This is going to be a history for a while. The original column, From The Other Side Of The Scuttle, appeared in The Lookout, The Trident and in some British Columbia community newspapers from the late 1970s until about 1991, usually in each edition. I don’t actually have the exact dates and they’re not important in any case.
What is important is that they were written in an age before the internet, before smart phones and before the age of instantaneous personal communications. They were written on old manual typewriters, mostly from sea, and dispatched via mail to a crusty but forgiving editor back in HMC Dockyard Esquimalt. Al Tassie would do little in terms of editing save for a healthy spell-check and the occasional note that I was over or under on the authorized word count. Oh yes, they were written in an age where the spell-check was done with a well worn Oxford’s dictionary. There was a lot of fractured grammar, particularly in the early days, and Al usually corrected as much as he could. I would get a short but gentle note pointing out my crimes against the Queen’s English.
The stories you’ll read are not about me; they are about the things I saw happening around me with a lot of input from a lot of shipmates. The occasional story may have been handed down. Names were always invented so as to protect those who might otherwise have been found to have breached the confines of naval discipline and end up with seven days number nines.
This is not intended to be a high-traffic blog. At best there will be one posted article per week and most of those will be regurgitated from the clip-sheets I still possess. It may be some time before new content appears, unless I get horribly energetic, of course. The advantage with this age of digital everything and the connected social media is that it can be different than waiting for the next edition of the fleet/base newspaper. A picture is now easy to produce. There can be video!
I will, with any luck, have the first story up in the next day or two. I’m not certain how the comments section works yet, but it’s there and I would only ask that you leave an honest name with any comment.