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The Lisburn Exiles Forum is dedicated to the memory of James Goddard Collins (The Boss) who single-handedly built LISBURN.COM (with a lot of help from many contributors) from 1996 to 29th November 2012. This website was his passion and helping people with a common interest in the City of Lisburn around the world is his lasting legacy.
At this time of the year as we approach Xmas my memory always takes me back to Christmas Days spent in various parts of the world. With the depression days of the 1930s and the war years 1939-1945 my childhood Xmas's were tight to say the least as far as Xmas dinner and presents went.so when I left Lisburn sixty nine (69) years ago to see the world little did I realize how varied my future celebrations of Xmas would be.
My first Xmas away from home was in 1947 when I was stationed in South Africa on the cruiser HMS Nigeria and "Boy" was I homesick though the Xmas dinner we had on board was the best one I had ever had as of course there was no shortage of meat etc in South Africa.
I managed to get home on leave for Xmas 1948 and that was the last one I spent in Lisburn until 1963 when I left an oil tanker in London and was able to get over and spend Xmas with my aunt. The next one I spent in Lisburn was 1985 just after my wife died and I headed for Lisburn over the Xmas season.
I spent two Christmas days in Japan when the ships I was on left Korean waters and as luck would have it over the Xmas season.
In Australia I spent one Xmas in Adelaide being stationed in Port Adelaide at the time so I was able to spend Xmas day at my Uncle's place which was nice as he and my aunt had two small daughters and a two year old son who of course were really excited about Santa Claus coming.
While in the USAF I spent Xmas Days in Florida and England
Then while in the Merchant navy I spent at least five Xmas days at sea and that was really crazy especially on one occasion on a banana boat we were sailing past Cuba on Xmas Day and myself and the 2nd Officr were on the wing of the bridge yacking away the ship being on automatic steering, when all of a sudden an aircraft came up from behind the ship nearly at mast level and scared the hell out of us,turned out to be a US navy patrol aircraft checking us out, we shook our fists at him when he came around again not that that done any good but it was good to get relieved and get down to the dining room for dinner. Better sign off now hope this hasn't bored you all. Mauri
Didn't bore, Mauri, was fascinating, what an interesting life you have led, and lived to remember it so fully.
One other Xmas day that I forgot to though its one that I like to forget was Xmas 1954 in Sydney Australia when my ship HMAS Murchison was in dry dock and all of the ships company were on leave except for six of us and an RN officer on loan to the Australian Navy who was a real *******,though he invited us in to the wardroom for a drink on Xmas
Day only two guys went in the other four myself included said thanks but no thanks. It was a really hot day and a cold beer would have been great but pride won out. Mauri
Mauri no two Christmases have been the same for you. Talk about variety being the spice of life. You've had a very interesting life and I enjoy hearing of all your adventures.
Doreen and I are just back after a three day shopping trip in New York State, lots of great bargains. J.C.Penney, Macys, Christopher & Banks and Kohls all offering great discounts.Doreen bought a Columbia Ski jacket reg.$199US. for $15,she also bought 3 tops,2pr. dress boots and 2pr jeans all for up to 80% off. Me, I got a few bargains myself including three bottles of Jamieson(1.1l) for $40 and a 24lb.turkey for $11 all in all a very successful trip.
I meant to answer you re. where we had moved to, we are in the opposite end of town from where we lived in what was, the village of Merriton. You probably read in another post we passed up on the Condo and moved in with Karen and Bernie. I had a couple of bad falls during the year so Karen thought it was in our best interest to move in with them, at least till after the New Year,so far it is working out great, we will still keep our options open.
Hi Beano,I Like your priorities You really touched lucky with the Jameson, at home here I found it at 16 pounds a bottle which is the cheapest around as it usually can cost up to 22 pound anyhow thats you covered up to Christmas and I wish you and Doreen have a nice Christmas Regards Ted
Liz,Ann, One other lousy Xmas Day was on an oil tanker called the "British Osprey". we had been trading between the Kuwait port of Mena-Al-Amadi and ports in India and Pakistan and Portuguese East Africa for about seven months and had finally received orders to proceed to Rotterdam and dry dock in Belfast. When we were heading horth up the Red Sea and anchored in Port Suez before proceeding through the Suez Canal on Christmas Day, our Chief Steward had radioed our company agent in Port Suez for Xmas supplies including chickens for Xmas dinner, these were brought out to the ship and unloaded but when the Chief Steward was inspecting them he found that most of them were rotten with just a few good ones on the top so he ordered them thrown overboard. As a result all we had for Xmas dinner as we sailed though the Suez canal was cold cuts of ham,which didn't make for a very happy atmosphere. Mauri
I hope this Christmas day will be peaceful and happy for you and Joy. Maybe without excitement! Certainly very different from days gone by, but companionship, health and warmth and a few wee drinks can be very enjoyable indeed.
