Sunday, 18 March 2018


The Following story is an excerpt from memoirs but in Pseudo form where most names of places and people mentioned have been altered to hide their true identity, but the time factor remains plus the original date of publication. 2003.
    This excerpt is dedicated to Sharon who prompted me to deliver this episode of my life.
Sadly my Wife Rosemary the lady in the story. passed away 3- 5-17.

It happened on an evening after Christmas in late December 1951. I was now a twenty-five year old. A friend and I had visited ‘The Embassy,” a ballroom ‘dance hall’ in Fawcett Road, Portsmouth where we performed with great alacrity with two local damsels. My friend, who was worse for wear and full of Brickwood’s brewery best plonk, had invited the two women to meet us the following evening. Waiting for them across the road from the pub from which we had just emerged, I quietly said to my mate, “I don’t like yours, and my one looks a bit rough,” So we scooted off and wound up in the Wellington Hall, a tea and biscuit place, where young ladies and gents were being taught to dance. A young lady wearing a dress that enhanced her youthful and beautiful image caught my eye. There was something about her that got my attention. She was at least five feet six, size ten, medium thingmees, brown hair, brown eyes, and a beautiful face that dimpled when she smiled. I’ve found her, I thought. In the back of my head, someone was saying, “John Spencer Hornblower, do not mess this up; this is your future.” Now, as I write this fifty-one years later, that beautiful person is busily sorting out the photos of our family of five sons and seven grandchildren. Mary Rose White was born in Portsmouth on 5 July 1934. Our initial period of acquaintance was a great joy to me, for this person was of good upbringing, gentle, helpful, loving, and had a zest for life. This lovely young lady also had a lot of respect for me. I made a commitment then, which still exists to this day. Mary introduced me to her family. I kept the romance in check so as not to sour their opinion of me. Soon after our first meeting, Mary and I would sit in the ‘front room’ of her home and talk. This was also where her eighty-eight-year-old grandmother would read the ‘Red Letter.’ This was a ladies’ magazine that supposedly contained a highly emotional romantic element that would arouse the latent lust of its readers in those days, but would not compare with similar literature of today. Granny would peer at the book through her spyglass, her eyes lighting up when she got to the juicy bits. She would occasionally glance at us lovers. I tried to sneak in a grope when her eyes were averted, but granny made sure my hands weren’t in Mary’s bloomers. I wonder if Granny really cared. Perhaps she thought it was all part of the action. I often wondered how Mary behaved so well; her passion had me believing she was always close to the breaking point. Mary’s grandmother had a host of children – about ten, I believe. (This doubled our score of five, which were mainly the result of end-of commission honeymoons whilst incarcerated through necessity in the Royal Navy.) Mary’s grandmother, bless her, passed on at the age of ninety-three. Mary and I went for bicycle rides and to the cinema. the first film we saw together was the African Queen. Mary’s mother sat next to me. Our first romantic evening in a hotel was at the ‘Coach and Horses’ in Cosham Portsmouth. I drank a beer and Mary had cherry brandy. On that night, we heard that singer Steve Conway was seriously ill. His song “You’re the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold. Your daddy’s little girl to have and to hold…” was played on the radio. Steve passed away shortly afterwards. From that day on, Mary has been the love of my life. As I write this paragraph, our fiftieth wedding anniversary is five weeks away. Our five sons, their partners, and our grandchildren will attend,

Friday, 16 March 2018

St Patrick's Day in New York 1965.

The Americas and St Patrick's Day 1965
     We arrived back home in England in late August 1964. Baby William was born in Portsmouth, the UK on 30 October 1964. William Andrew Spencer had been conceived in, or more aptly put; ‘Made in Hong Kong’ during a period of weakness in the Spencer family planning department around the time of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Little Willie was our fourth son. Shortly afterwards, I was drafted to HMS Maryland where there were much backstabbings and dissention. It was my last ship, thank the Lord. It seemed I was the only gunnery person on a ship without guns. My main duties consisted of overseeing what small arms there were and pandering to a bunch of stuck-up *dockyard matey’s whims. (*civilian technicians) on this ship was just as stressful as it was on HMS Marylebone. We visited Gibraltar, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Bermuda, New London, Charleston, and New York. What we did on the ship was classified, so even now it would be prudent not to mention it. The ship was based in Devonport near Plymouth, a long distance from home, so I did not see the family very often.

    While the ship was at the US Navy Base in New London Connecticut, a small number of our crew were granted permission to travel to New York in order to experience the parades and celebrations on St Patrick day.

    The train journey of 123 miles was most interesting particularly the comfort of the warm A/C Carriages. However, arriving at Pennsylvania station about noon- adjacent to 33rd Street, that was where the comfort ceased. it was freezing cold as we headed for the nearest pub-bar. where a local drunken peasant informed us 'arr to be sure it be me, lads, the bloody pawnbrokers sign down the street just disintegrated'. The activity in the bar full of pseudo-Micks wearing green attire was boisterous to say the least But the Pizza which was  on offer which was my first went down well
 After leaving the Bar we split up into small groups, our group consisting of the Guys who favoured comfort so we head for a cinema were I nodded off for an hour or so, then back to another bar for food where we met a local doctor who drove us around New York for a while and later let us stay overnight at his high rise apartment..

