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Messages - stokerstan

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A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: October 14, 2020, 09:20:14 PM »
 As many of you will now be aware, we have decided to shelve the reunion that we were hoping to have on the 19th oct.
   Having consulted with a number of members, it seems to have been the consensus that with the current restrictions in place, and the likelihood of more to come, the reunion we want will not be possible.  The hotel has gone out of its way to try to accommodate us, but a Gala dinner worth attending simply is not permitted, social distancing greatly inhibits raffle, and even basic conversation between members would be very difficult. Fleetwood is shown up on the television virus maps as being located right in the centre of the high virus area, and even though I was advised that
the town has not any record of corvid problems, I personally felt that many members would be uncomfortable attending. I also personally felt that it would be irresponsible putting our members, (who are not now spring chickens) under any pressure to meet up in the middle of the pandemic for a not very good do.
  The hotel is open for business should anyone wish to have the break, phone the hotel they will reserve you a good room, at the present time the restaurant is still operating.
  The manager has agreed to maintain our reunion booking for the future, I will relay any further news re a 2021 reunion maybe spring ? but we will have a reunion come hell or high water. we are after all

A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: October 12, 2020, 11:21:08 PM »
   23oo hours !! Reunion looking shaky, will be speaking to the hotel manager tomorrow morning. Fleetwood is showing to be in the middle of the red area, but to date I have still not been able
to obtain specific regulations for either Fleetwood or Leeds !! but at this point, I would not be packing bags yet. :-[ :'(

A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: October 12, 2020, 05:17:50 PM »

  Watched latest announcement re Covid restrictions, sorting through same. Watch this space. S.

A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: October 10, 2020, 04:12:52 PM »

   Very Belated reunion / Meet.... As most of us have probably heard, there is very likely to be an announcement on the 12th Oct. from the government, probably concerning
our pandemic!! It is being suggested that hotels may be subject to tighter controls, and possible curbs on traffic !! but to date this is still all speculation.
   The hotel was ready to receive us (as individuals), the cake man has the cake waiting to be iced.
   As soon as we get a definitive statement that allows us or not, to have our three day holiday break, safely, and legally, at Fleetwood an email /phone call will be flashed out to all, and will be on the web at this site.

   Keep fingers crossed, there is little else we can do.

Naval History / Re: Nelsons Navy.
« on: October 04, 2020, 09:53:44 PM »
   Admiral Sir James Gordon GCB.
     In 1937, the author C.S.Forester published his first Hornblower novel. It went on sale in U.K. with the title "The Happy Return "and in the U.S.A as "Beat to Quarters". On both sides of the Atlantic, it was  a great success, and it seems that the public were very keen to hear more about the middle aged Royal Naval Captain who became a hero overcoming impossible odds.
Forester was a professional author with an in-depth knowledge of Nelson's navy, he purchased 3 Volumes of The Naval Chronicle, a magazine written by serving naval offices for naval officers,
and obtained the issues published between1790 and !820. The Chronicles travelled with Forester when he undertook a long sea voyage from California to England ,visiting many Central American ports and passing through the Panama Canal. The ship was no luxury cruise liner, and Forester reportedly said that he read every line in the magazines several times over.
 There has, for a number of years now been disputes in some literally circles as to who the Hornblower character  is based upon, and Forester never seems to have really identified the real life fighting captain on who he based his Hornblower. However the period in which Forester's Hornblower sailor is set, is awash with heroes, many now forgotten.
  When Collins brought out the first of Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander novels in 1970, a similar flutter went through the ranks of particular readers, who wished to know on who or what were O'Brian's sources, and how do they compare with Forester's work. Bryan Perrett has produced an excellent book to delve into the issue. For myself, I think the court is still out on the matter, and I am just about to start a second read of O'Brian's superb  "The Yellow Admiral" 18th book of the Aubrey/ Maturin series... Pandemic ?? what's that all about. To Be continued.

