Sailor’s Poem

There was a bit of a hissy argument in the press recently concerning which poem should be ‘officially’ regarded as the poem of mariners. All sorts of artfy farty, noncy poncy bits of limp wristed girly romantic guff were suggested. Wholly in-appropriate to a one as far as we at the towers are concerned.

Indeed it is the following and only the following wott should be considered appropriate and warranted for the folk who earn their living on and from the seas.

Oh Lord above

Send down a dove

With wings as sharp as razors

To the cut the the throats

Of them there blokes

Who sell bad beer to sailors


Words that ‘grab’

A visit to cPanel and the AW Stats function has shown a marked decrease in traffic to this award winning and diligently nurtured website! Yes indeed, we know that must come as a shock but ’tis true.

In order to get over this sitoo’a’shun, the Technical Review Board has decided to come up with some nautical technical words and phrases to grab the attention of search engines throughout the planet Earth.

Chafe chain end links, Smit Bracket

Kenter, speltor and peewee

Buoyancy neutral, long weight

Doubler plate, golden rivet

Parallax, tabnabs, Butterworth, Victor Pyrate, chiksan,

Grimsby buoy, fluffy, gentle

Dynamic Amplification Factor (DAF)

Dobble, smoko, dhoby

Heave, veer, surge, sway, tremble

Voyage Exposure

If in doubt, run around, and scream……..and shout.

Through the teeth and round the gums, watch out tum-tum, here it comes.

Thimble, ferrule, eye, standing part.

ECDIS, Fanbeam, taut-wire, DGPS

Sail the seven seas and though you’d never think it, the rum’s too strong for me but I like the men that drink it. Your Honour.


Not Southampton then?

What is this that stands before me

Figure in black who points at me

Time and plans are now in tatters

Helia crane too smart human contact

Commercial considerations are all that matters.

So much for going to Southampton for repairs, sodding Rotterdam wins out it seems. No matter that the round trip means around 540 miles of additional steaming, that yours truly’s gnasher repair plans have been thrown into dis-array and the docklands of Rotterdam are dreary beyond compare, seemingly the contractors at the Dutch port are more cooperative than their English counterparts at ‘cooperating with working at height issues’.


Your unhappy blogger has got a very aggressive varicocele in his scrotum and it’s going through a ‘give the bastard grief’ phase, has been for several months and it’s starting to wear the old lad down. There’s always the fear that it may be more than just a pumping and mal-placed vein  of course, which adds to the mix in an undesirable way, especially if you’ve morphed into a fully warped hypochondriac over the last few years. Add in a failed dental implant supported bridge and you’ve got a far from happy situation. Had the vessel gone to the south coast option and port-called at Southampton, the gnasher part of the problem could have been addressed in some way. Not to be and I’m jolly miffed.

The job wott we’re on, assuming gentle weather conditions and no mechanical breakdowns should take about 12 days to complete, from pull-in to home for tea and medals. Now given that seven days have already elapsed since joining, seven long and ball achingly dull days and we’re actually further back from completing the job than we were at the beginning (thankyou Heila) this malarkey isn’t likely to get started again for at least another week. Crikey that’s starting to look like the middle of December for getting home to Fannit, mogmogs and the bosom of his family.


What’s more he hasn’t even started on his Christmas shopping yet either. Looks like it’s going to be one mad rush to Primark Aldi to get it all done. Middle class and traditional it certainly aint.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Well Played, Lilian And Oliver!

Michael Cochrane (Oliver Sterling)

On Tuesday evening, Lilian took a phone call from Rob – he has seen an AmSide property – Hillside – on the website and it looks just what he’s looking for, so when can Lilian show him round? She is stunned – how did he know about the property, as it has only been on the website for about 10 minutes?

That’s the question she asks Justin the following day and he admits that he might have mentioned it to Rob. Lilian cannot believe that Rob would have the nerve to ask her, but Justin, who seems to have no idea of the depth of anti-Titchener feeling among the majority of inhabitants of Ambridge, doesn’t see what the problem is. Lilian says, somewhat incredulously, “You’re talking about the man who raped my niece and you want me to put a roof over his head?” Justin points out that Rob hasn’t been convicted of anything and he is lucky to escape without being struck.

