Cornish fishing village Mousehole, in the 1940s

My thanks to Cornish boat builder Marcus Lewis for this one!

Alastair Brian Atkin crosses the bar

Alastair Brian Atkin 1930-2010

My father Alastair Brian Atkin – here pictured with his cousin Jean at the fishing village of┬áChapel St Leonards, Lincolnshire in about 1933-4. The sand hills in the background have long gone

My dear father Alastair Brian Atkin MBE – Brian to many and Alastair to a few – sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago, and I found this photo of him in a fishing boat rigged for sailing at Chapel St Leonards while researching for a speech I was asked to give at a service to give thanks for his life.

Does anyone know anything about this boat please? Is there a story to tell?

Dad knew good times and bad, but in the end I think he had a happy and successful life. He also introduced me to the sea and boating, traditional music and social history – so I have much to thank him for. After the turmoil of the past little while, I went for a long planned couple of days sailing with a friend this past weekend – and I must say that I’m greatly saddened to be unable to tell my father about it.

I should add that Dad was a great fan of Tennyson, a poet closely associated with his home county of Lincolnshire, so it seems appropriate to bring out a poem that’s often quoted at times like these – Crossing the Bar.

Crossing the Bar

SUNSET and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness or farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Racing pilot gigs, a chapel and other nice things at the little fishing village of Cadgwith

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Pilot gigs at Cadgwith – as usual, click on the
thumbnails for much bigger photos

There’s something very sweetly charming about the tiny Cornish cove village of Cadgwith, and the Cadgwith Pilot Gig Club’s kind invitation to look at their boats is entirely in keeping with the pleasant tenor of the place.

They’re saving up to pay for a new gig, however, as their boats are apparently having trouble keeping up with the leaders in races! Please contribute, if you can. The photo below explains the problem:

Cadgwith Pilot Gig Club needs your dosh!

Cadgwith beach, fishermen’s chapel, and
an unexplained plaque

The beach and its fishing boats surrounded by granite buildings and jagged schist rocks are unforgettable, as is the romantic little fishermen’s chapel.

And what about that plaque? I don’t know who these people were but I notice that the club has a boat named after Buller.

No doubt that wall could tell some stories. Presumably no-one sings now, as people hardly sing in public anywhere now unless they’ve got a geetar and a public address system – but what kind of progress is that anyway? And have you noticed that whistling has died out? Can you remember hearing someone whistle in the acrobatic way the old boys used to do when we were all kids?

It must be time for some songs again soon…

If you’re going to Cornwall you may need this: The Rough Guide to Cornwall