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And pies. Steak and ale. Pork. sailors,” says Surg Lt Rainey. a homage to the late king of marina Continued from page 27
Well, yes. But it would also cost
Steak and kidney. Much to the “They are going to go to bars and pranksters Jeremy Beadle. The ops
him a lot more. Banks like to make
enjoyment of the Aussie observer the like. offi cer’s been done. He received
money. Especially abroad. Lots
with the ship’s Lynx fl ight. Pie “We could go down to the
a spoof signal, a rocket from
of lovely exchange rates, plus an
(apparently) is Australia’s national messes and talk about sexual
the Turkish admiral, and found
overseas ‘handling charge’.
dish (the fi lling, it seems, is health in front of 40 guys and then
himself outside the CO’s cabin at
There’s no commission, no
irrelevant). offer condoms. No-one’s going to
5am. Luckily, the CO was in on
handling charge in the ship’s offi ce
“Scran is a big morale issue,” take them.”
the prank…
and invariably the deal it can get
Craig stresses. “If you’re going The solution is simple and
“People see me and clubz
is as good as any the banks can
somewhere gash, then you make seems to work. From time to time
walking along together and they
an effort to treat everybody to the sickbay door is covered with
immediately scarper, convinced
To be fair to the ship’s company,
some good food, T-bone steaks for leafl ets and condoms, sometimes
it’s most defi nitely not a case of
example.” spelling out S E X, at others ‘subtly’
something’s going on,” says Surg
hitting the fi rst bar in every port.
Which is why throwing £1K’s depicting a rather large John
Lt Rainey.
There’s plenty of adventurous
worth of scran, the treats – ice Thomas. It works. The condoms
And there’s another homage.
training, sightseeing, some even
cream, gateaux, cakes – away disappear, grabbed sporadically by
The Stig Run. Like Top Gear,
cycled from Trieste to Koper to
in Slovenia thanks to a freezer passing sailors.
minus the car of course, sailors
catch up with the frigate.
breaking down was a bit of a downer A dose of a sexually transmitted
have to complete a ‘race track’
And that old slogan ‘Join the
(on the plus side, Somerset also infection is less than pleasant. Far
around the upper deck faster
Navy, see the world’ still holds
ditched her supply of sweetcorn more serious is a bug which can
than The Stig (whose identity is
some water here, for there are
– “the devil’s vegetable” according lay low an entire ship’s company.
a mystery). The time to beat is 28
ports on a Med deployment which
to her logistics offi cer). For between three and fi ve days
seconds. Oops. Forgot to mention
the RN rarely visits: Koper in
Good ol’ gastroenteritis
it’s in a fearnought suit…
Slovenia, Palermo in Sicily, Haifa
“All I ask of the ship’s
did just that,
Only a handful of people have
in Israel, Durrës in Albania.
English butter knocking attempted – and failed – to beat
ran out long
company is that they
“Albania’s a real divide – there
down roughly The Stig. But such challenges
are beggars on the streets, but
ago. But not
take it seriously and give
15 sailors at are vital if you’re to keep that
then you’ll see people driving past
burro. (I was it 100 per cent. They any one time. spark running from January until
in Ferraris,” says CPO(ME) Jay
convinced it
aren’t just representing
“If you take August.
Daniel, who’s spent fi ve years on
was a spoof 15 people Uckers is a mainstay of
the UK, but NATO as
Somerset and has another two to
out of the
wardroom life (played more
dialect of
passionately here than on most
“Trieste was good and so was
‘butter’; the – Cdr Rob Wilson that’s a huge
ships evidently, aided by two
Koper. But the time at sea is too
reality is rather number of
oversized dice). And so too is
short. If you’re spending two days
less interesting – and, apparently, people,” says Surg Lt Rainey.
alongside and two days at sea,
less palatable. Burro is an Italian Basic hygiene saved the day.
The wardroom are a murderous
it’s hard to get into your working
butter. No matter how much Those affected could only use
lot, gripped by a game of ‘assassin’
routine, particularly with night
– or, more generally, how little – is specifi c heads, messes were
-– think Cluedo but with the entire
eaten, there’s always some left…). restricted, and there was no
Cdr Wilson nods his head.
