Cornishbrook

redgreggie
1st May 2006, 10:16
This is going to be a long shot, is there anyone out there who was on the coaster Cornishbrook when she sailed, from around the Newcastle area I think, when half of the crew missed the ship?
I remember the bosun was a big old boy from Hull as I had sailed with him before on the Baltic Jet, nice old boy he was.

It would have been in 1966 as the world cup was going strong, the skipper let me watch the whole of the final, another top man.
I was in catering, there was a cook and another catering boy, the cook was either a Scot or he was from London, a Scot I believe, the catering boy who joined when I did had a perforated eardrum and after signing on decided he couldn't sign on?
I'm not sure if he was replaced that day, he certainly didn't sail.
I was basically the pantry boy, serving the meals and cleaning certain cabins, the captain, an old fellow had a budgie, a scraggier bird you couldn't have seen!
But he obviously had an affection for it, he use to tell me to get on the blower to the bridge if it ever attacked me whilst cleaning his cabin, poor thing would have had all on to fly, let alone attack some-one!

I think I joined her in Hull, I know the first port of call was Portishead, I know this because I asked a deck hand where she was going and I thought he said Port Said, nearly filled my pants and considered doing a runner.
Anyway sail we did, all seemed to be going well, as I say I was getting on well with every-one and every thing, I use to love going for'ard and sitting at the bow with no distractions, just the sound of us sailing through the water, it was in the summer you could see the coastline and everything was tickettyboo.

I think it was up in the northeast, we had discharged our cargo and were due to sail on that nights tide, the bosun came to my room to ask if I knew where the lads who had gone ashore had gone, all I could tell him was that I believe they had gone for a drink, he told me if they weren't back soon we would be sailing without them.

Sail without them we did, this left the bosun as the only member of the deck staff and me as the only member of the catering staff!
Well what an experience that was, I had done bits in the galley before, but only bits and now I was having to sort out meals for what was left of the crew, what a challenge, but come through it I did, no-one went hungry, all of the meals were edible, no-one complained and I felt chuffed to bits.

Our next port of call was down south, not sure if it was Rochester, what a hole that is, or Grays, another hole, so it wasn't as if I had to do it for long, we got there and the cook who had missed the ship turned up.. only to get the sack, he was in my cabin just having a chat, I'd always got on well with him, he said he would be going for a drink and then getting a train back home, I think he was Scottish.
Whilst we were chatting we heard this tip-tap of tiny feet coming up the gangway, it sounded so strange, we looked out of my port-hole, it was the new cook, complete with a camera slung over his shoulder, mincing up the gang-way!
Oh sh1t, I thought, but if he keeps himself to himself then there's no problem.

After finishing work I went out with the catering boy who had just joined, who did we bump into, the cook who had been sacked, he was well gone with booze and had missed his train back home, could he doss down in our cabin he asked, no problem I said and gave him one of our cabin keys.

When we got back to the ship there he was flaked out on the day bed.
We turned in and all was well.
Well all was well until the early hours of the morning when there came a tap-tap on our cabin door, I was asleep but I was told this, it was the new cook and he was calling for me, the Scottish cook, who shouldn't have been there shouted out to him, telling him in no uncertain terms to go away, this woke me up and I was told what had happened.
We all went back to sleep, but a while later the same thing happened again, but this time all hell broke loose, the Scottish cook apparently jumped up opened the door and knocked the new cook about, I woke up to hear the Scottish cook moaning that he had broke his hand.
He grabbed his gear and did a runner but I believe he was detained by the dock police.

I'm not really sure of any events that happened from there, all I know is that I didn't feel comfortable sailing with the cook, I went up to see the captain and told him what had been happening that night and that I wanted to sign off, it turned out that I couldn't unless the union could get a replacement for me I would have to take it to it's next port of call.
This I did and then signed off.
All in all a very dissappointing end to what had been a happy little ship for me, funny how some things end isn't it, that's life I suppose, and where would we be if we didn't have our little stories to tell.