By Simon J Hall
Set within the mid-1970s through the remaining years of the golden age of British transport, this is often the author's account of the 5 years in which he labored as a junior officer within the some distance East and South Pacific.
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Additional resources for Chasing Conrad: A Tale of the Sea and a Glimpse Into the Abyss
My stomach jumped as I walked up the gangway. I felt I was walking into a chapter of a book by Conrad, Somerset Maugham or Jack London. My trip on the Benalbanach was intended to be a short one to introduce me to the world of general cargo ships. The Leith company ran a scheduled service of cargo liners to the Far East and back. The main Far East ports were Singapore, Penang, Djakarta, Bangkok, Manila, Keelung, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong and then north to the big Japanese ports of Yokohama, Nagoya and Kobe.
I celebrated in the time-honoured way with a night on the town. I looked in on the London School of Maritime Studies for a celebration partner and found Roger, one of my old cadet colleagues from Plymouth. We started in Mayfair and worked our way through the West End. We drank recklessly, we told loud stories, we made a racket wherever we went, we were thrown out of several places, we charmed girls, we made and lost friends, we spent all our money. One morning, after an all-night session with Roger, I had to borrow the tube fare home from my brother Peter when he arrived at work the next day.
It’s not like that, I don’t hate the fat, smelly bastard. I used to, but I don’t now. I don’t like him, uh-uh, but I don’t hate him. Yet he treats me like I don’t exist. Like an outcast. Like a leper. Why? ’ ‘Aye, Fourth. Can’t understand the man,’ agreed the fiver. ’ I said. The barmaid seemed to be raising her eyebrows at me. Was my luck in? I nodded back, slowly, suavely, mysteriously. I smiled. She smiled. ‘I care! Because he’s an ungrateful, fat, smelly, short-arsed bastard! I try to be friends and he bloody well ignores me!