This is a blog I posted in 2007 - after the war, my father bought Iota and had it converted to living accommodation down below. I was about 8 at the time.
In Memorium - Thames Barges
Having written about Iota, I remembered a poem I wrote very many years ago about
Thames Barges so I thought I would share it. This is actually one of two poems I ever had
published although I was a very prolific poet at one time. As the publishing was possibly
50 years ago, and I am the author anyway, I assume that it is OK to print it here.
A Skipper’s Lament
Ah, we used to know sailin’ in them days
Just the boy an’ me an’ sometimes the wife
T’were ‘ard work but very rewarding
I’d not ‘ave changed it for my life.
We’d ply the east coast and the rivers
With our mains’ls and mizzens well set
We’d manoeuvre in port with our tops’ls
They’d not installed engines as yet
The leeboards we lowered with winches
An’ we’d mouse the main block to the horse
Then we’d up with the fores’l and tops’l
An’ if need be the mizzen o’ course
Wi’ a strong wind we’d sail like a goods train
Our gunn’ls almost under the sea
But we’d batten the hatches and combings
An’ the scuppers’d keep the decks free
Too much an’ we’d brail up the mains’l
It goes back like a curtain on stage
But wi’ the right wind, up the stays’l
An’ she’d sail like ‘er were freed from a cage
We’d sail over sandbanks and shallows
Where most other boats couldn’t go
Feeling the way with our leeboards
If t’were a place that the skipper di’nt know
We carried all manner of cargoes
Like bricks from the old Kentish fields
An’ our red sails were seen in most weathers
Our faces were tanned leather shields.
But the age of the barge is now over
‘Cos its cheaper by railway or road
But you still see ‘em racing the barge match
Tho’ now most’re tarted wi’ gold.
Not to mention the white an’ the crimson
Their sails are clean; white an’ new
But we couldn’t work barges so pretty
Pitch and red ochre their due
There’s only a few on ‘em left now
Some Ev’rards and one or two more
But up an’ down England’s east coastline
There are hulks rotting beached on the shore.
Besides which, the skippers are lonely
No barge moving under their feet
They’re beached like the hulls as I told you
Ne’er seeing no rudder nor cleat
What’s left ‘as mostly got engines
An’ their skippers ain’t got the skill
For the age of the sailing barge’s over
Their time ‘as passed over the hill.
But I’ll never see sunset on Medway
Wi’out thinking of how it would be
With the barges settin’ off with their cargoes
Their hulls spanking over the sea.
In fact, I Googled Thames Barges and discovered that there are some barges left even now and some of them are being hired out for pleasure trips and such. But that isn't quite the same as when they were working the coasts with their cargoes. Unfortunately, Iota is one of the barges which is being allowed to rot along the beaches. A shame because we sailed all over the place, visiting France, Belgium and Holland although the nay sayers said we couldn't do it. First time I went to France was on Iota, same with Holland and Belgium, Holland being known as the Netherlands in North America.
The other day ladydog lent me a book which I must admit I wasn't sure I would enjoy although we do tend to enjoy the same stories. I started it on Friday and didn't have a lot of time to read it. Read it more on Saturday and today, Sunday, I can't put the damned thing down. It is called The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons. The background of the book is all about music and it is also a love story but with a very different slant to it.Thanks ladydog, I can see I won't be getting to bed all that early tonight. Until I have finished the book I can't really tell you more. Other than that it shifts from 1947 just after the war, to 2000 and back again which I didn't expect to like but it turns out to be OK.
Here is a recipe I found today which I liked the look of and might try soon. I would use English cucumbers which by the look of the picture is not what the author used.
Thai Cucumber Salad Recipe
Thai Cucumber Salad - easy and healthy homemade Thai cucumber salad recipe that is better than
your favorite Thai restaurants, guaranteed!
1 lb cucumber, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 small red onion, sliced
2 Tbs chopped roasted peanuts
1 Tbs chopped cilantro
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water
4 Tbs Thai sweet chili sauce
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1. Add salt to the cucumber, mix well and set aside in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, make the Dressing, by combining all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Turn on the heat and reduce the Dressing a bit so it's slightly thickened. Let cool.
2. Drain the salt water from the cucumber completely. Toss the cucumber, onion, and mix with the Dressing. Top with the peanut and cilantro, serve immediately.
Source: Rasa Malaysia
Have a great day