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

Travelling down the Rhine on a duck

Originally published on 25/10/2017, this is part of a series that I promised may take a while to complete. I was right!

In the Summer of 1962, at the age of 14, I travelled to Germany, with the Combined Cadet Force from my school, for a Summer Camp.

It was quite an adventure to get there. We travelled by military steam train, with the carriages being loaded onto the ferry for the channel crossing. It must have been very nearly the last such journey.

We eventually arrived at 2 Division Signal Regiment, in Bünde, West Germany, a Regiment I was later to be posted to as a regular soldier.

2 div.png

The Crossed Keys of 2 Division

 

 

There were still National Servicemen who had been conscripted into the forces for 2 years. These were the last of a dying breed as the last National Servicemen left the armed forces in May 1963.

I well remember that the soldiers took great delight in plying us with beer, probably at our own expense. That Summer, far from home, was the first time that I became extremely drunk, and extremely unwell.

We obviously overdid the cigarettes too. When I returned home I suffered, for a few days, with what was diagnosed as nicotine poisoning!

During our 10 days there we went out on exercise with the Regiment and did all sorts of, what was to us young boys, very exciting things. We helped camouflage vehicles, laid large capacity cables, helped put up radio masts, slept in abandoned barns and spent a day with the German Army.

It was during this “exchange day” that I encountered the DUKW (duck) that was to transport us down the river. (For the technically minded, more information here)

Ten very excited teenagers squeezed into the restricted space at the back and were driven down a ramp, into the water, where we progressed at a very sedate pace for 20 minutes or so, driving back up another ramp to dry land.

dukw

To be honest it was a bit disappointing, certainly not as exciting as the next half hour when we were transported at some considerable speed back up river, sirens wailing, in a fast patrol craft.

We then experienced a German Army lunch, for many, the first ever taste of “foreign” food. Tepid cabbage soup, cold würst, sauerkraut, black bread, and a strange pudding of yogurt. A new experience that was not repeated until it became more commonplace in the UK.

Postscript

In fact the river in question may not have been the Rhine. Memory being what it is, it could have been the Mösel, or even the Wëser. I have travelled on all of these, but, at the time, it seemed to be a very wide, and busy, river.

Part of the series Some things I’ve done that you probably haven’t!

Some things I’ve done that you probably haven’t.

This is a reblog of a series I started in October 2017. I thought I should resurrect it in order to attempt to get it completed. Perhaps it could take the place of my Lundi limerick series.

Peter's pondering

I had this random thought that I have done a few things in my life that the average person will never experience.  I thought I would write a post entitled:

“Ten things I’ve done that you probably haven’t.” It developed a little like this:

TenElevenTwelveThirteenFourteenFifteenSixteenSeventeenEighteen Nineteen Twenty things I’ve done that you probably haven’t

I arranged them in reverse alphabetical order, just for the sake of it! Then I thought of an added one, or four. So, here we have:

Some things I’ve done that you probably haven’t

  1. Travelled down the Rhine on a Duck
  2. Transferred between Royal Naval ships at sea by Jackstay
  3. Transferred between Royal Naval ships at sea by helicopter
  4. Spent time in a prison cell
  5. Sat in a Harrier Jump Jet
  6. Rowed in a coxed 4 at sea
  7. Regularly travelled to work by helicopter
  8. Qualified as a helicopter…

View original post 174 more words

I aint no hippy!

Over on Weekly Prompts the site shared by GC, themainaisle.com and SueW,  nansfarm.net the Weekend Challenge is Flower Power!

I’ve never partaken in these challenges, but when I saw the post today it triggered an immediate poem that, under normal circumstances, would have ended up as one of my Rapid Rhymes. Since I’m here, the poem is writ, and I saw this earlier today: (which I’ll leave to Sue to explain!!!)

I thought that I would offer you:

I aint no hippy

I missed the swinging sixties

with jeans and beads and hair

They say if you remember them

it proves you were not there

Well I was wearing uniform

no jeans or hair allowed

Each day was fully occupied

we couldn’t join the crowd

At least I got past 27

there’s many folk did not

Succumbed to sex and rock and roll

and drugs including pot

Still, p’raps I made up later

or p’raps I was a saint

Afraid I am not telling

A hippie I sure aint!

