Ships Nostalgia - View Single Post - Bankline in the 50's....
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Old 22nd August 2009, 22:04
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,695
Bank Line, as an apprentice in the 50's was-

Burning off the wire grids on all the hatch vents using a paraffin burner on top of a black metal deck in the Red Sea whilst wearing only shorts. Hell, it was hot.

Drinking our lime juice every day with tepid water and for a prolonged spell with no sugar because that was not part of the BoT requirements.

Standing confusedly on my own in darkness on the fo'c's'le in Nagoya whilst at the buoys there, wondering what was going on, having been shouted out by the mate in some panic. Conscious suddenly that there were strange creaking and whipping noises around me before becoming belatedly aware that the source of these noises was the wires to the buoy breaking as the squall increased violently and they were snaking viciously all around me.

Scenting in the clean sea air the perfume of Japan from the......no, no, not that.....well, not then,.... pine wood thirty miles off to the west.

Being called up to the bridge by the Old Man (Holbrook...not one of nature's natural romantics) to see the detached snow capped top of Mt. Fujiyama etched to the north, looking like one of these beautiful Japanese etchings as we ploughed the Inland Sea for Yokosuka.

Squirming at the prospect of cleaning out the oak line chill rooms in the 'tween decks designed for shellac on the non-existent round the world trade, opening them up to prepare for tea cargo, and watching hundreds of thousands of "Bombay canaries" rustling in their golden dark brown shells and dropping all around us.

Having Christmas day off whilst at anchor in the entrance of the River Plate with the tops of skyscrapers many miles distant, but looking forward to the meal before suddenly getting orders to sail immediately for Rosario to load grain for India and spending the rest of the day in the bilges cleaning strum boxes and bilge of rotten copra, sludge, and dead "Bombay canaries" whilst survivors dropped around me.

Sailing acting third mate for almost 8 months of my c. 40 months sea time.

Locking with Gordon Bruce in mortal combat with the Indian stewards one of whom I caught spreading the butter for the toast with his forefinger to make it spread further. Pots, pans, brushes an awful lot of noise and a reverbating roar from the Old Man as his formidable figure appeared from on top.

Learning perfectly a verse of "Shina na yoru" as I dreamed of Noriko, so perfectly that I was able to croon it to a Japanese girl in Daliburgh, South Uist last year where she was learning the pipes (as one would expect them to do!) and I was there doing Gaelic very badly and I got my first ever English translation only 55 years later. (Honest!)

And no regrets
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