12 Jul 2015

And Then A Lot O' Bottle….

After a memory jog, courtesy of a comment from Caratacus, may I present you with four loosely interlinked tales from so many years ago it hurts.

A contractor rolled up to do some work on the rig and you couldn't ignore the size of this guys hands. Even huge didn't do them justice. We were taking nose-bag in the galley when he walked in and I mentioned to the fellow beside me that if that guy hit you with one of those hands, he'd knock you into the middle of next week.
"Wish he'd hit me." my colleague replied.
"Wh…" I started, then realised we were due off the rig the middle of next week.

Many moons ago there seemed to be a large number of Maoris working offshore in the North Sea. All the Maoris I was fortunate to work with were built like a pair of brick outhouses, had a tremendous work ethic and wonderful sense of humour. All round great guys.

There was a Maori derrick-man on one rig I worked on by the name of Mr Bell. You see where this is going yet? When the time was approaching to trip in or pull out pipe from the hole/well, the Driller would put out a PA for his crew to hit the drill floor toot suite. It was always a good idea to be extremely toot and suit.

With Mr Bell on the crew we where always treated, at such times, by the Driller melodiously announcing. "Ding-dong bell, we're trippin' in the well."

As a by-the-by, these trips always, spookily,  started ten minutes after the drill crew had been sent to eat; usually resulting in them collecting their food only to precede directly to the trash can. No exceptions. None expected.

Talking of eating, I remember a Canadian Tool-pusher telling the tale of his first ever job, as a young buck, on a land rig in the depths of Canada. On day one, the Tool-pusher told him what was expected of him and asked if he had any questions. Not wishing to appear dumb, he asked the first thing that popped into his head and this related to what length food breaks he could expect. "What do you take off for meals?"
"Are you right or left handed?" Asked the Pusher.
"Right handed."
"You take your left glove off then." 

Yarn four starts here. I became very friendly with a guy who was living, as was I at the time, far, far, far away. He was a coms technician, primarily involved with offshore and desert rig work.

He told the tale of the time he'd finished some work offshore, North Sea, and found himself on the same crew change chopper as an entire drill crew and had a rough idea where this could lead, that being a pub after being dropped off by the crew bus at the rail station and getting train tickets; tickets that would be impossible to find a few hours later.

And so it was that he and they ended up in a pub that, at the time, was the favoured haunt of the expat Maori boys. So there they all were; just a bunch of the boys whooping it up down at the Rose and Crown. No, it wasn't, but I can't remember the name of the establishment.

Long story a little shorter, a member of the drill crew said, or did, something somewhat untoward, and it all quickly kicked-off in spectacular fashion and in quite short order most of the drill crew were laid low.

My buddy, although only a spectator, quickly grasped, through that ol' survival instinct, that he wasn't displaying a sign proclaiming him to be a spectator and suspecting the huge guy with his back to him, just finishing up a couple of Roundabouts, would very soon turn and have at him.

With the only line he remembered from The Beginners Guide To Barroom Brawls ringing in his head, 'Nobody's bigger that a brown ale bottle from behind', he took his chance and whacked the guy in the back o' the head with all his might using his half-full beer bottle.

As recounted by my friend, everything then went into slow motion with the big Maori kid, rather than collapsing in a heap as anticipated, he just dropped the two Roundabouts, slowly turned round, weighed up my pal, noted the broken bottle neck in his hand and then hit him so hard he went straight out through the pub window and, he says, didn't stop rolling 'till he hit a brick wall the other side of the street. 

Yes, although I met him many years after his event horizon, he did, indeed, have scares on upper and lower lips, a full set of plastic teeth and the flattest nose you ever did see as testament to the truth of his tale.

Here endeth the fourth yarn. Bu-by.

Quote;  Taylor Swift.

“It's hard to fight when the fight ain't fair.”


Caratacus said...

A wonderful trip down memory lane - thank you! In a similar vein, you prompted memories of a doorman I once worked with, Big Al. A retired Royal Marine PTI, he stood approx. 6' 2" and weighed around 20 stone, of which approx. 3 ozs were surplus fat. Someone tried to nut him once and I flinched ... I really felt sorry for that chap. Al looked momentarily surprised, baffled even, and then approached the gentleman and said, "THIS is how you do it" and gave an entirely free and faultless display of the correct application. I can hear hear it still after all these years.

I wrote this for someone else recently and it sums up my experiences 'on the door' - hopefully it will amuse.

Years ago I was working as a nightclub bouncer and we had a good team in those days, about seven of us all told. I was posted outside with my oppo to control the queue (quite why people would queue in the freezing cold with b*gger-all on, and pay to go in and then pay over the odds for indifferent beer and music that would rattle your fillings loose is beyond me even now) when all of a sudden Big Al erupted through the lobby double doors and strode purposefully to the handrail outside. Grasping said rail in both hands, he swiftly – in a single movement both graceful and athletic – squatted down and delivered a thunderous bark of a fart before straightening up and striding back indoors again. My oppo and I glanced at each other in a reverential moment of quiet appreciation; almost as though one has been witness to a rare event which will be recounted in hushed tones for many years after … as indeed has proved to be the case. Those unfortunate punters who had been most closely associated with Al’s contribution to the evening’s passing were coughing quietly into their hankies and wondering whether their choice of venue was proving to be quite as attractive as they had originally imagined. At this point Vic (another bouncer) emerged into the night, glanced about and asked, “Everything alright chaps?” His nose then twitched and he muttered, “F*** me”, and went back inside again.

Many people think that being a doorman is all about confrontation blood and snot ... and it can be sometimes ... but it is little things like this that I recall with a bit of a chuckle in the quiet moments.

Mac said...

Thank you for brightening up an otherwise damp and miserable day. Thanks again.