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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Officially a new era begins.

We have been a way in London for a few days. It has been the official retirement 'do' for myself and a few others. My old shipping company put us up in a nice hotel near to Tower Bridge and  close to the Trinity House Buildings and the memorial to lost Merchant Naval crews at Tower Hill. We and our wives were taken out to a nice restaurant where the Managing Director, Fleet Operations Director and one of the owning family were there. The family own huge assets with fingers in many many things, including this offshore company. It was a very pleasant evening.

The next day we were gathering at the company head office near Buckingham Palace and we decided to walk from the hotel to get some fresh air and exercise. The day was cold as the sun hadn't really broken through the fog. The fog made London very atmospheric.

Just by Tower Bridge with the Shard and City Hall, and me just nicely hiding HMS Belfast.

Tower Bridge. I have actually been under it with the roadway lifted for us. We then tied up on HMS Belfast. That would have been about 1985 I would guess. I was impressed that the launches and ferries were using their fog signals as they progressed up and down, and this made the Thames even more moody in the fog.

We walked via Covent Garden so Helen could get her fix. It wasn't too busy so we were able to have a little look around the stalls and things.

We decided that this tree in the piazza at Covent Garden, in front of the Actor's Church St Paul's, was more impressive than the one in Trafalgar Square.

We managed to get stuck in the lift at Head Office partly due to the fact we were in the service lift due to refurbishments. We were only there for about 20  mins but as there were 7 of us in a small space a claustrophobic may have had a panic attack. It was great to mingle with others in the company as it isn't very often that those at sea get to put names to faces. With the loss of the vast majority of the British Merchant Navy over the last 40 years it was also heartening to meet up and talk with some of the younger generation that are taking a career at sea now, and their wives/partners too. As you may appreciate there have been massive changes in the my almost 40 years.

It has been a nice few days away and a good start to the Christmas festivities. It has drawn a nice line under my seagoing and has fired the gun really for the start of my new life. I wont say that I wont go away again, or do something in that line as my qualifications are still valid for a few years and we may need the money or something, but the presentation seems to have settled me down properly into the idea of 'retirement'. They have also been good enough to allocate me a lump sum to purchase a gift. I have asked if they would cough up for our compost loo and then every time I sat there I could contemplate my time with them. Failing that my solar panels. (needless to say I didn't put it quite like that!)

Hopefully next week we will be down to the boat for a day to have a good check around and do a few little jobs.

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