The fiddle tunes of William Litton, sailor

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Here’s an interesting glimpse into the distant past – a collection of tunes from a book kept by a fiddle player called William Litton while he served aboard two merchant ships in the years 1800-2. The tunes here are played by a fiddler called Garrisson Frolick, and were recorded several decades ago.

My thanks to Chris Brady for pointing out this link.

Fear for sailors is a giant octopus – and has been for centuries

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A giant calamari afloat

‘When I was in Oregon, I was told there were several places along the coast where people were warned not to bathe, on account of octopods. In 1877, and Indian woman, who went bathing in one of these places, in total disregard of the advice of her friends, and was suddenly observed to sink. The next day her body was seem from a boat lying on the bottom of the sea in the embrace of a big octopus that was engaged in sucking every particle of blood out of her.’

Ben Crawshaw’s terrifying dream about a giant octopus (see the videos to understand this one!) reminded me of this rambling and scary chapter about this particular kind of sea-beast found in Elliott O’Donnell’s book Strange Sea Mysteries published a hundred or more years ago. These nightmares have been stalking sailors for many centuries, and no doubt will do so for centuries to come…

I hope reading this won’t make the dreams any worse Ben!

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Thames double skiff for sale

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I fouled up badly at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show: my mistake was to believe the weather forecast and went to the show on the day it rained most.

On the following day it was supposed to rain from dawn to dusk – but instead the sun shone – I’ve seen photos to prove it. Every sailor, gardener, farmer, camper and boat show organiser has had the same kind of experience, and all one can do is smile and make the best of it, which in my case meant taking a lot of photos of gently rain-spattered boats and people.

I’ll be putting a lot more shots from the show up over time, but I thought I’d surprise the folks who came to the show to sell this splendid 1902 Thames skiff by putting up some shots of their boat – and perhaps helping them to find a buyer.

I told them I’d do it, but like so many others they were sceptical. I think they imagined I needed to be paid – but I don’t and it’s not in my plan. Give me a good story or some pics or both and I’ll put them up, though if they’re not, I won’t. Even if this site someday becomes truly commercial, I doubt I’ll ever want to charge contributors money for providing information for a good post.

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