Twittering Tales #78 – 3 April 2018

It’s time again for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge to tax our creative souls. Just take her photo prompt and write a story, inspired by it, in 280 characters or fewer.

city-1487891_1280

I’ve been absent for a few weeks and have missed not taking part.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution. Check out all the fabulous entries here.

Meet me after the battle he said.

Just have to dash to Bosworth Field he said.

Then ZAP!…..I find myself transported in time to this deserted car park in Leicester.

The local paper says it is 2012. I left Richard in 1485. How can that be?

And just where is my Sovereign Liege?

(277 characters)

A Corkman dies on the Somme

John McGuiggan, on his site Broadsides, writes brilliantly on all sorts of matters. History, reviews, interesting tales about life in general, and his life in particular. Born into a military family, serving in the army, then transforming into a union organiser, he then somehow ended up as a barrister. He has tales to tell, funny ones, sad ones, reflective ones, but always interesting ones. Do read, and enjoy!

Broadsides - A collection of bits and pieces

The Pencil portrait of Private Christopher Coleman, from Cobh, County Cork, made by his wife.

The first week of September 1916 and the 16th Irish Division are engaged in the bloody advance across theSomme. At the village of Guillemont , men of the 7th Leinster Regiment manage to pass through the shattered village and secure and hold enemy trenches on the far side, but at terrible cost, losing some fifty percent of the soldiers engaged in the advance.  But in the bizarre ethics of war, it was a victory

Following the ‘victorious’ advance, non-combatant labour battalions are sent into the killing fields to clear up the mess left by the fighting soldiers. They clear away abandoned trenching tools, wire cutters, discarded equipment and bits and pieces of dead soldiers. It is gruesome and arduous work.

Among their number is an Englishman, Private George Wiles of the Royal Engineers. As…

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Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 04/02/18

SLSHelen’s theme this week is “truth”.

I’ll just have a rummage in my bag of tunes to see what I can find. Hang on a bit! – just down in the bottom corner I can feel a very angry young man wriggling about and having a real rant about this, that, and the other.

He started to write this song in 1969, but it was not released until 1971 on his album, “Imagine”. It is, of course, written, and sung, by John Lennon, and is titled “Gimme Some Truth.” You can’t miss the unique sound of George Harrison on lead guitar and, to my ear, he seems to have “borrowed” some of the tune from other songs he performed, or, perhaps, he reused some of this tune in later works!

This song expresses frustration with deceptive politicians, with hypocrisy, and with chauvinism. That sentence is courtesy of Wikipedia, and it is worth following the link to read more on it to look at the background. The article explains some of the references in the song lyrics, and this may be particularly handy for those not around at the time the song was written.

Sad to say that not much has changed and it will be obvious why I have chosen this particular version.

The words, and song and artist facts can be found here, and are also shown below.

I’m sick and tired of hearing things from
Uptight short sided narrow minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic psychotic pigheaded politicians
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied
Son of tricky dicky’s
Gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocket full of hopes
Money for dope, money for rope

No short-haired, yellow-bellied,
Son of tricky dicky’s
Gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocket full of hopes
Money for dope, money for rope

I’m sick to death of seeing things from
Tight-lipped condescending mama’s little chauvinists
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
I’ve had enough of watching scenes from
Schizophrenic egocentric paranoiac primadonnas
All I want is the truth just give me some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied,
Son of tricky dicky’s
Gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocket full of hopes
It’s money for dope, money for rope

I’m sick to death of hearing things from
Uptight short sided narrow minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic psychotic pigheaded politicians
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth

Writer/s: JOHN WINSTON LENNON
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

What do soldiers do?

The very last line of Owen’s poem The night in showers came to war… 

inspired me to write the following. Thank you, Owen, for the inspiration.

 

Amidst the noise and battle cry, what do soldiers do but die?

Do they rescue one another? “Let me help him, he’s my brother!”

Can they carry even one, when the bullets cease to come?

Is there any feeling left, or is it that they’re all bereft?

Amidst the noise and battle cry, what do soldiers do but die?

 

Amidst the noise and cry of battle, politicians ever prattle,

seeking ways to wage the war, counting bodies, keeping score.

Do they count the family cost, brothers, sons, and fathers lost?

Do they care for all the strife, grieving mother, child, or wife?

Amidst the noise and cry of battle, politicians ever prattle.

 

Amidst the noise and battle cry, what do soldiers do but die?

No one cared until too late, no one heeded others’ fate.

So long as profits filled the banks, businessmen all gave their thanks.

Politicians counted votes, and journalists made copious notes.

Amidst the noise and battle cry, what do soldiers do but die?

Twittering Tales #59 – 21 November 2017

It’s time again for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge to tax our creative souls. Just take her photo prompt and write a story, inspired by it, in 280 characters or fewer.

hands-1840487_1280 Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution. Check out all the fabulous entries here.

She was only alive because she could play the piano. That much had been made plain.

Her family had all been killed! Her friends too!

She dare not play top C on the keyboard, that would give the game away.

She had removed that string to hang herself.

She would soon join her family!

(278 characters)

We will remember them.

Still a week away from our annual services and parades for Poppy Day but I came across this post from last year and felt compelled to reblog it. I cannot watch it without copious tears but it really is the epitome of poetic Remembrance.

Peter's pondering

A poem in Yorkshire dialect. May be difficult for some to understand but it really is moving. Thanks to Yorkshire Prose.

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

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

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

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:

Ten Eleven Twelve Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen Sixteen Seventeen Eighteen 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 handling marshall
  9. Played bugle and drums in a Cadet Force band
  10. Helped to spy on Russian spies
  11. Helped to open a Playboy Club, with no women, in Bahrain
  12. Handled, and repaired Enigma machines
  13. Gassed hundreds of people, some several times
  14. Fallen out of the top of an oak tree
  15. Driven a tank
  16. Crawled under the Queen’s bed
  17. Crash landed a glider
  18. Been underwater in a submarine
  19. Been inside a radome
  20. Been in the impact area of High explosive shells
  21. Been an unpaid tourist guide
  22. Been totally alone on an island
  23. Been a sound engineer for The Gibraltar Song Festival
  24. Been a cave guide

All of these were achieved before the age of 40 but, if you have a large outstanding bucket list, do not despair, it is never too late!

I must admit that there is an amount of poetic licence involved, but where that is will only be revealed as I expand on each tale.

No state secrets will be revealed during the making of these blogs.

You may be waiting a while!