Monthly Archives: October 2014

A sad tale from Normand Cutter

A sad tale from Normand Cutter

Blue so deep you feel you could drown if you stared too long. Not like Westbrook Bay. Grey, brown, muddy brown, muddy grey. Sometimes, on sunny quiet days it’s green and nice. Rarely, though at least once or twice a year, inviting.

The small birds descended, in their hundreds onto the busy working deck. Sparrows in the main but some finches too, and, some tiny exotics. We are 70 miles from land and the wind is strong and pushing them away from it. We are their last hope then, us or death.

The giant carousel laden with subsea umbilical turns, ceaselessly. Orange clad men, reflective tape at queer angles, dash about the deck highlighted in the harsh electric faux-day. The tiny feathered things are confused and panicked and weary.

We eat like stuffed Kings at a banquet yet there is no food for the arrivals, no water, no rest, no haven. The fluttering diminishes as the days pass. The numbers lessen, as does the attention paid by the unwilling observers.

Today, at first, just one then not long after, none.

A plug for my bro’

A shameless plug for my bro’s firm’s latest product.

curbi is big in Tennessee and about to get bigger!

We’re excited to be attending the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools 2014 Biennial Conference.

This is the first time we’ve taken curbi on the road and we’re looking forward to sharing the curbi story with many more people.

The TAIS 2014 Conference is on November 2 and 3 at the Brentwood Academy, Tennessee (just outside Nashville).

curbi will be on the show floor at Booth 10 and will be presented by Justin Magraith, curbi Product Director and Bradley Chambers, Director of ICT, Brainerd Baptist School at 10am on Monday morning.


A poem from Shawn L Bird


Oh, back row,

You’re so cool.

Won’t do your school work.

Hang out at the smoke pit.

Drunk all weekend.




The front row

gets its work done,

laughs with friends,

finds healthy fun.

They will graduate,

get into college

and employ you

at minimum wage.

It’s never cool

to peak in

high school.

View original

Cutter at Damietta

They use the helideck, located forward on the vessel, to ‘walk the circle’. It’ 20m in diameter so reasonably generous as these things go. The captain and chief engineer are keen walkers spending every lunch hour power walking around it in serious fashion. Both men are in their late fifties, around 5 foot 8 each and slightly built. They both wear upmarket trainers for the walk, carry blue ship’s issue towels in their right hands folded in an identical manner and exhibit deep devoted suntans. They both sport tailored shorts with brown leather belts and nothing on their tops. They walk in step, purposefully and at great speed. Few words are passed between them and the object of the exercise appears to be ‘Who will crack first?’

Woe betide any fellow walker who causes a break of step or a deviation from the pace. Allatsea did. Inadvertently. He’ll be scarred for life.

Spooling of the 29,000m umbilical continues gently and to now safely at a rate of 6 m/minute. With luck they should be completed by lunchtime on Tuesday and following seafastening etc etc we’ll be off to location to play the installation game.

It’s barely 0800 but already the heat is fierce and nagging and sapping. Very glad this old body doesn’t have to work outside in any physically demanding role. Leaning on a rail and looking suitably quizzical is about the limit of these old bones. The deck crew are a cheerful bunch and the hours spent dealing with what must seem like relentless monotony are dealt with in  good humour. It’s nice to see.

Just how expeditiously we get completed and returned to Blighty remains to be seen. The weather’s normally the gaffer in these matters but equipment breakdown, cockups and changes of plan all play their part. Allatsea’s got his fingers, knees and eyes crossed that the joys or Westbrook will once again be experienced before the end of the month.

U16 and U15, be completed, it is spoken.


 A Menke 3500 pile driving hammer. SOLAN, August 2014
Letter from Nigeria

I am Chiedu Boglo the son of a retired General in the Nigerian Army and a former minister. I came to know of you in my search for a reliable person to handle a very confidential transaction, which involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account. There were series of contracts executed by a Consortium of Multinational for the ministry in which my father was minister in our country. The original values of these contracts were deliberately over-invoiced to the tune of forty-one Million United States Dollars (US$41,000,000.00). The over-invoiced sum he purposed to acquire for himself after retirement. Unfortunately, things took another turn. I will explain more to you when you show your interest to assist me. Consequently, I am looking for someone who will help us ( my father and I) to receive the money on our behalf. Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20% of the total transferred sum. While we shall take 75% and the balance 5% has been set aside to take care of any expenses you shall incure in the process of the transfer of this fund.

You must however NOTE that this transaction is subject to the following terms and conditions;

(i) Our conviction of your transparent honesty.

(ii) That you wound treat this transaction with utmost secrecy and confidentiality.

