First February Blog

First February Blog.

Seasoned Timbers.

Gentle waves slap slapping sides
Of salty timbers, oceanic riders,
Skipping the tides, riding the currents,
Sails billowing in tempest squalls,
Sheets flap-flapping as hull turns about.
Creaking timbers, as ocean heaves,
Pressing forces, wood yeilds,
Old ships, old ways,
Seeking gentle winds
Pushing seasoned timbers
To cieave through calm waters.
Tall masts lean-to with a Sou-wester,
Racing across a sward-like expanse,
Green, blue-grey
Snapping sails crack, as
The boat changes tack.
Oh, the ocean ships of yesteryear,
Such majesty and craftsmanship,
Hearts of Oak, our vessels past,
Timbered hulls, British fleets,
Sailing wide oceans, timbers
Straining against salted seas.
Naval riggers, climbing slippery
Rigging, setting sails in stormy weather.
Men of old, vesselslong gone,
Splicing mainbraces,
Eating hard tack in cramped conditions.
As much salty timbers as the fleet they manned.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. January, 2016.

Sunday early evening, strange how the memory is jogged!

Daughter, possibly by hearing something on t.v., asked me how close the Isle of Wight and The Channel Islands were?

Nowhere near, was my reply. But surely the I. of W. is in the soutn?

Yes but the Channel Islands are very close to France. “Yes but…..!”

So I Googled a map of England and The Channel Islands, and pointed them out.

You see, back in the 1950s, I went on holiday to Weymouth, Dorset, ( that came back to me whilst thinking about what she was saying) to a Holiday Camp at the top of the hill on the left side of the town, looking out to sea. (Who knows if it is still there?). A camp for adults only. No children allowed.
Anyway, one of the trips we made was by boat to Guernsey in The Channel Islands, just for the day. It took several hours to get there, possibly 4 hours but it was too long ago to remember the time lag.

Again, my memory of the main town was lost, then it suddenly popped into my head. St Peter Port, Guernsey. Pigeon-holed somewhere in the recesses of my old brain. As the boat took so long to reach the island, we just sat in the town and then on the lead down to the beach. I remember it being rocky, and very hot. I do believe I got sunburnt

This trip was the trigger for my memory, that the Channel Islands were a heck of a lot closer to France than England. So then comes a mini debate about why they do not belong to France. There is where my information runs out. I do not know enought about their heritage, enough only to say that areas of France in the Normandy region of France have been going backwards and forwards since William Le Batard and I really have no idea when it was settled that these Islands belong irrevocably to England.

“isn’t there an island called Sark as well as Jersey and Guernsey?”

“Yes,” i tell her. “Also Alderney.” By looking at the map I discovered there is also a tiny island called Herm, I think, my eyesight is not good and Google maps are often a bit on the small side for me to be able to read names. So if I have it wrong, I apologise.

“Well, I am amazed” she says.

Not sure, why other than she has never been good at geography. Some people are not, but I put it down to the way geography was taught when she was about 12-14 years old. I went to an open evening and was appalled at the way they were then teaching geography. Totally different to the way I was taught about the world, what countries were named and where they were, what certain countries produced like cocoa beans, tin, iron ore, all kinds of things. But sadly, at her time, it was deemed that geography was taught totally differently.

However, I was tonight able to give my daughter some information regarding where the Channel Islands are situated,quite away from English shores.

Thank you for reading. Be safe, be happy.

Evelyn.

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4 thoughts on “First February Blog

  1. Beautiful poetry, very atmospheric!
    After reading this, I was also interested to see why the Channel Islands aren’t owned by France. It turns out that they aren’t part of the UK or the EU, but they are possessions of the British Crown and their inhabitants are classed as British! Initially, they were owned by the Duchy of Normandy, and were passed to the English Crown when William the Conqueror became King of England in 1066. They were actually occupied by Germany in WW2 – lots of history for little islands! 🙂

  2. Sthank you for researching that info Jen. I did not know how we came by them, being that they are so close to the French coastline. I mean, we were on and off trying to get back bits of Normandy and whathave you for centuies afterwards. Even Henry 8th weent over there trying to take back some of Normandy etc. Yes,I did knw about the Germans invading them. Thanks again, Bless.
    Evelyn

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