How NOT to go on watch!

9th December 2007, 20:44
"Maipura" 1966. "Pem" was Skipper, "Taff" Roberts Mate, Ernie Prevost Chief Steward, Bill Wilford 2nd Steward, myself Ex 3/E. We five formed a cadre of gin-drinkers who were seriously committed to attempting to empty the bond of gin before we reached Port Said (or so it appeared!)
For reasons, which escape me at the moment, I was doing 8-12, rather than the 4th. It may be that he was doing day-work or something.
The Chief was that wonderful bloke "Reg" Seubert, 2nd was Jim Smith, from Buckie, in Banff, an excellent engineer who was getting steam-time in, from ED's, for his Chiefs Steam ticket, Senior Third was (I think) Brian Cunningham or Maxie Benson (no doubt Max will correct me if he reads this!!!) 4th was Dick Wylie and the "panch-sahib" Alan Jones. "Leckie" may well have been Don McCleod!
We were "steady away" down the Med and I'd come off-watch at noon and handed the log into "Reg". He asked if I could hang on for a couple of minutes, whilst he filled-in the appropriate bits-and-bats for Taff and then take them up to him.
Whilst up with Taff he asked me if I fancied a quick gin. Naturally I agreed to this astonishingly novel suggestion!
A couple of minutes later Pem appeared and accepted the offer of a pink gin followed by Ernie Prevost who had his usual gin and bitter-lemon in his pewter tankard.
Bill Wilford then appeared and accepted the proferred G&T.
By this time lunch-time was well and truly over, I was still in my boiler-suit and the gins kept flowing.
At 19.00hrs I decided it would be a good idea to go and get my head down!
I was on watch at 20.00!!!!!!!!
My cabin door opened and a Scottish burr said, "Are ye no coming doon on watch?" and opening my decidedly unfocussed eyes, looked at my watch and realised it was 20.10!!!
I had committed the cardinal sin----missed turning-to!!!
I assured Jim I would be down in a couple of minutes, swilled my face and went down below still a bit "squiffy" from my marathon session with Pem, Taff, Ernie and Bill!
(I must explain here that Jim was an extremely upright bloke who didn't drink, smoke or swear but wasn't judgemental on us lesser mortals who did!!)
I arrived "on-the-plates" and Jim asked "You're no drunk are ye?"
I replied, quite untruthfully, that indeed I wasn't!
Jim said he wanted me to have a look at one of the "Wee-mac" fresh-water pumps which wasn't working too well.
Anyone who was on "Maipura" will remember the location of these pumps.
In the after-end of the engine-room, on the port side, where it was quite "cosy".
Feeling mortally ashamed of myself for getting into such a state, before going on watch, I determined I would bring that pump into a better condition than it was when it left the makers, and got stuck-in!
Naturally I devoted all my energies onto the pump and "forgot" I was on watch!!!
By 21.30hrs. all the grog had been sweated out of me and I dashed up onto the plates expecting to see near-empty or over-filled boilers but, luckily for me, I had an excellent ag wallah on watch with me and he'd kept the boiler-levels spot-on! With an "Atcha sahib" accompanied by the usual side-to-side of the head (which I found SO confusing when I first saw it thinking they were meaning the negative meaning we Europeans interpreted it as!) and a grin he went to join his oppo's in the boiler-room!!
Fortunately, probably because the "Maipura" was such an easy-steaming ship and a dream to run, nothing untoward had happened whilst I was "out-of-the-game" but I never, EVER repeated the disgraceful behaviour I indulged in THAT particular day!
Probably that's got to be Confession #4!!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

9th December 2007, 23:14
Sailed with Jim Smith in Elders about 1957 when he was 2nd, I was the junior on his watch and as you say he was a very upright bloke, I must say he had me jumping through hoops at the slightest hint of sloppiness on watch. I never saw him again after he left the ship, nor even heard of him, not surprising if he went to Brocks. I wonder where he finished up.


J Smith
10th December 2007, 17:58
Hi Phil and Derek. Enjoying the chat, and i have to say, it's good to hear stories from the past.

Regards Jim Smith

10th December 2007, 23:18
Hey, Phil and Derek, have you just been sprung? Great stuff.

John T.

11th December 2007, 06:20
Hey, Phil and Derek, have you just been sprung? Great stuff.

John T. Woe, woe, and thrice woe! I'm quite sure Jim wasn't TOO bothered (he said grovellingly). Just shows to go-----------you never know the minute----------------unless you've got a watch!!! (And if you can decipher just exactly what I mean by that please let me know as I haven't the foggiest!!!!) Toodle-pipi! Phil(POP)