Life at the end of the road

March 17, 2013

All quiet on the eastern front :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:17 pm

It’s been a while I know but I’ve not felt like burdening anyone with my gloom, for I am indeed truly miserable, still that’s me been here exactly a week and I’ll soon be heading home. It’s not the course at the college , that’s extremely interesting and relevant. It’s not the digs at ‘The Clifton’ on Ocean road, far from it, Dave and Susan have looked after me splendidly, the place is immaculate, clean, warm, quiet and the food great. It’s just that I hate it here and feel like a ‘fish out of water’, my right knee is killing me and preventing me from doing the only thing that kept me sane on previous visits, which is walking Sad smile

Sunday 17th March

Well this is me making a half hearted attempt at catching up whilst watching though all I keep seeing is


‘John Boy’ from the Walton’s  Smile I can’t say that I’m giving it my undivided attention for it would be difficult to improve on Lewis Milestone’s seminal anti war film of 1930,  and I’ve yet to come across a remake that improved on an original. Casino Royale excluded that is not that I’ve seen the 2006 effort but it would be hard to make one worse than the original Smile Not that  it did much good, for nine years later we were at it again Sad smile

Sorry, got distracted there by a salad from the ‘Sahara Flame’  over the road, and of course my comfort for the weekend, a flagon of Weston’s cider Smile Much as I detest ‘fast food’ the effort from the Turks, Cypriots, Algerians or whatever they are on Ocean road is excellent, a huge bowl of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, gherkin, chilli and olives for £2.99. Of course I have absolutely no idea what they are saying to me on account of my poor hearing and their combination of Geordie and whatever it is but we seem to get along just fine and I now have some new pals Smile

Anyway, where was I, well back at college I suppose, where most of it was spent on various simulators


starting up, and at times ‘blacking out’



various oil tankers and cruise ships.


Now this may not seem at first glance to have much relevance to a 40m long RoRo ferry but I can assure you that it does. Gone now are the days of wandering around every pump, generator, engine and fan to start it then giving it a thwack with a hammer if it don’t go. Nowadays it’s all done with a mouse and it takes a little getting used to Smile

News from home

It’s just my recent addiction to ‘the box’ and an unhealthy amount of Weston’s and red wine that’s kept me sane, it’s also the regular news from home in the form of phone calls and emails Smile

14-3-12 001


Raasay House has been formally handed over to the community,


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Dave Thompson has written to us all regarding a ‘community buyout’ and today we got 32 eggs from 32 hens Smile


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The croft is in capable hands


16-3-13 008

and the ‘wee dug’ just as miserable as me Smile

It tastes better from a glass

This last couple of days have been a bit of a struggle, I’m not used to being confined and it would have been even harder work had it not been for my hosts, Dave and Susan. Friday night and, after a week of abstinence I set off out to venture across the road to the ‘offy’, a small corner shop on Ocean road with a good selection of red wine. On the way out of the front door I engages in conversation with my affable landlord Dave, informing him I’m off to buy a bottle of wine. On my return I’m greeted by Susan, his wife, and a glass, “Dave says it always tastes better out of a glass” says she  Smile



They do my washing for me, keep me fed and are the perfect hosts,


I really don’t like it here on ‘the eastern front’ but I’m glad that I’m ‘billeted’ in ‘The Clifton guest house’ on Ocean road Smile

This sore knee has been a real pain in the butt but today, after much ointment, several pain killers and the application of a very expensive knee support I risked a wander.



This will be the Havila Pheonix, a serious off shore supply vessel that was berthed just opposite the South Shields ferry landing.


The DFDS ‘King Seaways’


was also in port and at 27 years of age can’t be far from abdication Smile or at least a change of venue to the Philippines or Indonesia Smile 



Unusual these day in not having a ‘bulbous bow’ was the Cypriot registered ‘Pedhoulas Leader either bringing coal or taking away scarp, perhaps both Smile

March 14, 2013

Simulated yet stimulated :-)

Filed under: daily doings, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:31 am

Half past five in the morning ‘and I can’t get no sleep’, well, not strictly true, I’ve actually slept quite well, just not for long enough Sad smile My body knows spring is just six days away and wants to be out doing things on the croft or up at the house. That’s not all it wants to do but I’ll have to wait until I get home for that Smile Just like the ‘birds and the bees’ methinks it’s time to be out there lining my nest and doing stuff.

What on earth do folk in towns do at this time of the year if they’ve not got a garden ??? Or more correctly what do you do that doesn’t involve parting with money or putting on weight ?? Me, I suppose if my knee wasn’t hurting would go for a walk but I’m sure I’d soon get fed up of that.

I left my berth on the MV Clifton Smile yesterday for the daily hobble to college and by the time I’d got to the end of Ocean road I looked like a snowman, or at least the front half of me did. However it didn’t last long and was even quite sunny at times, though a phone call to darling wife told a different tale. She’d been telephoned by the snow plough driver to say that he couldn’t get the lorry up Glame Brae and not to attempt the drive south. Again, just like here it didn’t really lie for long and by late afternoon the road was clear, one thing about potholes is that they provide more traction than smooth tarmac Smile Smile

The day at South Tyneside College had been spent mainly in one of the many simulators ‘cold starting’ a huge cruise ship and was very enjoyable indeed.


Yup, that’s how it’s done nowadays, even on our own relatively small MV Hallaig, no wandering around the ship starting generators, engines, pumps and separators,  just several (hundred in this case) clicks of a mouse Smile



Of course you still have to physically check some oil levels but bunker, water and oil tanks or all done ‘on screen’ as are the operation of just about every fuel, water, oil and steam valve.



Scoused Smile

The first time we were in the bridge simulator last year I was well and truly ‘Scoused’ Smile Steering my large ferry through Scapa Flow in a gale of west wind and snow showers whilst dodging submarines, fishing boats and cargo ships I lost control and nearly ran aground on South Ronaldsay Sad smile

The ‘near miss’ being caused by two Scousers ‘full of nonsense’ who’d surreptitiously taken over control of the ship and were using the azimuth pods to put me off course Smile

Anyway, this morning I’m trawling the net for some picture when I found them,

 Left to right: Simon Ashton, Christopher Sumbler, Luke Manning, Dai Coombes, Gary Hindmarch

the two ‘Scousers’ that is, Luke and Chris from Svitzer tugs Smile . Wonder if they’ve crashed any tugs yet Smile

Well, that’s about it really, 6:30 now, an hour to breakfast and I’m starving, all this ‘rabbit food’ I’m eating in an effort to loose some weight means I’m permanently hungry.


Time for another shower, that’s another thing about being in the ‘toon’, I feel permanently grubby, this town muck just aint the same as mud and pig pooh Smile Having said that,



it’s a long while since my hands have been this clean Smile



And I’ve just realized, I can see the town hall clock from my room, not only that but it works Smile

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