Song Lyric Sunday – March 29 2020 – Touch /Feel

song-lyric-sundayIf you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs on Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here. 

Jim gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. This week I’ve chosen a not so familiar song that is all about feel. It’s sung by an artist in many senses of the word and, if I were a betting man, I’d bet you a fair sum of money that you have never heard of her.

The singer is The Glass Child, Charlotte Eriksson.

Leaving her home of Gothenburg, Sweden, with nothing but a guitar, her stories, and a dream, at age 18, she moved to London to dedicate her life to her music and art. She has achieved so much more than she had ever imagined. Eriksson is an artist, an author, a songwriter, and founder of the artist collective, Broken Glass Records.

On a personal mission to “touch at least one soul out there and make them feel they belong,” the world inhabited by The Glass Child is a beautiful place.

As an author of 4 books of prose and poetry including her latest release, Everything Changed When I Forgave Myself, Eriksson shares her growth and collections of memories spanning from her vagabonding ways, her artistry, her search for a home and mental health to travel essays on love and loss in the hope that her readers would find a connection and comfort in her words. She slowly began to find herself and her supporters one by one, wandering through foreign cities, finding shelter at train stations, airports and helpful friends’ couches, singing and sharing her stories to whoever would listen.

You can discover much more about her here on her web pages.  You can even book her to give a private performance in your own home! This lady, now 29, is not your average pop star. I think she is rather special!

The song she is singing is called Hypnic Jerk. Have you ever jumped when falling asleep and woken yourself up? Well, that is a Hypnic Jerk! Bet you didn’t know that either.

So, here is The Glass Child singing a song where a young girl settles down at night with her lover.

Or does she?

Can she really feel him there?

Can she see him beside her?

Is he really there?

You decide!

There are two versions. The first is a very rough recording, at 3am, just as the song has been written.

 

The second is a more polished version

Hypnic Jerk

The Glass Child

The day is finally over and you come alive
I’m slowly opening my window let you come inside
In the dark, all my fears they all disappear
It’s a hoax my love
I’ve seen it all before

You hear him whisper like a distant call
And then he tells you that he miss you, makes you feel so small
In the dark with the stars it all seems so close
In your head it’s real he’s getting near and

Softly, you lay your head beside me
Say you feel my heart beat
I’m too numb to feel you
I’m to numb to see you

Tell me are you see-through?
This ghost you’re turning into
I shut my eyes, and you’re no longer here

And when the sun is slowly rising it all hits me hard
Like a knife in my chest ripping out my heart
Reality is out there tearing lives apart
I’m living here alone with just a memory of you

I’m acting normal saying hi each day
One feet and then the other, hide your ghost away
Then they say the day is over and you come alive
In my head it’s real, you’re getting near

Softly, you lay your head beside me
Say you feel my heart beat
I’m too numb to feel you
I’m to numb to see you

Tell me are you see-through?
This ghost you’re turning into
I shut my eyes, and you’re no longer here

Source: Musixmatch

 

Song Lyric Sunday 09/02/2020 – I/Me/Them/Us/You/We

song-lyric-sundayThanks again to Jim Adams, who hosts Song Lyric Sunday and gives us the chance to share lots of familiar, and some not so familiar, songs. This week he’s given us the task to find a song that has the personal pronouns: I /Me /Them /Us /You / or We in the title, or in the 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’ve chosen a song containing the word “I”, but the lyrics also include “Me”.

The song is “Yesterday when I was young”, written by Charles Aznavour with Georges Garvarentz back in 1964.  Herbert Kretzmer, who also translated Aznavour’s hit “She,” wrote the English-language lyrics.

I’ve included a link, at the bottom,  to the writer’s recording, written and sung as only a Frenchman could,  but I am offering, as my main video, a recording made by Matt Munro in  1973.

Monro was a heavy smoker and battled alcoholism from the 1960s until 1981.  He died from liver cancer on 7 February 1985 at the age of only 54 which makes this recording particularly poignant.

