Saturday, 31 January 2009

Friday, 30 January 2009

Not a day to remember!

Well at 2 O'clock we met at the new station and started to walk around.

Please note Tom's foot wear!

I drove the vehicle in for the 1st time and it fits a treat.

There is room to move around the vehicle

The water meters had to be read......not in the best spot to read as you have to dodge the traffic coming out of the car park!

But then a slight issue, some of the paper work for the toilets hadn't arrived and we had a two hour wait whilst lots of phone calls were made, sadly an agreement couldn't be quite made so the keys have not been handed over and we are unable to move in yet.

Hopefully as I write this missing paperwork is being faxed across the county and we will try again next week.

A day to remember

At 14:00 today, various people will meet at the new station, if they agree its finished it will be handed over to the Coastguard (me and the team!)

Tune in later to see it all has gone well.

(Another) Final Countdown

Well it’s the Final Countdown - only hours to go to the handover.
Ian will probably put a blog up later ....well in a minute or two.

What a class hit this was in the eighties; and who’d have thought that two of those guys would go on to be Coastguards.

Ian Brown centre, Austen 'Ferrero Roche' right of centre.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Clean Sweep

On tuesday the car park was having a little tidy.

Mud cleared up ready for the lines to be repainted.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

In the Pink

The other night at Kit night, this smart chap turned up, slightly over dressed to starting packing the station?

The story was like this...."well I got back to Swanage and realised I had left my keys at work and his wife wasn't home till 9pm"
O dear, of course we are far to good not to take the mickey re the colour of the shirt....clearly a part of the uniform for a planning officer.
Gareth has worked very hard for the team and assisted me immensely with various bits towards the station, blog and biscuit eating despite working full time out of Swanage.
Thanks Gareth we won't mention the shirt again I promise....(I know his revenge will be soon!)

Half a job?

Southern Electric came the other day to finish their job.

Tarmac down, they then had to repaint the white lines at the exit of the car park.

To save paint, they just re painted the square they had cut through, leaving part of the faded one.

Closing down

Kit night on Monday night was a little strange.....

We started to pack up the station ready for the move and it felt a little odd.

Mr Bentham drilling out the screws on our mountain rescue sign.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sign of the times

The new sign went up today...... its looking rather good.

The "snagging" went ahead and there were only some minor issues which are being addressed as we speak.

The cleaner were in doing a big clean.

‘Men are not Robots’


Today is ‘snagging day’ up at the new station – for the non builders - this when the project manager meets with the construction team to assess the building and produce a list of quality defects at the end of a build process. Examples might include something minor like broken bricks, or the garage doors not being securely bolted to the outer walls! Or even a water pipe that comes up in the middle of a cupboard!

Anyway we have a builder on the team; who better than Eric to snag the building. Most snags can be put right and as a team member rightly says ‘…men are not robots’, so you should expect some defects.

A Famous Robot

Monday, 26 January 2009

It’s good to talk.

The Coastguard’s planning application to ‘Install a 12m high pole with 1.5m high VHF dipole aerial antenna’ at the back of our new coastguard rescue station has been approved. Details here:

A full consultation had been undertaken by the planning case officer, Mrs Drane, who notified neighbours and Swanage Town Council. It looks like no objections were raised and she kindly recommended that it be granted approval; thanks.

The pole is to provide the station with VHF radio communications. Initially it was thought that a smaller whip antenna much like that on our current station would provide radio coverage, but the location of the station has meant the need for the pole.

To be fair the antenna does not receive a lot of use other than in an emergency situation. This is normally confined to the 2-3 minutes when the team arrive on station and during the moments it takes to organise the team, seek further details from the ops room and get the rescue truck and team on the road. Once on the road we can use the VHF in the truck or our handhelds.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

All is revealed!!!

After 4 months the fencing is down!!!

There were lots of people looking around the outside of the new Coastguard Station today, trying to peer through the windows; nothing untoward, just interested. (…and I do mean lots 30 +)

The number of people who sneaked around the back of the building to have a look, and then ran off after seeing the security cameras did make me laugh! These cameras are tamperproof and linked through to Portland Operations room that can task either us or the Police in the event of an incident. They’ve got some night vision thingy on them so Portland will probably be able to watch the foxes and badgers that live locally – Bill Odie styleee.

