Random thoughts

August 8th, 2013

Just a bunch of random thoughts, musing and hindsight.

Back then.. (and we are only talking thirty odd years, not the days of sail!)

There was no GPS to tell us where we were or to track our route; nowadays you can automatically goetag your digital photos as you take them plus they will never fade or discolor – god I wish I’d had that!

We didn’t have mobile phones or email to keep in touch with friends and family. With the exception of one very expensive landline call from the states all my correspondence was by post and half the time letters were either lost or chasing me from port to port.

Movie night onboard ship was a big deal but with no DVDs we had to keep exchanging our limited library of reel to reel films with other friendly shipping and what you got was purely pot luck!

The digs in South Shields had a curfew after which the door was locked and you couldn’t get in. Thankfully the drainpipes were made of sterner stuff in those days, more than a few drunken cadets got back from a night on the town and in through the window.

The sea survival course at college had female navigators – I swear the only thing that got me to jump off the high diving platform was the fear of looking a coward in front of them.

Surf canoeing is fun but don’t try to eskimo roll wearing your only pair of spectacles!

The annual salary for cadets under seventeen and a half years of age was the princely sum of £987 (before tax and insurance). A letter from my father while I was at college warns me sternly not to spend more than one pound per day.

Letters from your mother reporting disasters like the loss of the Derbyshire or North Sea oil rigs turning turtle are still much appreciated letters from home.

The surprise I got from discovering that the power supply in the cabins was 110v DC was nothing compared to being told that veteran engineers could use the hairs on the back of their hands to tell if the bus-bars were live.

If you oversleep onboard ship the Second Engineer will drag you out of bed!

found in one of my old notebooks …

Chief Engineer
Leaps tall buildings in a single bound
More powerful than a locomotive
Faster than a speeding bullet
Walks on water when the sea is rough
Gives policy to God

Second Engineer
Leaps short buildings in a single bound
More powerful than a switch engine
As fast as a speeding bullet
Walks on water when the sea is calm
Talks with God

Third Engineer
Leaps small buildings with a running start and favourable winds
Almost as powerful as a switch engine
Not as fast as a speeding bullet
Walks on water in an indoor swimming pool
Talks with God after submitting special permission slip

Fourth Engineer
Barely clears small huts
Loses tug of war with locomotive
Can fire a gun
Swims well
Is occasionally addressed by God

Fifth Engineer
Makes high marks when trying to leap buildings
Is run over by locomotives
Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self injury
Dog paddles
Talks to animals

Runs into buildings
Recognises locomotives 2 out of 3 times
Is not issued with ammunition
Can stay afloat with water wings
Talks to walls

Lifts buildings and walks under them
Kicks locomotives off the tracks
Catches speeding bullets in his teeth and eats them
Freezes water with a single glance
He is God!

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