The Wings of a Gull

A whalerman’s lament learned from the singing of AL Lloyd, who at one time worked on the whalers… I really don’t know how traditional it is, given Lloyd’s talent for improving the songs he picked up. Whatever, it’s a damned powerful piece that doesn’t shrink from describing the brutality of the work, nor what seems to be an example of exploitatation. It’s also yet another sea song designed to be a warning to others…

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A Christmas card from Lowestoft, 1911

What a cracking little Christmas card in reader Tom Edom’s family!

Can anyone tell us what these boats were please? Write to me using the comments link below or by email to gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass the message on.

This is what Tom has to say:

‘This was a Chrismas card sent to my Grandfather in 1911, who seems to have owned Snipe a one design raced out of that fine port. But my one design knowledge starts somewhere in my parents generation.
‘They look like raters to me but raters were not one designs were they?
‘It seems that Snipe was not quite at the head of the pack but that a good time was had by all.
‘Hope this is an interesting quest.
‘Best regards, Tom’
Many thanks Tom – I’m sure it will be!

Salcombe Maritime Museum

The little town of Salcombe at the southern tip of Devon has a smashing, packed little community museum that’s open from 10.30am-12.30pm from April to October – it’s definitely worth a trip, as it’s full of great exhibits about shipping, boatbuilding, fishing and pleasure boating.

One of the many things I learned was that Tennyson wrote his iconic poem Crossing the Bar in 1889 after arriving at Salcombe in a very impressive and comfortable looking steam yacht.

I wonder what the bar looked like that day, and what stories he heard about it. That bar has a history: just a generation after Tennyson wrote his poem in 1916 the town experienced a terrible lifeboat disaster in which 13 crewmen drowned.

If you can take a dinghy down for a sail or a motor on the lovely estuary, I recommend that too…