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Convoy duty - When 16 year-old Midshipman Thomas Grey goes to sea in the gun sloop Wolverine in February , he cannot know how much his life and family will change until he can finally return to his Surrey home. A story in the Anthony Carter Universe.

On the next morning, a boat from the shore brought two huddled figures in boat cloaks who turned out to be Mr. Paul Courtland and Mr. Neither of them had been to sea before. Thomas received them in his cabin and studied their papers. Somebody in the Admiralty must have been possessed of a grim sense of humour, or perhaps they expected him to be more tolerant towards the Academy graduates. He looked them over. Courtland was a pudgy boy of sixteen, with reddish, curly hair, red cheeks and a paunch.

His father was a clergyman, and his grades at the Academy had been excellent. James was a bean pole of a boy, with dirty blonde hair and a face full of pimples. His grades had been average, and he was an orphan, raised by an uncle. Well, this cannot be helped. You, young gentlemen, will have to learn seamanship and learn it fast. If you do your duty, no harm will befall you. If you neglect your duty Now get settled in! To have two landlubbers foisted on him was an infernal piece of luck.

Shortly after noon, another boat arrived which carried the long-awaited Mr. Bell was at most 20 years of age and his expensive uniform coat indicated a wealthy family. They sat at the table in the friendly little main cabin, the table lighted by the wintry sun streaming in through the stern windows. They replaced the main deck nine pounders with 16 carronades and rated her as a ship-sloop. We cut her out from the Scheldt River. Thomas looked at the logbook Bell had handed over.

All this in one ship, the second-rate Neptune, Let us enjoy the food! Indeed, here was Bartleby with freshly roasted liver, potatoes and apple slices.

He looked a bit miffed, without doubt having expected to have some leftovers for himself. As it was, the food was enough for two, and the two officers ate with appetite. If they learn their duties they may grow into being real midshipmen. I shall have dinner guests in my cabin and I ask you to watch over things tonight. After introducing his officers to his family, he led the way aft to his cabin.

One thing that the re-rating had accomplished was to give him more room in his cabin. Before the refit, Tempest carried two six-pounders over her rated armament, which crowded the tiny after cabin and the chart room.

Now, no six-pounder competed for space, making the cabin quite spacious. His mother and Mirabel still thought it very small, but Theodore Grey disputed that vehemently.

Bartleby had set the table for them, and he had prepared three courses. After dinner, they played a game of cards before the Greys decided to return to their lodgings for the evening. Thomas insisted on accompanying them back to the shore in the cutter. Over the next days, the last provisions came aboard.

A young surgeon, aptly named Mr. Cutler, joined the wardroom. A powder barge came upriver from the arsenal to deliver cartridges and gunpowder. Another barge came on the next day with 1, pounder rounds, nine-pounder balls and six-pounder rounds. It was December 20 when he reported his ship ready for sea, and on the next morning he was given his orders. As had to be expected, Tempest was detailed to escort a convoy, in this case 12 Navy transports headed for Gibraltar.

The rendezvous was between January 3 and 6 in the Downs south of Ramsgate, and Tempest was to be supported by a small gun brig, the Dasher, 14, under a Lt. She greeted Thomas like a long lost relative and charmed everybody.

Bell in particular looked like a love-sick idiot by the time the Greys and Miss Paddington returned to the shore. Thomas accompanied them and there, on the embankment, he bid his parents good bye. Thomas returned to his ship and spent an hour or two writing a letter to Mrs.

Catrina Duncan, wishing her well and informing her of his new command and destination. He also sent a letter to Mr. Egerton, thanking him for his support and assuring him that he was more than satisfied with his ship and rank. The weather was sunny after the fog lifted, and Thomas used the time to exercise his crew aloft.

Sails were set and taken in, topgallant masts were taken down and brought up again, and stay sails were manned up on deck and set to simulate emergencies such as the loss of a mast. Courtland had a hard time of it given his girth and weight, but he kept at it with dogged determination even though he shed some tears of desperation.

