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So, we did get complimentary food today which was good.

Quality wasn’t great though, as it came with a salt overdose.

They did go and get me a complimentary G&T though which was…

Well, it was Beefeater with generic tonic so not great taste, though it did at least have some ethanol

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So, Millwall fans in the next carriage.

As vocal as they’ve always been.

Oh dear dog, what is wrong with me?

I agreed with Digby Jones on something…

‘Today’ on Radio4 this morning discussing the withdrawal of Fred Goodwin’s Knighthood, Digby Jones said that Honours shouldn’t be awarded to people just for doing their jobs.

Well said.

I have always thought that it was ridiculous that people got some sort of an honour for doing well in their chosen profession. You choose a profession, it is expected that you should do well. If you do anything less than your best in whatever you choose to do then you are a poor excuse for a citizen. Don’t expect some special recognition for doing it, other than the gratitude of your peers and customers. Especially if you’re getting a six-figure salary. Perhaps if you do something outside your profession that is deserving of recognition that’s fine, but not for doing well what you’re supposed to do well.

(And this goes for sportsmen too. If you choose sport as your profession, the same applies.)

Footnote: I think that the whole honours system is a ridiculous anachronism that should be scrapped

Being up in Middlesbrough over the last week, I didn’t get the chance to post this on the planned day, November 8th, the 70th anniversary of my grandfather’s death.

I knew a bit about my father’s side of the family, but knew little of my mother’s family, particularly about grandfather. All I knew was that he had died during the 2nd World War whilst serving in the Merchant Navy. I had initially found that his ship, the Empire Dorado, had sunk in November 1941 after collision with another ship. However when I spoke to my mother she told me that Grandmother had been notified of his death a year earlier, in November 1940. I went in to look at the Tower Hill Memorial, and was surprised that there are only three names listed as lost on the Empire Dorado including that of Grandfather.

In late summer of 1940 the Empire Dorado was waiting to join a convoy in Halifax NS. It was originally slated to join HX-64, but this was put back as there were insufficient escorts. The sailing was put back a few times but I think that she finally sailed on HX-67 departing Halifax on August 20th and arriving Liverpool September 4th. The full list for HX-67 is missing, but I’ve gone through all the subsequent lists up to HX-84 and it doesn’t appear on any of them, so it looks like she must have been on HX-67. She was due to return to Baltimore on OB-19 but again this was put back.

The Empire Dorado is not listed on any further convoys until she is listed as leaving Liverpool in November 1940. Initially due to sail on OB-237, she was put back and finally sailed as part of convoy OB-239 on 4th November 1940. This was an empty return convoy en route to North America for its next supply pick-up.

On 6th November, Naval Intelligence learned that the German Heavy Cruiser Admiral Scheer was operating in the North Atlantic, so OB-239 was recalled and turned to make for Oban expecting to arrive on 8th November. The Admiral Scheer Battle Group located the convoy HX-84 on 8th November and attacked. This developed into one of the biggest and most famous engagements of the North Atlantic Theatre. The two most famous incidents are the charge of the Jervis Bay and the saving of the San Demetrio.

The Admiral Scheer requested air support as the convoy had scattered and a flight of Focke-Wulf 200 Condor Heavy Bombers put out from Kiel to join the attack on HX-84, but before joining up with the Admiral Scheer they spotted convoy OB-239 at 55°07’N :: 16°50’W, making for Oban and attacked that. The Empire Dorado was hit by a bomb killing three crewmen including Grandfather, and causing significant damage. The bombers then went on to attack HX-84, damaging the Vingaland. The Empire Dorado was taken under tow by the Anti-Submarine tug Man o’ War and returned to the Clyde for repairs.

Following repairs, the Empire Dorado finally returned to Canada on ON-021 and picked up her final cargo. She was listed to sail on SC-52, but was again put back and set off on her final voyage on SC-53, leaving Sydney, CB, on 4th November 1941 with an unknown cargo. On 20th November, just over a year after having been bombed, she was involved in a collision with the Greek ship Theomitor – very near the location where she had been bombed the year before. She was taken in tow, but sank at 57°53’N :: 20°33’W on 22nd November. With plenty of notice that the ship was going to sink there was sufficient time to evacuate the crew, and this is why there are only three names listed at Tower Hill, the victims of the bombing attack a year before.

Sources:
Daily List (Royal Navy) November 1940:
http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWW2-4011-24NOV01.htm

Daily List (German Navy) November 1940:
http://www.wlb-stuttgart.de/seekrieg/40-11.htm

General Info on Wartime Merchant Navy:
http://www.gordonmumford.com/m-navy4.htm

Convoy Web (Near-Complete Listings of all Wartime Convoys)
http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/hague/index.html

Incomplete List of Atlantic Convoys:
http://www.warsailors.com/convoys/index.html

San Demetrio London on IMDB
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039797/

No Grave But The Sea

Can never vote Conservative because they’re Conservatives (and because I can never forgive them for that bitch, Thatcher)

Can’t vote Labour any more, after foisting the Mandleson / Blair project upon us.

UKIP = Fascists Lite

Greens = Joke

Doesn’t really leave many options, short of moving to Wales and voting Plaid.

Voted Clegg

Got Cameron

Seriously, Fucking Pissed Off

Tomorrow we vote.

I started working a long time ago; a fortnight later the bitch thatcher won her first election victory and set about dismantling the Scots nation. Still 17 I didn’t have the vote at that time and had to wait until the local election of the following year before I had my first chance to cast a vote. Still, I have never forgiven the tories for inflicting her upon us – a mistake on their part after they miscalculated during their attempt to oust Heath – and I’ll never vote for them, ever.

In the course of the election I’ve seen not a single election candidate or representative, and have had just one single leaflet – from the fascist lite of the UKIP mob, for whom I would likewise never vote – so I can’t take seriously the news reports of how frantic this campaign has been. When I left home in search of work I ended up living in the tory heartland and our local tory MP is arrogantly confident enough to be able to avoid anything as plebeian as campaigning where she might have the misfortune to happen across any proles. The other parties realise that they have little hope of winning this seat and so concentrate their fire-power elsewhere.

So I will probably go to the polls tomorrow and will put my vote in the Lib-Dem box, though it is effectively a wasted vote – any vote not for the tories around here is a wasted vote.

There is, I know, no such thing as a mathematically fair voting system, but there must be something better than this first-past-the-post system.

Give us Proportional Representation or a Single Transferable Vote, and I might once again get enthusiastic about voting again, and give us a Republic to replace this corrupt Parliamentary Monarchy

Whilst I was having problems with the lock on my front door, one of my neighbours was having clutch problems.

From the car parking area, across a flower bed (flattening half a dozen shrubs), through the fence down the embankment, ending up in someone’s garden. Hauled out and left on the path overnight, before a tow truck turned up the following day to haul it back up the bank.

Monday was okay, but when I woke up on Tuesday I was spinning a bit. Mild vertigo, but it cleared when I got up and put the lights on, and was able to suppress by fixation. Wednesday and Thursday were bad though with a continuous vertigo with a bit of tinnitus that wouldn’t subside no matter what I did (or didn’t). Thought I might have a touch of Meniere’s, but hearing was no worse than usual.

Better today, and no spinning. However just to round off a hellish week I got home and found the lock on my house has jammed, so I’m sitting here waiting for a locksmith to come out.

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