My first few months of 1964 in Halifax NS was indeed a learning experience. The province had some strange laws, particularly in the areas involving alcohol, and as I mentioned in my last blog contraceptives!!!. Because we were stationed in Canada for two years and this was at the height of the Cold War we were a part of NATO Forces. I was entitled to three bottles of duty free spirits every month. (We also received 3 cartons duty free cigarettes per month but I didn’t smoke). To pick up booze I had to go to a NS Liquor store. On my first visit everything went smoothly, I showed my Royal Naval ID book and received the bottles. Then as an after thought I said I would like a case of beer too. I need to see some ID said the store guy, but I just showed you my ID for the duty free stuff. That doesn’t count you need Canadian ID to buy beer, what about a drivers license? I didn’t yet have a driver license, in fact I didn’t have a car. So no beer, even though I had just purchased three bottles of whiskey. On another occasion six of us sat in a local tavern and were told it was four to a table, two shipmates had to sit at another table. On the table was a salt shaker so I assumed they served food, wrong again the salt was for the beer. I had never put salt in my beer in my life. Drinking in Halifax was boring, no singing no darts but the most ridiculous rule no women allowed. At the Stadacona base canteen the same rules applied. However, as we were usually only in harbour on the weekends we managed to change these silly rules (except for girls). At lunch time Sundays some twenty or thirty submariners would invade the canteen, we pulled all the tables together, some one put their cap in the middle and we each put a dollar in the kitty. Told the waiter to just keep bringing the beer until the kitty was gone. We hauled a dusty never used piano out of the corner and had a boisterous sing song. No one argued with us probably because we were so many. So every Sunday the rule four to a table, no more than two glasses of beer per person went out the window. The waiter didn’t complain he was making good money. But it was always reported and we were banned from the canteen for three weeks at a time. That too worked out quite good as we spent a lot of time at sea and the banned was usually over by the time we came back. The draft beer was terrible not surprising people added salt, but it was cheap, eleven cents per glass. The system in a tavern was when you placed an order you were served two glasses of beer and you paid a quarter, twenty two cents for the beer and the other three cents for the waiter. I don’t recall if they actually received a salary or just worked for the three cent tips. Strange times indeed but good times too.
Cheers and bottoms up.
(The photo in the caption is submarines Alcide & Auriga moored under the Halifax Bridge)
God Bless and keep reading.
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