    The following morning the doctor had left home on a call out, but his charming wife made us breakfast and shortly after we headed for Grand Central station for our comfortable train journey to New London.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Fighting words on Wednesday.

    The pork eating Pigmy dwellers or Badasstan were of no particular calling,. In the main, they were a bunch of mischievous itinerant workers who invaded the adjoining Stans during the fruit picking season. there was little pride in their Glum attitude towards their neighbours, the Kazackastans and the other half dozen Stan's who surrounded them. only their cheap labour saved them from being put to the sword.
     Most Badasstans led a short charmed life, there was nothing glossy about their existence, most villages built toilet trenches dug around their movable homes.
   However, due to the drunken infighting and general bedlam at the end of the  fruit picking season, death became a frequent visitor
    In the early morning the results of the previous evening not only the night soil but departed souls
 would join the daily trash, the stench from the trench made one scarper in fear, Not even a penny whistle dirge to say goodbye to the recently departed.

Vest Daily Gaggle...

Monday, 12 March 2018

Facebook again.

The boring untruths of facebook

     I don't care a hoot if I insult you because you are a facebook moron, it is about time you long time users and losers were told the truth
     Here I shall give you a few reasons not to like Facebook any more full stop.
    First of all, Facebook is always watching a sweaty old middle aged bimbo or dirty old geezer whose only interest is immorality and depravity; take your pick. It is also a source of anything likely to be of little use plus a guide to future depravity for the unemployable school leavers expanding the dole queues.. The predators mentioned watching and recording everything you like or desire and everyone's info you have recorded, yes everyone you have ever visited..
     The face bookman keeps are not simply filed away under I bet you wish we were not watching you so closely, your news feed is based on this info All of your past love trysts and agony plus the latest fleeting romance, as well as your online history, is used to sell you stuff too.
     Most people I have read on Facebook who are not celebrities always seem to be on the beach sunning themselves with their latest Spanish or froggy Lothario, others are renovating their newly acquired mansion on the Gold coast or some other upmarket area. and lying about enjoying the company of their half dozen offspring and cooking food few people have ever heard of. Maybe these people have won big on lotto and given up on work, or some were devoted in their Quest to find the end of the Rainbow; found it and moved there
     Facebook is constantly experimenting with you, They tally up the info you have revealed and use it to sell you more stuff you really don't need. The only way I can see Facebook being of any face value is to forget about chasing the approval of others, simply share the things you have enjoyed with persons you may believe would enjoy them too.

Vest...Back soon.

"Sweet as fragrant roses 'Tis to have a friend, on whom in gloom or sunshine we know we can depend"

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Words for Wednesday. The Dirty Trick.

Today's words are.  Tarmac, Whine, Lobby, Vestige, Dither Spark.

     This is my Story, It goes back to the war in the Pacific closing to its end in 1945.

        It had become like a routine for both the Allied ships of the Pacific fleet also the Japanese suicide pilots who like their predecessors were waiting by their planes on the tarmac in the islands of Miyako Shima and Ishigaki group of islands.
         Today was to be different, and very early in the day at first light, I was able to calculate that 'Something Different'. I spoke to the navigator who had stepped out from the bridge lobby with a smoke and coffee, saying "how far are we away from today's target area" " About the same as usual " Say's he.. I replied " One doesn't have to be a bright spark to  notice the whine of the carrier planes now taking off are using additional fuel tanks and this has me in a dither wondering why, that there is hardly a vestige of truth in your statement sir with my apologies for doubting your word, how come the extra fuel tanks?. his reply was " I can't say now  but we are expecting a day a bit different than is usual
          " Flying stations were ordered over the Tannoy speakers of our large Battleship The flagship of the British Pacific fleet of some seventy ships a quarter the size of the US fleet. The gun crews closed up and prepared for any outcome The norm would be to expect the Kamikazes within the hour or so.following the Allied planes back to the A/C Carriers, the Carriers being the prime target for the Kamikazes.but why the day was to be different and eventually all of our planes returning and not one enemy plane sighted?
           Later in the day, the following information was leaked. The extra fuel tanks were dropped over the  target area together with bombs etc and on leaving the area to return to the carriers the Japanese planes followed and they only had fuel for a one way suicide trip to heaven so to speak ran into trouble when the Allied planes corrected their 45 degrees diagonal course away from their destination thereby doubling the return distance.
     Little is known about the outcome simply because the Japanese planes couldn't get to our ships or have enough fuel to return to their bases.  ... Daily Gaggle.Vest.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Ghana history. The Gold coast and Togoland join to become Ghana Wed March 6 1957

    These two former  West African colonies of the UK were granted independence. Representing the Queen and Great Britain was Admiral Sir Varyl Begg and the crew of the six-inch gun cruiser The HMS Ceylon and its crew of which 'yours truly vest was a member. On my part of the celebrations, it became a fiasco which I recall with some amusement which does not include the speech from incoming President Kwame Nkrumah. There are. excerpts from"Waving Goodbye"  my Memoirs obtainable now only from Amazon. Unfortunately, I have run out of stock  ISBN 1-4120-3384-5.

Back soon. VEST.


The Following story is an excerpt from memoirs but in Pseudo form where most names of places and people mentioned have been altered to hide ...