It is strange as we grow old we seem to dwell more and more in the past. I often go back to my time in submarines. Mostly it was good, mostly uneventful, and most importantly water tight!. Today, I have a great pride wearing my submarine Dolphins to Remembrance day parades and other events. Sometimes I think of the submarine Totem, in the photo above. I sail in her in 1962 for a short time, The second T class submarine of my career. I dreaded the Head (toilet) on those old T boats. Usually filled to the brim by the time I arrived. This meant flushing to sea! setting the correct pressure to overcome the outside sea pressure was always a tense moment. One mistake and you might have freckles for life, not too mention smelling bad until we returned to harbour. No showers on a T class submarine. Sadly when I think of Totem I also think of her at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Sold to the Israeli Navy in the late 1960’s she sank with all hands on her trip from the UK to Israel. No one knows what caused the disaster, several theories, terrorism, sabotage, maybe an accident??
However, the one thing I thought about often whilst serving in Alcide was the pressure hull. What am I talking about? well let me explain, I had probably the best bunk in the seaman’s mess aboard Alcide. The inboard bunks were three high and mine was the top bunk. This allowed me to lay in the bunk without taking up space around the mess table.The two bunks below me formed a bench seat during the day. My bunk was out of the way and allowed me to watch a movie from my bunk, kinda like having a balcony seat all to myself. The one odd thing about being in the top bunk was the very close proximity to the upper part of the pressure hull. I realized that approximately two inches of steel near my head was all that separated me from the deep cold waters of the North Atlantic. I imagined all too vividly the enormous sea pressing only inches above my face. But as we worked hard long hours in a submarines sleep thankfully always came quickly. Indeed, it would have mattered not were one slept, if the hull ever breached, instant eternal sleep for everyone would have followed. Dark thoughts of the deep! but I no longer worry about sea pressure, arthritis and many other aches and pains have long since super seceded my time in that top bunk.
On the other hand I can’t get the weather out of my mind. Here it is Monday 23rd March and we are still snowed in. The Island closed again!!! no school no bridge no nothing. It must be time for a wee bit of humour>
Paddy went into the confessional box after years of being away from the Church. Inside he found a fully equipped bar with Guinness on tap. On one wall there was a row of decanters with fine Irish whiskey and Waterford crystal glasses. On the other wall is a dazzling array of the finest cigars and chocolates.
Then the priest comes in. Paddy says to him, "Father, forgive me, for it's been a very long time since I've been to confession, but I must admit that the confessional box is much more inviting than it used to be. 'Get out, you moron,‘ the priest yells. ‘You're on my side.‘
God Bless and keep reading while I keep shovelling snow.