During my time at Cardiff my parents had sold the house in Peterborough, and moved to a building site in Essex where Dad had started to build another house.* The caravan had been moved down much earlier.
Shortly after I went there, I received a letter from Blue Star Line advising me to join the “Scottish Star” in Glasgow at the beginning of January.
The “Scottish Star” was on the UK – Australia run carrying refrigerated meat, and so it was a very exciting prospect. They also made an appointment for me to have a final medical in London. The medical was a basic physical, which included me verifying that I had received all the necessary immunization shots for a number of tropical diseases, and a very exhaustive eyesight test.
The eyesight was critical because, being a Navigation Officer in a time before computers and satellite navigation, most of one’s time was spent on deck. The British Merchant Navy at that time had a policy that “deck officers” were not allowed any form of optical aids. I can only assume that this was to avoid potential issues with water spraying onto the lenses at inopportune times!
After the eyesight test, I was advised that I had not reached the minimum criteria.
Blue Star Line were immediately advised and they asked that I go directly to their offices as I was already in London. They made an appointment for me to see a specialist there to determine if anything could be done. The specialist advised that nothing could be done to bring me up to the standard required, and noted that I was so far off that he had to question how I ever managed to pass the same test when applying to get into College a year earlier.
Blue Star Line were extremely good and offered me an Engineering Apprenticeship with them but I was so disheartened by everything that I gave them a “Thanks …. but no thanks answer.”
*See “Dear Diary – Page 16” – June 25, 2015 and “Dear Diary – Page 27” – July 26, 2015