It gave me a bit of a kick up the backside though – I realised I need to have my bag packed ready for when she does go into labour. They’re a two hour drive away – that’s if we’re lucky and the M25 isn’t doing its impression of a car park.
I watched the second debate. Enough said.
The Coffin Dancer was brilliant – finished it last night so maybe now I can get some sleep. I was wondering what to read next and think I may have to do some catching up with the magazines that are stuffed into my bucket.
Would you like to see my bucket?
Pretty isn’t it. It's very heavy and the rings are made of brass. It was salvaged from the Kronprins Frederik, a Danish ship that caught fire whilst moored at Parkeston Quay in April 1953. She subsequently capsized.
She was written off by the insurers, but the owners DFDS (now known as Scandinavian Seaways) refused to give up on her and they bought her back from the insurer, salvaged her and she was towed to Helsingor, restored and put back into operation just over a year later.
After the fire in 1953 she continued to serve on the north sea routes and for a while up to Iceland and the Faroe Islands before being put up for sale in the 1970s.
She was bought by the Arab Navigation Company in 1974 and renamed MV Patra. Shipping companies rename ships all the time. It is quite common practice, but it is a superstition among sailors that it is unlucky to rename a ship unless you leave the original name somewhere about the ship’s person.
In December 1974, the Patra set off from Jeddah with almost 500 passengers and crew aboard. Many were pilgrims returning from Mecca or Medina, some were Egyptian workers returning home.
A fire broke out in the engine room followed by a series of explosions. The order was given to jump overboard and the crew had to chase some of the passengers with axes to force them to leave their belongings behind.
It must have been awful. The Patra sank, still in flames, a few hours later. 102 lives were lost.
You wonder how many of the ships out there have interesting pasts and previous identities and where are some of the old ones now? Are they still going or have they ended up being broken up on a distant beach.
For those of you viewing in black and white, the ship was grey and white and the funnel red and black. Today the colours are white and blue.
And if you remember 1980s shipboard soap Triangle (who could ever forget poor Kate O’Mara shivering – er I mean sunbathing topless on the chilly deck) – that was filmed originally on a Tor Line ship, but Tor Line was taken over by DFDS and the ship became part of the DFDS fleet.
I was just going to show you my bucket and I went off on a bit of a tangent there didn’t I?
I saw a St George’s Day parade – it consisted of a Scottish band in full regalia with bagpipes – they did look and sound rather magnificent I have to say, but . . . Hm.
In other news I have a My Weekly pocket novel out now “The Call of Home”.
Warming up isn’t it? I did eleven thousand steps on Friday according to my pedometer – must have been all that pacing up and down worrying about early babies! It did include a walk up a very steep hill – yes we do have one in Essex. I tell you if it was any steeper you’d need crampons and pulleys.
If you’re still here, I hope you have a happy weekend.