Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Voyage of the Spammed - Part 4: "There's no spam...?!"

Welcome back to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, readers.  Tonight we have a look at the culinary choices offered during the voyage; Breakfast, Luncheon, and Dinner.  Plus a few extras as well.

The few menus Mum managed to save were from the latter part of the journey.  That I believe was due to the lack of any food remaining in our collective stomachs for the first three days at sea, as was mentioned last post.  But we are hungry now so let's start with breakfast!

The only breakfast menu here (as was all the menus) were on heavy card stock, all printed in Britain.  The offers for the first meal of the day for June 7, 1964, was on this 7" x 11" card.  Also, all menus had a colour illustration of a mode of transportation, plus the Canadian Pacific logo as well.

Some unusual items here....  Never heard of Sauerkraut juice, but apparently it is good for digestion; probiotics and all that stuff.    Plus I had never heard of Charquican Chileno.  It is an Argentine beef stew topped with an egg.  No Weetabix, and without spam, no chance for a Sunday fry-up!  But it is only a few hours to lunch...

The menus for lunch and dinner are now folded cards, with outer cover again with an illustration and logo on the back.  The flat card is 9" x 6"

But what's for lunch, Mum...?

More heavy eating by the looks of it.  I guess the idea was to fill us up so we would nap for most of the voyage!  A big breakfast and now a big lunch.  Maybe dinner will be a little less food....

The dinner menus, folded, were 10" x 7".  Mum saved three in total.  Here is the menu card for June 7, 1964.

Another meat heavy offering, and that Turtle Soup?  That is disgusting!  I just hope I had salad and ice cream!  The menu for June 8:

Fancy chicken soup.  I'll have spuds and beans please.  Back then I don't know how much flexibility there was with the choices.  We didn't have peanut allergies back then, or never heard of gluten-free or vegan.  Basically growing up, it was eat what was put in front of you, or you're getting it for breakfast.  I am sure this philosophy was not suspended for "eating out". 

Of course no sea voyage is not complete without the Captain's Gala, when everyone wore their finest clothes they had for the trip and had a formal dinner.  This took place on Saturday evening, June 6, 1964.  I am almost certain us kiddies did not attend this event.  We were probably left in the cabin with a bag of crisps.

The Gala menu card was the largest, 10.5" x 8".  Not a transportation lesson this time but a Medieval theme depicting much gluttony. 

Same offerings, just with a fancy type face.  I never did find out if you could get seconds....

Now let us examine the scenario.  Mum and Dad travelling across the Atlantic for 7 to 8 days, berthed with three kids, ages 3, 5 and 9.  And not much to do...  Yes I would like a drink!

The Bar Price List was the most worn and used menu in the collection.  Folded in half, I believe they must have carried it around for the duration of the trip.  I don't blame them; I'd be spending a lot of time at the bar too!

This 8" x 7" card had the same painting of the "Empress" as the Passenger List booklet did; slightly larger.  The back of the card was the price list. 

Not only drinks, but you could also get smokes.  I identified a total of four bars on the ship.  Everything on this list is extra; no alcohol was included in any of the meals.  It took a bit of detective work to figure out the price list.  It is in UK currency before decimalization; Pounds, Shillings, and Pence. 

So for example say you wanted Gin.  That shot would cost you  One Shilling (s.) and Sixpence (d.).  Which translates to our present (Canadian) as roughly $2.25.  Not much at first but don't get carried away buying rounds for the officers! 

So no one is going to go hungry.  This trip will not degrade into a "cannibal cruise"!.  I am sure there were other places to get snacks at the shop, and off hours at the clubs and lounges.  But I doubt they would have served an unattended 5 year old ! 

So can I be excused from the table, Mum?  I'd like to go play games on my phone...  Not bloody likely!  This is 1964!  So what does one do in these no internet, no Wi-Fi dark times?  Find out in Part Five of the voyage!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Voyage of the Spammed - Part 3: "A 162 Hour Tour"

So the ship had left Liverpool at approximately 6:30 pm on Tuesday, June 2, 1964.  First a quick stop in Greenock and then out to the Atlantic.  The family has been berthed in a starboard cabin, M115, on the main deck.  It's a window seat!  But more accurately it has a porthole, so we get to see the water and waves splashing at us all during the voyage.

