That Reminds Me, by Jeff Dunn
12:10pm Friday 11th October 2013 in News
THANKS to all those who've been kind enough to welcome me back to the TRM hot seat.
As we all know, ours is the column that offers a little bit of extra dunk with your coffee and biscuits.
And for your delectation this week, for your eyes only, we've thrown together another of those mixed grill kind of efforts, starting with these two super snaps.
To be honest, I've had them both for ages, the shop one is courtesy of my old school chum, Graham
Clarke, and the other was in my box of tricks, just begging to be used.
If anyone would care to pass comment on either of them, please get in touch, you know how much I welcome feedback.
Apparently, when it comes to our photos, one thing I don't do often enough is to include the names of people who are in them, as pointed out to me in no uncertain fashion by Colin, when our shopping trollies nearly collided one day this week.
He particularly mentioned the pics of the "old Pill boys" that Brian Phillips sent me a while back.
My only excuse is that, quite often, I don't even have the names myself but as it happens, not in this case, because Brian, being such a thoroughly professional geezer, had included them.
So for Colin, and all others who wanted the names of those Pill boys, better late than never, here they are:
Brian Phillips; Anthony Evans; Michael Evans; Tony White; Chris Holmes; Roy Gwilliam; Alan James; Robert Frank; Dai Britton; Roger Sheldon and Tony Ayers.
I've been following the Government's latest ideas on how to cope with the UK's unemployment problems, and it's reminded me of my early working days, from 1964 to 1972, when I was with the Labour Exchange service, which included spells in the Llanelli, Haverfordwest and Milford Haven "dole" offices.
Despite the fact that it is now more than 40 years ago since I last checked a UB40, and I've since had
25 years of High Finance under my belt, amazingly I still get a few people who sidle up to me saying things like "Remember the time you sent me for a job with...", or " remember when you caught me 'hobbling' and called me a ******" . And surprisingly, most of the time, I do remember and we have a chat and laugh about it.
If nothing else, my "dole" years taught me how to "talk to people". I suppose, in total, I must have "interviewed" around 3000 people, some who were in jobs but wanted to change, but mostly those who didn't have, or "didn't want" a job at all.
Along the way, there were many funny "incidents and accidents", and a wide variety of "characters." It was never a boring job because you didn't know who was likely to turn up next.
Like the day a Scotsman, called Campbell Mac, something or other turned up in the Milford office, it was when we were operating out of the old Sorting Office in Robert Street, while our Nantucket
Avenue premises were being renovated. It must have been 1969, as I seem to recall too, that, despite being banned from being played on "Aunty's" BBC airwaves, it was when that naughty little
Jane Birkin, with her naughty little record ‘Je t'aime moi non plus’, was at number one in the pop charts.
I still used to care in those days.
Campbell Mac was a mountain of a man, about the size of an over inflated Robbie Coltrane, and he looked like he might easily have been the caber-tossing champion of the Highlands, or a wild mountain haggis hunter. I'm sure the wooden chair in the "interview room", when he plonked his gargantuan frame onto it, started groaning. I suppose I was a bit blase, but, like some tape measure bearing funeral director mentally sizing up a future "client", in my mind I'd already categorised him, and was preparing myself to offer him all the heavy labouring, or circus strong man jobs I could find in our "vacancies" file. I had no doubt he could probably carry a trawler on his shoulders.
"I'm an author”, his voice startled me. He sounded more like Scottish comic Chic Murray than Harry Potter's 'hairy Hagrid'. “And I'm in Pembrokeshire for two weeks doing some research for
Slightly taken aback, I asked him what his book was about, he was sure to be a hard hitting, slaughter on the docks, blood and guts on every page, type of writer.
It wasn't my day. I was wrong again.
"Mermaids. I'm going around Britain collecting tales of sightings and myths. I've found there was one in Solva in the 1700's, and another in St Dogmaels. I'm in Milford for two weeks to see if any of the old fishermen have ever seen one. If you'll kindly give me a B1 and tell me where to find the National Assistance Board office, I'll be on my way.”
I never saw him again, but in that one brief encounter I'd learned an important lesson.
Never judge a book by its cover, and I found out later that he was right about those mermaid legends.
I don't know if he ever finished his book, nor do I know if any of Milford's old fishermen could provide him with any juicy tales about "ladies of the sea" sightings. But if they could I wouldn't half love to hear them myself!
Here's another Scottish tale, yet one far more serious.
According to an August 1915 news cutting there was a narrow escape for a Scot, a Patrol Boatman named Daniel Macaleer , who , on his way to board his vessel, the Silvery Dawn, fell into the Docks on the Hakin side. Two of his companions went to his aid, one of whom also got into difficulties, but they were got ashore and Dock PS Heber Evans, along with Constables Johns, Lewis and Jacks rendered first aid and used artificial respiration.
It was only after an hour and ten minutes that signs of life were manifest. Doctor Davies was sent for and ultimately the man was wrapped in hot blankets and removed on the ambulance to the Bethel wherea Naval Doctor attended him.
Apparently, all the men were more or less under the influence of alcohol.
Not for the first time in the town's history, it proves that docks and drink can be a dangerous combination.
Now it's teaser time, and last week's was a straight forward one - the wine weighed 40 ounces.
Those who can sip their vino with pride are : Eric Harries; Sheila Rimmer; Maureen Hardaker;
Mal Cullen; Macky Williams; Alan Scard; The Tish Llewellyns; Roy Holman; Veronica X;
John Glover; John Roberts; Denis Payne; Alan Seago; Thelma Beer, and my very own Carole.
Thanks to all who took part.
You may have to put your thinking caps on for this one, and, if you feel like it come back to me with your answer.
How can you take 1 from 19 and leave 20?
Right, that's enough of my waffling for another week. I think we'll get back to some trawler
fishing next time, maybe there'll be one with a mermaid in her nets!
Those Scottish recollections have made me hungry. I think I'll stick the Proclaimers CD on, it's time for a bowl of cock-a-leekie soup followed by a medium rare Aberdeen Angus.
See yoo, Jimmy.