Although the author’s graduation from his pre-sea nautical HMS Conway was both expected and anticipated, to be honoured at the same time with the Queen’s Gold Medal was certainly not, coming as it did as a deeply humbling surprise. Acceptance into the P. & O. Steam Navigation Company as a Cadet was far less of a given, as a pre-requisite was to successfully conclude a month at the Outward Bound Mountaineering School at Ullswater. There, one would be taken into the ‘tender care’ of three Marine Commandos, charged with ensuring that character building would indeed follow from adventures in mountaineering, canoeing and fell walking, not to mention the Commando assault course, athletics, and copious amounts of Kendal Mint Cakes!
His career path appeared to become even more defined as he gained Commission with the Royal Naval Reserve, his Master Mariner’s Certificate of Competence, and rose through the Officer ranks of the P. & O. Steam Navigation Company. However, the Seamans Strike in 1966 brought about a startling, but enervating, state of swiftly changing issues that demanded a fresh approach to, well, everything!
The Deeper Water is Ashore focuses on, and develops with, both fact and humour, the substantial changes which followed from significant strike action, and the eventual personal outcomes. If one can but briefly plagiarise and use the words of the poet and cleric John Donne (1572-1631), it was a case of “Seek not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” (But never in the subjunctive tense!)