 

And HERE is Charles Aznavour’s version

 

Yesterday When I Was Young

It seems the love I’ve known
Has always been the most destructive kind
I guess that’s why now
I feel so old
Before my time

Yesterday, when I was young
The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue
I teased at life as if it were a foolish game
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame
The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned
I always built to last on weak and shifting sand
I lived by night and shunned the naked light of the day
And only now I see how the years ran away

Yesterday, when I was young
So many happy songs were waiting to be sung
So many wild pleasures lay in store for me
And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see
I ran so fast that time and youth at last ran out
I never stopped to think what life was all about
And every conversation I can now recall
Concerned itself with me and nothing else at all

Yesterday the moon was blue
And every crazy day brought something new to do
I used my magic age as if it were a wand
And never saw the waste and emptiness beyond
The game of love I played with arrogance and pride
And every flame I lit too quickly, quickly died
The friends I made all seemed somehow to drift away
And only I am left on stage to end the play

There are so many songs in me that won’t be sung
I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue
The time has come for me to pay for
Yesterday, when I was young

Source: LyricFind

Yesterday When I Was Young lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Song Lyric Sunday 26/01/2020 – Duets

song-lyric-sundayThanks again to Jim Adams, who hosts Song Lyric Sunday and gives us the chance to share lots of familiar, and some not so familiar, songs. This week he’s asked us to share Duets.

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.

What I’m sharing with you this week is SEX!

Every time I see this couple singing together it’s almost as though they are making love on the stage. OK, they don’t really make love, but their body language, their eye contact, their mannerisms, all make me imagine lascivious speech bubbles and thoughts drifting between them.

The couple that I’m describing are Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and it’s only natural that they should have a very close bond because they attended the same school, but a year apart. They started a relationship in 1966, and moved to Los Angeles in 1971. They recorded an album together before joining Fleetwood Mac in 1975 after Mick Fleetwood called Buckingham, inviting him to join the band. Buckingham refused, insisting that Nicks and he were “a package deal” and he would not join without her. The group decided that incorporating the pair would improve Fleetwood Mac, making the British band into an Anglo-American one. The first rehearsals confirmed this feeling, with the harmonies of the newcomers adding a pop accessibility to the hard rock. Their intimate relationship had broken down by 1977. The break up was chronicled in a number of songs written by the two, such as “Silver Springs” and “Dreams” by Nicks and “Go Your Own Way” and “Second Hand News” by Buckingham.

I suppose that most of their work together does not constitute a duet as they are singing accompanied by other band members, however, the first offering is definitely a duet, and shows off Lindsey’s consummate skills as a guitarist. He is one of my favourites.

This week I am kicking against the traces and am not giving you any lyrics. I am, instead, offering you a few choices of fantastic singing, with SEX!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Never Going Back Again

Bleed to love her

Landslide

I could go on and on because I do so love these two singing together, but I’d better go and get some sleep!

 

Song Lyric Sunday 29/12/2019 – Crazy

song-lyric-sundayThank you to Jim Adams, who hosts Song Lyric Sunday and gives us the chance to share lots of familiar, and some not so familiar, songs.

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.

Well, it’s a crazy old world, and that crazy time of the year between Christmas and New Year. Crazy is the theme for this week and it’s crazy just how many songs there are that have crazy in the title, never mind the lyrics. There are also groups such as The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, who you’ve probably never heard of. They existed only from 1967 to 1970, complete with flaming head and nudity on stage, and then reformed in 2000 and are, apparently, still performing!

However, I’m not offering you Arthur Brown. Instead, I’m going back to a song released in May 1956 which was a career making hit for Ray PriceCrazy Arms is an American country song which was first published in 1949 by pedal steel player Ralph Mooney and Charles “Chuck” Seals, although it was probably written by Paul Gilley of Kentucky, who worked as a ghost writer for various artists including Hank Williams.

The strength of a song can often be measured by the number of covers that are made by well known singers. “Crazy Arms” has been covered many times by performers both in country music and other genres. Some of the more notable names include Marion WorthBing CrosbyLouis ArmstrongChuck Berrythe Andrews Sisters, Gram Parsons, Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, Trini Lopez, Mickey Gilley, Great Speckled BirdWillie NelsonPatty LovelessJerry Lee Lewis, Marie Osmond, and the Jerry Garcia Band.  In 2000 Van Morrison and Linda Gail Lewis performed the song on their album You Win AgainLinda Ronstadt recorded a cover for her 1971 album, and Marty Stuart recorded an instrumental version with Mooney on his 2010 album Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions.

