The original plan of campaign was to set off south on Thursday 4th November 1965 but this was not to be as there were still things to do to prepare the ship for her voyage.
In the morning I crossed to the Albert Harbour where some of the Clyde passenger fleet were laid up for the winter. There was Waverley berthed outside King George V with her two rich red funnels. At the other end of the dock was Duchess of Hamilton. Talisman was there too as well as one of the ABC car ferries and a Maid. It was a little slice of heaven really for a paddle steamer loving fourteen-year-old.
In the afternoon the bunker lorry turned up. The hose was plugged in and the fuel pumped aboard. Nobody seemed quite sure exactly how much was needed so a sounding stick was sourced and was put into one of the tanks. As this was being done the fact that the tank was already full was demonstrated as heavy fuel oil started appearing from the overflow pipe and pouring over the deck
In today’s world this would be seen as a major incident involving multiple agencies all sticking their oar in. Today ships have to have special bunkering procedures in place with check lists and so on. Generally they need to get permission from the port authority before bunkering can commence, inform them of any issues and call them again when it is all complete. There was none of that back then. When the overflow started the road tanker switched off its pump and unplugged its hose. The crew cleaned up the mess and it was as though it had never been.
I had not eaten very much since joining Jeanie on the Monday as I just felt everything on offer from the cook looked inedible. As a result I noticed that my lips had started to dry out and crack. Captain Woods noticed this too and asked me if I was OK which I said I was in a cheery and positive sort of way.
However, after the incident with the fuel I took myself ashore once again to top myself up with more bottles of restorative Lucozade to help keep me going. And so ended my fourth day aboard Jeanie Deans.
To be continued.
This article was first published on 4th November 2020.