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Thread: Just reminiscing.

  1. #1
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    Default Just reminiscing.

    There was no written portion to your BOT Ship's Cook certification. Straight cooking a meal for six.* My examination was*taken at the Union-Castle Culinary school in Gravesend, London.* *The BOT sent an inspector with the menu.* I was given 3 hours to gather together the ingredients, supplied by Union-Castle. then cook and bake the following of which the inspector gave a taste test to the prepared food.* I had to make a loaf of bread and six dinner rolls,*Beef, Barley and Vegetable*Soup.* Steak and Kidney Pie, Dressed Cabbage, Roast Potatoes. Tossed Salad, and I can't remember the dessert.* So, the meal incorporated*baking and cooking.*

    The reason I can still remember the damn test was*"Dressed Cabbage" as the vegetable.* *It's a pain*in the ass. You butter two dinner plates, line them with blanched outer cabbage leaves, chop up the rest of the blanched cabbage, season and make a pile on one of the plates, then cover it with the second plate and press*and finish cooking in the steamer. Then lift away the top plate and cut it into pie shaped portions.* Can you imagine, deckies and greasers sitting down to that as their*veg? Let alone getting six cuts to a cabbage pie and you have twenty*to thirty crew to feed? Bloody stupid, the only ship the inspector had been on was probably the Woolwich ferry. Still, bless*his heart, I passed, and Union-Castle paid me an extra pound a month because I had a Ship's Cook's ticket. That's why I sat for my ticket.

    The ship's cook died on the Athlone Castle, I was a second assistant cook in the passenger's kitchen and I was sent to the crew's kitchen to be acting Ship's Cook until we arrived in Cape Town when a New Ship's cook was waiting. I was scared to death. Deckies wore knives. Would they use it on me if I screwed up?* I later found out about B.O.T. rules and you are not classified*as a ship's cook until*you had actively served in that*position.* So that worked out fine in the end, I was fully qualified as a ship's cook at 20 years old.

    Another weird rule of the MN.* There are only two Petty*Officers on a ship.* The Carpenter and the Ship's Cook.* I think the Chief*Steward or purser is considered a Chief*Petty Officer. * I know on the Castle Boats he was classified*as a four striper officer and wore the*uniform as such and ate in the first-class dining room.


    Cheers, Rodney I still have my certificate.: cool:

    Certificate of Competency*in Cooking granted under Section 27 of the Merchant Shipping*Act., 1906 (6 Edw. Cap. 48,)
    Mills* Rodney David Richard Dated this 8th day of August 1957 ( I was born* 9/15/1937 so I I was 19yrs and 10 months old and barely shaving.) No. 40151
    Last edited by Rodney Mills; 22nd January 2024 at 08:42 PM.
    Rodney David Richard Mills
    R602188 Gravesend


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    Default Re: Just reminiscing.

    On most UCL there was a Petty Officers dining room, if you could call it that and they had their own steward.
    The carpenter, masters at arms, bosun, chief painter, chief baker were amongst those allowed to use it.
    The meals came from the tourist galley with service at noon and 1800 hours at sea.
    In port very different times depending on watches etc.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

  3. Thanks Rodney Mills thanked for this post
  4. #3
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    Cool Re: Just reminiscing.

    I met the girl I fell for when I was home on leave from the MN.* *I lived (when home) in Southend-on-Sea.* I was staying with my grandparents in Chingford Hatch. I went*on a blind date with a girl from Edmonton, London, who worked with my aunt.* We liked each other immediately and went out every night of my leave and wrote to each other every day while I was away.* Eventually we wanted to get married.* The next thing was where could we live?
    *
    In 1958 a place*to live in London bordered on the impossible. Unheated rooms made from storage areas, having to pay a bribe to an agency*as well as their commission, called "key money".* The larger the bribe, the more a chance to move to the head of the waiting list.* These rooms came with a table and chair, that way they could be classified*as furnished rooms, and you could be told to vacate the premises with two weeks' notice.* The other option was a room in the in laws home.

    Adding to this, if I stayed*at sea on the Castle Boats to the Cape, I would be away for 6 weeks and home for 7 days until I was 26.* If I came ashore, longer than six or ten weeks (?) I was subject to the draft and 2 years in the army.

    Our only solution was to emigrate.* So. we got married on June 7th, 1958, and left for Canada on June 11th, 1958.

    Canada was rough and work was scarce. We lived in Ontario for almost 3 years. It wasn't the fact that the English were not favored, The Ontarians didn't*like the people from Quebec, and it seemed like each province did not like the neighboring province.

    To show how my luck in Canada was going:* I worked in a hotel as the sous chef in a small lumber mill town called Marathon on the top shores of Lake Superior, 700 miles north of Toronto.* I came home from work, fed-up, I said*to my then wife, "How about we try to move to the States, if we can't get in, we'll go on to Vancouver?".* She said "Yes".* This was Jan. 1, 1962. I sneezed and felt something pop in my groin area. A bloody hernia....Happy #%@^ing New Year, In hospital for a week (in those days) and off work for two weeks and then "Light duties for a month".* Yeah!! in the food industry?

    While convalescing, I looked around the library for reading material, and found a book "Who's who in the hotels in California." I took it home and I wrote letters to all the managers of hotels in Southern California of any size and listed my background.* I got a reply.* I had sent it to Mr. Elliot Mazell, president of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.* He had passed it to the Chef de Cuisine,*Caesar*Morello and they said if my references*held up there was a job waiting for me.* Mr. Mezzell was a New Zealander and loved England and the English I later found out.

    Hernia be damned, when I sneezed my luck changed, we moved to California, my career took off and I've never looked back since.

    Cheers, Rodney: cool:
    Rodney David Richard Mills
    R602188 Gravesend


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    Default Re: Just reminiscing.

    #3 I met my wife in 1957 Rodney , I was out of my indentured period and was 20 at the time she was still only 17. A long courtship and brief meetings on short intervals when home and not married until 1962 and was 24 at the time , but 25 the following day. It will be 62 years in 3 days time, spent 6 hours yesterday in hospital with her undergoing tests as she to had a fall recently, probably trying to keep up with me . Fings ain’t what they used to be, however couldn’t find too much wrong apart from memory lapses , would be lost without her. Cheers JS
    R575129

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    Default Re: Just reminiscing.

    That must have been a good year as I met my wife that year on the Southern Cross on our way to NZ, must have been a very good year.
    Des
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    Lest We Forget

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    Default Re: Just reminiscing.

    My wife and her sister lived in the room next to me in a large Victoria house in a terrace.
    I was to later find out I was described as the ;odd; man due to the hours I kept.
    Working for a catering agency and being sent all over the place at odd times.

    We met at a party organized by one of the other tenants in the house, got a kiss at about midnight and six weeks later we were engaged and marries 12 months later.
    That was over 55 years ago.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: Just reminiscing.

    Not only Odd John you were and still are downright Strange. JS
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    Default Re: Just reminiscing.

    Maybe that is why Bill Leigh the head chef on the Windsor always called me happydaze telling my mate Mick I always looked about half stoned.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: Just reminiscing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Des Taff Jenkins View Post
    That must have been a good year as I met my wife that year on the Southern Cross on our way to NZ, must have been a very good year.
    Des
    1957 was a good year, my wife was born in November 57. Married in 82 and still going strong. I have often said if I was married to myself I would have been divorced years ago.

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    Default Re: Just reminiscing.

    With all those years at sea then , and your age assumption you would of been considered a baby snatcher in my era. JS
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