17 years old qualified, where now ?

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In early 1977 I was qualified as a commercial air diver the task now was to get employment in the respected field of qualification bearing in mind I legally couldn't work in this field until the May when I turned 18.

In the mean time I took a job in a hotel working as a hall porter between the hours of 3pm to 11pm. My duties included taking luggage and guest's to their room and serving coffee in the lounge after quest's had had their meal. If any one wanted drinks or trays of food in their room I was moved into action. The pay was about £16.00 take home per week, but I learned how to make another £10.00 a week in tips. I met some interesting characters in my short time here, a lot of the quest's were on a coarse or working at Rolls Royce head office. At one time a group of Rumanians were staying and a massive earthquake happened in their home country. This was a terrible time for them, I was asked to stay on to serve coffee tea's etc until they managed to settle down and get some news of home, I didn't get home until 3 am after trying to comfort these poor people.


1977 Vrancea earthquake
Date *
4 March 1977
Origin time *
19:21:54.3 (UTC)
Local date
Local time
55 seconds
7.2 Mw
94 km[1]
45°46′N 26°46′ECoordinates:  45°46′N 26°46′E
Areas affected
Soviet Union
Moldavian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
Total damage
US$ 2.048 billion
Max. intensity
IX (violent)
1,578 dead, 11,221 injured in Romania
120 dead, 165 injured in Bulgaria
2 dead in Moldova
Enei Church, severely damaged during the 1977 earthquake, was later demolished.
The 1977 Vrancea earthquake occurred on 4 March 1977, at 21:22 local time, and was felt throughout the Balkans. It had a magnitude of 7.2, making it the second most powerful earthquake recorded in Romania in the 20th century, after 10 November 1940 seismic event. The epicenter was situated in the Vrancea Mountains, the most seismically active part of Romania, at a depth of 94 km.[2]

The earthquake killed about 1,578 people (1,424 in Bucharest) in Romania, and wounded more than 11,300.[3] Among the victims were actor Toma Caragiu and writers A. E. Bakonsky, Alexandru Ivasiuc and Corneliu M. Popescu. Communist ruler Nicolae Ceaușescu suspended his official visit to Nigeria and declared a state of emergency.

About 32,900 buildings were damaged or destroyed.[4] Immediately after the earthquake, 35,000 families were without shelter. The economic losses are believed to have been as high as two billion US dollars though the sum was not confirmed by the authorities at that time. A detailed report on the destruction the earthquake caused was never published.[2] Most of the damage was concentrated in Romania's capital, Bucharest, where about 33 large buildings collapsed. Most of those buildings were built before World War II, and were not reinforced. After the earthquake, the Romanian government imposed tougher construction standards.

In Bulgaria, the earthquake is known as the Vrancea earthquake or Svishtov earthquake. Three blocks of flats in the Bulgarian town of Svishtov (near Zimnicea) collapsed, killing more than 100 people. Many other buildings were damaged, including the Church of the Holy Trinity. In the Soviet Moldavia, the earthquake destroyed and damaged many buildings. In the capital Chișinău, a panic broke out.

The next one that stick in my memory was two girls that were about 20 years old from Leeds kept ordering Bacardi and cokes to be brought up to their room. After some two hours of service and short banter as I took the drinks up , they asked me what time I finished and would I join them in the room. The manageress at the time ran the staff with an iron fist so I declined saying, "I was frightened I would get caught as hotel staff mixing with quest's was a defiant NO !" however if I am honest, they probably scared me more than the manageress , missed opportunity to have some fun!!

After writing to many Dive Companies and answering adverts I had a call out of the blue this was around late May 1977. The caller was a chap called Ed Rivett, he was ringing from Great Yarmouth,  he conveyed he would put me in the North Sea with a dive team as a tender, he sort of duped me that I would be a trainee diver. The pay was £16.00 per day 7 days a week and all food and accommodation paid for. This was good money for me so I took the opportunity. Wow did things move fast, no interview catch a train the next day to Aberdeen and somebody will pick me up from the railway station. 

