It’s a thought


Filched from the comments section in the Grauniad

The narcissism required to heckle a comedian always impresses me. Especially in a large venue. You have to believe that your thoughts are so important that they must be shouted out, now, in the middle of a performance, interrupting both the performer and the audience. Fascinating folk, hecklers.



allatsea, at sea, aged 21……………

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2017 spring and summer

This gallery contains 44 photos.

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Era start or era finish?

So, is this the start of a beginning or just the end of a beginning?

Mum died on August 14th. She was 82, had dementia and a right leg shorter than her left leg by some three inches and ………  she’d picked up clostridium difficile from somewhere and that’s what killed her in the end. The end of an era.

Bro was booked to be away from his Western Australian home for a while, closest of the older cousins were in a similar quandary and allatsea was due to be, allatsea on the Dogger Bank.

The end result was that the funeral took place some six weeks after her death. It was in two parts, a short service at her local RC church and then a civil secular service at the crematorium. As these things go, both were poignant and heartfelt and, thankfully, well attended. She was a popular lady known, to many, as generous and kind-hearted. Her send-off was fitting. Hopefully.

Now all is quiet. The last of the visitors from afar have gone, memsahib allatsea is back at work. Allatsea will get of his lazy bottom at the end of the week and travel north to Newcastle for a two week spooling attendance. Crushingly boring usually, but fitting in this case and frankly, welcome. Life, as it is, will become ‘normal’ again, probably.

Over the last five years or so, with stresses put in place by the needs of our two oldies, a great desire for a state of play, notionally referred to as ‘normal’, has been expressed here at the Towers. The concept of a ‘normal’ life seemed as out of reach as it was hard to imagine. Now, with both oldies gone (UB in March and mum recently), the spectre of ‘Normality’ looms large and, sad to say, does not seem as utopian or as tangible as was expected.

Yet another lesson to learn it seems.



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There’s a chap I know who works down the chipshop

He often writes a rhyme

When I asked for battered haddock

He said he didn’t have the time.

Richard hard at work NOT!

Driving in DP, it’s nautical but not as we know it!

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Mmmmmm yum yum yum

Liver, bacon and onions, mmmm.

Bacon, liver and onions mmm.

Just onions, mmmm.

Oooh the liberals don’t like this at all, ooh no. Far too ‘offal’, far too ….. meaty. Apart from the ‘just onions’ option, obviously.

I still think she’s ‘off track’, that woman (what woman?) and I wonder, frequently, why we tolerate it?

Probably because we’re not bothered, either way …..anymore. There’s no point to being bothered, it makes for  a frustrating and disappointing life. Adaption, evolution, acceptance, despite qualms, acceptance, the all governing term, acceptance. It sorts everything.


Kind of? Now then, lets talk bollard pull trials, off the Ligurian coast. Paradise  if there there is such a thing,  Liguria. If there is a god then Italians are God’s chosen people, the custodians of Liguria……aaaah. That said, Sardinia will run it a close race. Also Italian of course. God really really really liked them. Not so the residents of Middlesbrough I fear.

Maersk Beater 8



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Windy farms, windy botties.

We’re on cable burying duties on a windfarm. Foundation A08, our target, is a tantalising 120 metres away. Up until a few minutes ago we were making good progress towards it, then there was a bit of an event that brought things to a halt. T

he giant subsea, multi-million pound burying machine, the ‘Trencher’ croaked and groaned a bit and then with a great melodramatic shudder, shit itself. The trenching supervisor used the term ‘Cattle trucked’ to describe its operational state. Despite the proximity of a very fast and welcome CTV despatched just recently from Shoreham to take yours truly back to shore, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere soon. Sigh!

At such times of duress and frustration I find the urge to write poetry. Here ye be, straight from the heart.

Burpy bottom
Bottom burp
Lunch was lovely
Slurp, slurp, slurp

Dad RN posed

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Sea passage south.

Heading south from Hartlepool to the south coast for a bit of array cable installation at a windfarm. The weather’s good and the ship is making good progress. It’s mainly the same crowd that were here last season, rough and ready in the main but good at what they do. They’re loud a lot of the time and this comes hard to the ears, especially if used to more gentle surroundings.

The ETA is tomorrow afternoon, a couple of hours of DP trials on arrival and then, all being well, they’ll start the first cable. The tides are just of full springs and that throws an element of complexity and risk into the mix. The currents will run hard at times and getting caught beam on is a bad place to be, very bad. Very risky. After a jittery event or two last season the lessons have been learned, at least on paper they have. They were mentioned in the pre operational briefing just now, fingers crossed those that matter are fully aware.

I’m here to see that the first few (of sixty two) cables get installed as they should be. As per the agreed and approved procedures. If they do then I’ll observe the first three of this batch and then come back in May once the crew have changed out and observe the first three that the new chaps install. That’s the plan.

The journey up from the sarf to Hartlepool earlier in the week was unusual in that it was the first trip I’d done away from home since UB died. UB was a major part of my (our) life, in character forming, value setting, standards, appreciation, bantering, eating, caring …….. living. I didn’t realise how big a part, how massive a part he’d been. Now he’s gone and I know or rather I’m realising, learning, just how much. At one point on the train journey, just north of Peterborough, I burst into tears, the sadness and realisation just too much to deal with on a busy rattly Edinburgh  bound Express. The tears didn’t last long, English sense of duty and all that malarkey came into play, but the sadness endures, of course.

Mucker Geoff is keeping an eye on the tree removal contractors at 143. It’s a fair guess that the garden at said property has been neglected, in varying degrees, for at least a decade. Overgrown is too gentle a word for it. One dead and fallen tree turns out to be not a tree at all but an old fallen metal Rediffusion (a very early cable TV provider from the 1980s) mast that has become entwined and camouflaged with vines and other garden growth. Not quite sure how or if they’ll be able to take it away. If not then it’ll be a job for the disc grinder and Makita reciprocating saw and half a dozen trips to the local tip….sorry….re-cycling centre in the old jam jar.

If all goes well on this fine vessel, then another four or five days should see me back in Fannit and dealing with said Rediffusion mast and re-acquainting with those fine and friendly fellows at the council tip. While dwelling on visits the tip, it brings to the fore the question of what to do with UB’s ashes? Just what do you do with the ashes of someone who meant so much to you? Leave them in the casket and keep them at home I guess?

Suggestions please?

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