(iii) That the funds would be transferred to an account over which you have absolute control. Modalities have been worked out at the highest levels to make for the immediate transfer of the funds within 10 working days, subject to your satisfaction of the above stated terms. Our assurance is that your role is 100% risk-free. To accord this transaction the legality it deserves and for mutual security of the funds, the whole approval procedures will be officially and legally processed with your name or the name of your company you may nominate as the bonafide beneficiary.

Kindly, respond to this mail with a view to my giving you more information. Please, do send your acceptance via my E-mail address. Also, include in your mail you private/confidential telephone and fax number to enable me reach you as soon as I get your response. Thank you very much as I anticipate your response.

Yours faithfully,

Prince Chiedu Boglo (in association with ‘Stop the live exports’, Thanet)

Navy destroyers to be sold

Royal Navy Destroyers to be sold……..sad but true

Royal Navy destroyers go up for sale as preservation bid sunk

THREE of the Royal Navy’s former destroyers have been put up for sale as plans to keep one of them as a museum ship look dead in the water.

Ex-HMS Edinburgh, York and Gloucester have been laid up in Portsmouth naval base since they were decommissioned from 2011 onwards. Naval veterans with a fondness for the Type 42 destroyers had hoped Edinburgh could be preserved in Scotland as a museum ship. But Edinburgh’s council decided preserving it would be too expensive – with the costs potentially running into millions of pounds. Campaigners behind the bid to keep Edinburgh afloat say they will now look into crowdfunding options.

Paul Gibb, founder of Save HMS Edinburgh, said: ‘It’s disappointing as we are now back to where we started a year and a half ago.‘It was always a tall order. But my understanding was the navy did not want the last Type 42 destroyer to be scrapped.’Mr Gibb, who served on the ship between 1991 and 1994, intends to look at the figures and see whether it is possible to raise the money through crowdfunding.

He added: ‘There is a huge amount of support for this, but we won’t take it forward unless we are 100 per cent sure we can make it work.’ Artefacts from Edinburgh are being lined up for inclusion in a museum in Leith. The destroyer had been intended as a tourist attraction on the waterfront, but a study found it would cost £10m to buy and restore the ship and around £4.87m per year to run it.The report, from Pricewaterhouse Coopers commissioned by Edinburgh’s city council, found the attraction would only bank £1.3m in annual revenue.The ship’s bell and bronze plaques from the deck could be among the items handed over to be preserved at the proposed Leith Museum.

The Ministry of Defence is now considering expressions of interest from organisations wanting to buy any of the three destroyers for reuse or recycling.Two other destroyers,

Manchester and Liverpool, have already been sold for scrap.

For Emily, the lyrics to, by Paul Simon

For a genuine emotional delight, watch John Frusciante (him from the RHCP) sing this beautiful short, sweet and uplifting song. Go visit Utube and enjoy.

What I dream I had, dressed in organdy
Clothed in crinoline, of smoky Burgundy
Softer than the rain

I wandered empty streets, down past the shop displays I heard cathedral bells, tripping down the alley ways
As I walked on

And when you ran to me your cheeks flushed with the night
We walked on frosted fields of juniper and lamplight
I held your hand

And when I awoke and felt you warm and near
I kissed your honey hair with my grateful tears
Oh I love you, girl

Oh, I love you

Read more: Paul Simon – For Emily Lyrics

The bestest biog ever.

