Tuesday, 21 April 2009

It all started here.

It started as an apprentice carpenter and joiner back in 1964 I served a five year apprenticeship with a small building firm here at Portland in Dorset.

I was taught ever thing there was to know about woodworking in house construction.

We constructed our houses from the ground up, we did it all, my boss would not use contractors so all the apprentices where taught about ever thing. This included digging the footing and concreting them as well. I did all the marking-out with site square & dumpy level plus height levelling rods for the foundation,then it was all hands to pick and shovel, till concrete was mixed, poured & levelled, then back to your own trades.

There where five apprentices myself the carpenter/joiner ,1 bricklayer, plumber, painter, electrician.

I was taught by the boss his self Nobby Clark, nice old guy now dead and gone (Sadly), anyway as i said, I was taught everything from marking out, hand saw cutting and pitching all roofs including felting battening and tiling. first fixing , second fixing, the first & second fixing would also include manufacture of all exterior & interior door, windows frames ,staircase and then fix all on site we also manufactured all our own kitchen units as well in those days mostly wooden t/g floor boarding upstairs and oak floor down stairs so all in all a good all round trade training, we had to learn all other trades as and when we wear needed else where .

Shortly after completing my apprenticeship i left and went into Portland dockyard to join the joiner shop there where I spent seventeen years , worked on all sort of ships joinery mainly the back up service to the Royal Navy R.M.A.S. Royal Maritime auxiliary Service and the R.F.A. Royal Fleet auxiliary, plus on the odd occasion when she visited Portland The Royal Yacht Britannia.

Then two sets of promotion first to TG1 officer whilst still working for
P.A.R.U. Port Auxiliary repair unit which was basically to clock in and out all my work force which consisted of the shipwrights painters and joiners all in all about 60 tradesmen which I had to record all time worked on all there individual jobs for costing of refits and payment of wages which I did for two years.

My second promotion was as the assistant Property Manager working for the navy in there Property managers department for F.O.S.T. ( Flag officer sea training) F.o.s.t was the main employers of all civilians employed in the dockyard The property manager where employed to run the naval base whilst F.O.S.T. controlled all Naval ship movements in the Western world and played there war games giving vital training to naval personnel .

My job was day to day maintenance of the entire NATO naval base and all of it individual departments within it.

When I first started this job property managers were phasing out term contractors which basically was just one large contractor to do all maintenance which proved to costly . when I arrived we switched over to self employed contractors usually one man and his van , this is where I came in .

It was my job to liaison with head of departments and the captain of the naval base to arrange for any day to day maintenance work to be carried out as not to interfere with fleet operational requirements and to ensure work started on time but most importantly finished on time and to my required standards.

Once the new system was up and running it proved to be very successful with some really good contractors working under my control , I had two budgets to work from one being £250,000 for day to day maintenance and one for £2.5 million this was for much bigger jobs up-to £2,500 or more for each individual job worked.

This was the highlight of my working carrier I enjoyed ever single solitary second of it , right up to the closure of the base in April 1997 when every one was made redundant, by then I had served there for 22 years.

My ancestors where there when it opened back in the early 18Th century it was then known as Portland roads an anchorage for the old sailing galleons and then the new metal battled ships names like HMS Hood the prince of whales this was when it became HM Dockyard not till much later was it known as HM naval base Portland , I was the fifth generation of my family who help close it. (sadly)

Now with all my trade training and now five years in management after redundancy I went self employed so started my own company MJM Property Maintenance Ltd. which I ran successfully up-to early 2004 for nearly eight years , when both my wife and myself decided it was time for me to retire after spending nearly two years popping in and out of hospital with a recurring kidney infection which has eventually come under control .( thank god)

Now at last my workshop construction is completed which I had to keep abandoning because of my illness, so here we are now in April 2009 and this year I hopefully intend to start fitting it out with my own machine so I can at last start completing my own home and just potter about enjoying life.

I joined this forum just out of interest and to help kill time when I was recovering from my many hospital visits and now I really enjoy trying to help other workers of wood if I can , so if anyone needs help, please feel free to contact me either post here, or PM me, or e-mail , can't guarantee I'll know the answers you wish to know but if I can I'll try. hc

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