James had another problem, namely being afraid of heights, but he manfully suppressed his fears. When they anchored at dusk, the entire crew was dog tired. The next day, whilst they rounded the North Foreland, Thomas ordered a gun drill. For three hours, guns were loaded and run out, unloaded, loaded again, and finally fired once.

Thomas not only watched his crews but also the ship to find out how the 34 year-old hull could handle the pounder fire. Whilst there was quite a lot room for improvement on the part of the crews, the ship passed this test with flying colours.

When they finally approached the roads south of Ramsgate, Thomas could already see three of the transports at anchor. Dasher was still missing, but she could not be expected to arrive a day early.

Thomas anchored his ship a cable length to seaward from the transports and sent the watch below for the night. During the next day, Dasher and three more transports arrived at the rendezvous, and Thomas invited Lt. Carver over for a short meal and a discussion of their task.

Carver was an old hand at the escorting business, having been in command of his brig for four years already. He and Thomas quickly settled on the ground rules for the convoy duty, with Dasher posted as vanguard towards the French coast and Tempest always to windward of the convoy. Surprisingly, the rest of the transports arrived over the next day so that Thomas could order anchor up on January 5.

With the wind coming from south-east, their progress was very slow at first until they were past Dover. Even with the wind coming a touch more from the south then, they sailed close-hauled on a south-western course. Under these conditions, the transports could make little more than 4 knots, but that progress was at least steady.

Tempest proved to be a surprisingly handy ship. The reduction of weight on her gun deck made her less top-heavy than other ships of her size, and her clean bottom gave her a good turn of speed. Once they were in the open Atlantic, the wind shifted to north-east, giving them almost ideal conditions. Climbing the long Atlantic rollers under a full press of her sails, Tempest was a delight to her captain.

The landsmen had learned their stations by now and grown sea legs, and their morale was improving noticeably. The transports proved to be a constant worry. They had a tendency to spread out, and Thomas had twice seen the need to bear down on one of them and to use signal flags and even a six-pounder signal shot to compel her commanding officer into maintaining proper position. Thomas knew that those transports were commanded by senior lieutenants who had no hope of advancement, and he suspected that most of them resented him, a young man of twenty who was already their superior.

He was convinced that they provoked him on purpose and he resolved to do something about that once they reached Gibraltar.

When they had finally reached the point where they could wear ship to a south-eastern course, one transport again kept her old course ignoring the signals and her consorts. Thomas sent the Dasher after her, refusing to be baited himself, but as with the previous instances, he entered the event in his log book.

Eventually, Dasher herded the black sheep back into the fold and resumed her position to south-east of the convoy. The transport, the brig Lady Anne under a Lieutenant Proctor, behaved better from then on, but Thomas had already decided to make an example of her. When the convoy reached the mouth of the Strait, the transports were coerced into sailing in two columns of six, with Dasher and Tempest covering them to the North against any attempts from out of Algeciras.

With Spain having switched sides again, it was now an ally, and their ships were no threat to the convoy.

However, Thomas did not know if the French controlled the port. They made it safely into Gibraltar and anchored in the roads.

After the bustle of anchoring, Thomas turned to Mr. It took almost a quarter hour before the brig launched a jolly boat which headed for Tempest. A few minutes later, the jolly boat hooked to the lee chains and a midshipman of perhaps 25 years entered through the port.

I was watch free when the quartermaster sent for me. Dasher was already closing on us and I changed course according to the signals, Sir. I went to the cabin, but the door was closed and the Captain shouted that he was sick. Thomas nodded, suspecting the same. Sure, he held the higher rank — barely — but he could not relieve the man of his command.

Easily Distracted: Told in the Inn at Algeciras and The Man from Glasgow

He never discussed his conviction about ghosts, however, but his evident fascination with the supernatural and the occult is evident in The Magician , a thinly disguised portrait of the Black Magician, Aleister Crowley, and three brilliant short stories, "The Taipan", "The End of the Flight" and, especially, "A Man From Glasgow" which is an exercise in mounting terror and enough to make any reader dread the full moon.

