I have had a number of interesting and challenging meetings recently. Some were fun, some were sad, but I am glad to say that after all of them, we parted with our spirits lifted and having shared at a deeper level than is possible on my routine ship visits.
The downturn continues in the oil industry, yet more folks have been made redundant and some have had pay cuts and extended hours of work!
I suspect it is going to get tougher before things improve!
The Seafarers Centre continues to be used and seafarers number one statement to us is about the fact that all our facilities are free.
We offer a homely environment where they will be welcomed and be able to relax. My volunteers and I are here to support all seafarers and to provide an alternative to the pubs, clubs, casinos, etc. that can tempt them into trouble!
So we see seafarers from many different nations and belief systems, and treat all of them the same, seeking to bless them – with a hug, a smile, a joke, a game of pool, a paperback book, DVD or music CD… or just a friendly chat – all for free!
We even give out woolly hats! These are lovingly knitted from a team of loyal ladies who do an amazing job knitting the 6,000 woolly hats we give out every year! Here is Caroline – with her husband Captain Tony – both good friends whom I have had the privilege of serving over many years. Caroline knits woolly hats for me throughout the year! They even dropped off a bag of woolly hats on their last visit – all the way for Great Yarmouth!
No sooner were these three Filipino lads off their vessel than they made a bee-line to the centre to get online and update their iPads and mobile phones! We now have SUPERFAST FIBRE – 78MB!
If we had enough volunteers we could open in the afternoon as well and so more seafarers could be blessed! (Do get in touch if you would like to help!)
Our ship visitor, Derek, went onto the ABIS ESBJERG which arrived late morning and enjoyed a good visit – three of the Filipino lads were keen to exchange money and one wanted to buy an iPhone 4… he had heard that there was an Apple store in Aberdeen. Derek pointed them in the right direction and gave advice about costs and where to exchange their money.
I was on my way to a meeting when I bumped into Derek and the lads… outside the Apple Shop. The picture opposite was taken by the person whom I was meeting… Some very happy seafarers – with Derek and I!
Anyway, as you can see, lots going on and as ever, much variety in my daily routines. What will tomorrow bring? More DIY at home with a new back door to be fitted!
Enjoy your weekend.