Monday, 22 February 2010
In The Navy
When I was 16 and a little bored of school my friend Tracey and I played truant.
It was the one and only day we ever skipped school but it was a day I will never forget.
Primarily because it was the coldest and hungriest day of my life.
We chose a day in January to stay on the bus and continue on to Manchester instead of go to school.
The ffatal law in our plan was that the only money we had was our bus fare home.
Our dinner tickets didn't work in Lewis's nor any other department store where we wandered trying to keep warm.
It was a long day.
We tried to eke out the day wandering around department stores until we ran out of shops.
With an hour to go before we could catch the bus home we ended up in the Navy recruitment office.
By this time I was delirious with cold and hunger.
The recruiting officer gave us a load of booklets and if he'd offered me a cheese sandwich I would have signed up.
Happily I didn't but for 60 minutes I began to imagine my life at sea.
Luckily the 38 bus drew up outside and we made our excuses.
Yesterday I realised what a lucky escape I had after a VIP tour of HMS Sutherland which was visiting Liverpool.
The manager of my daughter's football team is a member of the Royal Navy (he commutes between Liverpool and Portsmouth)and he arranged our trip.
Don't get me wrong the Navy staff were wonderful but when I saw the living quarters- triple bunks with hardly a breath between- I realised what a lucky escape I'd had.
But yesterday I learned a few new things:
1. A Stag ship means a predominantly male crew.
2. Split the mainbrace means an order to crack open the run.
3. The Dutch navy is the only one in the world that has unisex living quarters.
I was also told lots of technical stuff which went straight out of my head.
And I was so relieved I'd decided never to play truant again.