Song Lyric Sunday – 29 November 2020 – Bird on the Wire

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Bird /Cat /Dog /Fish /Pet this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week there was no option for me other than to choose this classic song from my youth. Often played in dingy students’ rooms, lit by candlelight, joss sticks burning in the background. We were all in love, we were all in love with this song and this album. I received the album as a 21st birthday present from a sumptuous girl from Walton, in Liverpool. She was a student teacher, I was in the army. We were passing ships in the night and almost docked permanently. It was that intense. I think of Jen every time I hear this song.

Bird on the Wire appeared on the album Songs From A Room, recorded on 26 September 1968 in Nashville and released in 1969.

In the 1960s, Leonard Cohen lived on the Greek island Hydra with his girlfriend Marianne Ihlen, the woman depicted on the back cover of the album. She has related how she helped him out of a depression by handing him his guitar, whereupon he began composing “Bird on the Wire”, inspired by a bird sitting on one of Hydra’s recently installed phone wires.

Cohen said “I always begin my concert with this song. It seems to return me to my duties. It was begun in Greece and finished in a motel in Hollywood around 1969 along with everything else. Some lines were changed in Oregon. I can’t seem to get it perfect.”

Bird on the Wire

Leonard Cohen

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight from some old-fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee
If I, if I have been unkind
I hope that you can just let it go by
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you

For like a baby, stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch
He said to me, “you must not ask for so much”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door
She cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?”
Oh, like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Leonard Cohen

Bird on the Wire lyrics © BMG Rights Management

And for something totally different, and outside the rules

Song Lyric Sunday – 22 November 2020 – Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Fiancé /Husband /Lover / Wife this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

 When Paul Simon divorced his first wife, Peggy Harper, he opted to take a more humorous approach to document the incident. he wrote Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover!

It was released in December 1975 and began to see chart success within the new year. It became his only number one hit as a solo artist.

Paul Simon’s career began after meeting Art Garfunkel when they were both 11. He has been performing since 1956 and is still active today.

I’ve included a live version recorded at The Concert in Central Park 1981.

and also a cover version by Miley Cyrus

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

Paul Simon

“The problem is all inside your head” she said to me
“The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover”

She said “It’s really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself at the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover”

You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be Coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

Ooo slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be Coy, Roy
Just listen to me
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

She said “It grieves me so to see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again”
I said “I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the fifty ways”

She said “Why don’t we both just sleep on it tonight
And I believe in the morning you’ll begin to see the light”
And then she kissed me and I realized she probably was right
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover

You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be Coy, roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

Slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be Coy, Roy
Just listen to me
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Simon Paul

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover lyrics © Paul Simon Music

Song Lyric Sunday – 15 November 2020 – The End

Jim Adam’s Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Begin/ End/ Finish/ Start this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week I’m pushing my luck a bit. I really do not expect many readers to listen to the whole of this song. To help out I am including an extract of a film that the song featured in.

I love this song. I love the film that it features in, but I know that it is not to everyone’s taste and some will find it rather strange.

It is a song by Jim Morrison of The Doors, written, initially, as a farewell to a girlfriend. It ended as a much longer song, at 12 minutes, and was released on 6th January 1967, just before my 19th birthday.

The lyrics contain the words “My only friend, the End” and when interviewed by Lizze James, he commented : “Sometimes the pain is too much to examine, or even tolerate … That doesn’t make it evil, though – or necessarily dangerous. But people fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over. Yeah – I guess it is a friend.”

Jim Morrison’s death came two years to the day after the death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones and approximately nine months after the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin — all of whom died at the age of 27 as did so many musicians, artists, and actors.

The song is The End and it featured in the Francis Coppola epic film Apocalypse Now.

Apocalypse Now Intro (1979)

This full length version of the song accompanies a video tribute made by QueenOfTheHighway who says “This is a tribute to the amazing James Douglas Morrison, who died far too young. His life was incredibly tragic, and he was so misunderstood and under appreciated. He was so much more than just a talented musician. He was a true genius and a poet with a beautiful soul. I love him because he knew what it was like to battle unbearable demons, and yet still retained his childlike wonder and love for life. I do not own any footage used-all belong to The Doors.”

The End

Jim Morrison

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of ev’rything that stands
The end

No safety or surprise
The end
I’ll never look into your eyes again

Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need of
some strangers hand
In a desperate land

Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain
There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the king’s highway
Weird scenes inside the goldmine
Ride the highway West baby

Ride the snake
Ride the snake
To the lake
To the lake

The ancient lake baby
The snake is long
Seven miles
Ride the snake

He’s old
And his skin is cold
The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here and we’ll do the rest

The blue bus is calling us
The blue bus is calling us
Driver, where you taking us?

