THERE are many things we take for granted; organisations such as the lifeboat service, ambulance and fire service. Yes, they all cost loads of money to run and, yes, many of us, on the odd occasion, have hurried by collection boxes supporting these fine organisations.
Perhaps at such times we should have stopped to consider just how different public safety would be without the dedication of these 'unsung heroes'.
Thinking about it, I'm sure there aren't many conscientious residents who would moan at a few extra pence — or even a quid — on our council tax to pay for such services.
Life doesn't come without a price to pay.
While on the subject, it kind of restored my faith to read press reports about local politicians who took their concerns to our capital city, laying their fears at the doors of Parliament, over certain proposed changes in the Torquay fire service.
It made me think that the government should sort out our own local problems before interfering with some international matters.
Regarding local fire services, did you know the Brixham station chief Steven Connor has retired after 30 years at Bolton Street?
Steven who, you might ask? Understandably and rightly so, most RNLI coxswains are well-known public figures but ask who's in charge of ambulances or the name of the boss-man at your local fire station and I'm willing to bet the answer's a blank look.
Anyway, good luck in your retirement Steven Connor. You can walk away knowing you served the public over the years and fully deserve the peace of mind that comes having done a good job. Cheers.
MOST of my working life was associated with shipping; coasters, deep-sea cargo ships, tankers and all manner of different craft during 25 years' piloting.
When retirement set in, the interest in most things maritime kind of slowly diminished.
These days, looking out across Tor Bay the sight of vessels at anchor creates little or no interest. I've done my share, my days are over.
However, last week the plight of two completely different vessels triggered something in my ageing mind.
Like most of the world, I'd been horrified when the liner Costa Concordia became wrecked on rocks at the Island of Giglio in January, 2012.
On the surface it appeared a gross act of navigational incompetence.
The television pictures of this once-splendid vessel, abandoned, torn and twisted on the Italian shore, with the loss of 32 lives, brought tears to my eyes.
Nevertheless, reading what the salvers have done, and their expectations to re-float the ship, if only to go to scrap, is nothing short of a magnificent salvage achievement.
Hopefully, lessons have surely been learnt and seafarers of all nationalities can accept that what we coasting men called 'rock-dodging' has to be done with even greater caution than normal navigation.
The second vessel that caused me pain was the plight of the local vessel, Lady Cable.
For some years now, men like Peter Foreman (pictured), John Duffin and others have fought to restore the old boat to something like her formal glory.
Lady Cable earned her stripes back in World War Two when the call went out for men and boats to proceed to the beaches of Dunkirk and assist in rescuing British troops in danger of being overrun by the German army.
The records show that men of Devon sailed this tiny boat from Torbay to the Normandy beaches and transported hundreds of retreating servicemen from the beaches to larger craft waiting in deep water.
One of the last of the tiny craft to leave the scene, she returned to Torbay with dignified honour.
Peter and John are desperately trying to secure Lottery funding to restore the vessel so that future generations can respect and acknowledge her achievements.
Good fortune, gentlemen!
EDDY Philips loaned me a copy of this newspaper dating back to August, 2005.
It featured a Bygones article by Nick Pannell, describing the closure of Uphams Shipyard.
It also outlined the historic 'working' aspect of Brixham harbour which many of us grew up with.
Plus, the traditional trades associated with shipbuilding.
Yes, we must accept the years roll on… but, oh dear, it made me think about so many local men living with so many old memories.