It is not often that anyone entering a great city for the first time has the luck to witness such an incident as engaged the poet Shelley's attention when he drove into Naples. A youth ran out of a shop pursued by a man armed with a knife. The man overtook him and with one blow in the neck laid him dead on the road. Shelley had a tender heart. He didn't look upon it as a bit of local colour; he was seized with horror and indignation.

But when he expressed his emotions to a Calabrian priest who was travelling with him, a fellow of gigantic strength and stature, the priest laughed heartily and attempted to quiz him. Shelley says he never felt such an inclination to beat anyone. I have never seen anything so exciting as that, but the first time I went to Algeciras I had an experience that seemed to me far from ordinary. Algeciras was then an untidy, neglected town. I arrived somewhat late at night and went to an inn on the quay.

It was rather shabby, but it had a fine view of Gibraltar, solid and matter of fact, across the bay. The moon was full. The office was on the first floor, and a slatternly maid, when I asked for a room, took me upstairs.

The landlord was playing cards. He seemed little pleased to see me. He looked me up and down, curtly gave me a number, and then, taking no further notice of me, went on with his game. When the maid had shown me to my room I asked her what I could have to eat. I knew well enough the unreality of the seeming profusion. The maid led me to a narrow room with whitewashed walls and a low ceiling in which was a long table laid already for the next day's luncheon. With his back to the door sat a tall man, huddled over a brasero, the round brass dish of hot ashes which is erroneously supposed to give sufficient warmth for the temperate winter of Andalusia.

I sat down at the table and waited for my scanty meal. I gave the stranger an idle glance. He was looking at me, but meeting my eyes he quickly turned away. I waited for my eggs. When at last the maid brought them he looked up again. His accent told me that English was his native tongue, and the breadth of his build, his strongly marked features, led me to suppose him a northerner. The hardy Scot is far more often found in Spain than the Englishman.

Whether you go to the rich mines of Rio Tinto, or to the bodegas of Jerez, to Seville or to Cadiz, it is the leisurely speech of beyond the Tweed that you hear. You will meet Scotsmen in the olive groves of Carmona, on the railway between Algeciras and Bobadilla, and even in the remote cork woods of Merida. I finished eating and went over to the dish of burning ashes.

It was midwinter and the windy passage across the bay had chilled my blood. The man pushed his chair away as I drew mine forwards. I lit a cigar and offered one to him. In Spain the Havana from Gib is never unwelcome. I recognised the singing speech of Glasgow. But the stranger was not talkative, and my efforts at conversation broke down before his monosyllables.

We smoked in silence. He was even bigger than I had thought, with great broad shoulders and ungainly limbs; his face was sunburned, his hair short and grizzled. His features were hard; mouth, ears and nose were large and heavy and his skin much wrinkled. His blue eyes were pale. He was constantly pulling his ragged, grey moustache. It was a nervous gesture that I found faintly irritating. Presently I felt that he was looking at me, and the intensity of his stare grew so irksome that I glanced up expecting him, as before, to drop his eyes.

He did, indeed, for a moment, but then raised them again. He inspected me from under his long, bushy eyebrows. He spoke with a kind of gasp. I was surprised at the emotion my casual inquiry seemed to excite in him.

He sprang to his feet and walked backwards and forwards. He stamped to and fro like a caged beast, pushing aside a chair that stood in his way, and now and again repeated the words in a groan. To give myself countenance I stirred the brasero to bring the hotter ashes to the top, and he stood suddenly still, towering over me, as though my movement had brought back my existence to his notice.

Then he sat down heavily in his chair. He leant forward as he spoke so that I might see him well. I couldn't quite understand what all this meant. I wondered if he was drunk.

For two or three minutes he didn't say anything and I had no wish to interrupt the silence. I've been in this blasted country for years. I gave him my pouch and he filled his pipe.

