Looking after the boys.

28th May 2011, 15:32
Pete! Pete!" cried the Chief-as he burst into my cabin one evening in Nagoya.
His face betrayed the emotion he was suppressing in true Scottish stoical fashion.
"What evolves?" I cried , somewhat startled by this intervention , "Have you had a wee spill while bunkering?"
"Nothing so trivial!" he cried "I was just taking the Apprentices their bedtime cocoa and exerpts from Pounders' and ,by jings they have not returned from their run ashore!"
" *****!" I replied , my customary composure in disarray, "Just let me mark my place in the Church Gazette and we can talk this through."
"Nae time for that ,Pete! It's hauf past eight and the laddies are not in bed yet!"
There was an ominous shared silence.
"Haud on!" I replied,"We know that the boys went off on a cultural tour--the gardens , the Shinto shrine,the Castle and the pottery museum. That would take them some time."
"Aye." added the Chief "Aye-and we saw them being guided to a tearoom by those bonnie wee students oot tae improve their English!"
"So safe enough so far,eh? Chief." said I."Its not as if they ' re like that old Bank Line crowd."
"There's only one thing to do Sec.--I know you did that eight hour standby on the way in-but do you mind finishing off the bunkers while I race ashore and track the puir wee boys down? I know a few tearooms they might have ended up in."
I didn't have the heart to point out that he had just started the bunkers-but realizing the gravity of the situation I agreed.
A night's bunkering passed with only a few streaks down the Mate's recent paintwork and then ,around seven, a cheery Glasgow voice echoed from the tops,"It's me! Pete! Up to my office quick!"
The Chief's efforts had obviously been successful-he looked fresh and had a relaxed,contented and smugly satisfied air.
"Just stay by the door ,Pete. The boys is just a couple of minutes behind me. As soon as they appear --march them in here and we'll have a wee word!"
On prompt the missing duo appeared in the alleyway--somewhat rumpled and red - eyed.
"In here!NOW!"
I positioned myself behind and to the right of the Chief ,(now in full fig and sitting ,nursing his wrath to keep it warm ,) at his desk. In the past I had found this a handy position from which to light and pass his cigarette or a small measure of medicinal spirits.
I was thus able to observe the expressions and reactions of errant pair.
"Mr.-- and Mr.--- you have sadly let me down." started the Chief "You know,of course, that -as well as your technical training I stand 'in loco parentis' and consider myself responsible for your safety and guidance. And what do you DO? Out all night -with your cocoa going cold at your cabin door! Such lack of respect!Such lack of consideration and gratitude!
The boys blanched.
"We've been sleeping at the Mission" said one.
"Mission---Honest!" echoed the other.
I was so moved by their reaction I had to step back into the Chief's Dayroom to conceal the tears that sprang to my eyes.
I stepped back into the office , the Chief's shoulders were shaking--stress of the moment , no doubt,
"The MISSION!" cried the Chief "Correct me if I'm wrong Mr.Tee. Is the padre there no' Church of England?"
I could see this one coming and somewhat tremulously agreed "Aye !Chief--C.of E.!"
The air crackled electrically as this statement was absorbed by our collective Psalm Singing Scots Presbyterian consciousness.
"C. of E." gasped the Chief" They sing HYMNS , HYMNS!!!!"
He turned from the pale and visibly shaking pair towards me and said,"I've spent the whole night searching Nagoya for this pair! You , on my behalf ,my trusty Second,have been spilling but a few litres of heavy down the starboard side ! And all the while these twa have been soundly sleeping in the Mish!"
He collected himself.
"Now ,you two, I can see that realization of the gravity of your conduct is sinking in!
Never let this happen again! Off you go!-the Second has a scavenge needs cleaning-and there will be no cocoa tonight!"
The two fled the scene.
"Ah'll have tae report this" said the Chief "What can I say?"
Said I "Wont be so bad if you tell the the Company that -after a cultural visit overnight in Nagoya , extending their knowledge of the Japanese tongue they ended up safely in the missionary position!
But can we no' keep this quiet? Naebody else knows. The Auld Man and the Chiefy Steward have been at it with the Ship's Chandelier aw' night and the Mate's been unpacking a pile of new scaling machines-says he's goin' on days across to Panama and up to Newport."
The Chief recoiled in horror.
"Chippin' all the way home!!! Well ,Sec.,-its a pity were doon to one compressor-an' the spares have no ' arrived! Eh? Have tae keep the good one on minimum use!"
The thought of five weeks without his customary post-prandial pint recovery session had obviously galvanized the Chief into pre-empt mode.
But he hadn't finished.
"Back to that wee oil spill, Pete.
Always , always bunker the diesel last! That way-when ye spill the diesel it will thin oot the heavy! Works every time for me!
Now tell the junior to place the log gently on my desk and call me aboot three!"

Peter Fielding
28th May 2011, 17:54
All sounds frighteningly familiar!