Bankline reminders..... Music and smells

Alan Rawlinson
17th August 2010, 21:22
We have touched on this before, but for me it would be impossible to forget the Bankline time, even if I tried - the reason being that certain tunes and music bring the memories flooding back - of a particular ship or continent. Always keen on the radio, I loved picking up the first stations on MW as we approached the various continents... Does anyone else share this type of nostalgia?

My short list is:

The tango rhythm of BA and the Argentinean ports
The squeezebox music in S Africa
Cuban Latin music with the flute etc
Japan - The song called China Girl, in my day
We have discussed the beautiful island farewell song - Esa Lai

Just to show what an old codger I have become, New Zealand, I associate with Bill Haley who was touring and generally sparking off mayhem. The seats were getting ripped up regularly!

Spice smells take me straight back to the big ventilators in the alleyways of the Inchanga - overpowering at times..

Years later working in Liverpool, the various smells from the dock road sheds would also do the trick....

Donald McGhee
18th August 2010, 00:19
The Beatles song, Revolution, brings me back to Hamburg on the Inverbank, when we were in dry dock, this was played incessantly.

Downwind of any settling ponds! Reminds me of bilges, in which Bank line apprentices sometimes set records!

Indian people in the Dairies here, arguing in the back shop, reminders of the noises issuing from the aftercastle where the crowd lived. Boy did they create a racket when arguing!
And of course the smell of a good curry, always does it for me.

pete
18th August 2010, 10:22
For me the smell of Hessian reminds me of Chalna/Chittagong, The Doors "Light my Fire" reminds me of the Senior Cadet Jerry Parsons on the Dartbank and the smell of Curry is just Bank Line generally.....................pete

Joe C
18th August 2010, 11:33
Commercial radio in the States in the fifties.Country and western music and all the Bible Belt gospel singing,shrieking and yelling on Sundays around the Gulf.

Alan Rawlinson
18th August 2010, 13:27
Commercial radio in the States in the fifties.Country and western music and all the Bible Belt gospel singing,shrieking and yelling on Sundays around the Gulf.

Yes Joe, I had that in mind to add to my list... Still have a trip down memory lane courtesy of Spotify - If you haven't tried it, you should. Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, (who is still alive and in her 90's now), and a host of others. Wasn't Elvis also getting started?

Re the Gospel music - In the 90's I had to drive round the Gulf Ports, and up to Alabama on business, and had a Sunday afternoon and evening driving right across the Panhandle and then inland, and the airwaves were full of all types of Gospel music - the lyrics just as fascinating as the music to me..

Waighty
19th August 2010, 13:01
Yes Joe, I had that in mind to add to my list... Still have a trip down memory lane courtesy of Spotify - If you haven't tried it, you should. Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, (who is still alive and in her 90's now), and a host of others. Wasn't Elvis also getting started?

Re the Gospel music - In the 90's I had to drive round the Gulf Ports, and up to Alabama on business, and had a Sunday afternoon and evening driving right across the Panhandle and then inland, and the airwaves were full of all types of Gospel music - the lyrics just as fascinating as the music to me..

In the 1970s KLOL in Houston on an FM frequency of 101 (geddit!) - decent heavy rock 24 hours a day - good stuff when anchored off Galveston or Port Arthur or Beaumont etc. etc.

Always remember the advert for a station in Louisianna "100,000 watts of music power from Slidel in good old Louisianna" - can't recall the name though (declining grey matter).

BBC world service of course - distorted but worth struggling to hear. The news from ABC when approaching Aussie - great theme tune as news intro. Not forgetting Radio Moscow, always good for a laugh.

Homeward bound to UK when you picked up the "proper" shipping forecast on what I believe was the Light Programme in the mid 60s.

On board reminders - definetely the curries.

The smells and aromas of the docks in London - walking around Limhouse, Poplar and the Highway - warehouses full of spices, rubber, timber, hides et al. Great memories of a very enjoyable career.