The killer awoke before dawn
He put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall

He went into the room where his sister lived
And then he paid a visit to his brother
And then he walked on down the hall
And he came to a door
And he looked inside
Father?
Yes son
I want to kill you
Mother, I want to…

Come on, baby, take a chance with us
Come on, baby, take a chance with us
Come on, baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end

It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me-aca

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Alexandria Rae Koehler / Kathryn Sarah Goodman / Monica Cassia Grzymkowski

The End lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

The Last Remembrance

Chris decided long ago that he could no longer endure the Ceremony of Remembrance parades and services.  It was too much for him.  He knew that he would break down and weep copious tears, sobbing at all of the memories that he could not set aside.  He could never forget!

Instead, each year, he went on his normal morning walk and found a quiet spot, apart from all human presence, and there he would remember his friends, and his enemies.  Not all had died young, not all had died in battle.  Some had not died, at least not straight away.

He remembered two young men.  They had all just returned to camp after manoeuvres and were told they could not go home until all the vehicles had been cleaned and put away.  One young man was newly married with a two week old baby.  He persuaded his friend to take him home in his car.  It wouldn’t take long, and they could be back before anybody noticed they were missing.  The car was sporty, high powered, and had a roll bar fitted.  The young driver entered a bend far too fast, lost control, and rolled the car.  It hit a tree.  The roll bar saved the life of the driver but decapitated the young father.

He remembered two young Corporals, erecting an aerial mast on top of a vehicle in Germany, right underneath a very high voltage cable.  One walked away with very serious burns, the other had horrendous burns and lost a leg and large portions of muscle mass.  Chris had the job of taking inventory of the burned vehicle and its contents and then visiting the worst injured once he left hospital to tell him that he no longer had a job but there was good news, his promotion to Sergeant had come through!

He remembered a young man who shot himself in the chest but survived, only to shoot himself in the head once he was back at work.

He remembered running for his life, literally, when it seemed that everyone wanted him dead, when all around him were falling, screaming, dying.  He would not forget!

He stood as usual, at 11am, at attention, alone.  He remembered.  How could he do anything else?

After two minutes of silence, of remembering, of trying to forget, he saluted, fell, and joined his comrades!

Song Lyric Sunday – 8 November 2020 – Friday on my Mind

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Days of the Week this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

I am fairly sure that I shall not be the only one to choose the song “Friday on My Mind”, originally recorded in 1966 by Australian rock group The Easybeats.

All five founder members were from families that had migrated to Australia from Europe.  Lead singer Stevie Wright and drummer Gordon “Snowy” Fleet were English born, rhythm guitarist George Young was Scottish born, lead guitarist Harry Vanda and bassist Dick Diamonde were Dutch born. The band formed at the Villawood Migrant Hostel where their families spent their first years in Australia.

The music appears to be very simple but many a guitarist has found that it is not quite as easy as it sounds and it has been acknowledged as a masterpiece of guitar playing. If you are a guitarist yourself just try it and see. Consistently hitting those notes without slurring them, achieving pure and distinct sound, demands a consummate skill. Here, for those interested is the notation: https://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/easybeats-friday-on-my-mind-tab-s61614t0

When you hear sultans of swing by dire straits, and Mark Knopfler sings “guitar George knows all the chords and Harry doesn’t mind”, he is referring to Harry Vanda and George Young. Not many people know that!

I hope you enjoy The Easybeats

and here is a terrific cover by MonaLisa Twins

Friday on My Mind

The Easybeats

Monday mornin’ feels so bad
Ev’rybody seems to nag me
Comin’ Tuesday I feel better
Even my old man looks good
Wed’sday just don’t go
Thursday goes too slow
I’ve got Friday on my mind

Gonna have fun in the city
Be with my girl, she’s so pretty
She looks fine tonight
She is out of sight to me
Tonight I’ll spend my bread, tonight
I’ll lose my head, tonight
I’ve got to get to night
Monday I’ll have Friday on my mind

Do the five day grind once more
I know of nothin’ else that bugs me
More than workin’ for the rich man
Hey! I’ll change that scene one day
Today I might be mad, tomorrow I’ll be glad
‘Cause I’ll have Friday on my mind

Gonna have fun in the city
Be with my girl, she’s so pretty
She looks fine tonight.
She is out of sight to me
Tonight I’ll spend my bread, tonight
I’ll lose my head, tonight
I’ve got to get to night
Monday I’ll have Friday on my mind

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: George Redburn Young / Harry Vanda

Friday on My Mind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Song Lyric Sunday – 1 November 2020 – All Of Me

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Smart/ Stupid this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

All of Me” is a hit song by American singer John Legend from his fourth studio album Love in the Future (2013).

