Remember the ''Brownies''?

31st December 2006, 09:12
I was with Port Line for the majority of my sea career.

However, one day at home at the end of my leave, I received a 'Brownie', to join this most unfamiliar ship, well, to me, anyway.

It didn't have the prefix 'Port', just the words 'MV Mahout'!

It was also in a most unfamiliar port because I was used to southern ports but in this instance I was to join the vessel in Dundee!

This was the beginning of a nine month trip of a most interesting and enjoyable nature. It was 1974.

New ports, new crew, new cargo, all most interesting to say the least.

I can see my fellow crew members in my minds eye but their names, I'm afraid I have forgotten, maybe, only one or two first names I can recall.

There were a few 'Brocklebank old timers', who resented a 'new kid on the block', like me, from what they said was a 'Posh' company like Port Line!

One name and character I can recall was a lad from Byker or is it Biker in Newcastle. He was a Senior Third Engineer called Ken Rutter.

The one 'bad' element about that Brocklebank trip on the 'Mahout', was that the ship was run by a committee comprising of the Chief Steward, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer, in that order. The Captain was rarely ever seen and was basicially only a figurehead, a rubber stamp for the ''Committee''.

I hadn't come across that in Port line before.

I did a few months coasting with a great Chief Engineer, his name escapes me but he wore leg calipers because of a childhood illness.

One of the 'mates', devoted a great deal of time to stoking, decoking, refilling and firing-up his pipe during the trip.
It was almost as if the pipe was the main man and the 'mate' was the assistant to it!

There are many more stories about that eventful trip I could tell you, but next time, maybe.

My next trip was on the ''MV Maihar'', another interesting trip and my last with Brocklebank before yet another last, my last trip with Port Line on the then 20 year old ''MV Port Auckland".

I ended my sea going career in 1976 on a Moss Tanker laid-up on the River Fal. I'd had enough!

I emmigrated to Australia on a two year contract for an iron Ore Company in the Pilbarra, North of Western Australia.
Then moved to Perth for the next 8 years.

I've lived and worked in many countries during my 25 year career with the same company, but ended up in Melbourne where I am presently.