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Passengers & Ship Pilots
Leisure time on board
"Mount Stewart " Dry-dock, Tiger Bay, CARDIFF. (1953)
When we left this drydock there were heaps of debris to head height, on both sides of the aft part of the main deck. The rubbish consisted of rust, pipework, broken timbers, rags, soot, drums of waste oil,
all the accommodation was filthy, and it took us three whole days to throw the rubbish overside once we were at sea, before we could even start to hose the deck and bulkheads clean.
No dumping of oily waste at sea rules then, or if there were, where were we to discharge the waste ?
"Silley Fox" Dry-dock, FALMOUTH
Always a popular place for us to dry dock in that there were many other British ships using them
B.P. ( tankers ) N.Z.S.C. ( cago ships ).There was always the possibility of having many parties at Falmouth either with nurses or the holiday makers who came to the ship, or we would have inter ship visits,
and " returned hospitality" parties.
"Schiedam" Dry-dock near ROTTERDAM
The cleanest and most efficient drydock which I remember.At the end of each day all the ship was clean,even the timber staging was stacked up neatly. Getting ashore was safe and easy in that we were allowed to ride the clean, open sided busses ( with outward facing bench seats ) that patrolled the dock
and they would take us between the ship and the dock gate.
The Ch/Off was Lothian Clark, and he had been a pilot for Shell for 12 years in " Miri" (Borneo ).He new a lot about Indonesian food.
On alternate nights when we were in drydock we would go be tram to Schiedam and visit " The Red House", an Indonesian restaurant On the first evening he marched in , with me in tow, ( I was 2nd/Officer at the time) he made himself known to the manager and asked to see the kitchens, they did with pleasure,
and this set him apart in the eyes of the staff, as being a customer who knew what standards he was expecting. He introduced me to NASSI GORENG, it was a treat which has stayed with me until today,
consisting of 13 side dishes and it took us some 3 hours to complete.
We were in drydock a long time, long enough to get a game of football with a local team called AJAX.
I played in goal, and enthusiastically dived at the feet of the forwards to get the ball,and I recieved a surprise because at the time the U.K. rules allowed the forwards to kick the ball out of the goalkeepers hands if they thought he did not have the ball under control, so this meant that U.K. goalkeepers
could on occasion come in for a bit of a kicking when diving for the ball but in Holland it was different.
The forwards would leap dramatically over you rather than make bodily contact.It made little difference to the final score of 8- 0 to them, and they were only the AJAX 3rd team as we were to find out later.
There was an exhibition in Brussels at the time, and Alan & l wanted to go and see itand the EURATOM, so having a very rare Sunday off we decided to go by train to Brussels, some with passports, and I had my
" Seamans Identity card" which was accepted as being as good as a passport. Things went well as far as Blommendal, where the Dutch customs and Immigration would allow me to leave the country, but the BELGIANS would not let me into Belgium. I was escorted off the train and had to make my way back to the ship alone.
"Smiths" Dry-dock MIDDLESBOROUGH
We apprentices joined the London Integrity after her acceptance trials, and for some reason for 2 days the only bunks available for us were in the ships hospital. Even here we had a job to make it habitable because of the major Party that been held on the ship. The hospital was filthy with the remains of hor's d'oeuvres, other scraps of stale food, half full bottles of beer, and the place stank. We could not get any food on the ship on the first night so we had to make our way across a pitch black, coal rail marshalling yard to a row of houses that had a fish and chip shop , so at least we had something to eat.
Valletta" Dry -dock MALTA
We were the first merchant ship into what had been the Naval drydock in Valleta and they were doing their best to encourage more shipping lines to use the drydock, so the management arranged for the wives to go to an hotel in the day called VILLA ROSA ( it had a beautiful swimming pool, which was much better than being on a noisy dirty ship in drydock ). We were working in the day, so we men only got ashore in the evening,but we did enjoy the place.
" Naples " Dry-dock
We had put a painted circle on all work that had to be done then the drydock staff would put a diagonal line across it when the job had been started and another at right angles to the first when work had been completed
The workers were supposed to be multiskilled so that one day you would see a man working as a pipe fitter, but the next day if he was late when that work was being allocated,you would find him working as a labourer. This system did not work well,
When we were a few hours out of Naples we had to return to have some of their work repaired, in fact for ages afterwards we had problem until the ships engineers had redone almost all of the drydock work,
In fact we called the marks of a circle with the diagonal cross inside it as the" Naples Kiss of Death".
On the other hand we had a good time eating out at night, with a bunch of flowers bought for Valerie on the way back to the ship we also were taken to"POMPII" and"BAHIA"also a cameo factory by the British vice consul who knew Valerie's father.
" Skarramanger " Dry-dock near ATHENS
We were there a few times and always for 3 to 4 weeks which to us was an incredible length of time.
The place was large and dry, with a dusty road to civilisation. This road had an abundance of wild cyclamins at the roadside, they were very small in size but the first which I had see growing naturally.
On one occasion we saw dockworkers kicking a dog,we stopped them and brought the dog on board for safety, but we could see that the dog had a badly broken leg so we called a Vet. to come and treat the dog.
Even we could see that the dog was very ill and as we could not take it to sea with us ,
even if it was to survive, so we had to call the Vet. back again to put the dog to sleep and WHO GOT THE JOB of holding the dog for the vet to administer the lethal injection ? ME ( Ch/Officers. had to deputise for the Chief Steward or Captain on medical matters ) ( and because no one had the stomach for the job.)
When we were in this drydock that we saw Onassis's yacht. ( Capable of 45 knots we were told)