Joe C
20th August 2010, 11:14
How about Pinkenba? Brisbane,tied up next to a warehouse full of rotting animal bones which stunk, and kept awake all night by the niosiest frogs in the world.
The train to Brisbane was a sort of bus on rails with the driver sitting in the front row of seats with the passengers, changing up and down the gears like a goodun!
Changing the subject to music,in the 50s the hit parade seemed to follow us around the globe so having spent a month getting to Aussie from the U S A you heard the same songs again (and again)

Ron Stringer
20th August 2010, 22:38
Changing the subject to music,in the 50s the hit parade seemed to follow us around the globe so having spent a month getting to Aussie from the U S A you heard the same songs again (and again)

Not Bank Line but Ellermans - at the back end of 1962 we had the same experience. On a MANZ run we loaded the latest pop records in Newark and/or Philadelphia and within a fortnight of hitting Gladstone and Brisbane they were topping the Aussie hit parade. One I remember was the Four Seasons' ''Big Girls Don't Cry'', their follow-up to that summer's big hit ''Sherry''. Having suffered it all day on every station on the USA E Coast for 2 or 3 weeks, we then had it all to put up with again on the Aussie Coast.

KIWI
20th August 2010, 23:19
Radio Australia had great coverage. Listened to the running of the Melbourne Cup in many far flung parts of the world on my Hallicrafters. KIWI

Abbeywood.
23rd August 2010, 05:57
I'm surprised no one has mentioned LM Radio, with suitable radio equipment could be heard over most of the Southern Hemisphere, and on rare occasions, off the Spanish coast.
Bob Holness and David Davies, two DJ's as I recall
Gone are the days of Eddystones, Hallicrafters and the good old Pye multi-band.
Required listening when lying at Harmony Street Wharf, in 'Noo Awlens' was
WNOE which is available on-line for the discerning listener.

kingorry
23rd August 2010, 10:07
I always remember 'ZBM2 - The Sound of Bermuda' whilst on the New York / Bermuda run with Cunard on the FRANCONIA.

And when sailing on along the east African Coast - there was always 'L.M. Radio' from Lourenco Marques - a sort of local south African 'Radio Luxembourg' crackling in on the short-wave band.

John Shepherd (kingorry)

McMorine
23rd August 2010, 11:48
I remember being able to buy LP Records in Taiwan, I think they cost about two shillings each, didn't last forever, but were good enough in those days played on a cheap record player.

JOHNKITTO
23rd August 2010, 12:46
Radio WCAO Boston (Mass) with talking Jack Armstrong the fastest talking DJ on American Radio.

The "smell of the land" 12 hours before landfall in India.

Ghee (espically when working on the aft galley in a force 8 9 10 in the North Atlantic)

Sailing through the Magellan Straits and watching killer whales swimming in front of the ship.

Wathching the "mules" at work in the Panama Canal.

The smell of Coconut Oil on your hands after taking ullages and temperatures

kingorry
23rd August 2010, 15:37
The smell of fish meal at Walvis Bay - the ship stank of it all the way home given a following breeze.
The sickly sweet smell of bulk sugar pouring into the holds at Georgetown, Guyana or Bridgetown, Barbados.
Worst of all was loading bulk sulphur at Port Sulphur (about 50 miles below New Orleans). All the forced draft turned off whilst loading took place, stinking hot and about 120% humidity. Happy days!!!

Another radio station I remember well from the 1960s was WABC, New York.

John Shepherd (kingorry)

Joe C
23rd August 2010, 16:24
The smell of fish meal at Walvis Bay - the ship stank of it all the way home given a following breeze.
The sickly sweet smell of bulk sugar pouring into the holds at Georgetown, Guyana or Bridgetown, Barbados.
Worst of all was loading bulk sulphur at Port Sulphur (about 50 miles below New Orleans). All the forced draft turned off whilst loading took place, stinking hot and about 120% humidity. Happy days!!!

Another radio station I remember well from the 1960s was WABC, New York.

