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Invernahaille
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669 Posts
Posted -  26/06/2006  :  04:02







Edited by - Invernahaille on 10 April 2007 04:41:19
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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 18/07/2007 : 06:30

Robert, here's an exerpt from me memoir about steering ghear....

There was a funny incident when we were setting up for the lecture in the sumptuous surroundings of the Antiquaries. John Robinson had come to help us and to listen to Peter’s lecture. I had first met John when I started the LTP, he was Keeper of Navigational Instruments at the Science Museum in London and also had responsibility for a fund called The Fund for the Preservation of Scientific and Technical Knowledge. At one point it looked as though we could get some funding by that route but it never actually happened. John was a big gangling lad, I say ‘lad’ but he was about the same age as me. As far as I could see John had a lovely life, he spent a lot of time travelling round the country by train, First Class of course, and the rest of his working life in the back rooms of the museum. He was a regular visitor at Hey Farm and Vera always used to have to dismantle his thermos flask to clean it. John only swilled it out and it was usually filthy! He had an ex-Wrens blue canvas hold-all and the joke was that this actually held ‘The Fund’. He didn’t drive because his eyesight was so bad he wouldn’t have been safe. This problem was compounded by the fact that he was always losing his glasses or else sitting on them! His office at the museum was a glorious clutter of valuable papers and art. Evidently there was a convention that lesser works of art in the cellars of the various galleries of London could be loaned to institutions like the Science Museum and hung in offices. His desk was a jumble of documents and artefacts. I chided him about it once but he told me he wasn’t as bad as another member of staff at the museum. Legend had it that this man once lost his umbrella on his desk and it was open at the time!

If the picture I am giving of John sounds harsh, believe me it isn’t, he was and still is a most disorganised man but charming with it! I remember one day he asked me to drive him to Manchester to catch the London train. We hadn’t a lot of time to get there but just about enough to do it in comfort. On the way he decided to stop at Bury to have a look at a steam roller which the Bury Railway Society had asked for funding for. This detour, while it didn’t take long, really put the pressure on me and I managed to get him on the platform just as the train was about to leave. At this point he threw me completely by ignoring the train and getting into deep conversation with a lady on the platform. This was Jane, a friend of his and I stood there watching them talk as the train drew out! I even took pictures. They decided they would go off for a meal and I was invited, I can’t remember now what I did. The most prominent memory of that day to a man who was brought up to believe that ‘Punctuality is the politeness of princes and the courtesy of kings’ was the fact that after all that trouble and stress he had failed to board the train!

Back to the Antiquaries; there was a young man there, a regular helper at the place, who kept referring to John as Lieutenant Commander Robinson. I knew John was in the ‘Wavy Navy’, the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve, but I didn’t know he was a Lt. Commander! I’ll bet he travelled First Class on their business as well! Evidently the young man was in the service as well. Every now and then John used to go to sea to play at being an officer, remember he was almost blind without his glasses, and he told me once it came their turn to play with a minesweeper. Unknown to them, during a refit, the steering gear had been set up wrongly, the stop had been left off the end of the gear quadrant that actually moved the rudder. The first time they put the wheel hard over to that side the pinion dropped out of mesh, the rudder jammed hard over and all they could do was sail around in circles in the middle of Portsmouth harbour. John said they never lived it down.




Stanley Challenger Graham




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Invernahaille
Regular Member


669 Posts
Posted - 18/07/2007 : 17:35
Stanley. Only the R.N. would get away with that one. Merchant Navy articles dictate that the steering gear must be switched on and tested at least half an hour before a ship sets sail. If that were to happen to a merchantman, either the chief engineer or master could lose their tickets.

Edited by - Invernahaille on 18 July 2007 17:36:33


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Invernahaille
Regular Member


669 Posts
Posted - 18/07/2007 : 17:40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture of a Reefer's (Refrigeration Ship) refrigeration machinery.