Later on, Lilian is still in a bad mood and Justin apologises if he had been insensitive. Lilian refuses his offer of lunch and tells him “How do you think my family would feel – how would I feel – if I became his landlord?” Justin suggests that it could be a good thing for Helen, if Rob is free to start a new life, but “the decision has to be yours alone. As ever, I trust your impeccable judgement.” That’s not strictly accurate, as, when Justin was thinking of taking Rob on, Lilian advised against it and Justin ignored her advice.

Lilian mulls it over and, on Thursday, she tells Rob face to face that she has ‘other plans’ for Hillside. He retorts that he has found a better property on the Edgeley Road anyway and drives off. For her part, Lilian goes to The Bull, inviting Neil and Eddie to join her (“my treat”) to celebrate turning Rob down as a tenant. Eddie is all for it, but Neil says better not, as Susan will smell beer on his breath and bang on about the diet again. “But I wouldn’t say no to one of Wayne’s pork pies” he says, brightly. Well done, Lilian!

You do have to wonder about the blind spot that Justin has when it comes to Rob – he treats him as a normal, human being. The only other person who does that is Alan, and he has to, as that’s his job as vicar. On Friday evening, Justin invites Rob round to discuss an upcoming takeover – he wants Rob to help him with the research. Justin asks if he was disappointed at not getting Hillside? Not at all; in fact, Rob says Lilian has done him a favour, as he’s away from all the petty prejudice that he encounters in Ambridge.

Justin seems genuinely concerned, asking Rob if that bothers him much? “I barely notice it now” Rob tells him, to which Justin observes that it still cannot be very pleasant. “Water off a duck’s back,” Rob says, adding: “I shouldn’t have got tangled up with one of the oldest families in the district. I was never going to get a fair hearing, was I, so why bother fighting it?” Justin calls this attitude “very philosophical” and Rob replies that that’s the way he’s always been. “Even at school, I’d rather be right than popular” he says, inviting the comment that one out of two isn’t bad.

Justin describes this as “a refreshing approach” and expresses the hope that Rob stays that way. Is the man insane? The two talk of Charlie Thomas and his shortcomings and Justin says that Damara and BL are building for the future and what will be needed in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time. Rob isn’t averse to a bit of crawling and tells his boss “I don’t have divided loyalties – whatever the job, you can always count on me.”

Going back to Thursday, it wasn’t a good day for Rob. As well as getting blown out of renting Hillside, he receives an unexpected visit from Oliver. Rob is very affable, inviting him in and Oliver is icily formal, refusing offers of drinks and seats. Rob apologises for missing the first meet of the season, but he will definitely be at the next meet. “That’s what I’ve come to see you about” Oliver tells him.

We learn a bit later that Rob has been thrown out of the Hunt and he tells Oliver bitterly “I didn’t think that you’d been taken in by Helen’s slanderous allegations” and “If the foul things she claimed in court were true, why haven’t I been arrested and charged? It’s because the police know I’m innocent.” Oliver replies that it’s nothing to do with Helen; it’s Hunt business. Specifically, the fact that Oliver knows that Rob lied about the incident with the Hunt saboteur. It is revealed that Shula has grassed Rob up and he is furious, saying “Shula is Helen’s cousin – she’s doing this to get at me.” Still maintaining his dignity, Oliver says “I trust Shula implicitly.” “More fool you!” Rob rants “The whole family is two-faced!” Oliver calmly lays Rob’s subscription cheque on the table and says he’d better leave, as Rob shouts “There are better Hunts in the county who’ll be delighted to have me join, so you and Shula and all the rest can just go to hell!” This was the day before Rob told Justin that he barely notices the prejudice he encounters, incidentally. Well done Oliver – pity you didn’t have your horsewhip with you, but I commend your restraint.

Toby returns from Brighton on Sunday and begins unloading boxes at Rickyard Cottage. It turns out that he has brought back a still and is going to distil his own gin. Is that strictly legal? Toby thinks it is, telling Pip that he doesn’t need a licence if he’s not selling it. If that’s true, why aren’t we all doing it? He tells Pip that they are “Two pioneers, laying down foundations for a massive business” and she, while still angry because he went off to Brighton and only told her just before he left, nevertheless reluctantly agreed to act as his guinea pig gin taster. I’d watch it Pip – knowing Toby, he’ll distil the sort of alcohol that kills you, rather than makes you happy. It’s a pity that bullshit is not a valuable, marketable commodity – if it were, then Toby would be the richest man in Borsetshire, or possibly the world.

