Slavery, piracy and a hanging: the unforgettable tale of The Flying Cloud

This mighty and horrifying ballad is packed with journeys: first, the butcher’s boy runs away to sea and sails to Bermuda; second the young lad joins a brutal get rich quick slaving voyage to Africa and Cuba; third he becomes a merciless pirate and sails for the Spanish Main; and fourth he is captured and taken to London to be tried and hung on the gallows.

And I suppose the fifth is a mental and spiritual journey in which this adventurer becomes contrite, and bitterly wishes he’d never done any of it.

I guess all of this may well have happened in some genuine cases, but I suspect this ballad was written in a later era, and packed with adventure in order to sell printed ballad sheetsy. The earliest date it was collected as a song was in 1906.

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Reports and photos from the first Melbourne Wooden Boat Show

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Check Rule 15 – was it sponsored by the department of marine regulation at the University of the Bloody Obvious, or do the organisers have an off-the-wall sense of humour?

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Sticker on a beautiful Riva, hand-cut pedal crank made from plywood


The good folks of Melbourne, Australia, have just held their first Wooden Boat Festival, and local Wooden Boat Association member Richard Monfries has put a nice report on his weblog Wooden it be Nice, and this excellent Flickr set of photos.

Another local and regular intheboatshed.net correspondent Dale Appleton also took some photos of the show. From his relatively smaller collection, I particularly liked best is the one at the top of this post about piratical behaviour at the top of this post, closely followed by the sticker on a beautiful Riva speedboat that quietly announces that it has been serviced by a company in Monaco in Europe, which even in our times must seem very exotic and distant to many of the folks of South Australia, and the beautifully made hand-cut plywood crank mechanism. After all that painstaking effort, I wonder how well it works?

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