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 19/07/2007 : 06:39
My old firebeater John used to work on the banana boats and he said that going out the stoking was easy but as soon as they started running the refrigeration plant when the bananas came on board it was hell in the stokehold.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Invernahaille
Regular Member


669 Posts
Posted - 21/07/2007 : 17:00

Stanley. I can believe it. Once you start the refrigeration plant, it pulls a tremendous amount of energy. Understandable when you think about it. Several thousand tons of bananas under refrigeration pull a lot of amps etc. The Silver Tower, used to sail from Antwerp to Columbia empty.

Or should I say skim. When she was empty she didnt, sail she bounced from one wave to another. 28 Knots cruising speed.



Edited by - Invernahaille on 21 July 2007 17:05:40


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 23/07/2007 : 07:08
John also told me that if the price of bananas dropped in London they would stop in the Bay of Biscay and ditch the bananas over the side, turn round and go back for another load.  More economical than carrying on to London. 


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Invernahaille
Regular Member


669 Posts
Posted - 24/07/2007 : 00:12
Stanley. That is a strong possibility. I worked out that the Silver Tower, made 2 million pounds profit from a single trip that included the deduction for charter fees crew pay, fuel cost's, and that was selling the bananas at half of the wholesale cost. I think that Belfruico (Belgian Fruit Company). paid around 2 cents a pound (weight). They were selling retail at the time around 30 pence a pound. This was 1990ish. The Silver Tower carried 8000 tons of boxed bananas, and around eight refrigerated containers on deck holding approx 12 tons of banana puree.


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Invernahaille
Regular Member


669 Posts
Posted - 30/07/2007 : 14:12
I have just remembered another incident from my first trip. I mentioned a few pages ago about anchoring of the Mumbles to enter the Swansea docks. Everything that happened onboard a ship was new to me. I had just come off watch from the engine room I had got showered and changed and, decided to have a beer outside on deck (it was a good way to cool down. I saw the chippy and a couple of deck officers on the forecastle, about to drop the anchor. The vantage point I had did not give me a good view of the anchor and it's chain because of the contouring of the hull, so I decided to go onto the forecastle to get a better view. I watched the anchor being dropped and the windlasses threw that much rust and chipped paint from the chains it made a cloud of dust. Feeling pleased with witnessing the foregoing event I returned back into the accomodation, to be met by a fuming chief engineer. He told me in no uncertain terms accompanied by a set of expletives, that it was wrong to be drinking beer where the crew were carrying out their duties on deck. He asked me how I would feel if the deck officers came down into the engine room, drinking beer whilst I was doing a watch. That got the message home. I was beginning to learn.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 30/07/2007 : 17:57
Hee Hee.....  I can just see it and you didn't know you were putting a black up.  We've all done it.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Invernahaille
Regular Member


669 Posts
Posted - 20/08/2007 : 15:59
Sorry for the delay in posting. I have just got back from a contract in the U.S.Virgin Islands. Tinkering about with Caterpillar, and Volvo marine lawnmower engines (sic). I was offered a permanant position there maintaining the rich and famous gin palaces. I hav'nt made my mind up yet. Though the way of life is very laid back. It's a bit yellow bird way up in banana tree kid of feel about it. I will keep readers updated.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 20/08/2007 : 18:09
Sounds like a good thing to try for a while Robert.  Who knows, rich widows with yachts...... and decent engines as well?  Pig heaven.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Invernahaille
Regular Member


669 Posts
Posted - 18/10/2007 : 18:11
I am in the Virgin Islands right now Stanley


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 19/10/2007 : 07:35
Bob!  Nice to see you are still alive and kicking.  How about the widows?


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Invernahaille
Regular Member


669 Posts
Posted - 25/10/2007 : 17:17
There are quite a few here Stanley. I dont know whether I would like to try one. They all seem to have a drink problem. Then again it's hardly surprising. They dont have much of a life. Wake up spend a few thousand dollars go back to sleep kind of a life.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 26/10/2007 : 16:47
So what exactly are you doing there? 


Stanley Challenger Graham




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