I understand that whisky has to be aged for at least three years, but Toby’s gin is ready for tasting on Thursday. It’s revolting – he appears to have added herbs etc by the shovel load and Pip takes one gulp and that’s it. She makes various derogatory comments, and a suddenly-earnest Toby says that he’ll start another batch tonight and tweak the recipe. “I need the money, Pip I’ve got to make this work.” Well, good luck with that, say I.

Elizabeth is worried because Freddie doesn’t appear to be making any friends at college and she asks Johnny to keep an eye out for him and talk to him. The two lads travel home on the bus together on Wednesday and Freddie says that his classmates tend to keep themselves to themselves. He is regarded as posh (a couple refer to him as ‘Downton’) and living at Lower Loxley doesn’t help – if he invites people back, they might think he’s showing off, and if he doesn’t, then he’s standoffish. Johnny recalls his first few days at college, when people mocked him for his northern accent. “I’m sorry, I can’t understand a word you’re saying” Freddie replies, perplexedly. OK, I admit that last bit was a total fabrication, but it would have been good. In an effort to cheer Freddie up, Johnny invites him home to share pizza and beer with him and Tom. I’m not entirely convinced that that is what Elizabeth meant when she asked Johnny to keep an eye on her son.

At Home Farm, Adam is being pursued by Brian, moaning about the state of the autumn crops and how they mustn’t let Justin see how bad they are. Adam unloads his woes on David, telling him that things at Home Farm are pretty grim – Kate is bemoaning the lack of people signing up for the panto, Lilian is miserable (this was when she was a bit arsey with Justin) and Brian is the worst of the lot. “The main trouble with Brian is – well – he’s Brian” Adam tells David and apologises for Brian’s rudeness earlier in the week (Brian interrupted their conversation on Monday to drag Adam off to inspect the bad crops). “I wish he had more faith in me” Adam says. David tries to be positive, saying how good the no-till and herbal leys are and Adam mustn’t let Brian wear him down. “I’m not sure how much more I can take” is Adam’s despondent answer.

On the subject of the panto, we learn that Alice thinks it won’t happen and she and Kate are resigned to having a talent contest instead. One person who won’t be in any panto is Susan, who is extremely annoyed when Kate approached her, saying that she had just the part for Susan – that of Esmeralda. Susan was quite pleased, until she saw the description of her character, which read “a gossipy old crone.” Tact and finesse were never Kate’s strong suits, but her judgement was spot on in this case.

Having said that, when it comes to tactlessness, Susan can be right up there with the best of them. The saga of the Carter family photograph grinds on, as does the moaning of Neil about his enforced diet (Neil had mushrooms on toast for Sunday lunch and carrot batons as a snack at the village bonfire), but at least Susan has finally chosen a photographer.

Even better, she tells Emma that, as she (Emma) recommended the firm, she will get a ‘finder’s fee’. Emma is delighted, as she is always short of money. And this is where Susan’s lack of tact is given free rein, as she wonders in front of Emma whether Ed will want to be in the photograph? After all, it will be very prim and proper and “Your father and I will be very dressed up.” The temperature falls a few degrees as Emma replies “Ed won’t mind.”

This is where Susan should keep her skate-mouth-sized gob firmly closed, but she cannot help herself, suggesting that perhaps Emma could use the finder’s fee to pay for Ed to have “A real good grooming session first, at a proper salon.” “Why?” asks Emma sharply and Susan makes things worse when she goes on “So he won’t feel out of place,” adding: “As long as he gets his hair cut properly and his nails tidied up.” The atmosphere is positively glacial now as Emma retorts that Ed can look very smart and there are about 100 better things that they can spend the money on. “It’s a really stupid idea” Emma tells her mother, who sighs and says “OK – I got exactly the same reaction from your dad when I suggested getting his nose hair layered.”

Never mind, Susan, if you ensure that Ed is positioned on the edge of the family group, he can always be cropped off, or Photoshopped out.

Meanwhile if anyone knows a good dental malpractice lawyer……. please get in touch.

A very fine example of how not to manage your bulker (geared or not). Still, where there’s a will there’s a way. Bravo chaps, bravo.