My journey began, with a lot of nerves and excitement I jumped on the train at Derby and arrived at Aberdeen. I found my self at the front of the railway station looking for my contact. What greeted me,  two drunken men fighting, rolling on the floor with a lady in there with them screaming at them and hitting one of them with her high heeled shoe. This really unsettled me what do I do ? no contact, fighting, miles from home. I saw the old red phone box so I got in it and phoned Ed, he told me to jump in a taxi and get to the Imperial Hotel, ask at reception and they would show me to my room. I jumped in a taxi and requested the Imperial Hotel, the driver gave me a funny look, sort of a look that questioned my request, thoughts were now racing why ?. We drove out of the car park and turned right about 100 yards down we turned left, a few yards down this street and the hotel !! that's why he looked at me funny it didn't even register on his meter !!. I gave him a couple of pounds got a receipt and proceeded to reception.

I explained to the receptionist the company, 2W ( Wharton and Williams ), had instructed me to arrive, she gave me a room number and explained my room mate was already in the room . Another surprise I was sharing, It didn't phase me due to my time at TS Indefatigable. I arrived at the door and heard a voice on the phone, I knocked gingerly, I heard him ask the person on the other end of the phone to hang on, he opened the door be beckoned me to come in and sit down. He carried on with the call , along the lines of " I am going on another trip, do you want the Fu....g money or not?". The conversation came to an abrupt end. he introduced himself and sadly I cannot recall his name. He was about 35-40 small curly hair, ex Royal Navy clearance diver. He was in just his underwear when he opened the door and as he was telling me about himself he proceeded to get dressed. He explained as he was dressing we where going out to a pub to find " the others ". I dutifully followed him out the hotel, relieved that he was in charge, but nervous about where he was taking me this was me out of my comfort zone, no experience in big cities and certainly not drinking in strange pubs. Not been much of a drinker, my experience was when "Jock" at Fleetwood Nautical College introduced me to Gin and Bitter lemon, which I could drink without getting ill , beer had this effect on me two pints and I was gone, so I stuck to the Gin. We arrived at the pub my companion got me a drink , the glasses were a bit bigger than today's shot glass, no room for much bitter lemon. I thought to my self, I am ok as he had a pint so I can take my time. With in 5 minutes he had drunk his pint and told me to drink up as the "others" were not in this pub. We proceeded to another pub around the corner and the same ritual, 5 minutes and we were off. I was starting to feel a little light headed at this time but thankfully he suggested we pop back to the hotel bar. Sure enough here they were , one I remember was called blood, sadly I cannot recall all the names. We sat down and they proceeded to drink heavily, I sat there thinking, when were we going to go and have an evening meal? it turned out they had no intention of eating, just drinking as kuch as they could. So at some point in time we made it to bed, my companion set the alarm and all was well, I slept !! 


Early in the morning I heard the phone ring and my companion had a conversation with the dive supervisor. I was told to get dressed, I thought, this is it we are on our way. It turned out, we went to eat breakfast and the story was the weather was too bad for us to go out via boat so we had to wait until the next morning. I felt a little relieved, food and thought I can go back to bed, how naive was I , the next job after breakfast was to go in the bar !!

This went on for about a week, in this time between drinking, they took me to play golf, test drive a TR7 and went to a party down the back streets to some ladies house, from memory two or three of them took turns to have sex with the same lady !! I met a two girls and my self and another of the team decided to go back to our hotel to get away from the "party" I finally managed a good meal as my companion told me to take this girl for a meal in the restaurant and put it on the bill, I bite his hand off a square meal at last !!

Eventually we were shipped to Middlesbrough to meet our supply boat to take us off shore. 

If you want to follow the rest of my journey I will be posting each day, I hope you find my journey interesting please comment and share


I am happy and fulfilled, I have a property business and an online business. I have learnt to serve others ( as I hope I am doing now ) respect others for what they are trying to achieve no matter how big or small their ambition. I work on my attitude each day and look to help anyone I can on a daily basis.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, please share like or comment.


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