He lit it from a piece of burning charcoal. I've stayed too long. He had an impulse to jump up again and walk up and down, but he resisted it, clinging to his chair. I saw on his face the effort he was making. I judged that his restlessness was due to chronic alcoholism.

I find drunks very boring, and I made up my mind to take an early opportunity of slipping off to bed. Properly treated, Spanish oil is every bit as good as Lucca. And we can sell it cheaper. He spoke in a dry, matter-of-fact, business-like way. He chose his words with Scotch precision.

He seemed perfectly sober. But I found he was robbing us right and left, so I had to turn him out. I used to live in Seville; it was more convenient for shipping the oil. However, I found I couldn't get a trustworthy man to be at Ecija, so last year I went there myself. It's on the crest of a hill, rather pretty to look at, all white, you know, and straggling, with a couple of storks perched on the roof. No one lived there, and I thought it would save the rent of a place in town if I did.

Robert Morrison smoked on for a minute or two in silence. I wondered whether there was any point in what he was telling me. I looked at my watch. I lived there with an old man and his wife who looked after me, and sometimes I used to go down to the village and play tresillo with Fernandez, the chemist, and one or two men who met at his shop. I used to shoot a bit and ride. By God, I've never known such heat as we had in May. No one could do a thing.

The labourers just lay about in the shade and slept. Sheep died and some of the animals went mad. Even the oxen couldn't work. They stood around with their backs all humped up and gasped for breath. That blasted sun beat down and the glare was so awful, you felt your eyes would shoot out of your head.

The earth cracked and crumbled, and the crops frizzled. The olives went to rack and ruin. It was simply hell. One couldn't get a wink of sleep.

I went from room to room, trying to get a breath of air. Of course I kept the windows shut and had the floors watered, but that didn't do any good. The nights were just as hot as the days. It was like living in an oven. I had an idea that I might get a few hours' sleep there at all events. Anyhow it was worth trying. But it was no damned good; it was a washout. I turned and tossed and my bed was so hot that I couldn't stand it. I got up and opened the doors that led to the veranda and walked out.

It was a glorious night. The moon was so bright that I swear you could read a book by it. Did I tell you the house was on the crest of a hill? I leant against the parapet and looked at the olive-trees. It was like the sea.

I suppose that's what made me think of home. I thought of the cool breeze in the fir-trees and the racket of the streets in Glasgow. Believe it or not, I could smell them, and I could smell the sea. By God, I'd have given every bob I had in the world for an hour of that air.

They say it's a foul climate in Glasgow. Don't you believe it. I like the rain and the grey sky and that yellow sea and the waves. I forgot that I was in Spain, in the middle of the olive country, and I opened my mouth and took a long breath as though I were breathing in the sea-fog.

It seemed to creep through the silence like — well, I don't know what it was like. It seemed to crawl up the hill — disjointedly. I leant forward and stared. With the full moon it was almost as light as day, but I'm dashed if I could see a thing.

The sound stopped, but I kept on looking at where it had come from in case somebody moved. And in a minute it started off again, but louder. You couldn't have called it a chuckle any more, it was a real belly laugh. It just rang through the night. I wondered it didn't wake my servants. It sounded like someone who was roaring drunk. I don't mind telling you I was getting a bit annoyed.

I had half a mind to go down and see what it was all about. I wasn't going to let some drunken swine kick up a row like that on my place in the middle of the night. And then suddenly there was a yell. By God, I was startled. The man had laughed with a deep bass voice, but his cries were — shrill, like a pig having his throat cut.

I thought somebody was being killed. There was silence and then one piercing shriek. After that sobbing and moaning. I'll tell you what it sounded like, it sounded like someone at the point of death. There was a long groan and then nothing. I ran from place to place. I couldn't find anyone. At last I climbed the hill again and went back to my room.