You couldn’t really hope for a better opportunity to make a video of this song. Take one good looking guy with a great voice, add a beautiful model, Chrissy Teigen, who happens to be the man’s wife. Use a song that was written specifically for the lady. Film it in a fine property alongside Lake Como in Italy, where they were married, and ask them to act naturally!

You may even get to see the bride and groom!

All Of Me 

John Legend

What would I do without your smart mouth?
Drawing me in, and you kicking me out
You’ve got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down
What’s going on in that beautiful mind?
I’m on your magical mystery ride
And I’m so dizzy, don’t know what hit me, but I’ll be alright

My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh-oh

How many times do I have to tell you?
Even when you’re crying, you’re beautiful too
The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood
You’re my downfall, you’re my muse
My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues
I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing, in my head for you

My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh-oh
Give me all of you, oh

Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts
Risking it all, though it’s hard

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you

I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh-oh

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: John Stephens / Tobias Gad

All Of Me  lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave

Song Lyric Sunday 25 October 2020 – A late addition

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Ghost /Pumpkin /Trick /Treat /Witch this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

Today I happened across this song from David Gilmour, singing with his daughter Romany Gilmour who plays harp on this track.

David is, of course, the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd, joining them in 1968 shortly before the departure of founder member Syd Barrett. He has always been a favourite of mine and this particular track is very reminiscent of Leonard Cohen, another of my favourites! You will see why this is when you read the background to the story at the bottom of the lyrics.

Yes, I Have Ghosts

David Gilmour

The heat of the sun stayed on through the night
Made spectres of strangers playing games with my sight
I passed through the station, a face in the crowd
The whistle was blowing, the barrier came down

There was my baby, in another’s embrace
I called out her name in shame and disgrace

Yes, I have ghosts, not all of them dead
Making dust of my dreams, spinning round and around
Around in my head

Train on the tracks, teeth of the zip
The slider moves down, we were joined at the hip
Stealing the groove, the widening gap
Unfastening rails from a past with no map

Yes, I have ghosts, a fleeting sight
It’s always the living that are haunting my nights

Where is the sweet soul that you used to be
Gone like a thistle that’s blown on the breeze
I guess when it’s over, this haunting will end
The waiting, the baiting, my killer, my friend

Yes, I have ghosts, not all of them dead
And they dance by the moon, millstones white as the sheet
On my bed

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: David Gilmour / Polly Samson

Yes, I Have Ghosts lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC

YES, I HAVE GHOSTS is the first new song from David Gilmour in 5 years and features the voice and harp playing of his daughter Romany. Available to stream / download now: https://smarturl.it/davidgilmour 

The inspiration for the track was the new novel ‘A Theatre for Dreamers’, by Polly Samson, who also wrote the lyrics. The song has previously only been available as part of the ground-breaking audiobook for the novel.

Set on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra in 1960, ‘A Theatre for Dreamers’ captures the hazy, sun-drenched days of an expat bohemian community of poets, painters, and musicians, including a 25 year-old Leonard Cohen.

The Sunday Times bestseller ‘A Theatre For Dreamers’ by Polly Samson is out now: https://smarturl.it/atheatrefordreamers 

*MUSIC CREDITS* Yes, I Have Ghosts (David Gilmour / Polly Samson)

David Gilmour Vocals, Guitar, Samples, Programming

Romany Gilmour Vocals, Harp

John McCusker Fiddle

Damon Iddins String quartet sampling

All other instruments by David Gilmour

Produced by David Gilmour

© 2020 David Gilmour Music Ltd. The copyright in this sound recording and artwork is owned by David Gilmour Music Ltd. 

Song Lyric Sunday – 25 October 2020 – Your Latest Trick

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Ghost /Pumpkin /Trick /Treat /Witch this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week I’m offering you a song by Dire Straights which has been described as “surely one of the best songs ever!”  It has nothing whatsoever to do with Halloween!

It is normally performed with an exquisite opening by a saxophone which suggests that, perhaps, the saxophone was invented for this song. However, the song was originally written with an opening by a trumpet, then leading into the saxophone. Here I offer you the choice of both.

Released in 1986, here is Your Latest Trick.

