Monday 19 December 2011: Shai?
A cup of shai?
The story of Corky, Iain McCorkindale and I meeting is one of those, that you just put down to fate. Having communicated for many years by e-mail, but never meeting, we randomly met on the roof of 'Villa Hamdy' (My home) earlier in the year, as we both headed up to watch the sunset. We quickly realised that we actually knew each other, but this was the first meeting in the flesh.
Corky was a regular visitor to Luxor and planned to come and stay for Christmas in the apartment above me, much to my approval, as he seemed a very gentle man and such a joy to chat to.
By chance, we met on the terrace this morning, he had arrived earlier in the week and so I 'Invited' him for a cup of tea and a chat.
It soon became very apparent that Corky was very passionate about his work, as 2nd Engineer on board the PS Waverley. I felt energised by his enthusiasm and confidence as he spoke and showed me YouTube footage of The Waverley in action.
As a child, he wanted to work on the paddle steamers in Scotland and when asked by his career teacher, he said just that - 'Not a chance, be realistic' Was the reply (I remember having the same reaction when I said to my careers teacher that I wanted to be a pilot!)
So he chose to be a heating engineer, until 1997, when he saw an advertisement for a volunteer on the PS Waverly, the last remaining Clyde Paddle Steamer. This was his chance...
3 years later, after progressing to an on board fireman, he successfully applied for a job on the vessel. 12 years later, Corky, is responsible to the Chief Engineer and maintains the engine of this great paddle steamer.
The Waverley is his home for most of the year. His day starts at 8am and can end at 8pm, sometimes later, depending on where they are sailing. They operate day trips, starting in the Western Isles and travelling South over the summer months to Weymouth and the Southampton area. Heading back up to the River Thames where she gets a mechanical overhall, before heading to dry dock for maintenance work.
Paddle steamers are in Corky's heart and he has already made a point of visiting The Sudan which was built in Scotland, as the Waverley was.
The Sudan is moored up on the East Bank of Luxor, dwarfed by the modern day cruise ships. I love to see her sailing on the Nile, truly elegant and famous, as she starred in Poirot's Death on the Nile.
I learnt many things as I chatted about the Waverley and Corky's life, but for me, the most important thing was, you must 'Love your life and Live Your Dreams' He is living his dream at 63 and couldn't be happier.
PMS Waverley Sailing