As soon as it was light, I looked out of the window in the direction from which the row had come and I was surprised to see a little white house in a sort of dale among the olives. The ground on that side didn't belong to us and I'd never been through it. I hardly ever went to that part of the house and so I'd never seen the house before. He told me that a madman had inhabited it, with his brother and a servant. The Scot bent over quickly and seized my wrist. He thrust his face into mine and his eyes were staring out of his head with terror.

He let go my wrist and leant back in his chair panting. The windows were barred and shuttered and the door was locked. I shook the handle and rang the bell. I heard it tinkle, but no one came. It was a two-storey house and I looked up. On our last morning at check out having yet again expressed our disappointment we were grudgingly offered a discount but still not one word of apology.

Although this did not seem to match the difference between the price of the rooms allocated as opposed to the ones booked and paid for by our travel agent we were so desperate to get out we accepted and made our escape to a fabulous hotel in Malaga where things could not have been more different!

It is such a pity as The Reina Cristina obviously has the potential to become again the great hotel it once was. The grounds and public spaces prove it is possible but until the rooms and customer service match up to this I for one shall definitely not be returning.

Dear Guest On behalf of all staff and management here at Globales Reina Cristina we would like to thank you very much for taking time to share your experience with us. We are very disconcerted that we did not meet with your expectations at the hotel and hope that you will accept our sincere apologies. We assure you that we do take all customer feedback seriously , we have already discussed your comments with the relevant members of our team and we will work together improving all the areas you have mentioned, our priority is guest satisfaction and we work very hard to try to achieve it.

We hope to see you again in the future and give us a second chance. This holiday was a cheap deal through Travelzoo and overall we were pleasantly surprised although our arrival during the Police Conference was scary.

More men in black suits wandering the corridors and grounds than visitors, sniffer dogs and handlers on patrol, helicopters and security checks to access the building every day - then suddenly they all disappeared - conference over! We agreed - during that period the hotel should have been closed to fee paying guests. Lovely old hotel with lots of character in beautifully kept grounds.

Clean spacious room with balcony and quiet - we slept well. Food - typical Spanish self service food but restaurant and bars seriously understaffed - and just a laid back attitude in the dining room. The week passed too quickly. The Tourist information office was very helpful - we went to an outdoor concert he told us about in the old town - Spanish families enjoying their traditional music and dance - a lovely evening and when the locals arrived in the hotel for their weekly dance the atmosphere again was lovely.

Dear guest, Thank you for your wonderful review,this kind of comments are the ones that made us feel proud of our job ,and give us the impulse to carry on giving the best of all our team members in order to archive our main goal ,provide the best well deserved holiday experience to our custumers.

We hope to see you back soon for another great holiday in the near future.. Beautiful hotel, luxury surroundings, attractive gardens, immaculate rooms. Rude, curt, incommunicative staff who hated tourists.. Dear Guest, On behalf of all staff and management here at Globales Reina Cristina we would like to thank you very much for taking time to share your experience with us.

You have really surprised me, regarding all of our staff,I would understand that perhaps depending on the circumstances one could have a bad day,but this is not the case as you discribed.

We assure you that we do take all customer feedback seriously , we have already discussed your comments with the relevant members of our team and we will work together improving all the aspects you have mentioned, our priority is guest satisfaction and we work very hard to try to achieve it. Look forward to welcoming you back in the future to enjoy our improvements.

When you read this report please bear in mind that the summer season had finished and this may account for some of my criticisms. The hotel is set in beautiful well-kept gardens and is very clean with a lovely old Moorish feel. All the rooms had WiFi and TV reception and the ones we saw were quite large with very high ceilings and most rooms on the second and third floors had Juliet balconies.

We enjoyed a glass of wine on the balcony each evening as we watched the sunset over the well-kept gardens. Algeciras is an interesting town with a market, shops and plazas all within a 20 minute stroll from the hotel. There are many cafes, bars and restaurants and the drinks are cheap coffee 1euro and a litre jug of sangria 6. The staff are very friendly, but they were thin on the ground and when the dining room was full there was not enough staff to fully cope with clearing away the dishes and resetting tables.