A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: September 29, 2020, 11:24:25 PM »

    Arrr !!!  false news. Have obtained a full print out now from Leeds City Council (not the brightest knives in the drawer) but they insist that Leeds
 has not gone into lockdown. We are quite at liberty to go on holiday to Fleetwood (or anywhere else you fancy, as long as you stick to the government rules that are currently applying). Cathleen has it in writing. !!
   Social distancing, no going into other hotel rooms other than your own, and the hotel has full cleaning plans and table arrangements . ALL GOOD.
  Members going on their three day hols on the 19th will be given an advice sheet when they check in at the hotel reception.  Take Care Stay safe, and relax a little.

    Full details will be sent out prior to the 19th.
      P.S. The cake is safe !!  Watch this space.

A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: September 27, 2020, 09:09:41 PM »

  Well here we are! 27/09/20.   Just when I thought it safe to go back into the water, or into a "lock In" at Fleetwood, along comes another set of instructions on how to fight the bug !!

    I am not sure of exactly where we stand at the present time re reunion, but I shall contact the hotel, and confirm matter at their end, and put out the results next week.
     Anyone with any cunning plans re reunions , lockdowns, or anything else cunning, please email me. Do not get depressed, do not listen to nutters who have the sky falling down,
just take common sense precautions, keep clear of crowds and kids, and the next door neighbours particularly if they look ill !!! ???

       I may just have a beautiful cake going spare if the worst case happens. ...  and a super raffle prize Any ideas for disposal ???   No rude relies please.

Naval History / Re: Nelsons Navy.
« on: September 09, 2020, 05:31:52 PM »
 An Epitaph For a Hero. In the central part of the nave of Westminster Abbey where Cochrane was buried is a stone bearing the following statement.

  Here rests in his 85th year Thomas Cochrane tenth Earl of Dundonald Baron Cochrane of Dundonald of Paisley and of Ochiltree in the Peerage of Scotland Marquess of Maranham in the Empire of Brazil G.C.B. and Admiral of the Fleet who by the confidence which his genius his science and extraordinary daring inspired, by his heroic exertions in the cause of freedom and his splendid
services alike to his own country Greece Brazil Chile and Peru achieved a name illustrious throughout the the world for courage patriotism and chivalry.

  Born Dec.14th 1775. Died Oct.31st 1860.
 At the top of the stone is his coat of arms, crest and motto  "Virtute et Labore" and at each corner are the shields of Chile, Brazil, Peru and Greece.

 No paint or graffiti here. Each year a dignified remembrance service takes place by representatives of the above nations who see Cochrane as their original liberator.

Naval History / Re: Nelsons Navy.
« on: September 07, 2020, 09:45:06 PM »
!847- Cochrane was amazed to receive a letter from Lord Aukland, First Lord of the Admiralty. Cochrane at the age of seventy two was made Commander-in Chief for the North American and West Indian Station. It seems that Cochrane was very pleased indeed. There was no war going on in that part of the world, so it was unlikely that Cochrane  was going to lead any boarding parties on cutting out ventures.
  However Cochrane had not been idle during his enforced years ashore. Thomas had struck up a friendship with Marc Isambard Brunel. Brunel had come up with some very plausible plans to build steam tugs that could be used to tow warships. Cochrane had always claimed that steam driven war ships would and should be developed, if Britain wished to keep control of the seas. Predictably the Admiralty poured scorn on the idea, but again Cochrane saw steam development making sailing ships redundant. Cochrane also produced a compressed air device that made a tunnel under the Thames at Blackwall viable. Cochrane also worked with Brunel to produce a steam engine that would drive propellers on a ship.
   Cochrane however, being obsessed with inventions, poured much of his own money into the schemes, often to the detriment of his wife and family, his wife reportedly said in a letter to Cochrane,
" I hate the inventive faculty", it seems that he did not spend much time at home.

