Monday, 27 May 2013

Cleaning brass!

Hi everyone.

Spent the morning cleaning brass. It look shiny and new when finished.
It brought back memories of the time when I was a cadet with Shell Tankers. Saturdays one of the tasks of the cadets was to clean all the brass on the bridge.
I have described this in my semi-autobiographical novel about my years at sea in the British Merchant Marine:-

Tales from the Sea:

The bane of all cadets’ existence, I found out, was Saturday morning. It was our job to clean the brass on the bridge under the watchful eye of the third mate. I was surprised at the amount of brass needing cleaning. Somehow, Captain Morris always managed to find his way onto the bridge just as we were finishing. For some reason, he always found a bit that we had missed. As senior cadet, Malcolm always went onto the focastle to clean the ships bell and the brass plates on the winches. I took note of this.  By keeping out of the way, he always missed the ire of the Captain.
Captain Morris was a stickler for procedure. On Sundays, he did his rounds of inspection through the ship seriously. It was a ritual. Unless the ship was clean he would get the cleaning redone to his satisfaction. We cadets had to stand by our bunks until he had inspected our cabins. Afterwards, Mister Marsh, the chief officer invited us to his cabin for a beer with the other deck and engineering officers who were not on duty. In that way, he felt the cadets would be part of the officers’ circle. It was important because most of the time we were neither officers nor crew but some undefined position in between.

This can be purchased from or as a paperback or to download as an ebook for all electronic readers, through for download as an ebook for all electronic reader formats and as a paperback from