Tuesday, 28 August 2012
My Life part5
It was 1974 I had just turned 16,left school and was now looking for a job but what to do I know something with my hands so I applied for 2 apprenticeships both as joiners one was with Bellways who for some reason after my interview decided I was not right for them the second was with Swanhunters who at the time were still one of the biggest employers in the North East so I went along for the interview at the Neptune Yard in Walker it was held as I remember in the first aid building of the yard so their I was waffling away when the interviewer says we cannot offer you a Joinery apprenticeship but we can offer you a Boilermakers apprenticeship me being completely ignorant about what a boilermaker was and not wanting to look completely stupid said that sounds good to me he got me to fill my forms in and then sent me next door for my medical and Bob's your uncle 13th August 1974 I started my apprenticeship with Swanhunter's at their Fisher Street Training Centre in Walker. My first pay packet was a princely sum of £5.10 shillings after tax at first I was excited until I realised I was going to have to get up at 5:30 to catch the first bus to Backworth then the train from Backworth to Wallsend then walk from Wallsend along to the training centre, but I carried on and part way through my second month they asked for people to become welders so I jumped right in and the rest as they say is history as far as my welding career starting goes. While serving my apprenticeship I did not not give up on my social life in fact with a wage in my pocket it became busier especially when I started going to the ice rink in Whitley Bay which was great fun and I used to have some really good times especially when I could skate pretty good going round chatting the girls up who were just learning to skate aah what blissful times they were, however I started dating one girl and I found it quite funny when her father said she had to stop seeing me because I was a shipyard worker which was hilarious considering he worked in an engineering company so regretfully so as not to cause problems for her at home we stopped seeing each other but still chatted when we saw each other in the street. 17 and I bought my first motorbike a Casal 50cc with money given to me from my Gandmother to make it easier for me to get to work and back and now I had my own transport the North East was my oyster at weekends I used to travel all over the place from Kielder to Berwick and all points inbetween but back to the mundane their I was comfortably waltzing through my apprenticeship with the odd hiccup along the way and a few fights as well but all part and parcel of the times but at least if you had a fight you knew it was going to be one on one not like nowadays where they need there mates to beat one person up, so their I was enjoying life until the day I was at work and there was a massive fire on the boat I was working on the H.M.S. Glasgow which claimed the lifes of thirteen people and amongst them were a couple of lads that I had made friends with in the training centre it was a sad day for all. During the rest of my time at Swanhunters I saw a few accidents I even had a few of my own although nothing to serious. During the rest of my time their I got married had a son and got divorced and then after nearly fourteen years in the shipyards I decided enough was enough so when the chance of my redundancy came along I worked out the maths of what I needed against what was on offer and decided it was worth taking I then went on to work for various companies on contract work.