Both breakfast and dinner were buffet style, but the food was not always hot and sometimes items of food ran out and you had to wait for the trays to be refilled. The hotel has two swimming pools but the indoor pool was closed for the whole time we were there. There was no courtesy bus to the sandy beach three kilometres away, and when you made your own way to this beach there was nowhere to change, sit, have a drink and no toilets facilities.

The bus and train station are 20 minutes walk away 4. Ronda, built around a spectacular gorge, is well worth visiting by train which takes two hours each way. There are two different trains to Ronda, but one is twice the price of the other. Escapona is only one and a half hours bus ride away.

The town is full of flowers and fountains and has a good long promenade along the beach an umbrella and sun bed cost 4 euros. Tarifa and Gibraltar are also close by and the bus costs 2.

The weather was very perfect and we thoroughly enjoyed our two weeks, and for the price we paid Fleetway Travel, it was good value for money. Dear guest, Thank you so much for sharing your experience about your stay in Globales Reina Cristina.

It seems you had an excellent stay and enjoyed what we had to offer. We strive to adhere to our guests every need above and beyond their expectations and I hope this is what you encountered with us.

We have already discussed your negative comments with the relevant members of our team regarding the food being cold. We are very glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. Thank you again for your review and we hope to welcome you back soon. Our room on the third floor was spacious with a small balcony overlooking the garden and port.

It was clean with towels and sheets changed regularly. We did speak to several people who had changed rooms for various reasons. The grounds were well maintained and the outdoor pool area was pleasant with a comfortable water temperature. A nice bonus was having WiFi throughout the hotel.

There was plenty of seating for people who wished to remain indoors or sit on the terrace. Service at the bar could be very slow due to under staffing. The staff on reception were not forthcoming with information re local facilities and a local map from the tourist office was far better than the one from the hotel. Transfers were very haphazard and we spoke to several people who were not picked up at the airport.

Nice touch by the lift - chilled water flavoured with oranges or lemons. Breakfast was what you would expect but very lukewarm. The kitchen seemed understaffed and you often had to wait for items to be replaced. The baked beans had a dead fly floating on them on one occasion.

Surely it's time for the hotel toaster to be upgraded! Bread had to pass through 2 or 3 times before it altered colour. The evening buffet was poor. Rabbit, chicken and fish dishes were sometimes full of bones and usually swimming in a watery liquid - as opposed to sauce. Prepared salads had excess liquid, meatballs and sausages were not good quality and cheese sauce for pasta could be curdled. Desserts were generally ice cream, fruit or cake. The house wine changed most nights.

There isn't much to do in Algeciras itself - no holiday atmosphere - but it is a good base for touring. We went by bus to Cadiz and Seville and by train to Rhonda. Locals came to the hotel for dancing to live music on Fridays and Sundays. The hotel is also used for weddings and other private functions which means that the a la carte restaurant is not available. The food markets had fantastic fruit, veg, meat and fish.

Other markets didn't have much for tourists. They were quite dated with 'jumble sale' style stalls and rolls of material for home sewing.

In work commenced on the design of a new Fleet Aircraft Carrier which would be the first of a new generation of this type of warship. The later ships of the ILLUSTRIOUS class which followed were basically of the same design.. HMS ARK ROYAL was ordered in the Build Programme from Cammell Laird of Birkenhead and entered service in November The build cost was £ Artisti/Bändi-Cetjussa jo olevat nimet TARKISTETAAN tästä koosteesta + parasta aikaa auki olevasta säikeestä. Artisti/Bändi-Cetjua JATKETAAN viimeksi avatussa säikeessä. Winter / On the next morning, a boat from the shore brought two huddled figures in boat cloaks who turned out to be Mr. Paul Courtland and Mr. Erasmus James, recent graduates of the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth, who reported for duty in Tempest.