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Thread: An Excerpt from my book; "Running For Home"

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    Default An Excerpt from my book; "Running For Home"

    September 1969, M.V. Canberra Star, Glasgow.

    The Canberra Star was the first of 5 ships built in Germany and launched in 1955. She had a 10 cylinder oil engine which was capable of producing 11,250BHP and was regarded as a ‘refrigerated cargo liner’. She was able to carry a handful of passengers some of which would work their passage. She was just under 520ft long and 70ft across the beam.

    As the train drew into Glasgow station, I struggled with my kit nervous as hell. I was dressed in my suit like some sort of executive or something. I summoned a Taxi and asked for the dockyard.
    When we got there, I was so nervous that I forgot the name of the ship. I just blanked. The cab drove round the dockyard, the Glaswegian driver was getting impatient, I was getting more and more nervous. Eventually I spotted the ship, its name painted on the bow, a large blue star adorned the funnel. There she was, the Canberra Star named after the Australian City.
    The taxi driver was less than impressed when I gave him the fare. “People usually give me a tip” he said in a broad Glaswegian accent. I was so mortified that I gave him all my loose change.

    When I boarded the ship, it smelt of diesel, fresh paint and cigarettes with the steady hum of the auxiliary motors powering the electricity and air vents. Everything looked functional with pipes everywhere and painted passageways. I didn’t know where to go or what to do but after a while I was shown my cabin. It was a shared cabin. I had the top bunk which I thought was great until I realised in rough seas it just meant that you had further to fall.

    Soon I got invited into a cabin where some of the crew had crammed themselves in and were drinking cans of beer. I was only sixteen but was immediately handed one which I drank slowly and was quite merry by the time I finished it since I wasn’t used to alcohol. After this we all went ashore to a local pub. The landlady said I was too young but the lads said I was queer. She said alright then. I rapidly got drunk which helped mask my embarrassment. It was a rowdy affair and an introduction to real life.

    Next morning it was a fried breakfast and straight to work with a chipping hammer. This was a noisy job with no ear defenders. Bang, bang, bang all day long. It was necessary to remove as much rust as possible from various parts of the ship especially the deck so that the rust remover, a kind of acid, would work properly before painting. I was hammering away with the chipping hammer when someone said “smoko”. I said I didn’t smoke. He laughed and said “Tea break”. It was 15 minutes then back to the chipping hammer. I could taste the rust in my mouth.

    It was soon time for the ship to sail. I knew this was the point of no return and besides, I’d signed on so there was no going back. It was calm and still as we sailed early one morning out of Glasgow docks.

  2. Thanks Doc Vernon thanked for this post
  3. #2
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    Jun 2008
    Blue Mountains NSW
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    Default Re: An Excerpt from my book; "Running For Home"

    Another old Thread that gives an insight to what one did in the past! I feel that this would be another good Book to add , at present all i can find is the Kindle Version and not sure if there is any other? Will have to look around.
    But again this is the types of Stories that we want on site, it really makes reading worth while
    Thanks wagga! Wherever you are!
    Cheers RUNNING FOR HOME: A Life of Adventure, Danger and Sheer Farce eBook: Dawber, Christopher: Kindle Store
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website


  4. #3
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    Sep 2018
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    Default Re: An Excerpt from my book; "Running For Home"

    You can find the EPUB version of the book here. For free.
    Last edited by Ray Arnold; 30th June 2021 at 07:01 AM.

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