Friday, 31 October 2008

Raising the flag

Today the "new" Dorset flag was raised at the Tourist Information Centre by the Town Mayor and the Brown family!.

It just happened we were passing (there was free food) so the girls just had to get in the picture.

Thursday, 30 October 2008


Sorry for the lack of blogs, but Austen and I have been away at the National Coastguard Conference in Chester.

Now Chester may seem a strange location to hold a conference for the Coastguard, but remember colleagues from Scotland also attended and it took them 2 days to get there!

Food was excellent, shame the plates were too small for some.

It started snowing, so we had to pop out and have a play in it, sadly not enough for a snowman.

So what did we spend 3 days doing......well hearing from the chief, how the RNLI run their volunteers, Ambulance, Fire and Police input, nice dinner.

Talks from others in the department of transport, Olympic stuff, Irish Coastguard, fishing industry, Port of London, Coastguard Tugs and then a posh dinner.

Finally a talk about the media, salvors, Shipping policy and then a final talk from the chief again. In between lots of coffee, chance to meeting Coastguards from all around the country sadly not enough time to sit and watch the biggest TV I have ever seen in a hotel room!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Looks like the brickies are on site, photos tonight!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Kit Night

Monday night is Kit night at the station and Austen and I will not be there!

Not that I'm too worried as the station will be in the good hands of Mr Bentham, the chief biscuit buyer on the station.

Of course things will be done to a high standard without any problems.....won't they?

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Operation...'Wheel Trim'

13:43 Lacey and Kitching are about to partake in Operation 'Wheel Trim'.....more later.

17:45 Nope... its lost somewhere on the cliffs.

The official story

Having returned from a course, I read the blog and was a little concerned there was no action so headed up to the site yesterday morning.

On arrival I found a large crane and loads of people working hard.

Grabbing Lionel out of a meeting, I discovered whilst lifting in one of the stabs last week one broke and this basically stopped the whole project until a replacement was made.

The replacement turned up and this time they used a crane to lift them in.

He hopes to have the bricklayers in as soon as possible now to see if they can catch up on the work.

Friday, 24 October 2008

More Floor

And as if by magic, we have a floor! Sorry a sub floor.

Spoke to soon....

....looks like a big crane and some work going on.

Update tonight.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

More Floor

Well it’s been nearly three weeks and nothing has happened at the new Station.

As Ian said earlier in the week, there are major problems with the floor, and it looks like we are now on track for mid to late January. Very disappointing.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

French People

On their way back to the station after the dramatic rescue of 5 balloons your Coastguard Team found some people walking on the cliffs in the dark. Nothing wrong with this but it was pretty slippy and some words of safety advice where offered. The walkers shrugged their shoulders…which obviously meant they were French; again nothing wrong with this.

Now Austen Rockett jumps over cliffs in the dark to save people, (with a rope!) so has absolutely no fear. He decided to tackle the situation straight on by trying out his French:-

“Je devrais aimer un chat de chocolat”
I should like a chocolate cat.

“Mon crossiant est coincé vers le haut d'un arbre”
My crossiant is stuck up a tree.

“Monsieur, votre pantalon sont sur le feu”
Sir, your trousers are on fire.

Luckily Tom Simmons had a far better command of this fine language.

“Veuillez faire attention les falaises sont très ‘slippy’. Veuillez le noter sera bientôt foncé”!
Please be careful the cliffs are very slippy; please be advised it will soon be dark

‘WOW! Did you learn that at school?’ Austen asked.
‘Nope’ said Tom, ‘I picked it up on my trip to the Moulin Rouge last year.’

What a team!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Team members Rockett and Simmons were tasked to a report of a person in the water off Durlston. Naturally the team burst into action only to find the person was actually a bunch of balloons floating on the water. The importance of the situation had obviously been blown up. Feeling slightly deflated the team popped back to station.

Police are on the lookout for a German lady called Nina who apparently now has only 94 Red Balloons.

See her naff 80's hit here:

Tomorrow Rockett and Simmons take on the French!

Monday, 20 October 2008


The next big stage is the concrete floor, which we are waiting to be laid. Hopefully it wont be too long!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

On top of the World

With the lovely weather, many people were out and about on Ballard yesterday.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Back up and running?

Looks like the chaps are finally back on site after what appears to have been a two week shutdown. From an outsider’s point of view it looks like we will sadly be unlikely to move in this year.

We’ll have to see whether they can catch up in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Rain stop play?

Not much happening at the site today, they were due to lay the concrete floor today, but I think the rain has stopped the work.

Will return tomorrow and see whats occurring.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Safety 1st

Those of you in the Meridian Television area will have just seen a article on the new Coastguard helicopters and saying they can not fly at night.

Taken from the reporter, there seems to be a problem with the lighting when flying at night whilst landing or taking off.

Nothing official has come through, but safety first and whilst this little problem is resolved they have brought one of the old aircraft back to fly at night.

