Tag Archives: kent

Short Jacket and White Trousers – and a singing workshop for folks in Kent and surrounding areas

A new recording of this striking little song notable for its Shakespearean theme of gender confusion on board ship. I’ve stuck my neck out rather by recording it for Islington Folk Club’s annual Trad2Mad competition for singers who perform unaccompanied, so wish me luck! (PS – the late news is that I’ve been shortlisted! Now my fingers are seriously crossed!)

My wife and I are starting a series of free monthly singing workshops in the evening of the first Tuesday of each month in our home area of mid-Kent.

Julie is a formally trained singer who knows a lot about technique, while I’m a folkie with a long-standing interest in traditional songs including sea songs (as regular readers will know), and a passion for engaging an audience’s attention with a good tune and a story full of human interest.

Although it’s nice to have one, we don’t believe you have to have a wonderful voice to be an effective singer. So our aim will be to help people gain enough confidence to sing, to make a musical sound and to communicate their story.

Among other songs, sea songs will be a regular feature of these workshops – partly because they’re often great, earthy songs and popular almost everywhere, but also because they don’t generally demand a big vocal range and so are very suitable for those who are just getting started.

If there’s anyone you know who might be interested, please let them know.

Read all about the Horsmonden Song Workshops.

 

 

Dutch barges on the Medway, near Allington

 

A photogallery stroll on the River Medway at Allington in Kent, including Dutch barges, a Thames barge yacht, various other craft and an Archimedes screw – I must visit with a larger camera some day, as it’s an impressive piece of machinery,

Sea songs at Frittenden in Kent 2pm, this Saturday

We’re looking forward to a session of sea songs at the Bell & Jorrocks pub at Frittenden, Kent from 2pm on Saturday afternoon. The YouTube clip of me singing Maggie May above should give you a taste, but I’ll be only one of a crowd – we’ll have some great singers and musicians with us including Chris Roche, Andy Turner and Annie Dearman and Steve Harrison – and there will even be a proper sailor’s hornpipe.

Why not join us? Details are here.

Gadfly II restoration makes progress

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Simon Papendick and family make progress on their project to restore Gadfly II

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I’m grateful to Simon Papendick for getting in contact to report on his progress in bringing Gadfly II back to life.

Gadfly II looks very much like a Blackwater sloop but is reported to have been built in Kent rather than Essex, and there are some intriguing clues to her history, including a 1908 coin under her mast. For more on this read some previous posts on this topic.

Here’s what Simon has to say:

‘Hi Gavin,

‘Since I contacted you last I have got on well with the restoration on Gadfly II. We’re getting close to finishing the outside with the deck all but finished. The hull is all caulked up with putty in the seams, the hull has been glossed and the first coat of antifouling is on the bottom.

‘One of the last jobs to do before the boat goes back in the water will be the replacing the keel bolts, which is going to be done in a couple of weeks time at a local boatyard close to our home. Once the keelbolts are done and the boat is watertight then I will fit out the inside with an interior very close to what it would have had when it was first built.

‘After the boat is re-launched I will have the mast stepped and take it for its first sail in many years. From what I was told by its last owner its last sail could well have been 20 years ago or more.

‘It will be a wonderful experience for both the boat and myself to get the boat back to where she should be gracing the East Coast again after all these years. As you can see from the photos it is a family affair.

‘Regards

‘Simon Papendick’

Many thanks Simon. I’m pleased to hear that you’re planning to be true to the original when you start work on the interior, and I think it’s particularly good that you have your family’s help and support – so many people seem to work in isolation.

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Gadfly II – coin evidence could make her older than originally thought

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48-470Gadfly II under restoration – she may be considerably
older than originally thought

Simon Papendick, who is working on Gadfly II (see earlier posts here and here), has written to say that he has found a 1908 Edward VII penny under a grown frame below the mast, which strongly suggests the boat is rather older than previously thought.

She was previously understood to have been built in Kent along the lines of the Blackwater sloops, which I believe were built in Maldon by boatbuilder Dan Webb from the 1920s. (See an example for sale here.)

Simon says: ‘It was the custom to put a coin under the mast step on the top of the keel in a sailing boat or under the base of the stem on a motor boat, so that if the the boat should ever be rebuild of destroyed it will be possible to find out the year it was built.

‘I have always kept this up in all the wooden boats I have been involved in building since the custom was explained to me by my first boss, who was himself told that this was a long standing custom when he was an apprentice. He always did this to continue the custom handed down to him.’

So it seems Gadfly II may well be considerably older than was first thought and, if so, she predates the Blackwater sloops build by Dan Webb at Maldon in Essex. Could it be that Webb saw this boat, liked her and copied and then modified her lines to create his famous Blackwater sloop?