John Shepherd (kingorry)

....and you cried yourself to sleep every night,after loading sulphur that is.......

pete
23rd August 2010, 17:29
Radio Stations I remember are of course LM Radio and 2UE of Sydney. We were stuck there for about 3 weeks loading Flour for Colombo and every night they had a quiz of some description which the Duty Off's would win fairly often. Good Memories........................pete

Alan Rawlinson
23rd August 2010, 17:40
I loved that unique Bankline smell if and when you boarded during the discharge of oil and copra. It was a sort of musty rich aroma, which smelled like home to me. Hard to explain, but there it is - a feeling of thank God, I'm on board again. Where are we off to?

Charlie Stitt
24th August 2010, 15:33
The smell of bitumastic paint being applied to the hot steel decks, great. The smell of heavy oil running all over the clean wooden decks. Not so great.

jimthehat
24th August 2010, 15:44
The smell of bitumastic paint being applied to the hot steel decks, great. The smell of heavy oil running all over the clean wooden decks. Not so great.

has anyone mentioned the lovely sweet smell of rotton grain that we apps had to wallow in whilst cleaning out the strum boxes,OR the clean smell of spices as one approached Zanzibar.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
24th August 2010, 16:44
Cinnamon sticks in hessian sacks, cloves etc remind me of nights ( don't know why it was mostly nights) stood down in the Inchanga lower tween deck supervising the loading into the 4 fridge spaces which were often used for such cargo. Sacks of Potatoes too, but they had no smell unless they were rotting!

Charlie Stitt
24th August 2010, 22:24
Loading around India, Ceylon etc for the River Plate, BA in particular. The smell of TEA in the tween decks, at that time a pound of tea(sweepings of course) fetched 1 worth of pesos in BA, so that lovely smell of TEA was the smell of many great nights ashore.[=P]

jimthehat
25th August 2010, 00:16
Loading around India, Ceylon etc for the River Plate, BA in particular. The smell of TEA in the tween decks, at that time a pound of tea(sweepings of course) fetched 1 worth of pesos in BA, so that lovely smell of TEA was the smell of many great nights ashore.[=P]

Does anyone remember the small rect boxes of tea we used to get given after loading in colombo,they were worth a bob or two.

jim

Ian Harrod
25th August 2010, 03:26
The smell of bitumastic paint being applied to the hot steel decks, great. The smell of heavy oil running all over the clean wooden decks. Not so great.

Or better still, when the fuel oil sounding pipes and vents were on top of the mast house.........

Alan Rawlinson
25th August 2010, 08:43
Does anyone remember the small rect boxes of tea we used to get given after loading in colombo,they were worth a bob or two.

jim

Orange Pekoe was the favourite...

The dockers used to pee in the corner of the hold onto the big boxes. Guess this strain of tea with the added piquancy went for a premium in Harrods!

Alistair Macnab
25th August 2010, 16:37
We loaded bales of cinnamon in No.4 tween deck on the "Fleetbank" over the after deeptanks then bunkered in Colombo - our first bunkering after the ship came out new from Belfast. If you remember, the bunker loading points were on the after end of the boat deck but the pipes leading to the tanks passed through No.4 tween deck on the "Fleetbank" (53).
At bunkering we discovered that the builders had set up the pipes but had failed to tighten the flanges so large quantities of diesel poured into the tween deck and saturated the cinnamon. Two strong odors that should not have come together! Must have been a huge cargo claim but in those days that was no concern of mine!
By the way.... just remembered! On the "Laganbank"(55) the pipes from the bunker station were lead forward to pass clear of cargo spaces in this, the last of the class. So a lesson was learned!

