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