Sadly I haven’t got a photo of what happened when the actual fence came down so have had to improvise. Please bare with me, I know it’s a wall, and loads of Germans but it’s the best I can do.

Swanage residents celebrate the fence coming down!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

The wrong road!

Having lived in Swanage for a few years, you would of thought I could get the spelling or a road name correct?

Well for some reason I thought De Moulham Road, was spelt the same way as the Theatre and after the John Mowlem the great man of Swanage...wrong!

After 30 something year having walked passed the street name many times.....I managed to put the wrong spelling of the road on the official invites to the opening of the building...!

So if you see people looking at their Sat Navs, trying to find a De Mowlem Road, can you point them in the direction of De Moulham Road, (this of course may have been a plan of mine to get more food on the day)

And if any one has a minute, is there a connection with the name De Moulham and Mowlem?

Friday, 23 January 2009

Changing scene

To the residents around the North Beach Car Park, for the last four months the view of the car park hasn't been very pleasant......

Well at some point today I'm pleased to say that the cabins will disappear.

The fence will be coming down and then the car park cleaned.

Thank you for putting up with the building work.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Something Special

After 167 years I didn't just want to pack up at Peveril Point and leave without acknowledging our history there,

So how do you capture our history?

A painting I thought, so I approached Antonia Phillips down by the Quay, who has painted some lovely things around our town.

After several meetings and exchange of photos, Antonia has come up with something very special to mark our move.

So not to spoil the surprise we will revisit the various pictures in time, but its brilliant and the detail it excellent.

Antonia is an excellent local artist, you can see more of her work at

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

A little bit of History

Whilst my high powered rapid response vehicle (aka the bike) was in for a service, I had a wander around Poole.

On the quay next to the old lifeboat house is a plaque to the US Coastguard, marking their work from Poole during the D Day landing.

I like the Latin phrase at the bottom - Semper Paralus or "always prepared"

On return I had a look on the Web and found this on the official US Coastguard history web site.

U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla One at Normandy:
A Historic Photo Gallery

During the spring of 1944, prior to the onset of Operation Overlord, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the Coast Guard to provide search and rescue craft for the invasion. The Coast Guard had a fleet of 83-foot wooden-hulled patrol craft that were used for coastal patrols in U.S. waters and so the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet, Admiral Ernest King, USN, ordered the Coast Guard to deploy 60 of these cutters to the United Kingdom for service during Operation Neptune/Overlord. Their hull numbers were removed and they were given new designations of 1 to 60, preceded by "USCG", to ease identification issues in the Allied invasion fleet. Each cutter was transported piggy-back on freighters to the U.K. where they were offloaded, formed into "Rescue Flotilla One" based at Poole, England, and modified for service as rescue craft. They earned the nickname "Matchbox Fleet" due to their wooden hulls and two Sterling-Viking gasoline engines -- one incendiary shell hitting a cutter could easily turn it into a "fireball."

They were assigned to each of the invasion areas, with 30 serving off of the British and Canadian sectors and 30 serving off the American sectors. During Operation Neptune/Overlord these cutters and their crews carried out the Coast Guard's time-honored task of saving lives, albeit under enemy fire on a shoreline thousands of miles from home. The cutters of Rescue Flotilla One saved more than 400 men on D-Day alone and by the time the unit was decommissioned in December, 1944, they had saved 1,438 souls.

No caption.No date listed; probably June 1944.No photo number listed.Photographer unknown.
Left to right: the USCG-29 (83417), USCG-4 (83321), & USCG 2 (83304) tied up at Poole, England.

Further reading and photos can be found at

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Fort Knox?

166 years later, coastguard stations come with a little more protection than in 1842!

Sadly extra steps are taken to protect the buildings......CCTV, alarms all linked to our operations room. Well it saves us checking the building everyday.

Monday, 19 January 2009

We really do have the power!

The electricians are now working very hard to connect everything up, lights, sockets, heaters, fire alarm, security system, CCTV, shower, hand dryer and any thing else we need power for.

As can be seen, its a little busy up there now, plumber is doing his bit, carpenter is doing his bit, roofer has just turned up to cut a hole in the roof.
So this time next week its going to be a big clean, the fencing is coming down the cabins outside will be going, and then......its nearly done!

