Life at the end of the road

August 15, 2014

Ferguson’s gone :-(

I dunno what the doctor has given me, but whatever it is I can’t sleep, almost 1:00am before I turned in last night and I’m still ‘counting piglets’ at 3:00am. Dunno what time sleep overcame me but I awoke around 7:30 feeling unusually normal, too normal in fact. Usually after a spell with Catriona Purll I leave her couch feeling ten foot tall and then awake the following day feeling like I’ve been wrestling with a pig. This morning I felt great, I mean really great, the best I’ve felt in weeks, and fully prepared for the rigours of the day.

Today’s task being to sit down, take it easy and do my VAT return a mere 15 days overdue, which is pretty good for me. Twenty four years or 96 returns I’ve reluctantly done, only ever got a handful in on time and only two early. Right enough it’s always them that owes me money and I bet they’d be on me ‘like a ton of bricks’ if it were the other way around.

I hate paperwork and using the phone, but with the state of my back there’s not a great deal else I can do, which is really annoying as the weather seems to have drastically improved this last couple of days. The Dude managed to do a fine job of cutting the grass yesterday under my instruction, the first time in three weeks due to the frequent heavy showers. That would have been sometime after 4:00pm when he’d had his breakfast!! What is it that turns teenagers into nocturnal creatures? I’m lying in bed last night at two or three in the morning and he’s just come out of the shower and starts talking carp with some mate over the internet! It’s all a little beyond me, but then I think I jumped from childhood to middle age and missed out on all the teenage stuff till I had my ‘midlife crisis’ in my late thirties Smile Think I was far too serious in my late teens, early twenties, I mean, I gave up drink at seventeen and didn’t take it back up until I was thirty six!

A great blow for Inverclyde

It wasn’t long after I’d arisen, done my ablutions and fired up the laptop that I heard the news, I didn’t believe it at first as there was nothing on the internet when I ‘Googled’ ‘Ferguson shipbuilders closed’ and ‘Ferguson shipbuilders liquidation’. However a couple of hours later I heard it on the radio and the ‘world wide web’ had caught up with the ‘tom toms’. Ferguson Shipbuilders had indeed ‘gone belly up’.


Having spent a few weeks there last year during the final stages of Hallaig’s construction and commissioning I’d seen great optimism in the yard. The world’s first RORO seagoing hybrid ferry was about to be handed over the second one (MV Lochinvar) was well on the way and there was talk of a third or even fourth. I’d got to know quite a few of the staff and seen at first hand how much this employer meant to Port Glasgow and Greenock.

It’s exactly a year ago that I was suddenly called from work to leave my temporary posting on the MV Finlaggan at Islay and join Hallaig at Ferguson’s where ‘sea trials’ were starting on our new vessel.


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She was still quite a way from being finished but it was great seeing her coming together and meeting all the workers that had had a hand in bringing her together.

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This was the first week in August 2013, eight months after I’d been to her launch with MiL in December 2012.

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Aye Nicola Sturgeon was there and there was great talk of this being a turning point for the Lower Clyde and Ferguson’s with this new ‘ground-breaking’ ship. What happened? the ship is great, she moves twice the number of cars quieter, quicker, cleaner and for less fuel than her predecessor.

Alex himself, only four months ago assured Ferguson’s that there was a future for Lower Clyde ship building.


Salmond guarantees shipbuilding will continue long-term in Scotland

Tuesday 15 April 2014

GMB Scotland delegate Alex Logan, a plater at Ferguson Shipbuilders in Port Glasgow, said: "Can I ask the First Minister to give us a guarantee that the shipbuilding industry will continue long-term in Scotland?"

Mr Salmond said: "Yes, we will. The Royal Navy will continue to order ships from Scottish yards, based on that these are the best places to produce these vessels.

Rings hollow for the seventy or so workers locked out of Ferguson’s this morning, several of whom I’d got to know quite well.

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Still, it’s early days yet, they only locked the doors 15 hours ago and the big vote is just a month away. Call me cynical but I wouldn’t be surprised if slippery Alex pulls something out of the hat just to keep Inverclyde ‘onside’. Perhaps the third hybrid ferry Smile Fingers crossed for Mike, Eddy, Alex, Joe, Billy and all the other chaps at Ferguson’s that I got to know.

Me, I’m off to bed to catch up on my sleep, all I have to do now is work out which pills to take. Is it the ones to help me sleep? the ones that make me fart? the ones that dry my mouth or the ones I take to stop the ones that dry my mouth making me constipated!

Oh for a cup of valerian tea, you can’t seem to get it anymore Sad smile



  1. When I lived on the hill at Clydebank in the 50’s the river was full of ships and the yards full of work. At New Year at the ‘bells’ the noise of all the ships’ hooters on the river was quite something. I find it incredible that within my lifetime the river is silent and now the last of the yards is closing. A very momentous day.

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — August 15, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

    • Sad indeed Anne.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 16, 2014 @ 8:16 am

  2. Sad too at the closing of the yard and I’d be surprised if the slimy Salmond doesn’t put his oar in too. I just hope it is for the right reasons.

    Comment by Panomphaean — August 16, 2014 @ 4:59 am

  3. You can get Valerian in many forms from Amazon Paul, teas, tablets tinctures etc
    I’m no great fan of them due to their tax avoidance, but they are very handy for things like that.
    Roll on the legalization of cannabis, fantastic pain killer, sedative and appetite enhancer!

    Comment by caadfael — August 16, 2014 @ 7:38 am

    • Cheers for that Caadfael and I managed to find some on eBlag. Aye a nice hash yoghurt or cake would go down a treat right now but I don’t think my employer would be too chuffed. Used to make me paranoid right enough but I could cope with that right now 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 16, 2014 @ 8:12 am

  4. If you rub Straw Hat Red Wine directly on your back, does it make it any better?

    Comment by drgeo — August 16, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

  5. >> slimy Salmond doesn’t put his oar in too.

    Really? Well do you think the yard workers want help from the First Minister or not? If he didn’t at least try, he’d be damned for not doing anything? Do you think Westminister cares?
    (Oh and just who told Tom Morton he could sing??? 🙂

    Comment by David L — August 18, 2014 @ 11:56 pm

    • I care David. I live on the Clyde and I’m a skipper and engineer. Of course we all want the yard saved. I’m just pointing out it would extraordinary if not clever political timing if Salmond comes in with a rescue solution. The cynic in me would question his motives. As for Tom singing, I’m not qualified to comment. I’m told I’m tone deaf. I did like the lyrics of the Ferguson lament though.

      Comment by Panomphaean — August 19, 2014 @ 7:50 am

    • Morning David and welcome,

      >> slimy Salmond doesn’t put his oar in too. I really hope he does but know that he wouldn’t give a toss were there not votes attached to it. Support for independence does not mean that you have to have to like the politician.

      Do you think Westminister cares? Only if there are votes in it

      (Oh and just who told Tom Morton he could sing) He can’t but the words are emotive 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 19, 2014 @ 7:51 am

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