Tag Archives: Essex

How to talk like a barge skipper

The British Library is an amazing institution and its website is a tremendous resource, not least because of the wey it can connect people.

Here’s shipwright and barge skipper Rick Cardy, retired barge skipper Pat Fisher and ship repairer and barge skipper Andrew Harman talking about the way they speak in and around Maldon, Essex.

The scary legend of the Broomway

I don’t know how true all this is – but it makes a damned good story… Keep out of the coffins folks!

Read more about it here, here, here and here.

‘For anyone who enjoys wandering out onto coastal flats during low-tide to explore the terrain, Britain’s Broomway has all the appearances of the perfect gateway. The tidal foot path, so-named for the hundreds of broomsticks that once marked its boundaries, has for nearly 600 years provided access from Essex, England to the farming communities of nearby Foulness Island.

‘The Broomway, however, is more dangerous than its name implies… For at least 100 people, and likely many more, it’s one walk they never returned from.

‘To access the Broomway, you must first leave the mainland of Essex at a point called Wakering Stairs. You then reach a causeway of brick and debris that takes you over the ominous Black Grounds, a kind of quicksand that locals refer to simply as “coffins.” Once on the Broomway, you’ll walk across a firm, silvery mudflat called the Maplin Sands.’

In the Heart of the Sea

‘In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story.

‘In the Heart of the Sea reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.’

Well, it’ll be fun – but no doubt it will also feature pretty young people, and some serious dollops of the schmaltz Hollywood uses to sell films to the youngsters that buy most of the tickets. But at least the story of the Essex is not being forgotten.