Mountain Boarders

One of the Dorset Coastguard Rescue Teams had to deal with a ‘Mountain Boarder’ this weekend. More here:

Image courtesy of Google Images

Interestingly enough two mountain boarders were spotted by the Patrol on Saturday enjoying themselves near Old Harry. Both Rockett and Kitching thought ‘that looks fun…if not a little dangerous!’

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Station Update

Kitchen, nearly done.......still not sure about the water pipe!

Doors inside looking really nice.....

So this week really will see the final bits done

Saturday, 17 January 2009

1st Patrol of the Year

..and where did Rockett and Kitching Patrol? Everywhere, including here.

We have the Power (well nearly)

Men with van have been at site (sorry to the residents whilst they dug up the pavements)

Very important hole!, hopefully on Monday the BIG switch on and the electricians can finish off inside the building.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Will it fit?

On Sunday Austen and I popped up to the new station to check all was ok. The painters were inside doing the finishing touches so we took a very quick photo opportunity !


I will just quote one of the painters "You two" (he was referring to Austen and I) " are like two little school boys, with a new toy"! We were having an argument about who es desk was going where!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Taking my work home

One thing that will change when we move , (hopefully) is I will no longer have to bring things home to clean or test as we will have plenty of room to do that with in the building.

One of the problems at Peveril is that there is only a small area to put things out and its damp only having the one heater.

The above life jacket got dirty, so had to have a little clean, and then I noticed what I thought was a little hole, so had to test it for 24 hours.

Thankfully it was ok and once dry returned to the station.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Little update

Rumour has it that that the cable is going in! Sadly it was dark before I got home to check.


Regular readers of this blog may well already know that the Swanage Coastguard Team are to become ‘Co-Responders / Community Responders’. So what’s this all about?

Community Responders
Teams of dedicated volunteers are involved from their local communities throughout the South West. As the South West is predominantly rural it is not always possible for an ambulance to reach people in the more remote areas quickly, South Western Ambulance Service aims to recruit, train and equip community-based volunteers to respond to any life-threatening emergency and deliver appropriate care until the ambulance arrives. Responders are trained in basic life support (BLS) and equipped with defibrillators, oxygen, first aid equipment and communications. (Text courtesy of SW-Ambulance)

Below are the links to the South West Ambulance 'Responders' Website.

Swanage Coastguard Team
The Swanage Coastguard Team have over the last year undergone extensive training with the South West Ambulance Service, and subject to the final agreement with Coastguard Headquarters will act as ‘Co-responders’. It is likely that the team will go ‘live’ in February 2009, and will be able to assist in the event of a local emergency when an ambulance is not immediately available.

We will be the first Coastguard team in the South-West to do so!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


Sadly despite waiting all day.....Southern Electric failed to show,

Andy the Site Manager chased them this afternoon and was told they might be there tomorrow!

O well, whats another day!


Today could be an important day ......

We will be looking for vans marked

Thats a start, better still, people out and digging or laying a cable

If we manage to get to this stage, then we have to wait to the 20th for someone else to contect the cable up!

Monday, 12 January 2009

This is the B.B.C

Last week I was requested if we could attend Dancing Ledge on Sunday to guide the BBC (That's the British Broadcasting Corporation!!) down to the ledge and be around whilst they do a bit of filming.

The actress is Sheila Hancock, and she was very grateful for us to be there and keep an eye on her and the film crew.
I understand the film was to do with her childhood which was spent in the Purbecks, we will watch and see when its due out on television.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

New Sink

There is no getting away from the cleaning at the new station, and this will come as a shock to some of the team.

This is the new sink....nice and low to get a bucket in, and hot water (once we have electric of course!)

Saturday, 10 January 2009


I popped down the Coastguard Station today to wash my car and the MRU.

As it was so cold I gave up on the idea, my excuse was that the water would freeze and create a skating rink for local residents. (minus 7 degrees C last night) Anyway the station was absolutely freezing inside, in fact it was warmer outside...and the warmest part of the station? Well I opened the fridge and warm air came out!! Bring on the new station!


Visiting the station yesterday, it wasn't very warm out side and with no electric, the workers have to be kept warm whilst working and the station dried out (using cement and concrete you use a lot of water so this all needs drying out).

Now Ive seen some heaters but this one is rather fab!