The following from our friends at gCaptain.

Bulk Carrier Hard Aground in Mauritius After Fight On Board

Bulk Carrier Hard Aground in Mauritius After Fight On Board

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A 44,000 DWT bulk carrier is hard aground in Mauritius after a fight apparently broke out on board among crew members, with some reports going as far as describing possible mutiny.  Local media reports that Liberian-flagged MV Benita was sailing from India to Durban, South Africa when a fight erupted in the engine room Thursday night, […]

Donald Maxwell  was an English artist who died in 1936.

He also wrote this little verse.

In labours, in watchings, in fastings;
By evil report and good report:
As unknown, and yet well known;
As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
As poor, yet making many rich;
As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Nostalgia, neuralgia, Archers

For those of you out there who aren’t familiar with the long running radio soap, The Archers, it’s a gentle tale of mainly middle class English rural land owning types and their daily dealings with the vagaries of the EU Common Agricultural Policy and the dastardly doings of lesser folks.

A shock then, when seeking the weekly summary on the fan site ‘’, to be greeted with the following opening paragraph.

“We start the week with Jazzer at a loose end. I can’t help thinking there must have been a misunderstanding when Jim suggested they go out looking for birds together. I wonder if it was the prospect of a nice pair of tits, a shag, and the first swallow of spring.”

Cripes, it was never like that in my day.

A round up of things allatsea over the last couple of weeks.

All went well on the the goodship Thialf; jacket, piles and the little topside intermediate piece went together swimmingly well. The weather added around 11 days to the operation but that is to be expected in that part of the world in April. The weather god rarely reads the script.

Travelled down sarf from Aberdeen on the Flybe service. Hmm, OK yes, but slow slow slow, the best part of 2 hours on a Dash 8. Home a few days and a day trip to Rotterdam to kick the tyres on a tug. A nice tug. Not overly big at 48m overall and a 100 odd tons of bollard pull, but nice and well run and a pleasure to visit. German managers, master and mate. Good lads. Thanks Bremen Fighter. Ooh, and I learned that walking from Haven 272, Lekshaven to Lloydkarde takes about 30 minutes, as long as you don’t get lost. Thanks to ‘Here Maps’ and the proficient folks at the road signing department, I didn’t.

Grandad allatsea in 1920ish, went to Margate for a day out. Then went home again, eventually.

A sailor in a sailor’s suit, he joined for the rum, bum and baccy.

Sunday morning and two dental implants and ……a sinus uplift at Birchington. The surgeon came down from London in his very fine looking red Tesla sports car. They are, I believe, expensive. That might explain the fee of £4450 he charged me for 30 minutes work. My wallet’s still damaged and the left side of my face resembles a football. I’m all for folks earning a living with their carefully nurtured skills, but that hourly rate, frankly, is taking the piss. The teeth that will be  put on said implants are a snip at a mere £3500.  Groan.

Anyway, I’d factored in a good two weeks of face recovery time so wasn’t overly bothered by the hideous characteristics the boat-race had assumed. Not bothered until a  nearly overlooked email on the works BlackBerry (wtf still uses them, apart from our lot?) wanted me to confirm my travel arrangements to Lerwick this coming weekend!!  The sodding goodship Thialf beckons again it seems. Onwards and upwards then, this time west of Shetland and some very critical (weather wise)  lifts to do. If the Atlantic swell doesn’t cooperate, it could be a long long trip. Hopefully the swelling will have gone down (ooh vicar) by then.

Two Mums

A short week in Rotterdam

London City to Rotterdam, hotel in Charlois, Bastion, OK but nothing but industrial zone, motorways and railway tracks all around….for miles and miles. Dispiriting an no mistake your honour. An easy 5 click walk to the Bonn and Mees office though, all the paperwork there and then, after coffee and chats, to the sheer legs.  A large functional and soulless bit of kit but nowt to frighten the horses, so to speak,  good news on the warranty front. Done and dusted before afternoon smoko but no need to chase through to the airport and grab a flight home. There’s another one to look at on Friday, same port, sort of, in that it’s Rotterdam, but the best part of 50km away in Europahaven. No point in going home, nothing gained, just costs. So  the following day will be spent at the pooter in the islolated Bastion, writing it up and turning it  into something that the client is willing to pay the best part of five grand for.

