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All bran …

February 28, 2012

Transom in place 

Empire Trooper was to be broken up but her lifeboats were alright as lifeboats go – notoriously, they were pigs to sail and my dad was somewhat of a purist but with all of us children and money being short -needs must.

There was a lot of work to be done converting a double ended lifeboat to a transom sterned yacht. A lifeboat was all we could afford.

He put the lifeboat on chocks on the saltings near Miscellany. Then he cut through the hull of the boat down the stern post and opened it out. He steamed new timbers, using a bonfire and a long drainpipe making them more flexible.

My mother had remove the timber from the pipe and run them, one at a time to my dad who then bent them to make the new curve to the beautiful new mahogany transom he had made – it was poetry in motion.

Years passed by before it was ready for sailing – Dad disliked travelling by bus or train, so holidays were spent at home working on the boat , until one year, Dad said ‘this year we’ll sail round to Canvey Island and stay with the parents, it won’t cost us much , and we’ll hardly be out of sight of land. So, we started out full of optimism.

As soon as we reached Littlehampton and then the gales started. With three children on board and no life rafts, it was a bit risky. Dad decided that the weather would ease that night so we would try a night passage – so about midnight, us children all asleep, we motored out, through the channel with sullen fishermen all the way along the pier glowering at us disturbing the peace; we hoisted the sails and headed north.  Within a couple of hours the gale was back and we were forced back to Littlehampton, to the renewed baleful glares of the fishermen.

Littlehampton is a nice place but there is a limit to how many times you can visit Arundel castle.  After several days we were running out of money.  Fortunately, we had a bag of scrap with us.  Somehow we never got out of the habit of picking up scrap metal.  Living in boatyards there was always plenty about and with friends in the trade it came in handy when things got desperate – we were now desperate.

By weekend, there was nothing for it but to head for home, stores were very low, and us children were hungry -when weren’t we?  Looking in the depleted store cupboard mother remembered the recipe for wartime cakes using flour, almond essence, cornflakes and condensed milk (a luxury touch) and they didn’t need cooking.  Mother found all the ingredients except cornflakes. But we had All Bran – What’s the difference?  Mother wasted no time and we all enjoyed the cakes, unfortunately the bran had a drastic effect on my dad –  this of course was highly amusing to us children.  We were careful not to let him see us giggle as he rushed to the toilet several times for the next few hours.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2014 7:27 am

    Reblogged this on Living, Libraries and [Dead] Languages and commented:

    Like I said … life in our childhood was a little less than conventional but as I become the older generation and the memories fade I celebrate …

  2. September 18, 2014 2:38 am

    Thiss site was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Appreciate it!

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