Naval History / Re: Nelsons Navy.
« on: September 05, 2020, 08:42:41 PM »
1829 things looked up for Cochrane. King George IV died. King George did not like Cochrane, who many years before had managed to stop some members of the Royal Family getting a huge totally unearned rise in their spending money!! However King William IV had always been a fan of Thomas Cochrane, nicknamed the sailor king, he had long taken an interest in Cochrane's career, and was in total agreement of much on what he had campaigned.Same year the Wellington party lost the general election, and in 1830 when the famous Earl Grey (of tea fame) took power and began enacting the very parliamentary reforms that Cochrane had been advocating years before, to the detriment of his naval career and reputation. Cochrane lived to see many of his old enemies in the Admiralty turfed out of power. Politics still dogged Cochrane, the government privately wrote letters to him assuring him that he had their full approval, and that he should have his name completely cleared, and his naval record put right. But as in politics on most issues things never got done. Cochrane's wife Kitty,was not satisfied at all, and at a function attended by the king, Kitty told the king of her dissatisfaction at the treatment still being meted out to her husband. On the 2nd of May 1832 Cochrane was appointed rear Admiral of the fleet,and a complete pardon was issued to him by the king at St. James Palace. Cochrane however was still not happy, his Order of the Bath that was stripped from him when he went to prison, did not get reinstated until 1846, when he was seventy years old.Word had it that Queen Victoria had personally intervened in the matter, she was a huge admirer of the man, and the first vacancy that occured she had reserved for her hero.

A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: September 05, 2020, 07:42:57 PM »
 I expect to have a further meeting with the manager of the North Euston hotel before October. We will be discussing seating plans, menu, and some presentations we propose to make to the hotel
 The museum,market,and shopping malls are open, but when we visited the lifeboat station, they had not then re-opened to the public, I have since heard that they may well have done so now, but will check. Bus services seem to be running as normal as are tram car services. I will be checking this nearer the reunion date.
    The hotel issues us with a simple "do and don't" list at check in, it is mostly common sense about practising hand washing and using the provided sanitising gels etc. The manager did mention several times that the hotel is spot checked on an ad hoc basis, to ensure regulations are being adhered to. On our stay we did adhere to all the rules, and found nothing inconvenient.

I have recently been without communications, some fools in a stolen car wiped out a major junction box. Everything now reinstalled.
Please note that my phone number is 01132 555562. It was misprinted in Flat Top, and people keep shouting at me !!   Stay Safe but lets start living a little bit, but safely.


A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: September 05, 2020, 07:20:30 PM »
 Usual Details. Free car park at rear of hotel. Gala Dinner Tuesday. and .....Wednesday, being Trafalgar Day, we will of course be recognising this (probably earlier in the day with a tincture of drink), but keeping drivers who may be on the road next day safe from breath test problems. The Victorious Cake ( a thing of great beauty) will be at the Tuesday dinner, as will be the raffle, disposal of said raffle funds to be decided at dinner.   Trams will be running (social distancing has been introduced, and extra trams laid on right through illumination period).
 Members who booked with the hotel for the original reunion, will automatically have a place for this "reunion". I am proposing that we do not invite any local guests until we are satisfied that our membership has booked. I am aware that 30 persons does not seem many, but at the count back on the original mini-meet, I believe that 16 persons booked for the reunion,the Gala dinner numbers swelled by people only staying for the meal.We have already had a couple of members unable to attend for various reasons, so I feel we will cope within the regulations.
  Members wishing to attend, please advise the hotel. Ring 01253 876525 and State you want to book for HMS VICTORIOUS MEETING. any problem at all,or anything you are not clear on please contact me on   0113 2555562. The receptionists seem good, but I have been dealing directly with the manager, and can generally answer details for you, hotel staff still operating on  reduced numbers.Masks and face covering are not required in the hotel, but local shops request they are worn on their premises.The museum and Affinity Outlet were fully open.

