READING about the number of cruise liners programmed to visit Torbay was both exciting and encouraging news. It's great that Mayor Oliver, together with Carolyn Custerson, chief executive of the Riviera Tourism Company, encourage these vessels to put our beautiful bay on their list of 'yes, must visit' spots.
From past experience, international travellers welcome the opportunity not only to enjoy the splendour of Devon from the sea but to step ashore and take in both the history and the friendliness of Torbay.
Going back over the years, I recall piloting these giant vessels in past the Ore Stone and watching the sheer delight on the faces of the passengers as we sailed past the magnificent houses, gardens, and friendly-looking beaches leading towards the anchorage off Torquay.
One American couple remarked that they'd recently visited the Bay of Naples, saying, 'Mister Pilot, your bay is far more beautiful, yes Sir!'.
It left a warm feeling in the tummy, that's for sure.
Apart from anything else these vessels create many business opportunities within the community.
Going way back, brand new Carnival Cruise liners, straight from the builder's yard, called here to land ship-yard workers and embark regular crewmembers for the onward voyage to the States.
Hotels, travel agents, coach companies, pubs and local shops all reaped the benefits, as well as adding to Torbay's harbour income.
With the recently installed landing stage at Brixham harbour it's hoped that the port can enjoy its share of foreign visitor; there's so much maritime history within our ancient town that folks from different parts of the world find fascinating.
Perhaps I'll have a word with the local pilot attending these vessels.
Over the years, experience taught me the importance of arriving on a liner's bridge with a present of fresh Brixham crabs – it made all the difference in the world.
IT'S funny how a newspaper report can trigger off all sorts of different thoughts about the past. Rowena Houghton's article about the Beatles caused me to remember my one and only experience with the famous Mersey four.
Never really into rock and roll music, was more your Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra fan, but I'd heard about the musical phenomena of the 'Fab four' and when my ship docked in Liverpool back in '62, reading about the excitement created by their revolutionary music drew me to visit the Cavern Club.
Thinking back, I've never been so frightened in my life. Storms, dense fog, shifting cargos and engine breakdowns – I took them all in my stride. But in the semi-dark hall, surrounded by what felt like hundreds of screaming girls when the Beatles came on stage – I'm sure that's when I started to lose my hair.
I never heard one word of the songs they sang and every time I tried to escape towards the exit I was grabbed and almost ravaged by scores of wildly excited females.
On reflection I was lucky to eventually make it out back out onto the street alive.
Having said that, years later, after they'd broken up, and before he was tragically killed, John Lennon wrote a beautiful song, Imagine, which my lady and I play over and over again in the car. Mad Mersey memories!
IT'S strange how our language changes. Different words we knew as youngsters now have completely different meanings.
Take text! Back then it meant the main body of a book, or a passage from the scripture. Never having sent one I'm not sure what it means today. I believe it's a digital message!
Tweet! There's another beauty. The chirp of a small bird or chirping noise!
Apparently, today millions of folk tell the world about their' thoughts and business. Oh dear!
As for Facebook, it pops up on my computer screen on a daily basis and I'm informed by those in the know that the world and his brother communicate through this media.
Sorry, perhaps sadly, I'm still back in the days of the telephone and written word.
Still, I guess many youngsters would be just as confused by the Morse code and semaphore. Life goes on and the digital world races ahead of us ol' timers. The secret, so I'm told, is not to let it confuse port from starboard!