Location of the cabin is shown in this snip from a JPEG of the deck plans.  (I was trying not to use any outside source material for the series, but Mum and Dad never had any plans.  So I gleaned the plans from "The University of British Columbia" online library.  If you would like to see the full image, you will find it here.  Have a look around; there is a lot more to see there!


The cabin had a wash basin, toilet, shower, dressing table, a main berth and a double bunk.  Here's your young author getting ready for the night, whilst older sister "A" gets in some mirror time; she'll be getting the top bunk of course.  The porthole is just to the right of the dressing table, and younger sister "M" is the lucky one to get the crib.

Apparently the family spent the first three days in the cabin for the most part.  Once we got past Northern Ireland, we were met with Beaufort scale 6 conditions; strong breeze, large waves, and white foam crests.  No one was going anywhere or eating much.  Most of the ship was down with sea sickness so it was rather quiet.  There will be more on the weather conditions in a future post.

So finally the sea (and tummies!) have calmed.  We are fit for touring the boat, so here is the family all nice a fresh.  That's me on the left in short trousers.  Mum is in the middle with sister "M" and sister "A" is on the right.  All pretty in pink!

Here's Mum near the deck tennis courts on the Sun Deck, the topmost deck of the ship for public access.  Looking forward you can see the rear left side of the funnel and just the edge of the checkers.

One level down is the Sports Deck.  Here is an aft view with Mum and the 3 kiddie winkies.

The Sports Deck is also where you would board the lifeboats.  This is a view from the starboard side.  There were only 12 lifeboats; 4 were larger with canopies, as can be seen here.  With 105 First Class passengers, 877 Tourist Class, and 487 staff and officers (including the dancers...) for a total of 1469 souls on board, would there have been enough room?  Woman and children first!  Sorry Dad....

Next level down was the Promenade Deck.  Another aft view of just the edge of the deck.  Yep, England is far behind us now! 

Based on the calmness of the sea, I suspect these photos were taken well past the point of no return and we very close to Newfoundland or even already past entering the St. Lawrence River. 

Surprisingly no photos were taken inside the ship, and the few I have here all taken in what seems to be the same day.  But there was more to do than walk the decks and keep an eye out for icebergs.  Next time we will discover what was on the menu to keep us all fed, when we could keep it down that is! 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Voyage of the Spammed - Part 2: "Departure"

It was time to say our final good byes to relatives and friends; those who remain behind.  The family is leaving England.  Time on the train en route to the Liverpool docks to read the ticket which will get us across the ocean.  Opening the ticket gives you the first series of conditions:

On the back of the ticket, the fine print continues:

But inside has all the details.  I have blanked the rest of the family names.

So we can see the name of the ship, date of departure, from and to, the cabin (which I will go into more detail in a future installment), and the fare.  That amount of 247 pounds would be 4915 pounds if taking the same trip today, which converts to $8,363.00 Canadian dollars as of this writing.  Was it a good rate for two adults and three kiddies?  No idea...

But we are now boarding the big boat; surprised my parents never took any photos of this part of the journey (as they usually took photos of everything else!).  To help us with the transition and a preview of the upcoming voyage, my parents have been given a nice glossy Passenger List booklet.

There are 8 pages in this booklet, full of fun facts and a complete listing of all on board.  There are two classes of passengers on the ship; first class and tourist class.  Tourist has the largest number of individuals and we are five of them...  I have not scanned in the complete list of names for privacy of the other passengers.  So when you open this 8" x 5" book, the first thing you see on the inside cover is a nice colour illustration of the "Empress of Canada".

I have not been able to make out the artist's name, but the location is identifiable.  It was "taken" somewhere on the St. Lawrence Seaway, as can be verified by the "Fleur-de-lis" flag on the lower left side of the painting.   We also get informed as to how much this ship weighs!  

Moving on the book itself, the title page:

More fun facts!  A brief synopsis of the ship, and the officers from captain right to the dancers(?).  What kind of ship is this....?  Next page is the 64-65 schedule of the White Empress Fleet, the sister ship being the "Empress of England".  This is also a cruise ship!

