Life at the end of the road

November 2, 2012

A ‘drive in movie’ !!!!!

Filed under: boats, daily doings, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 2:21 am

This is gonna be real quick, it’s only 20:00 but yours truly is well and truly whacked by this whole clock changing fiasco Sad smile I’ve not had a decent sleep in days, have been plagued by wild dreams and my brain is fried with knots Smile

The first two days of this course may have seemed a little elementary but the last two have been a bit of struggle


it’s a long while since I last spliced some ‘multiplat’, ‘whipped’ an end of rope


or tied a ‘fisherman’s bend’


and I was a ‘little rusty’ to say the least Smile

It’s not that I’m particularly thick, it’s just that most ropes now are synthetic and sealed with heat, it’s against the law to splice a rope unless in emergency and a ‘fishermen’s bend’ is usually used to fasten to an anchor, not something that I’ve done in ten years or more.

Anyway, I’m now, thanks to my colleagues rather than anyone else quite proficient in these and a whole load more nautical hitches, bends and knots. However the sanity of spending most of the day learning how to rig a ‘bosun’s chair’


   cast off the wracking
A Bosun’s Chair rigged to be lowered with assistance from below (a) or by one’s self (b,c) as illustrated in Handbook of Knots and Splices (and other work with hempen and wire ropes) by Charles E. Gibson, 1961. This copy, a recent thrift store used book score, was previously part of the collection of the US Forces Special Services Library, Barenhausen Kasserne. This illustration is part of my favorite chapter of the book, Slinging, Lashing, and Seizing, which also includes beautiful instructions for lifting, moving, and lowering barrels with ropes.
While the Bosun’s Chair instructions focus on the techniques for lowering and raising the chair alone or with the assistance of others, it neglects any discussion of the fixed point from which one is suspended. How can one find a fixed point dependable enough to support a life? How does one deal with the moment (b) when that point moves out of sight and one finds one’s self suspended between the no longer and the not yet seen?
Despite these shortcomings, it is an excellent book and a welcome addition to the mumblelard family library.

escapes me, as does the necessity to learn how to operate cargo derricks and winches safely.


The last time I saw anything like this was in 1985 and that was on ship that was lying in 55m of water having been torpedoed by a German submarine in WW2.


This isn’t the ship, mine was called the ‘John R Park’  and lies in Mounts bay off Cornwall but it is identical. Nowadays they use these things called CONTAINERS

Motion Touch shipping container

and move them about in ‘container ships’ like the ones that I see going up and down the Tyne every day.


Don’t see many derricks or steam winches on that Smile Even less on a car ferry, so why the heck am I spending my days learning about ‘preventer guys’, ‘slewing guy pendants’, ‘outboard cargo runners’, ‘schooner guy’ and ‘dolly winches’????

My friendly church clock has just struck 01:15, it’s no wonder I can’t sleep, don’t they know that people have watches these days Smile I’m glad that I don’t live right next door to it, I fell asleep just as people were leaving from the ‘drive in’ next door !!!! . However that was almost four hours ago and now I’m wide awake with a raging thirst thanks to the pork stir fry I made myself for dinner. Mind you it was good and is probably the most adventurous meal I’ve concocted in my six weeks of incarceration. OK, I know it’s not the usual Loch Striven standard but space, utensils, condiments, and ingredients are limited in my little home and my cooker only has two rings Sad smile

Meanwhile on the river

One thing about the Marine Safety Training Centre, you certainly get to see some ships Smile

Here’s the car carrier ‘Pleiades Spirit’  just about to receive the tug Svitzer Sun 


  on Wednesday morning.


The dredger ‘Sand Weaver’ heading up river,


and the Pleiades leaving yesterday with the Svitzer Lyndhurst ahead and the Svitzer Sun astern,


there’s not a great deal of room for error with a ship that size, and this is a wide, straight bit of the Tyne.


That 60,000 ton monster could do a lot of damage if mishandled.


Just after she left the 38,000 ton ‘Maple Ace II’ arrived from Zeebrugge  with more cars.



The Svitzer Redbridge hanging off her stern to help steer and brake her as she comes in with the flood tide.



Anyway that frigging church clock has just struck 02:15 so I’ll just leave you with the workboat ‘Clearwater’, though that’s certainly not a word I’d use to describe the murky waters here.


And a picture of a crane Smile

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