Mrs Headlander has been away for a few days so I write this as a shaking, hungover wreck, sitting in my armchair with a handy bucket clenched between my knees.
Meine Ubergruppenfuhrer decided some time ago that she needed to visit some old friends and that I should accompany her; but due to work constraints I eventually managed to squeeze out of the trip. Phew, a close one there!
I assured her that I would be absolutely fine here at home and that I would fill my time with cultural events, museum visits and perhaps a little light pruning in the garden but the lure of the pub proved too much and here I am three days later groaning with pain, full of Beechams Resolve and having to go and pick her up from the station except I cant Im still too drunk so shes coming home in a taxi!
The last three days have slipped by on a diet of beer, whisky, kebabs and aspirins. I just cant take it like I used to. At the age of 25 I could drink all day and party all night. Now I drink all evening and throw up all night. I used to go to parties and think to myself I wonder how long it will be before I get to go home with someone, whereas nowadays at parties I just think I wonder how long it will be before I get to go home! Over the weekend, the takings are up in the Pint and Fight by a hundred quid or more and down in our bank account by two hundred (where does that missing money go).
Shell kill me when she finds out!
Never mind this week I wanted to concentrate on a matter that has been inflaming the passions of a lot of us who live here in sunny Hartlepool, our beloved town and windswept jewel of the North East – The Ghost Ships.
I saw some protesters outside the Civic Centre protesting away merrily that they didnt want the 4 US Navy Ghost Ships moored in Able UKs yard dismantled in Hartlepool as it could be just a bit dangerous.
A couple of the banners were pretty entertaining
One-In-Ten British Asbestos Deaths happen in Teeside yelled one banner. Sounds shocking to me especially when you realise that nine in ten DONT. Also, how does this relate to the ghost ships and the procedures for taking them apart Personally, I have no doubt that the asbestos (and other hazardous materials) in them will be removed using the latest procedures and equipment. Look closely at the stats and you will most likely find that this is a legacy from unsafe practices in times past.
Ghost ships = A Ghost Town shouted another banner. Why What is this rubbish Will we all move away, become more unhealthy or die if they re dismantled here Well NO! There is no evidence of this. End of argument.
Other people have said that the US shouldnt dump their old ships on us they should deal with them themselves. A fair comment I think. OK then what if they were British ships waiting in Able UKs dock would that make it any better Once again a stupid argument!
I dont support the Ghost Ships project and I dont particularly hate it either if there were to be a vote then I could be swayed either way but only by LOGICAL, FACTUAL argument, not opinion or scaremongering. Public enquiry is the way to go.
Incidentally, how do a lot of Western Navies dispose of their ships at present Well, you may be shocked to know that they simply run them up a beach in India, Bangladesh, Guinea Bissau, Pakistan (and other countries) and let some little foreign slave workers dismantle them with no protection whatsoever.
But why should the people of Hartlepool care about that Well only be taking away their livelihoods, right So it must be good that we let them continue to risk their lives (and die!) when we could do it safely and cost effectively with minimal environmental impact here, yeah
Well think on. Im not a fan of Greenpeace but heres a good site for further info on the subject if you want a look: http://www.greenpeaceweb.org/shipbreak/whatis.asp
However If the company which will be doing the dismantling here uses any dangerous methods then those responsible should be immediately held to account. Instead of this half-hearted and possibly ill informed protest to get the dismantling stopped, why not protest for stocks and a gallows to be set up next to the war memorial to deal with any corporate negligence that may happen and then send Able UK a picture of them and inform them that they can start dismantling whenever they like. Be assured a good, safe job will be done!
Ah well back to the bucket and aspirins!
p.s I asked Landlord Hugh for a nautical joke this week and he came up with this tale of Captain Bravo
One day, while sailing the seven seas, a look-out spotted a pirate ship, and the crew became frantic. Captain Bravo bellowed for his red shirt. The First Mate quickly retrieved the captain’s red shirt, and, after donning the shirt, the captain led his crew into battle and defeated the pirates.
Later on, the look-out spotted not one, but two pirate ships. The captain again howled for his red shirt and once again vanquished the pirates.
That evening, all the men sat around on the deck recounting the day’s triumphs, and one of them asked the captain: “Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before each battle”
The captain replied: “If Im wounded in the attack, the crew won’t notice my bleeding and will continue to fight, unafraid.” All of the men sat in silence and marvelled at the courage of their captain.
As dawn came the next morning, the look-out spotted not one, not two, but TEN pirate ships approaching. The rank and file all stared at the captain and waited for his usual request.
Captain Bravo calmly shouted: “Bring me my brown trousers!”