This is just a temporary heater whilst we wait for the electric!

However this is the heater for the garage (once we have electric!), I reckon we should be able to do toast on that!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Supermarket sweep

Mention we are going to Tescos, and normally I'm throwing my toys out the no thanks, however things were a little different today.

The items are for the new station and it wasn't my money.

So the shopping list was:

An outside brush, inside brush, mop, bucket, towels, mugs, plates and bowls , cutlery, toilet brush, cleaning materials, washing up bowl and a few extra bits .

So I didn't mind pushing the trolley today, sorry to the people i manged to run over in my excitement down the aisles.

Now all I have to do is work out how to use all that stuff.......I didn't but any rubber gloves!!!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Station Update

As Deputy blog said on Tuesday we had a site visit.......the building is coming on but its going to be tight.

The major problem is this, Southern Electric are due to put the cable in on Monday (the 12th?) they connect one end up but not the end into the building! On the 20th (yes the 20th that's 8 days later) another person returns to connect the other end up to the meters etc.
Only then can the full electrical tests and finishing bits and pieces be done, that can be 2 weeks, so that's the 4th of February with the official opening on the 6th!

Other work is going at a pace, outside the ground workers are finishing the path at the front and the ramps into the garage. Front door to be painted and a letter box to be added. New signs to be put up. The Garage, sink in, work bench and coat hooks to go up.
Shower (you have seen the base!). Toilet.....waiting for the throne to be installed. Office, painted, Training Room , painted kitchen, cupboards going up.

Still a bit to do, just wish Southern Electric got a move on

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Rear Window 2

Today on Coastguard Builder TV I saw the chaps laying a pavement; although lots appeared to be happening inside.

I know Ian (Station Officer) went down to the site this morning and hopefully he's got some photos. Apparently we will be hard pushed to finish for the opening ceremony on 6th February as we are STILL waiting on South Electric to pull their fingers out!

Mock Accident

You may remember the team attended the mock road traffic accident in Broad Road Car Park just before Christmas?

Dorset Police have just produced this short video to be used to show other young drivers.


Monday, 5 January 2009

Rear Window

What a Load of Bollards

Deputy Blog is incapacitated with a cold today, and not feeling too good. So a bit like James Stewart in Hitchcock’s 1954 Film ‘Rear Window’,… he's been looking out of the rear window at the new Coastguard Station. Firstly, you’ll be glad to know no one has been murdered like in the film – (…and if you haven’t seen it by now, then sorry I spoilt the ending).

Anyway it looks like a load of bollards have been delivered to the site and the chaps are sticking them in the ground. There is probably a technical builder term for this but I’m sticking with sticking. They are also making a pavement. Eric will no doubt tell me they are laying a pavement.

‘This is not very exciting! …and certainly not worthy of a Blog!’ I hear you cry, well it is when you got the choice of Daytime TV or Coastguard Builder TV.

If I’m lucky they might get the digger going again later – that’s if Austen fixed it on his ‘Emergency Errand’ on Sunday. Where’s my Lemsip.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

'Coastguard Of The Year' tries to blag first job.

No sooner has the previous blog been written and DSO Austen is 'texting' me. Not content with his 'Coastguard of the Year Award' he now trys to lay claim to the first job too! Sounds pretty dubious to me.

Apparently he was sent on an emergency errand to fix a generator for the contractor working on the new Coastguard Station. - So Austen have you got a Casualty Number for the job? No? ...You mean you haven't? In that case, hands off, Rid and I get it.

We’re a competitive lot!

1st Job of the Year

A simple 'meet and greet' for CROs Curtis and Kitching down at the Lifeboat House.

A chap on board a charter fishing boat had some health problems. After talking to the Coastguard Doctor in Aberdeen he was bought to shore with assistance from Swanage Lifeboat and Swanage Coastguard. - Paramedic in attendance was our very own Terry Thompson.

Rid's not smiling, he's just cold.

(..and again neither of our new pagers went off!- mmm more on this another time)

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Water feature

The kitchen, a bit bare at the moment, but soon to have cupboards and a work top and a sink!

Now I'm no builder but that pipe is in a rather unusual place, (almost the middle of the room) and I'm not talking the extension out the window either.

I'm sure it will be sorted after the holidays.