Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Drunken belligerence and survival of the non-swimmers

So I powered through until the beginning of my holidays.  A holiday period that the Ops guys onboard the Curlew had no clue about.  I marvelled at their crestfallen faces as I appeared at the morning meeting in my best bib and tucker.

Every offshore worker worth their salt can tell when someone is dressed for a trip home and definitely NOT for a day of hard slog.

Don't get me wrong, I worked like a trooper for the few remaining days on that hell-hole, I am if nothing else committed to the cause.  We were so short handed (as you'll know if you read the previous entry - old-dutch-sayings-and-apology )  I can't tell you how often I was asked to do something while I was already busy doing the last stupid thing I was asked to do.
The amount of times I asked the Ops Super to,
'Shove a broom up my arse and I can sweep the floor at the same time'
But at the end of the day, there are only so many times you can ask for something to be inserted into your rectal cavity before you start to sound like some kind of pervert...

We did not get the crew numbers bumped up to finish the job but I have it on good authority that the boys I left on the Curlew managed to complete and close out the job with relatively few problems.  They were after all onboard for only a couple of days after I departed (It's good to know that booking holidays entitles you to roughly 3 days extra time off).  Indeed, I even managed to get the full 8 days that I booked off - Just.

Here I need to make yet another apology ( 'Tis the season...).  Though not entirely my fault, I did act like an absolute tit at the airport and menaced at least one delicate Eastern Airways worker.  I absolve at least some of the blame because the flight I was to be on was not an Eastern Airways flight but should have been the earlier Flybe flight.  My office however seemed only too happy to leave booking my ticket home until I was actually at the airport check-in desk with my cock in my hand!
I really must stop doing that...
And so I was left with a later flight on a vastly inferior airline, sorry Eastern but anyone who's been on them will know exactly what I mean (it's not as though Flybe are even that good).
What is an Oil worker to do with a spare hour or so in an airport, after a gruelling (albeit short) trip, with a bar nearby?!
Yes, I got more than a little tipsy...
So much so in fact that even though I did manage to haul myself to the 'departure lounge' at Gate 10, I didn't get further than sitting in an all-too comfy seat and falling asleep!

My annoyance level was now to be completely reset.  I was now angry with myself, mostly for falling asleep but partly because this is my usual state, but I was also a little irritated by the airline when I was awoken by a tap to the shoulder from a concerned staff member.
He was very gently inquiring of me as to my name.  God knows why, as he seemed to know who I was, he even addressed me by name.  If you know Gate 10 at Aberdeen airport, you'll know that it is a little microcosm all its own with a small seating area set far apart from the main part of the airport.
So when I finally came to my senses (which obviously took a little bit longer than normal) I realised that I was the only person sat in this area.  This realisation caused me further annoyance.  He knew my name, I was sat (slumped) not 20 feet from the only gate in walking distance but still, it was easier for them to offload my luggage (with my name on it) from the airplane and let the more sober passengers fly off.
Then they could try waking that guy up that is sleeping over there.  While you're at it, see if that is the guy we have been calling/looking for.

These are all of course excuses of the highest/lowest order!!

The simple fact is, this was my fault and I really shouldn't have done it.  Although in my defence, this is the first time I've ever missed a flight through my own stupidity and I've been travelling for several years now - I have more miles on me than 'The Littlest Hobo'.

So I am dreadfully sorry for acting more than a little like an arse and can hand-on-heart say that it will never happen again...until next time (it WAS kinda fun)...


Those 8 days of holidays should have lasted until the following Monday but as I work for a service company I got a call on the Friday, my weekend had just become truncated.

I was required in Aberdeen first thing on Monday morning to complete my survival refresher, Oh the joys!!  Unfortunately this meant that I had to travel up on Sunday, not just Sunday but Sunday afternoon, early afternoon!  Instead of leaving Monday morning I left my house at around 11.30 on Sunday morning.

You will need a little background for this section...I can swim, a little.  I choose not to, why would I?  I am a land-dwelling animal that spends less than 0.001% of my life in the water (Including baths)  So when offered the choice, I will always attempt to remain dry.  Quite difficult when your job requires you to dangle upside down inside an open ended barrel some 12 inches below the surface of a swimming pool once every 4 years.

There's not much to report about this refresher (my third), everything went well (I didn't drown) and the facility (Survivex) was really nice. 
I employed a tactic that I stumbled upon a couple of times ago.  The secret is to grab a non-swimmer's cap when you are getting ready to get wet (careful ladies).  When the divers in the pool see you attired in such a way they basically drag you around on your back rendering your limbs pretty much surplus to requirements, IT'S GREAT!!! 

As I've said, the almost new facility that Survivex use is a sparkling, spandangly glass-fronted edifice with a lovely canteen and some clean and modestly unassuming classrooms.  We went through the admin bit, they checked we were who we said we were - as if anyone would want to pretend to be me for the day, then we were allowed to change into our pretend flight suits.

If anyone reading this has not been through this ordeal I shall give you a rough outline of the day.
Bearing in mind that this was only a refresher and not the full 2/3 day course.
We got a badly fitting set of overalls to wear under the suit (no change to normal work really), a flight/survival/wet suit hybrid (again poorly fitting) and a pair of pool shoes to complete the futuristic sea-faring rent boy look.  Although they were less a set of pool shoes, more a verruca delivery system.

The basic refresher scenario is, get in the pretend chopper and familiarise yourself with getting out of a seat to get into a liferaft, then over to the smaller pool for 'airpocket'/re-breather drills, then back to the pretend chopper for three more dunkings (the last of which is of course the upside down monster).  After that it's just a case of some piddling about (well, the water does need warming somehow) with various survival techniques before being winched up to a platform over the pool.  DONE! 

There's some basic first-aid followed by a lot of fire extinguisher use and some group escaping form a smoke-filled container (there IS also individual fire escaping).  The its cert pick up time and go home.

Sorry if this feels a little rushed but there really is little more to say on the matter, I really don't want to dwell on it as it's done now and like most offshore workers I don't want to even consider anything similar for at least 3 years!!

Neil Hannon Rocks!!