Monday, 13 October 2008

A summers evening?

Saturday night (whilst my bike was having notices put on it!) I had one of those rare moments off and went out on a friends boat fishing.

Remind me that this is October?

Anvil Point Lighthouse from a slightly different view

You really do not normally get weather like this in October, its normally rather windy and wet?

Sunday, 12 October 2008

The Training Pizza

….what’s this got to do about pizza? I’ll explain.

We Coastguards undergo a lot of training!

As a Cliff and Search team we train under two main headings, strangely enough cliff and search techniques. Within each of these groups are 30 or so sub-groups or competencies that need to be learnt and then properly demonstrated in order to be signed off as proficient. Examples include the obvious ones:

First Aid, Ropes and Knots, Radio use

And less obvious ones :

Flares and Pyrotechnics, Helicopter Operations and Making Tea (Although as a Probationary Officer I reckon that this is just a made up one)

Sounds relatively simple? Well we have one or two 2 hour training sessions a month and so training is intense and realistic. (See flares and pyrotechnics training tomorrow!)

In order to make this amount of training more manageable it is broken down into different slices …a bit like a pizza ….every training session is varied with different learning objectives or topping, sorry topics being taught……again a bit like a pizza.

…and who better to deliver this training than our very own Pizza Delivery Chap – Station Officer Ian Brown.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

More training

Thursday night we got back down the station, for the final part of our co responder assessments.

Sadly the 1st thing to take place was tea and cake, sadly some had more than one! (or two)

Rumour had it that Eric dropped a £5 note?

Not sure what Rid was trying to prove here?

Anyway, we finally got down to business and wrapped ourselves up in bandages and passed that part of the assessment.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

A visitor

Whilst walking along the sea front the other day, I saw some thing in the water!

At first I thought it was a dog swimming, but then I realised it was a seal. (sorry about the picture you can see its head just above the 3rd wooden pile)

Now it was on the 14th October 2006 that we found a baby seal on the beach under the Grand Hotel, is this mother returning again?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Co Responding

The team took another step forward last night in becoming a Co Responder unit for the Ambulance Service.

It was assessment night for using the Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and I'm pleased to say that the team members all passed.

Just a couple more assessments to do on other bits and pieces, a Hep B jab! and the Coastguard and Ambulance service signing an agreement and we will then be allowed to carry this and other vital life saving pieces of equipment on our vehicle.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

My darkest day

For many years I got asked "what's the hardest thing you have ever done in the Coastguard?"

The answer was normally a search for a missing diver or a cliff rescue, that was until the evening of the 7th October 2004, events that day took a respected friend away from me and the team.

I was about to leave for work and walking down my footpath to the gate when my mobile rang, it was Dave Ogden (the DSO at that time), his voice was unusual that night, what he was about to say crashed my world in a flash, one of our team had died.

Mike (Spike) Williamson had been in town with friends when he collapsed and died, despite the efforts of the Ambulance crew.

Spike was born on the 31st December 1952, and joined the Coastguard on the 28th June 1974, he had just completed his 30th year in the Coastguard. A plumber by trade, but known more recently as the assistant pier master, he was a man of few words but huge actions,.

I had never dealt with anything like that before, Spike was the key member of the team, well respected and liked, steering the team during the week up to the funeral was difficult, going through Spike personal effects was something I hope I never have to do again.

So now when I get asked , "what is the hardest thing I have ever done in the Coastguard", it's no longer a rescue, its the loss of a friend.

Friends are special, value every day you can with them.

Spike, where ever you maybe today, you are not forgotten.

Michael Edward John Williamson "Spike" 31/12/1952 - 07/10/2004

Monday, 6 October 2008


Not much happening at the moment, Lionel is waiting for the brick layers and flooring people to turn up.
The only action on site today was Wessex Water, connecting up the water supply to the mains.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Going up

The steel work is now up and gives an idea of the shape and size of the building. This end is the vehicle bay.

The blocks and bricks (Swanage hand made bricks) ready to be used.

View from the vehicle bay through to the toilet block

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Care in the community

Yes he will probably seriously hurt me for this one, but even a super hero like Terry has to have a day off.

Friday, 3 October 2008


Its just over 2 months since this years carnival, but last Friday we attended the Carnival committees presentation night.

Clearly this years Carnival was a huge success and I believe £28,000 was given to local and national charities as well as good causes.
Looking at the picture above, it was good to see so many people in Swanage. (one of those rare sunny days!)

Thursday, 2 October 2008


This morning's wake up call at 7:10am was concrete blocks being delivered to the site. Grrrrrr

Looks like most of the steelwork is done....hopefully a photo tonight.

Summer Views 1

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Not the only building site

Some of you may know that the chain ferry is off for its bi annual refit in Southampton. Whilst this is being done there are some major works being done on the slip ways.

The ferry is off at least until November (so they say)