Certainly this story is becoming more and more interesting – can anyone out there shed any further light on Gadfly II’s mysterious background and her obvious connection with Webb’s series of Essex-built boats?

Simon Papendick, who runs J-Star Tuition & Boat Services, can be reached at 07799401650 and info@jstartuition-boatservices.co.uk.

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Praams for hire at Dunorlan Park boating pond, Tunbridge Wells

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Praam dinghies on the boating lake at Dunorlan Park

The old wooden praams at Dunorlan Park, in Tunbridge Wells may all be gone now, but here are some photos I took with my mobile phone a couple of years ago.

It’s intriguing that a collection of classic little Norwegian-style dinghies like this should end up on a pleasure boating lake in South-Eastern England, but they did a good job for several generations – not least, I suppose, because they had the capacity to carry four adults in comfort an a short hull.

I have a hazy recollection that I was told they were built in the North-East by McNulty.

The Wikipedia doesn’t say much about praams, but there is this nice photo of a praam on the Wikimedia.

PS – There’s a comment below from the gentleman who hires them out. I’m pleased to be able to say that after 40 years, these boats are still available for hire at Dunorlan Park.

Time to wet your whistle and let out a song

Tonight, I think it’s about time we had some music on the intheboatshed blog. Boating isn’t just about boats and sheds, boatbuilding or restoration, or even about navigating your boat – it’s also about a rich tapestry of personalities and culture.So tonight we have sea songs from my old friend Keith Kendrick. I hope Keith won’t mind when I say that with his dangerous smile he has something piratical about him and that when he sings with his concertina, he looks every inch everyone’s idea of the old fashioned sailor man. I’m sure he won’t mind when I say he’s a great singer of sea songs, as the MP3s I’m posting tonight will prove.

Ironically, Keith is a land-lubber by birth, originally hailing from the English county of Derbyshire and still living there today. Despite this, he did live on the East Kent coast for eight years where he was able to nurture more effectively an already strong leaning towards all things maritime. He has a long established and well documented history of performing and recording all kinds of music of the sea worldwide both solo and with various collaborations over forty years!

Keith is clearly passion-driven in his performance of sea shanties, fore-bitters and various other maritime related material including dance tunes on the English and Anglo concertinas.

He draws his influence from the old sailors and source singers of the material like: Stan Hugill (the last real shanty man), Bob Roberts and Cyril Tawney to name just three.

All of these three great singing heroes are now sadly gone and singers who have really studied their singing styles and songs, such as Keith, play an important role in carrying their legacy forward.

Listen in particular for the breaks and turns in his voice in the shanty set, for example – they’re one of the keys to real shanty singing.

Here are two tracks from his latest CD on the Wildgoose label Songs from the Derbyshire Coast. The first is the shanty Bold Riley (I’ve read somewhere that it’s a halyard shanty) and a set of three shanties, A Hundred Years Ago, Essiquibo River, and Rolling Down the Bay to Juliana. The files will take a moment to download but I can assure you that they’re well worth the short wait – this is shanty singing with real class.

Bold Riley is a windlass shanty that started life making the sugar run from the West Indies to the UK. Who ‘Riley’ was, unfortunately, is anybody’s guess.

A Hundred Years Ago is to one of two melodies commonly associated with this halyard Shanty from the USA – the other one is English in origin and both can be found in Stan Hugill’s seminal book, ‘Shanties From The Seven Seas’. Two other shanties: ‘A Long Time Ago’ and ‘Leave Her Johnny Leave Her’, share the same metre and are likely its two closest relatives.

The name of the Essiquibo River gives away the West Indian origins of this song – it would likely have been used originally inland for heavy shifting work and would have been lead by a Negro ‘shantyman’ eventually finding it’s inevitable way to sea where it’s use would need little adaptation. I take this at a slightly faster lick than it would have been sung in a working context.

Among the shanty set, I guess Rolling Down the Bay to Juliana, sometimes called Emma, is probably the least well known. It’s nevertheless one of the best halyard shanties around, and Keith tells me he believes it was collected in the early 1950s by folklorist A L Lloyd from ex-sailor Ted Howard. Ted, it is said, was on his death bed in a sailors’ hospital surrounded by all his shipmates when he sang this to Mr Lloyd. Apparently, his dying words were ‘Strike up South Australia and let me die happy!’

Bold Riley

Shanty set

Songs from the Derbyshire coast is available here:
http://www.guestlistwebarts.co.uk/eyup/cds.htm

More songs from Keith and friends:
http://intheboatshed.net/?p=78

A song from me:
http://intheboatshed.net/?p=609

Keith Kendrick, singer of sea songs and concertina player

Photo by Andrew D C Basford (2006)