October Digest

October Digest


October 2020

Notice posted at an Army Barracks.  “Beds will be made up as laid down in Standing Orders”

Covid 19, SBC’s Advice on 15 October

The pandemic has been going on for a long time now and we cannot thank people enough for the sacrifices they have already made. But we must keep going and redouble our efforts as a local community. Individually and collectively we can make a difference and keep the rate down. This means following the national guidance, including washing our hands regularly, wearing face coverings, keeping two metres apart from those we don’t live with, and sticking to the rule of six.”

Now the Sun has gone

The government thinks that you should take extra vitamin D in the face of the virus.  The body creates it from direct sunlight but now that’s gone you should take a supplement irrespective of the virus.  Other sources are oily fish, red meat, eggs and mushrooms.


I get telephone calls telling me my internet has a problem and will be shut down shortly.  I will be saved the problem by contacting their technology expert.  Do not be tempted to press any button as you can bet it will only lead to trouble.  There have been similar fake calls from Amazon alleging I’ve made a heavy purchase.  Just keep stumm and let them waste their time and money.

Another is callers at the door purporting to be from Essex County Council.  Southend residents should be aware that ECC has no jurisdiction in the Boro as we are a Unitary Authority.  As a general rule demand ID from any stranger who wants to get inside your door.  Be especially suspicious of two people calling.  One will hold your attention while the other helps  themselves to whatever they fancy.

Lastly people beg the elderly for petrol for a broken down car.  Be suspicious.

Park Anywhere Residents Scheme

This was a big announcement early in September.  It promised 3 hours anywhere and any time for £8.50 a month starting in April.  Well it seems this was equivalent to a loss leader.  The post Cabinet article in Leigh Times 29 September edition says anywhere but this is actually anywhere there are number plate scanners.  These can only be in Council car parks. I can’t see such by every street meter.   Residents are only part of the scope as it will be available to people living outside the Boro.

September talk

Was by Brian Hill about his career in the Merchant Navy from early 50’s to early 1970’s.  He was thoughtful enuff to list the ship in which he served and for whom.  Viz:

RMS Queen Elizabeth (the original serving as a Bridge Boy)

RMS Queen Mary (the original) RMS Saxonia& RMS Carinthia as a Radio Officer

Other shipping companies he served with:-

Cunard Line to USA/Canada

Lamport & Holt Line to Brazil and Argentina

Houlder Line to South Africa

Blue Star Line to Australia

Shaw, Saville and Albion to New Zealand

Niarchos to USA and Italy

Runcimans to Canada

And others

This is not a comprehensive list as other countries visited were not mentioned

His connection with the sea started early when he joined the Sea Cadets.  Musters were held at a drill hall in Northview Drive, but then relocated to a  more spacious site at Milton Road adjacent to the railway bridge where they remain to this day. The establishment is called TS Implacable 

After leaving school he attended a land based nautical training school on the River Hamble near Southampton.  The  establishment  was harsh and tough going in order to prepare for a career in the Merchant Navy, either as ratings or apprentice cadets with shipping companies

The establishment had no heating or cooling, so too hot in summer and cold in winter.  Daily morning physical training were just shorts and plimsolls and taken outside whatever the weather.  He also reminded us that food was still rationed this being reflected in inadequate diet.  A surprise was that some of the new intake were ex Borstal and Reformatory school boys, their fees being met by local authorities

Having reached  the age of 16, he was intending to be an apprentice cadet, but the nautical establishment had a call from Cunard to say that there was an immediate vacancy as a Bridge Boy on the RMS Queen Elizabeth at Southampton, so he jumped at the chance to gain invaluable sea going experience on the bridge of Britain’s largest transatlantic liner .

The ship was strictly segregated into three classes, Tourist Class in the bow section, Cabin Class in the stern section, and First Class in the most luxurious amidships section .

As his Father had been a Radio Officer in WW1, Brian took a great interest in the Radio Room which had 14 Radio Officers, and he decided to leave Cunard and train to become a certified Radio Officer at a specialist marine radio college in London . After passing examinations he re joined Cunard and served initially as a certificated Junior Radio Officer on the RMS Queen Mary . To have a change and to see other parts of the world, he left Cunard and served with other shipping companies as per the list above. One of the ships he served on as Radio Officer was a Liberty Ship of the Lamport & Holt Line ( L & H), originally built in the USA in WW2 in just 4 weeks and was named after a famous Baseball Player John J McGraw and was launched by his wife with a baseball bat !  The ship was managed by L & H and renamed SS Lassell.

Brian, having served with many shipping companies  re joined Cunard Line and served on RMS Saxonia and RMS Carinthia on the  Liverpool to Montreal run, and his last ship was as 7th Radio Officer on the RMS Queen Mary on the Southampton to New York run.

Due to the growth of air travel, containerisation  and ship owners registering their ships under flags of convenience, he decided there was no long term future in the British Merchant Navy, and left to commence a new shore based career – but that’s another story !

The lighter side

From a book of “Blackboard Blunders”

Frackchens are like harvs quarters and tirds.

Thoughts on Life

I’ve just started on book called “The march of Folly” by Barbara Tuchman.  It was written in the 80’s but is in fact bang up to date.  The opening paragraph is, “A phenomenon seen throughout history regardless of place or time is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests.  Mankind makes a poorer performance of government than almost any other activity.  Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to reason and self-interest?”  I think this still applies to Matt and Boris.

Serious examples are invading Russia and the Vietnam war.  Currently the government has no idea on how to tackle the virus other than banishing rational thought by fear.


Roger Savage of SAVS has made our new one ready for us to use.  It was launched on 23 September.

HMS Beagle

The one always associated with Charles Darwin.  The remains were located off Paglesham.  See reconstruction via www.discover2020

Dates for your Diary

4 Nov:  Lunch at the Brewer’s Fayre, Eastern Esplanade.  12 noon.  Tell Jean on 341047. 

6 Nov:  David Amess’ surgery 1pm at St Saviour’s Church, Kings Road, Westcliff

18 Nov:  Members meeting, 1st floor Balmoral Centre.  2pm. Bob Howes “My musical life” Balmoral is a “Covid-19 secure Community Facility”.  So do attend.

© JDS/ October 2020.  Tel 01702 472670