Charlie Stitt
25th August 2010, 21:06
Yes Jim, I remember getting one of the small boxes of tea in Colombo. Alan, was the'' Broken Orange Peko'' tea not a South Africian brand which we loaded in Durban?. I remember loading the big tea chests, and also smaller boxes, about half the size of a full size teachest, now what fool would suggest loading those handy sized small boxes on a Bankboat heading for BA? A docker might pinch one. Now wait a minute, why is there such a strong smell of tea in the steering flat?:confused:

Waighty
25th August 2010, 23:07
Yes Jim, I remember getting one of the small boxes of tea in Colombo. Alan, was the'' Broken Orange Peko'' tea not a South Africian brand which we loaded in Durban?. I remember loading the big tea chests, and also smaller boxes, about half the size of a full size teachest, now what fool would suggest loading those handy sized small boxes on a Bankboat heading for BA? A docker might pinch one. Now wait a minute, why is there such a strong smell of tea in the steering flat?:confused:


The smell of palm oil and gamlin/perolin mixtures when tank cleaning. The wonderful aroma of Aussie sugar during discharge at Penang or Singapore; buy a packet of light brown soft sugar today and the smell takes you right back! Bags of cloves and cinnamon quills from Sri Lanka. Sawn timber from Port Kelang, Bangkok and other SE Asian ports. The unbelievable smell (stench) of the contents of No1 Deep Tank (used as holding tank for other tank washings) on the Moraybank circa 1980 where the heating coils had failed, or the boiler had, causing the mixture of palm oil and cleaning agents to "ferment". The resulting green slimy mass took days to liquify and resulted in yours truly (ChOff), 2nd Engr, 6th Engr and Appies stinking for a long time afterwards. The stuff was so dense that a gangway stanchion attached to a heaving line failed to penetrate it!

Alistair Macnab
26th August 2010, 06:13
Two types of tea packing were loaded in Colombo for Durban: loose broken orange pekoe in standard tea chests and packaged Vyf Roses (Five Roses) also in standard tea chests but in retail packages.
For a while there was an advertisment in the Durban paper (The Natal Mercury?) with a photograph of Captain B.H. Jackson OBE with the white bow of the "Inchanga" behind him saying that the Captain had rushed one million pounds of tea fresh from the tea estates of Ceylon to Durban in perfect condition just for the discerning tea drinkers of Natal! It was an advert for the Vyf Roses brand.

Alan Rawlinson
26th August 2010, 08:30
Here's a strange one - quite pungent. The numerous slings of wet dunnage, sometimes green timber, dumped along the decks prior to loading Bitumen drums in Point Fortin, Trinidad. The sights, sounds, and smells at this location are vivid for me. The morning heat in the sunrise - the clear blue sky, and shimmering water -Cicadas ashore at night - Could it be because this was also my first port outside of the UK and the Channel islands?

Joe C
26th August 2010, 17:48
Here's a strange one - quite pungent. The numerous slings of wet dunnage, sometimes green timber, dumped along the decks prior to loading Bitumen drums in Point Fortin, Trinidad. The sights, sounds, and smells at this location are vivid for me. The morning heat in the sunrise - the clear blue sky, and shimmering water -Cicadas ashore at night - Could it be because this was also my first port outside of the UK and the Channel islands?

And the evil looking insects that used to crawl out of the dunnage,some of them big enough to see off the rats!

Charlie Stitt
28th August 2010, 22:43
Not so much about music while on board a Bankboat, but about to join one in 1961. At Home for five months doing my First mates Cert, leaving to morrow to join Laganbank as 2nd Mate. Night before, sitting in my car outside my girlfriends house with the radio on radio caroline? ( I really loved that girl, like five months at Home with Bankline?) and on comes,'' Now a little bit of tear let me down, Spoilt my act as a clown, Had it made up not to make a frown, But a little bit of tear let me down.'' I don't remember who sang that song, and at the time it did'nt really matter anyway'' my then,girlfriend burst into tears.Here we go again thinks I, bye Darling, be Home SOON. Wonder where she is now ????

Alan Rawlinson
29th August 2010, 09:13
Not so much about music while on board a Bankboat, but about to join one in 1961. At Home for five months doing my First mates Cert, leaving to morrow to join Laganbank as 2nd Mate. Night before, sitting in my car outside my girlfriends house with the radio on radio caroline? ( I really loved that girl, like five months at Home with Bankline?) and on comes,'' Now a little bit of tear let me down, Spoilt my act as a clown, Had it made up not to make a frown, But a little bit of tear let me down.'' I don't remember who sang that song, and at the time it did'nt really matter anyway'' my then,girlfriend burst into tears.Here we go again thinks I, bye Darling, be Home SOON. Wonder where she is now ????

