Boxing Day at Rye Harbour

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Old beach boat at Rye Harbour. Click on the thumbnails for much
larger photographs

It’s almost a tradition in our house to take a trip down to Rye Harbour on Boxing Day, if the weather’s bright and clear – see this post from the same day last year. This time Julie’s cold and my injured right Achille’s heel prevented us walking very far, but I did manage to grab a few shots.

A nice bonus was that the pub has this photo including  singer, fisherman and ferryman Johnny Doughty on its wall. Johnny died in the mid-1980s,  but although the publican couldn’t say who was in the picture, I was pleased to find there were still people in the bar who remembered the old fella living in the hamlet and singing in the pub.

There are more photos of the old boy and the ferry, and a host of great images of local beach boats being used and built at the  Rye Harbour website – just enter the terms ‘Doughty’ and ‘boat’ in the search gizmo to find them.

Some time ago I put up a post some time ago explaining the story behind one of the songs most closely associated with Johnny, The Wreck of the Northfleet.

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Above left: the channel to the sea.  I suppose there’s not much call for pilotage
services when the tide’s low. Above right: the River Brede

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Motor launch at a boatyard near Rye. It’s interesting to compare this motor launch
with the one shown in this post

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Can anyone tell us something about this mysterious and interesting boat? Whoever designed it knew where a little extra standing room would cause the least harm to the boat’s sailing qualities

Alone and forsaken but with an intriguing stern – or is it bows?

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Punt with striking stern - or bows

There’s something very affecting about this engraving, which Craig O’Donnell of the splendid The Cheap Pages emailed over a few days ago. I know several old songs that seem to apply, and I gather Craig spotted this engraving in an antique shop.

From a practical point of view, I wonder why that stern – or bows, if you prefer – is as it is? Why would anyone build the end of a punt this way? My suggestion is that it’s a chain or rope ferry boat, but if you agree or disagree, please feel free say so in the comment link below!

Back to the songs: I think the Waters of Tyne seems particularly appropriate:

I cannot get tae my love if I would dee
For the waters of Tyne run between him and me
And here I maun stand wi a tear in my ee
All sighin and sobbin, my true love to see

Oh where is the boatman, my bonny hinney
Oh where is the boatman, go bring him to me
For to ferry me over the Tyne to my honey
Or speed him across the rough waters to me

For a fuller, singable set of lyrics and a sample of the tune, go here.

Thanks Craig!

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