Live at Forum Assago, Milano- Maggio 2019

Dire Straits

All the late night bargains have been struck
Between the satin beaus and their bells
Prehistoric garbage trucks
Got the city to themselves
Echoes and horrors, dinosaurs
They’re all doing the monster mash
The taxis and the whores
Are only taking calls for cash

I don’t know how it happened
It all took place so quick
All I can do
Is hand it to you
And your latest trick

Now my door was standing open
Security was laid back and lax
Yeah, my heart had got a broken
You must have had a passkey made out of wax
It was robbery with insolence
And I’m playin’ the blues in twelve bars down the Lover’s Lane
You never had the intelligence for the use
Twelve keys hanging off of my chain

You know now how it happened
It all took place so quick
But all I can do
Is hand it to you
And your latest trick

It’s past last call for alcohol
Past recall has been here and gone
The landlord, he finally paid us all
The satin jazzmen have put away their horns
And I was standing there outside in this wonderland
Bereaved and bereft
Finally come to understand
The bottle’s empty, man, there’s nothing left

Know now how it happened
It was faster than the eye could flick
But all I can do
Is hand it to you
And your latest trick

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Mark Knopfler

Your Latest Trick lyrics © Straitjacket Songs Ltd.

Song Lyric Sunday – 18 October 2020 – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us No/Yes this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week I chose a song by The Who, formed in London  in 1964, the year that I joined the army. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townsend, bass guitarist John Entwistle  and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide.

The Who’s iconic anthem, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, from the 1971 ‘Who’s Next’ album is performed here on B-Stage at Shepperton Studios on 25 May 1978. It is not the best performance there is but gives a good indication of some of the excesses that have obviously been indulged in by more than a couple of the band. Sadly this was to be the very last public performance ever by Keith Moon.

The lyrics are on the video.

In mid-1978 Keith Moon moved into Flat 12, 9 Curzon Place, Mayfair, London.  Cass Elliot of the Mamas and Papas had died there four years earlier, at the age of 32.  Harry Nilsson, who owned the flat, was concerned about letting it to Keith Moon, believing it was cursed. Townshend disagreed, assuring him that “lightning wouldn’t strike the same place twice”.

After moving in, Moon began a prescribed course of Heminevrin (Clomethiazole) to alleviate his alcohol withdrawal symptoms. He wanted to get sober, but due to his fear of psychiatric hospitals he wanted to do it at home. That particular drug is discouraged for unsupervised detoxification because of its addictive potential, its tendency to induce tolerance, and its risk of death when mixed with alcohol. The pills were prescribed by a physician who was unaware of Moon’s lifestyle.  Moon was given a bottle of 100 pills and told to take one pill when he felt a craving for alcohol but not more than three pills per day. 

By September 1978 Moon was having difficulty playing the drums, according to roadie Dave “Cy” Langston.  After seeing Moon in the studio trying to overdub drums for The Kids Are Alright, he said, “After two or three hours, he got more and more sluggish, he could barely hold a drum stick.” 

On 6 September, Moon and Annette Walter-Lax, his Swedish model girlfriend, were guests of Paul and Linda McCartney.  After dining with the McCartneys they returned to their flat.  He watched a film and asked Walter-Lax to cook him steak and eggs. When she objected, Moon replied, “If you don’t like it, you can fuck off!” These were his last words.  Moon then took 32 clomethiazole tablets. When Walter-Lax checked on him the following afternoon, she discovered he was dead. (Aged 32!)

All at sea – Flying through the air, with, and without, the aid of a helicopter.

Originally published on 27/10/2017, this is part of a series that I promised may take a while to complete. I was right!

This is part of a recollection of “Some things I’ve done that you probably haven’t.

Number 2, Transferred between Royal Naval ships at sea by Jackstay, and 3, Transferred between Royal Naval ships at sea by helicopter can be recounted together because normally, when you go on a journey, you want to end up back where you started!

When I was posted to Gibraltar we (The Army) often entertained Royal Naval personnel when they had shore leave. We invited them to functions in the various messes (Officers Mess/Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess/Other ranks Mess, and we invited them to dine with us, often arranging a special dinner.

 In return, they reciprocated, and we were often invited on board ship.

 I came to know several of the Petty Officers of HMS Charybdis quite well, during 1976. I was invited to spend time at sea with the ship, in an exchange with a member of the ship’s crew, where we swapped jobs for a few days.

hms charybdis Life on board a Royal Naval vessel is unlike anything you may imagine. Space is at a premium and everything has to be stowed away to maximise space, and to ensure there are no hazards created by loose gear.