Car carrier

Sheerness, summer 2011, not Rotterdam in 2016.

Yes, Rotterdam, the port. Effing huge it is. Peeps at home talk of Felixstowe and Thamesport and Southampton and even Dover in hushed almost reverential tones, implying vast magnitude. But they’re not, they are, by comparison to Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, smallfry. If you were to superimpose the port of greater Rotterdam over the county of Kent, it would occupy it ALL, just about. Over 8250 berths it’s got, admittedly they’re not all large mega ship capable but lots of them are. Felixstowe by contrast (Britains largest boxport ) has eight. Yes……eight! Go squat Felix and man up!

Friday and Europa Haven, it’s all on newly reclaimed land and it’s huge, bleak and islolated. Fortunately the weather is kind and bright and un-threatening otherwise it could  invite suicide in vulnerable folk.

It’s not the world’s largest crane ship, not even close but it’s still a big and impressive bit of kit. Yours truly has been embarked in her on previous jobs so there’s air of familiarity and niceness about it. Being big there’s a lot of kit to look at, lots of docs to peruse and plenty of folks to ‘interview’. Normally it would be expected to take a day and a half to do. That time isn’t available so got to compress the whole process and hope the people involved are all up for it?


A boat completely unrelated to the text in the post.

Brows fanned and eyes wide with pleasant surprise, it gets done. The boys on board are on the money, they know their stuff and know how to get the ifo across in the minimum time. Impressive they are. Russians too, who’d a thought? All done on time but a fixed ticket to Blighty means homewards will happen on the morn, not that evening. So be it, time won’t not be wasted, plenty of admin and similar to do.

Thanks to a City Jet 146 and HS1 out of Stratford, home’s reached at noon the following day. Back into the bosom, so to speak, of the family. Mother and UB still alive at the last count, there’s a relief, madam allatsea smiling and cheerful as usual, bless, cats asleep and a fridge full of beer. What more could a chap want?

In this case, Gary and Clares 60th do over the road at the Aqua from 4pm. Good company, beer and live music. Fankyoo.

Britons buying six weeks of supplies for single day shops are shut


supermarket trolley 425x265

THE UK is buying in six weeks’ worth of groceries to get them through Easter Sunday when all supermarkets are closed. 

Supermarkets are expecting record business as families fill at least two trolleys to fend off the grim spectre of starvation over the coming three days.

Stephen Malley of Harrogate said: “The supermarkets are closed on Sunday. Not just reduced hours. Fully closed.

“And Monday’s a bank holiday too. It’s going to be like The Road, where only the ruthless survive and the living envy the dead.

“Better get another six three-litre bottles of milk. I don’t want to be without a cup of tea when it happens.”

An Atlantic low came through today and at last got rid of the persisitent and irritating Northerlies that have dogged activities outside in ‘brookers. Hooray, damp and breezy it may well be but preferable none the less.


Mummy allatsea has been brighter of late and very nearly coherent at times. Wether that’s due to a lack of access to wine or  an ample supply I have no idea, frightened to investigate for fear of disappointment. Drunkynunky has been losing weight noticeably and has been to the doctors. ‘Eat more’ he was told and reports, does nunky that he has indeed made efforts to comply as directed. However, two cuppa soups a bit of toast and some cornflakes can’t be described as sufficient. It’s worrying. His larder cupboards, fridge and freezer are well stocked with good stuff (we at the Towers make it so) but the old lad doesn’t seem interested.


Following a down at mouth start to the week things have bucked up. Rotterdam next week for some ship and boaty stuff followed by offshore attendances on Thialf in April and May. Good, bring it on, I miss that sort of thing. Feel at home there to some extent. Strange but true.


Friday friends coming over from Canterbury and staying overnight at the Towers, Saturday, Planet Thanet’s beer festival to visit and drink vast quantities of Porter and Stout. Yum Tum. Sunday, clay stuff at Greenfields followed by an afternoon on the harbour wall or similar and on Monday (or ‘Munndee’ in Thanet parlance) mummy allatsea round for tea and gin. It’s a social whirl and no mistake.


Happy Easter to you.


Just remember, Ashford in Kent, according to Premier Foods, is ‘Home to the Cuppasoup!!