22 Oct 2012

And Then, An Interesting Job….

Another irritating TV advert jingle doing the rounds just now meant I had to give the original an airing.  It’s by the boys and way down below.

The advert in question is for Toyota and that, once again, sent me back in time with the brain in full reverse remembering one of the most interesting jobs I’ve ever come across.

One of mans boats I was on was a general cargo/bulker that had had the holds converted to carry cars.  These were the days well before dedicated roll on roll off car carriers, or, as they were cleverly abbreviated, Ro-Ro boats.  

It did, however, look like a ship…….
La Loma
……..rather than a really, really big biscuit tin.
Anyhoo, we would carry bulk, either grain in season, or coal to Japan, discharge, then, while sailing to the car loading ports we’d clean the holds and rig the car decks.  

This deck rigging was done with the cunning use of lots of snatch-blocks, each the size of a semi-detached two bedroom bungalow, reeving tackle and wires run from the derricks.  All up, cleaning and rigging, this would take a minimum of three days.  And there was no sleep or rest for all hands ‘till job done.  ‘Job done’ can also be cleverly abbreviated to JD.  This was cool if there was three days sailing from discharge port to loading port but total misery, cramming twenty four hours into every twelve, if there were only two days.

By the time the ship was moored at the car loading port we were absolutely, utterly, totally cream crackered.  Time to get some sleep.  Oh, wait a minute.  This is Japan, right?  No time for sleep now!!  Lets go!!

Sorry, my fingers wander where my brain takes them – let’s get back to that interesting job.

One of the ports we discharged the cars along the west coast of the States had a huge, I mean huge stand-by area for holding the cars, after discharge, until required.  Lots of ships, thousands of cars.  Our little boat could carry 1,200.

Okay, at last we’re at the interesting job.  There were two guys armed with master keys.  One started at, let’s say the bottom left corner of the car park and the other guy started top right.

And these two guys did what?  This is it, I promise – the interesting job.  Open car, start engine, roll car forward one foot, stop car, lock car, move to next car.  Open car, start engine, roll car forward one foot, stop car, lock car, move to next car.  Repeat ‘till you get a proper job. When they eventually met in the middle, back end of next month or the middle of next year, they’d go back and start again.  How cool is that then?

And that, in a nutshell, is how my old brain gets from one irrelevant topic to another.  Still awake?  Here’s the promised music then.  You’re asleep?  It’s all irrelevance then.

Quote;  Edward Heath.

“I have no interest in sailing around the world. Not that there is any lack of requests for me to do so.”

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