At least, for the most part, brewing up for your mates – that’s
ship as their playground and all
“Four days is not enough. There
food aboard is cheaper. But it still a surefi re way to spread disease.
the panoply of weapons as their
are a lot of bitty spells at sea which
remains a challenge to feed 180 And so it was that the bug was
is hard on people.”
sailors three meals for the princely mastered. “That really was quite
The CO was among the fi rst
‘Bitty spells at sea’ and regular
sum of £1.90 each. satisfying – to know that you’d
to fall – his face is obliterated by
visits to port do nothing to
“You can’t get one Big Mac for had an impact,” says LMA Steve
a large gravestone on the ‘Wall of
ease the burden on the catering
£1.90, let alone buy three meals a Pickering. “We had to nail it on
the Fallen’. He died in his own
department either.
day for that amount,” Craig points the head and we did.”
cabin at the hands of a young
Alongside, the galley prepares
out. For Surg Lt Rainey it was proof
offi cer wielding that deadliest of
meals as usual – there’s no rest in
It is good that you can’t buy a that what his team does is very
weapons, a bra (must have got it
port (although some of the ship’s
mega burger for £1.90. Not for much ‘real life’.
off a Royal Marine – Ed).
company do, on occasions, chip
the fast food joints, of course, He explains: “Being medics is
Killing is something only the
in to help and give the chefs a
but it’s good for the health of the a big responsibility. A lot of what wardroom gets involved in. Anyone
ship’s company, a matter which the ship does are drills, exercises. can fl y. Or rather everyone believes
At sea, the ship’s company sits
keeps clubz – LPT Matt Brown – Our job is a real job with real they can fl y, courtesy of a birdman
down three times a day to eat; and Doc – Surg Lt Owen Rainey
patients.” contest (the sport du jour of ships
alongside “it’s a case of gazing – occupied day and night. Wellbeing is not merely about on deployment).
into a crystal ball,” laments LLogs More than 100 of the ship’s physical fi tness. Mental fi tness is And some people really can fl y.
(Catering Services (Preparation)) company volunteered for a health just as important. Lt Pete ‘The Pilot’ Birch clocked
Craig Spurgeon. kick at the beginning of the The medical department can up his 1,000th hour in the skies
Some sailors will want to sample deployment, with their weight offer some help and counselling. fl ying Duke, Somerset’s Lynx,
the local delicacies, others will and blood pressure taken, a body But there’s no bish aboard
on one of those many NATO
want to save some dosh and eat on mass index calculated and a fi tness Somerset for this deployment, so
dress rehearsals. He celebrated
board – and, says Craig, “there’s package carefully worked out by for the most part it’s down to Jack
with a burger lovingly prepared
no real way of knowing who is clubz. and Jenny to keep spirits up in
by the crew of the Gonzalez…
staying and who is not”. There are monthly weigh-ins, their own inimitable way.
or rather he would have, had not
What is left over is re-used trophies dangled as carrots, and They can tune into Somerset
the ‘Hamburglar’ surreptitiously
where possible, but the days a good 40 or so sailors have stuck TV, not a round-up of cider
deprived him of it.
of chicken stew, chicken curry, with the ‘fi t to fi ght club’. festivals in Yeovil or tractor racing
And there you have it. More
chicken pie and chicken soup for “We’re not dieticians, but we from Wells, but a 30 to 45-minute
days after a Sunday roast chicken know enough to pass it on and the magazine show compiled by
than a dozen murders. Two
are long gone (older readers will be ship’s company is very receptive to clubz (the presenter) and the
dozen port visits. Lots of dib-
pleased to know that ‘train smash’ the fi tness programme,” says Surg doc (cameraman/director) every
dobs. A hamburger thief. Several
– breakfast leftovers turned into a Lt Rainey. month or so.
submarines hunted. Interesting
side dish – makes a reappearance Then there’s the dreaded weed From their studio (the sickbay
and challenging times with
on some lunchtimes, however). to contend with; there’s a sizeable cunningly disguised with a
our Allies. Hundreds of ships
“By the time you’ve spent three number of Somerset sailors who White Ensign hiding most of the
monitored. A dose of Delhi belly.
months at sea, you know what the enjoy a smoke, but there should be features), the duo offer a mix of the
Jeremy Beadle. That’s seven
ship wants,” says Craig. “They do half a dozen fewer by the time the informative (details on port visits)
months in the life of a British
like their cold meals and salads frigate sees the Hoe once more. and the downright silly, normally
warship attached to NATO.
– healthy dishes. But they also like And there’s another S-word at the expense of shipmates.
Pictures: PO(Phots) Tam McDonald
their spice as well.” to think about: sex. “Sailors are There’s You’ve Been Done, and Dave Gallagher
0025-028_NN_Jun.indd 425-028_NN_Jun.indd 4 116/5/08 16:10:506/5/08 16:10:50
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