Ships in the night.
No, this is not a comment regarding the state of my current relationship with B. (nope, it’s just a really hackneyed title, alright?)
Instead, I’m proud to report that I actually did an Interesting Thing last Saturday morning.
On Friday afternoon I received a phone call from Britt, a good acquaintance of ours- she does all sorts of things involving boats; one of which involves taking control of the discharging of dredger barges that dock at the Cemex wharf just downriver from us at Saxon. Anyway, she’d found herself shorthanded for the boat coming in on that nights high tide and asked me if I’d help out. Of course I immediately said yes.
The result of such foolhardy agreement found me stirring myself (and a very strong coffee) at the accursed hour of 2.30am to meet Britt, and a bloody huge boat coming up the river in the dark. Sand Weaver carries a payload of about 2700 tonnes of sand and aggregate, which she sucks up from the dredging grounds off the Isle of Wight. She works pretty much round the clock, comes in to Southampton to unload then heads straight out to repeat the process over and over again, this is indeed one hardworking ship and one which I was about to help bring in to the quayside.
After donning a hardhat, hi-viz jacket and life jacket, I was assured that the task which lay ahead of me was straightforward as well as interesting, and so it was. Sand Weaver pirouetted in front of us and presented starboard side, nose first, and somewhere in the night Britt caught the line thrown down from the high bow. I caught the stern line and dropped its eye over the bollard, then did the same with the spring. Said Hello to a member of the crew (who later kindly made us some sweet coffee), and listened carefully as Britt explained the ins and outs of running the huge conveyor on the wharf that the boat unloaded into. We made a great big mountain of aggregate, and watched over the machinery as a marvellous blue morning dawned, and in spite of the ship’s own boom conveyor suffering from hydraulic hiccups we'd successfully discharged two thousand four hundred and something tonnes of stuff onto the wharf by about 6.30am. Then it was time to haul in the gangway, let go the lines and wave goodbye to the boys on board and that was that. I dropped Britt off at her place then headed back to Wendy for another weekends work. I really, really enjoyed the experience, and finally have some paid work in Southampton. Result.
Any readers who also regularly check out Tim Zim’s blog (it’s over there, in my links corner) will not only probably recognise the name of the ship I helped tie up, but may also spot his own boat, the Lady Jane- visible (just about) in the background of one of the pictures, it was a much better, kind of gulls eye view in real life though.