Of Sailing Ships, and Sealing Wax (Contd.) "What yer doin' workin', yer little sod?" one of them snarled. "We're up to see t' Skipper." I saw them stride through the Old Man's weather-door, then back out again at almost the same pace. "Go ahead, shoot me, ye bastard!" one of them shouted. Then I saw the barrel of an enormous revolver poking through the doorway. There was no day off. In passing, I must mention the one I got after the CUSTODIAN. It was a tramp called the WALTER SCOTT, belonging to the Chine Shipping Co., apparently owned by a Chinee with literary aspirations- he had two more called the CHARLES DICKENS and the THACKERAY. He mustn't have been able to handle Thackeray's Christian names - William Makepeace. It was an eleven month twenty-seven day trip -which always sticks in my mind because we missed the Income Tax relief by four days, which didn't exactly please us.
Harrisons paled into insignificance compared with that one. Never know when you're well off, do you? We were loading grain at Geelong, Australia, at the same time as the square-rigged sailing ship PAMIR, which was still trading then. I had to go aboard her for a look-see, of course; as I gazed up, stupefied by the mass of rigging, a Baltic-type voice said, "You like ship, huh? You sailor?" He "I'm on that one", was a huge man with beard and cheese-cutter. Yes - I nodded I was sailor I gestured across the harbour to where Wally Scott mouldered quietly at the quayside. "Huh!" he snorted, "that not ship. Want job on real ship? I am Mate". "No thanks - " I edged my way toward the gangway, thinking about Shanghai stories and belaying pins. I often wonder what would have happened if I'd taken a job on her; apparently most of her original crowd had skinned out in the then-promised land of Australia- as had some of Wally's crowd, for that matter. One thing is for sure: I would have got home quicker. The two ships left Geelong on the same day; Pamir took ninety-two days to Hamburg -Wally took one hundred and ten days to London, stopping everywhere as assorted bits fell off the engine. Another one-off was on the GEOLOGIST in 1949. I don't remember much about that one- which is perhaps as well. You don't like to think about a ship lying murdered at the bottom of some Godforsaken Pass.
s.s. GEOLOGIST, 6155 tons. Built in 1944 she was sunk in collision off Trinidad on July 13th 1955, with the loss of 19lives. The other J'essel, SUN PRINCESS, was found to be at fault.
The FORESTER was the first of the long list of consecutive trips with Tom & Jerry. She was new at the time, with real electric winches; made a