Liz, Thank you very much for your kind comments, I of course have now enjoyed family type Xmas days for a good number of years and long may it continue, May I wish you and yours a Very Merry Xmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Mauri
Ann, I would also like to thank you for your comments and my apologies for not including you in Liz's message my only excuse being I was rushing out and my rusty brain didn't think properly. Have a great week end. Mauri
Mauri, never worry yourself about minor things like forgetting to mention me. I know how difficult it is sometimes to remember everyone. Another good story. You were lucky that you didn't eat the rotten chicken because you know what would have happened. That definitely would have been a miserable Christmas.
Beano, I remember your shopping trip to NY state last year. You definitely got some bargains, not least the Jameson's. Just as well I wasn't there
as I can't resist a bargain either. I trust Doreen is pleased with her purchases.
Doreen was delighted with everything she bought, she has a nose for bargains,it sounds like you and her would get along just fine. One of my friends went over for the weekend and they charged him $20 a bottle,however, compared to the prices our friend Ted quoted, that is still cheap.
Great you can travel again to New York, remember a few years back you were like me, incapacitated with your back. I am on a stick now outside the house now, restricted walking with this knee so hopefully, like yourself, I will be back in fine fettle in the New Year sometime, when I get a new knee.
Jamieson here is E27.50 a bottle Brandy E30 & more. That turkey was great value as well. Wish we could go to New York too.
Christmas Joy to you & Doreen & family this year. Pat
On my first trip to sea I was on an oil tanker called the MV Overseas Discoverer running between the UK and the Persian Gulf. We were excited to find out that by chance the ship would be in port over Christmas in Immingham discharging our cargo. The ship was powered by twin diesel engines. The port power unit developed a serious leak on its stern gland and it was decided to take the opportunity to carry out a repair. On Christmas day the ship was ballasted by the head to raise the propellers out of the water and we engineers worked frantically to remove and then replace the stern gland packing. Up to our waists in foul oily bilge water swinging sledge hammers; but the job got completed. As a treat the Old Man postponed Christmas dinner until after we sailed. A few days later paper hats on heads turkey and Christmas pudding was served as we rolled our way across the Bay of Biscay. It was the worst Christmas of my life and I would have paid a Kings ransom to be back in good old Lisburn.
I am getting a lot better at getting around, like you I have to rely on a cane and sometimes a Walker if I am trying any kind of distance. The Walker is a glorified Zimmer frame with four wheels, a cushy seat,back rest and brakes, it is great if you get tired,anyway, I don't use it very often.....Doctors tell me it's not going to get any better, I guess it's an age thing, I will be 79 in three weeks time.
To you Pat, Joe and all the family I wish you all A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR XX
Hildenboy, Did the deck gang have to wait for their Xmas dinner as well?, what company owned the ship, the name sounds familiar and I have been trying to think of the Greek ship owner's name who married John F.Kennedy's widow and was one of the first to have the super tankers, I remember passing the first one in Port Said she was coming out of the canal as we were going in, I think it was called the "Olympic something she was around 100000 tons, the largest tanker I sailed on was the 'Esso Yorkshire" at 65000 tons. Mauri
It was a company called London and Overseas Freighters. It was owned by a Greek family but not the Onassis you are thinking of and was a mixture of tankers, bulk carriers and cargo ships. The cargo ships were the best to sail on and picked up tramp charters all over the globe with long turn around in port. We spent two months on one occasion in Fiji loading cane sugar that was bound for London. The tankers were hell with quick turn around (24 hours) and boring runs mostly to the middle east. The company went bust during the 80s economic recession although some of the guys still keep in contact via social media; but they are slowly dying out. It is an era that will never return when the Red Duster could be seen in every port across the globe. As Charles Dickens has written
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven,.. (or)..we were all going direct the other way.."
Hildenboy, So she was a London Greek, often heard of them but obviously never sailed on one as I think most of the deck crew were either Indian or Chineese. everytime I hear Fiji I think of the time when along with my Aussie buddy we were in a bar there enjoying ourselves and talking to the female staff when all of a sudden we realized it was so close to sailing time so ran out grabbed a cab and just made it back as they were ready to haul the gangway in, being passengers nothing was said, this was when I was sailing from Sydney to San Francisco but had to disembark in Vancouver as my US visa had not come through. Mauri
a merry Christmas and a happy healthy new year.
drop me a line
Sorry I haven't been in touch lately, my e-mails are hit and miss, however I will try and call you in the next few days......I think of Jean and you often.
Ted, a bottle of Jameson's in Tesco's is £18. You were lucky to get yours a couple of pounds cheaper. I went down the other day to buy in wines for Christmas. Of course I might have known that every single shelf that had offers on were completely empty. Same with the single malt I was after. Not a single bottle of Jura on the shelves. I did buy Highland Park instead which I was told by my younger brother is excellent. Dominic has acquired a taste for single malt whisky although he still likes a Jameson. Regarding the empty shelves, I wonder do small shop owners come in and buy up the offers? Anyway, we have enough alcohol here to tide us well into the New Year.