The next few pages are passenger listings.  Of course the first class get their own page (105 people actually...)  A few doctors and some other naval types.  And then onto tourist class.  When you reach the "centerfold", you get to see the route we are going to take.

No idea which of the two possible routes the ship took.  Guess it depended on the ocean conditions, weather, etc.  But I do remember seeing icebergs as we got closer to Newfoundland....  

A few more pages of tourist class, and then the last page.  

A listing of all Canadian Pacific offices throughout the world is the last page of the book.  The inside back cover shows the insignia of crew members.  Maybe do a bit of "Officer Spotting" whilst on the trip.  The back cover is nothing but the same navy blue as the front cover. 

The "Empress" has departed Liverpool and heading for Greenock.  Cabin M115 will be our temporary home for the next seven days.  Bon Voyage!  In Part Three I will explore the ship further, both above and below decks.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Voyage of the Spammed

It has been some time since posting, but the last several months were very hectic and life-changing.  I am going to take a detour from the usual format for a while to tell the tale of what was a pivotal moment for myself and the family.  But it does have to do with ships...

The recent passing of my Mum has kept me busy on the personal level dealing with the estate and the associated headaches and frustrations with the legal machine.  So in sifting through the immense amount of photos, (my Mum saved everything!),  I came across a very interesting stash of memorabilia, all to do with the time we said good bye to the homeland, and emigrated to Canada. 

Basically, it was all my father's idea.  (He passed away four years ago)  One day out of the blue, I was told he just outright said, "We are moving to Canada.  You can come with me if you like..."  At the time we were living in the quaint village of Lichfield, West Midlands, UK.  Lichfield's claim to fame is a very large and impressive 800 year old medieval cathedral.  Dad had done his National Service as a Senior Aircraft Man in the RAF (air frame mechanic on Meteors and Vampires and the like), and was now running an off-licence known as "Whitalls Wines"

Although the company still seems to exist, I can find no history prior to 2011.  Here he is in his "uniform" ready to keep the locals happy.  I have been unable to identify any brands on these shelves, but it was not just wines sold, there were other spirits and beers.  Here is the shop on Tamworth Street taken in 1963!

The early family (Mum, Dad, and sister "A") lived above the shop.  With another sibling on the way (me!) my parents bought a bungalow which overlooked a cricket pitch and had a beautiful view of the railway, where steam trains ran by many times.  Sister "M" arrived 16 months later.  Despite running the shop, Dad would also have to make deliveries and pick up stock.  The family "car" was also the work van:

A Morries J2 Commercial.  Right had drive and standard transmission of course, but only two seats.  So it wasn't like we would pile the family in and go for a drive or a picnic, but in the times I got to ride along, an improvised car seat....

No worries; I am firmly secured in the pram!  Amazing what was done in those days and yet we are all still alive today!  But Dad was not a merchant; he liked to work with his hands.  Before the shop and the service, he apprenticed (as you did back then in the trades) as a trim carpenter.  Dad was also a master modeller, who encouraged and taught me along the way.  He had heard from someone that skilled trades were needed Canada; I suspect my Auntie who was here already after marrying a Canadian soldier must have told him.  Calling Liverpool...

So the house is up for sale, personal belongings sorted and sold, the family dog and cat adopted, and the trip across the ocean booked.  Kids are getting immunized but only "A" is having to leave school.  I would have started next year.  But Dad is back from the west coast with a bright yellow 4" x 8" ticket.  It's a done deal.  On June 2, 1964, we leave Liverpool to Montreal for a seven day Atlantic "cruise" on a new Canadian Pacific ocean liner, the "Empress of Canada".  Bon Voyage!

That's it for Part One of "The Voyage of the Spammed"  (and yes, we did eat spam!)  Future installments will deal with the ship, pictures of the crossing, menus, entertainment, logs and other various memorabilia.  In researching for this blog I was curious about how the old shop on Tamworth Street looked today, as I have not been back since 1982.  In reality, not much different.  It never ceases to amaze me how much history is preserved in the UK.  Although I don't know why the pavement was up in front of the store....

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Scrap(book) Yard #6 - "The Future is out of Shape..."