Burl Ives, I think, Charlie...

Charlie Stitt
29th August 2010, 10:20
Thank you Alan. Burl Ives it was.

Charlie Stitt
6th September 2010, 18:05
That smell,(especially on the older Bankboats) of the Lascars accommodation, a mixture of joss stick, stale ciggy smoke and sweat.If only one could capture that smell, put it in a bottle and name it after some well known Wag, it would sell like hotcakes.

michael charters
6th September 2010, 23:24
The smell of pine trees thru engine room vents in North Pacific.
The daily smells of food being cooked in the galley.
Thanks to all the catering crew mwmbers.
The ozone from Fridge cargoes.
The smell of a cabin when reliving. The previous occupant must have relived himself in the sink?

michael charters
6th September 2010, 23:25
Crude oil when bunkering

Charlie Stitt
7th September 2010, 13:54
Yes Michael, I too remember that sweet smell of pine trees, but it was from the pine oil the crew were putting on the wooden decks.(Jester)

Ian Harrod
8th September 2010, 09:02
I remember the not-so-sweet smell of a dead cow that fell into the drydock in Calcutta. The cadet's (me) first job every morning was to tip a bucket of Phenyle over it. Come to think of it, I also remember the smell of Phenyle......

David E
8th September 2010, 10:34
My most revolting ever-clearing a bloated corpse from the spur of the accomodation ladder while on the river buoys in Calcutta

jimthehat
8th September 2010, 11:10
My most revolting ever-clearing a bloated corpse from the spur of the accomodation ladder while on the river buoys in Calcutta

calcutta drydock on isipingo,breakfast time ,sudden call saying that 2nd eng had fallen from the gangway,myself and dock rushed out, doc took one look and refused to go down,myself and mate went down ,sec was dead and we called for a stretcher,by this time police had arrived and would not allow us to touch the body,It was a discrace,in the end it was about 1600 before official permission was given for the body to be taken away.

jim

boatlarnie
11th September 2010, 12:31
We have touched on this before, but for me it would be impossible to forget the Bankline time, even if I tried - the reason being that certain tunes and music bring the memories flooding back - of a particular ship or continent. Always keen on the radio, I loved picking up the first stations on MW as we approached the various continents... Does anyone else share this type of nostalgia?

My short list is:

The tango rhythm of BA and the Argentinean ports
The squeezebox music in S Africa
Cuban Latin music with the flute etc
Japan - The song called China Girl, in my day
We have discussed the beautiful island farewell song - Esa Lai

Just to show what an old codger I have become, New Zealand, I associate with Bill Haley who was touring and generally sparking off mayhem. The seats were getting ripped up regularly!

Spice smells take me straight back to the big ventilators in the alleyways of the Inchanga - overpowering at times..

Years later working in Liverpool, the various smells from the dock road sheds would also do the trick....

The song I remember the most from my Bank Line days is Marienne Faithful singing 'Come and Stay with me' which would be around 1965. Abbeywood will probably recollect this as well for it was on the Marabank up in Glasgow on charter to Ellermans where we had a party on board with nurses from the Royal Glasgow Infirmary. We had such a great time we asked Radio Caroline to play this song for the girls, lo and behold some of them came down to Liverpool and kept us company. If my memory serves me right, we also had it played on LM radio for Abbeywood on his birthday some months later. I have downloaded numerous songs to listen to whilst I drive round Southern Africa, nearly all the disks have 'Stay and Come with me' or is it the other way round??
On the Irisbank, 1967/68 our favourite songs were those sung by Adge Cutler and the Worzel Mongols when the sound of 'Pill, Pill' and 'Drink up ze Cider' could be heard for miles once we had lubricated our tonsils with quite a few Castle beers.