A run ashore / Re: Belated Reunion 2020
« on: September 05, 2020, 05:33:46 PM »
 After a short delay to sound out some opinions, it has been decided to hold an abbreviated/reunion/do/at the North Euston Hotel, 19th/20th/21 October.
I have had two discussions with the hotel management,and the dates were their recommendation. The hotel in ordinary circumstances, would be booked out.The Blackpool Illuminations normally commence at this time, and as the tram rides through the displays start and finish close to the hotel, families have traditionally booked in for an overnight stay for children's treats.
Blackpool has extended the illuminations period this year,until after New Year and the hotel has agreed to reserve us 20 rooms, in anticipation of a lower demand on these nights.
 The hotel has been surveyed for suitability to safely open, by the environmental agency, but with a limit of no more than 30 persons as a party booking. The rooms are all booked in my name, and the hotel will monitor for me numbers of members wishing to join us.
The postponed reunion details have been kept on the hotel's books. The costs of the event has remained unchanged for us.Deposits lodged are on record, and of course remain valid for this event.
Our private gala dinner room is available for us on Tuesday evening, silver service, cooked to order, fully served at table by covid aware staff. Breakfasts are similarly served completely by hotel staff who do maintain social distancing regulations. All rooms have been sanitised prior to your arrival. The rooms will not be entered during our stay by staff, UNLESS you have a problem. The main difference is that you will need to make up your own bed for the three nights. However should you require assistance, requiring staff intrusion, you will have to vacate your room for three hours !! that means sitting in the lounge, with free news paper, and a coffee whilst your room is sanitised by a trained cleaning squad. Any requests for tea/coffee/ milk refills will be supplied foc to you, in a goody box which is handed to you on request by reception staff.

Naval History / Re: Nelsons Navy.
« on: August 31, 2020, 08:31:07 PM »
Cochrane had been away for over six years, his achievements the stuff of legends. The problems that he had highlighted were still much the same, and for the most part his enemies much the same.
Cochrane had decided to have nothing to do with politics,but he still needed to make money! He headed up to Scotland where he was greeted as a hero. He was too popular for the government to think of taking any actions against him.
    Cochrane, liked money, and having little to do other than tour Scotland, when a large cash sum was offered to him to take on the job of sorting out the Greek navy he accepted it.. He was again warned about taking up arms for a foreign power, but he again slipped over the channel to France. The Duke of Wellington, (never a fan of Cochrans) attempted to warn Cochrane against the job. However, Cochrane was never a great fan of Wellington or Wellingtons politics, and he just ignored him.
    It was probably a mistake,and eventually Cochrane did return to England in1829. He had achieved very little. The Greeks were fighting the Turks, and the French were constantly getting involved.
Cochrane did not approve of the wide spread slaughter being carried out by both main propagandists, and a hard fight against a heavily armed slave ship,turned out  to be his last sea battle.
 The Greek problem was eventually solved by Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, who commanded a combined squadron of English, French and Russian warships that annihilated the Turkish fleet in
the battle of Navarino Bay in October 1827.

Naval History / Re: Nelsons Navy.
« on: August 29, 2020, 06:13:05 PM »
Cochran's time in Brazil, grew increasingly complicated.The Brazilians were fighting for independence from Portugal. However, as independence became a reality, it seems that fresh problems constantly arose among the administrations that took over government. Cochran's effortless control of the eastern seaboard of South America,with ,in effect only one major ship consolidated Brazilian independence. By mid June 1824, Cochrane was complaining that prize money and crews wages were not being paid as promised, and a major insurrection had broken out in
 Pernambuco,and Cochrane was asked to take overall control to sort the matter out. The Emperor himself offered Cochrane huge sums of money and full wages for the crews. Cochrane arrived on the scene of the battles, in mid August,he used his crews to establish some control, but it seems he simple got tired of the politics of the are He had moved his admirals flag into a small ship
 Piranga, and saying that he was returning to Rio,in fact set sail for England. He later said that he always intended to return to Brazil, (the Piranga was the property of the Brazilian government),
but he arrived in Spithead two weeks later, advising people he had left the employment of Brazil.
When he anchored at Spithead, he was not sure whether his status as First Admiral of Brazil would be recognised,he had been away six years, but his cannon salute was answered, although technically he was still officially an "out-law".

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