow! Brings tears to my eyes does that. I enjoyed my one and only visit to Tasmania (on board the "current" ship "Olwen" in 1988).
One of your very nice fellow citizens of the female persuasion allowed me to drive her to Port Arthur....a fascinating place until that idiot let rip with a gun. And you can get Newcastle "Brown Ale" down there! A civilised sort of place. BY.
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Bunkerbarge

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #473 on: November 12, 2009, 03:52:40 pm »

The shipyard wouldn't happen to be in the Bahamas would it? If so, then one of the boss-men is a relative of a good pal of mine. Let me know and I'll see if I can get you a social introduction. BY.

Sorry Bryan it's in Germany, although I've just missed out on our first dry dock in Freeport, which by all accounts was very successful and the yard did a good job.
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cbr900

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #474 on: November 13, 2009, 11:02:41 am »

Bryan,
That is exactly what he was an idiot, he originally was going to shoot up
another idyllic little town but the Police were payrolling often as the
Harley riders were in town, so the fool went to Port Arthur instead,
and the rest is history...............

Roy
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