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.
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?
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.