Yes, it's been a while, but the yard is still open for business!  Although I have had no time for personal modeling, I still follow the genre.  Tonight's post is another article featured in the "Special Effects Modeler" magazine from 1979.  (See Scrapbook Yard #5)  This was only a two page feature on a Canadian film, "The Shape of Things to Come" which Brick Price Movie Miniatures was contracted for the model work.  More about the film later, but here is the original print:

Normally I would end this post here, but in re-reading the article I drifted off and began thinking about the other miniatures made for the film.  I am a little reluctant to admit I actually saw this in the theatre, way the hell back in 1979!  But it being a Canadian film, "The Starlost" had been cancelled 6 years ago, and nothing else sci-fi related at the movies that week, it seemed like a good idea at the time....

It was the late '70s, 1979, but the actual month is forgotten.  This was originally supposed to be a sequel to "Things to Come", a 1936 epic film about war, famine, and the rebirth of civilization.  (If you have never seen it, I urge you to check it out.  It is one of the ten greatest sci fi films of all time!).  I think poor Herbert George must still be spinning in his grave from this one!  The only real connection are the names of two characters,  evidently descended from the savior of mankind, John Caball.  

It's a basic comic book plot with evil dictator on Planet Delta 3 planning on taking over the last survivors of Earth who have retreated to large domed cities on the Moon.  Our poor home planet has taken yet another beating after rising from the ashes, this time a robot war. The population is now dependent on a drug, Raddic-Q-2 which cures the radiation sickness caused by this war.  Unfortunately the drug is only available on D3, so begins our tale....

Of course the quintessential baddie Omus is played by Jack Palance.  Who else could pull it off so well?  He has seized control of Delta 3 with his robot army and commands from the massive Citadel.

This miniature was about 5 feet tall.  Here is a top view:

I also remembered this film discussed in another magazine around the same time.  Here is the feature in Starlog #23.  It describes the destruction of this miniature.

A very familiar actor also appears.  It is four years later and he is back on the moon!  Another time; another place.  I would have preferred him to be in Season Two.  You know what I mean!

Barry Morse in John Caball, and he is a scientist (again) who has constructed the Star Scream.  This warship is can be seen on the first page with red background.  Here is a screen cap of the rear view:

Part of the fun I had watching this film was "shape-spotting", trying to pick out and identify the various kit parts used for the model.  The disc on the front of the ship is easily identified as the central hub from the K-7 Space Station model.  This section can also be separated to be used  to land on other planets.  Behold the image I refer to as "The Project UFO Shot"!

Another shot of the Star Scream on the launch pad of the New Washington moon colony:

The other major player in the miniature fleet is the Delta Three freighter, used to transport the mineral to the moon.  We got lots of swooping and overhead shots but very rarely was the model in full frame.  Here it is lifting off from the mining platform on Delta 3:

The opening of the film had this ship crash into the moon city dome.  About 15 minutes spent with long swooping shots building up to the impact.  To repair the hole in the dome, the besieged inhabitants send up the repair drones.

These swan-like ships trail behind them some sort of sealing mist.  Kinda Tholian Web style!  Now I have to mention some other elements of this film not related to the miniature work.  The locations include Ontario Place, which was meant to represent the future moon city.  Many shots feature the pods and Cinesphere (IMAX) as well as connecting corridors.  All external filming for both the radio active Earth and Delta Three were done somewhere north of Toronto.  No distinction between planet locales!  Of course there had to be obligatory robots, especially since evil baddie Omus has an army of these mechanical horrors.  

Hard to believe these are from 1979.  I think Robby or B-9 could have taken them out with one claw behind their backs!  Must have been a shock to some hikers or campers in the area!  And thanks ot R2, had to have the cutie robot.

This little fellow was salvaged from the robot who piloted the suicide run at the dome.  They name it Sparx, and it can, of all things, teleport.  Why they never exploited that plot point further I don't understand.  

Here is the closing shot where both ships fly off into the "sunset".  If you want to watch the film, I'm sure you can find somewhere on the internet where you can stream....

OMG!  I paid real money to see this!  Looking back I think there was only about 12 people in the cinema!  And it only lasted a week.   We didn't have the luxury of Rotten Tomatoes back then.  And if anyone is interested, I have a 27 x 41 official 1-sheet for sale!  Contact me if interested!

That's it from the Yard this time!