My first trip as a baby sparkie was on Discovery Bay in 1977. I married Janet in 1979 and between then and 1985 she did 14 trips to sea with me before settling down to look after our two boys. My final trip (though I didn’t realise it at the time) was on Kowloon Bay in 1990.
I spent two years as the only member of the Fleet Management team in Beagle House without a Masters Certificate with Captains Ian Cox, Steve Bligh and Andy Kirkham. For some reason, Bob James thought my computer and other skills might be useful to the team at a time when I needed to be close to home for family reasons.
Somehow, my six-week secondment on a single cost improvement project stretched out to two years of interesting and varied work covering everything from negotiating the price of tugboats in Rotterdam to drafting POCL’s first ever Environmental Policy (which won someone else a prestigious prize), becoming an expert in forensic accounting and defending against fraudulent refrigerated cargo insurance claims. The last one was more interesting than it sounds, fill a box with rotten prawns or grapes, ship it from Aussie to Tilbury and claim a fortune in insurance when it arrives hoping the company records aren’t up to scratch to defend the claim. Luckily, our frosties kept meticulous records - you just needed to know who, what and how to ask.
For personal reasons I went ashore in 1992 and started my next career in IT, initially at Lancaster University then in the NHS from 1997 onwards.
I’ve never been one for living in the past or for staying in touch (apart from Iain Murray Hill and Martin Chudley).
So here I am, 31 years later, saying hello and wondering where the heck the years have gone.