You can hear some of these versions by clicking the link on the name, and here is the Ray Price version, although very poor quality video!

Crazy Arms

Now blue ain’t the word for the way that I feel
And a storm is brewing in this heart of mine
This ain’t no crazy dream I know that’s it real
You’re someone else’s love now, you’re not mine

Crazy arms that reach to hold somebody new
But my yearning heart keeps saying you’re not mine
My troubled mind knows soon to another you’ll be wed
That’s why I’m lonely all the time

Please take these treasured dreams I had for you and me
And take all the love I thought was mine
Someday my crazy arms will hold somebody new
But right now I’m so lonesome I could die

Crazy arms that reach to hold somebody new
But my yearning heart keeps saying you’re not mine
My troubled mind knows soon to another you’ll be wed
You’re someone else’s love now, you’re not mine
Well you’re someone else’s love now, you’re not mine

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Chuck Seals / Ralph Eugene Mooney

Crazy Arms lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Skater’s Waltz — A Unique Title For Me

Music to make you smile – thanks to Jim Adams.

 

Emile Waldteufel’s famous composition from 1882 is known in English as ‘The Skaters’ Waltz’. It was inspired by the sight of Parisians skating on the frozen Seine river. Waldteufel wrote over 200 works, but this is the piece he is best remembered for and this is one of the most famous wintery pieces in classical […]

via Skater’s Waltz — A Unique Title For Me

Song Lyric Sunday 17/11/2019 – Are Friends Electric? – Don’t ask

song-lyric-sundayThank you to Jim Adams, who hosts Song Lyric Sunday and gives us the chance to share lots of familiar, and some not so familiar, songs.

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 have missed three weeks but have still managed to listen to the entries. However, since “There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.” (Albert Schweitzer) I thought I’d better make an effort to find the time to offer my choice for this week, and stroke my cat, Daisy!

The song I’m offering has a very tenuous link to the prompts this week (Did/Didn’t/Do/Don’t/Does/Doesn’t) in that the lyrics contain the word DON’T twice. That’s it! The real reason is I like this song and I hope you do too. It is the first hit of a group who only existed from 1975 to 1979.

Tubeway Army were a London-based new wave and electronic band led by lead singer Gary Numan. They were the first band of the electronic era to have a synthesiser-based number-one hit, with their single “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and its parent album Replicas both topping the UK charts in mid-1979. After its release, Numan opted to drop the Tubeway Army name and release music under his own name as he was the sole songwriter, producer and public face of the band, but he retained the musicians from Tubeway Army as his backing band. (Wikipedia)

And here is a later, live performance, at the Brixton Academy.

Are ‘Friends’ Electric?

Gary Numan

It’s cold outside
And the paint’s peeling off of my walls
There’s a man outside
In a long coat, gray hat, smoking a cigarette

Now the light fades out
And I’m only wondering what I’m doing in a room like this
There’s a knock on the door
And just for a second I thought I remembered you

So now I’m alone
Now I can think for myself
About little deals and S.U.’s
And things that I just don’t understand

Like a white lie that night
Or a slight touch at times
I don’t think it meant anything to you

So I open the door
It’s the friend that I’d left in the hallway
“Please sit down”
A candle lit a shadow on a wall near the bed

You know I hate to ask
(But are friends electric?)
[Incomprehensible] mine’s broke down
And now I’ve no one to love

So I find out your reason
For the phone calls and smiles
And it hurts and I’m lonely
And I should never have tried

And I missed you tonight
So it’s time to leave
You see this means everything to me

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Gary Numan

Are ‘Friends’ Electric? lyrics © Universal/Momentum Music 3 Ltd., Numan Music Usa LLC, UNIVERSAL – POLYGRAM INTERNATIONAL PUB INC, UNIVERSAL-MCA MUSIC PUB OBO UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUB. LTD., GARY NUMAN USA UNIVERSE