Joel Veitch
Founder of Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Winner of 3 Webby Awards Master of Arts (Electronic Media) Oxford Brookes Bachelor of Arts (English and History) University of Leeds Marksman (.22, 5.56, 7.62, LMG) Former Sixer of Grey Six, 19th Forest Hill Cub Scouts Former Member of MGS school cricket team Former Sergeant, Combined Cadet Force (RAF Section) Silver Swimming Badge 3rd best Cross Country runner in my class at age 12 Once had a letter published in the New Scientist Attended one-night Pork Butchery Course Keen amateur ukulele player Bronze lifesavers swimming badge Full clean driver’s license Passed Cycling Proficiency Test A levels – English Literature, French and History, all grade A GCSEs 7xA 2xB Good understanding of the principals of flight Good understanding of the principles of spelling Winner of the Head’s Prize for Progress, first year, Aylesford School 50 meters swimming badge Once did a wee in a loo containing Dannii Minogue’s wee 25 meters swimming badge Amateur experimental rocket / meat scientist Has caught piranhas on a hand line Willing to learn semaphore if required Able to sing The Girl From Ipanema and Mas Que Nada in Portuguese Survivor of Trans-Atlantic Airplane Fire Horror Wielder Of The Power Of Science Inventor of the Dictator Finger Thingdicator Defeater of Transformers (regardless of voltage) Founder member of the super-secret League Of Internet Justice Has eaten chicken madras for breakfast Commander In Chief of Pork Force Saver Of Old Ladies In Distress Owner of Monster Truck Experienced lawn mower Finder of camouflaged flip-flops Amateur Marine Biologist Vaguely knowledgeable about steam engines Paper Plane Expert The man behind many of the Internet’s biggest online successes (London Evening Standard 6 October 2010) Pie Master Some bloke who makes cat videos on the internet (copyright Aleks Krotoski) Kitten Wrangler Extraordinaire Inventor of Hairy Tongue Christmas Tree Decorator of some renown Able to slow kittens to 1/40th the speed of a normal kitten Fan of all ungulates Moon Baron Able to do a passable impersonation of a trumpeting elephant Fixer of aircraft using glue, tape and bog roll Cyborg Warrior Repairer of small shock absorbers Owner of a skin-tight lycra suit Knower of some stuff about pulse jets Able to identify many cartilaginous fish Painter of RC cars Able to fly a radio control plane briefly before crashing and destroying it Knows what a lift pump is in a diesel engine Understands clutch shoes Loop-the-looper extraordinaire! Getting less bad at soldering Has a vague understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of a small propeller spinning quickly vs a big propeller spinning slowly Knows that volts times amps equals watts Father of Ultimate Nail Baby Hasn’t even mentioned that he cut the tip of his finger off because he’s so brave Builder of Sausage Drone Not responsible for anyone injuring themselves while attempting dangerous erotic freefall Popular amongst Dominicans with sexually confusing genetic disorders HABATAAAAAAG enthusiast Milkman impersonator Stallion Explosion Drummer on stranded buoys Killer of tree stump Barbequer of delicious sardines Rat control expert Wears a clean pair of underpants every single day, no exceptions Juicing enthusiast Maestro Human Jamonero Fingernail splinter survivor Choctopussular King of the Underworld King of rapid-reaction song-forging Trainee quadcopter pilot Digger-out of large pieces of floorboard from his own feet flesh Survivor of adult mumps Egg detector Bacon Drone Mastermind Able to speak French a bit Very grown up Getting better at gardening Not actually so sure I am getting better at gardening after all Successfully grafted at least one fruit tree Learning a bit about pollination Has eaten reindeer Building slug defences from egg shells Has definitely got some greengages growing on the greengage tree Owner of a kiwi vine Slug Patrol! Ho! Has a slightly sore little finger on the right hand Destroyer of aphids Several plants would be growing better if I had just left them alone instead of trying to help A bit tired Owner of a Passion Fruit vine Grower of Asparagus Educator about dinosaurs Grower and Eater of greengages Pork is my cake, cheese sauce my custard Creator of a massive glut of broad beans

Cousin Jo asked me how old mummy allatsea was. Seventy nine going on a hundred was the reply. Funny old thing, just two or three years ago mummy allatsea could out speedwalk most forty-yearolds, party till dawn, host the world to death and still look ok for her years. Then the rabid alcohol addiction really took over, the fall and broken hip, new hip, fall again, repair hip thing , all took their toll. It’s awful to see. I lose sleep because all she’s become is a stagnant settee sitter, a bedroom tippler, a bollox speaker, an oxygen thief. Why do I lose sleep? Because, at least I think because, she wants to be like that. It’s not nice.

She’s given up and handed over all responsibility to God. Her Catholic God. There is only one, and he, for God is a he because it’s ritt, she says, looks after good Catholics who light candles and believe in weird stuff and preach intolerance and abuse the young.

It’s God’s will.

That’s all right then.

In the meantime, allatsea junior is outside blighty once again, attempting to earn an honest crust. This time he’s in Egypt and he’s on a very fine Norwegian (although registered in the Isle of Man) vessel which is about to spool on some 29 km of very fancy umbilical cable type stuff. There’s  a bit of a fly in the ointment as he writes because the Egyptian customs chaps have declined to ‘clear’ the host vessel inwards, citing some irregularities with the paperwork. Bugger and bugger, that’s a blow. Until this little malarkey is sorted out the stuff is staying well and truly on the boat wot brought it here from bonny jockland.

Go on have a guess? How many times was allatsea’s passport looked at and fiddled with by chaps in uniform today, from the time he arrived at the Dimattia Port Offices (at 0910) until he was finally given a pass (at 1400) to enter the docks and board the vessel?

Around eighteen times!! Wonderful isn’t it. So efficient and expeditious to business in the 21st century. Egypt is not alone in practising this lunatic over-complexity of the simplest of matters. Oh indeed not. Their close neighbours Israel, sneeringly superior (they think) to their Arab borderers are just as bad, just as twattish. India, is also a fine example of using three dozen processes where one would do, as are most of the West African states. Indeed, from a mariner’s point of view, Europe is a shining beacon of expedient cross border processes and stress free inward clearing. But not for long of course, not with those nutters in the ukip brigade and similar demanding we all go back in time. They’d be much more at home in Egypt methinks, or Israel. In the meantime let’s get that wall built, get on with a bit of subsistence farming and moaning around the campfire about all those horrible foreigners wot roooinned evereefink.