 Before departing from any port, the ship must be fully provisioned with fuel, stores, ammunition, food, and a myriad of items you wouldn’t even begin to think of. This is to ensure that, should the vessel be called upon to sail into conflict, or to aid others, it can proceed immediately, without having to stock up first. There is a good deal of manual labour involved in this, and the whole ships company (of 260 in this case) is put to work, less a few essential personnel. It is hard work, and I experienced it!

 Imagine having to stock a freezer so you can retrieve food, to feed 260 hungry people for 2 months, when you can only reach things right at the front. Just where do you put all those potato sacks, carrots, toilet rolls, extra large cans, butter, fat, oil, flour, spices. The list is huge, as is the quantity. You cannot run out.

 I shall not go into disposal of waste, recycling, or what can, under international law, be discharged into the sea. I mention it only because sometimes it flies off the ship!

 Whilst at sea it is sometimes necessary to load, or offload personnel, or materiel.

 This may be for changes in personnel, removal of severely ill, or deceased, replenishment of food, fuel, supplies, and the removal of waste for disposal, or recycling.

 The Royal Navy is supported at sea by Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels.

The RFA is staffed by civilians, and they have a variety of ships that can supply fuel and stores, effect repairs at sea, and even supply hospital facilities. They have a helicopter on board, and also cranes mounted on either side.

 Most modern warships have a helicopter on board, or a helipad that can receive a visiting helicopter so stores can be transferred from one vessel to another by underslung load. However, there is a restriction on how much weight can be carried that way, and it is an expensive method of resupply.

 The alternative method of transfer is by Jackstay, a method of using ropes and pulleys to carry personnel and materiel between vessels.
jackstay trfs

The light jackstay, employing human power, is used for transferring personnel, provisions, and light stores with a maximum load of about 250kg. The hauling end of the jackstay is manned by up to 25 hands. The other end is secured by a grommet strop to slip in the receiving ship. A traveller block is hauled back and forth along the jackstay wire by an in–haul rope in the receiving ship and an out–haul rope in the delivering ship manned by up to six crew in each ship. Working distance limits are normally between 24–61 meters with a normal working distance of about 34 meters.

 The heavy Jackstay, uses steel ropes for transfer of heavier loads, or to support feed pipes during transfer of fuel or water. Normally a powered winch is used.

 The ropes are passed from one ship to the other by first firing a thin twine by rifle and pulling this across, with increasing thickness of twine, then cord, then rope.

 Ships are unstable platforms when stopped in most seas and it is extremely dangerous to bring two ships directly alongside one another. All transfers are therefore done with the ships steaming side by side, in to the wind, at a distance determined by the state of the seas. It is a hazardous operation and constant adjustment is needed to ensure identical speed, and to ensure the distance between vessels does nor vary. The procedure needs to be practiced often to ensure the crew knows exactly what to do when the need arises. It is the ultimate in team work!

 This is how I came to “volunteer” for my first, and only, experience of transfer at sea by Jackstay, and return by helicopter. I was one of a dozen.

 Having watched others being hauled across from Charybdis to another visiting Frigate, it was soon my turn. Apart from a little dampness from sea spray I arrived safely on the other ship and was hurried along to the stern to jump into the helicopter for the return trip. This was only my second flight in a helicopter. The whole procedure took less than 30 minutes, but was very exhilarating!

 Flights by small helicopter are normally from, and to, a stable surface, and the take off pattern is normally a vertical lift into the air, transferring into forward flight whilst gaining height. Larger helicopters use a running takeoff and landing whenever possible.

 Taking off from, and landing on, a ship at sea, entails a helipad moving at quite a speed, often with buffeting wind, and large chunks of solid metal very close by. It is a very specialised skill!

 On take off, the aircraft has to rise off the pad and move to the left, or right, immediately moving away from the vessel.

 Landing is the more difficult skill. The helicopter must approach the vessel from the rear and then fly, at the speed of the ship, slightly to the left or right of the helipad. It then has to move slowly across so that it is hovering above the pad, but is, in fact, still flying forwards at the speed of the vessel. It must then drop down on to the moving deck, immediately ceasing forward flight.

 Naval pilots, I salute you!

 To the crews of both vessels, Thank you for not getting me wet!charybdis.jpg

 

HMS Charybdis was affectionately  called “The Cherry B.” Hence the cherry tree on the ship’s plaque.

 

 

 

Light Jackstay information courtesy of: MacFarlane, John M. (2013) Jackstay Transfer (Replenishment) at Sea. Nauticapedia.ca 2013. http://nauticapedia.ca/Articles/Jackstay_Transfer.php