Monk’s Orchard 2

Carrying on:

He ran back to the afterdeck and to the helmsman. Try as he might the helmsman could not control the movement of the ship. The canvas sails were beginning to be pulled over the sides; the weight and downward pressure from the sea was pulling the hull dangerously over. The ship was out of control.

“Where is Henry?” Michael yelled to the helmsman over the noise and confusion of the storm. The helmsman, shrugged. “I do not know sir.”

“Try to point the ship directly into the wind, if you can.”

“Aye sir but it is tough. I can feel the strain on the entire ship. The
rudder is under tremendous pressure.” He yelled back at Michael
above the ambient noise level. Michael looked at him, then forward
then back again. Suddenly something to port caught his eye.


“How can this be?” he thought to himself. Then it dawned on him.
The ship was dangerously close to the shoals and reefs of Gravelines,
a small port off France’s northeast coast. The irony was not lost on
Michael. Here, just over 50 years ago, his grandfather and the Royal
Navy had it out with some of the galleons of the Spanish Armada,
at least those ships that had escaped the ‘hellburners’ but had not
reached the open North Sea to escape.

“God damn it.” He cursed under his breath, and then made the
sign of the cross.

Michael ran forward as best he could. The men below were now
on deck. Michael yelled at them to grab axes, swords, anything sharp
and begin to hack away at the ends of the running rigging that were
still secured to the ship’s superstructure and hard points. They had
to free the end of the rigging that was still secured to the ship to
relieve the pressure of the sails in the water and let them run free
and hopefully clear of the ship’s hull and keel. The sailors began to
hack away. They had to be careful as the rigging was as taught as
harpsichord wire. Tremendous pressure was exerted on the rigging
so much so that as the axes came down and cut the lines they flew off
at such a force that a man’s head could be cut off cleanly if caught in
the line of trajectory.

Michael ran forward up the starboard side, which was now the
high side of the ship, dangerously so. He looked aft and saw that
the helmsman was being helped by two of the crew. By the look and strain on their faces it would appear that they were having little luck in controlling the ship.

He continued forward. Suddenly he heard some screams below him. He looked down and was shocked to see Henry caught on the underside of one of the booms, which had separated from one of the main mast yardarms when it came down. Michael bent down to examine Henry’s condition. He could see that both of his legs had been crushed and were pinned down by the weight of the yardarm and mast itself. Michael tried his best to relieve the pressure but to no avail. He yelled at Henry as best he could over the noise of the storm. To make matters worse wave after wave of cold channel water crashed over the starboard side bulwarks soaking Michael and Henry.

Henry could not move. It was impossible for Michael to save Henry. Every slight jar of the boom caused Henry unbearable pain.

“You Michael…sir. Forget about me…I am finished. Save the ship.”

Michael was caught in a moment of indecision. He knew he could not help his friend and shipmate but did not want to leave him. He looked about for help but all hands were busy.

“Go Michael…go. Forget about me. Save yourself and the ship.”

Michael stood up. He felt considerable remorse and guilt considering his current situation but he knew Henry to be right. Slowly he walked back, away from Henry’s sight. He could not bear to see the hopelessness and fear on Henry’s face. He knew that death was sure to come. Another wave came crashing over the bow drenching Michael. The shock of the cold water woke him up to his reality.




Monk’s Orchard

An excerpt from Monk’s Orchard:

“It is not looking good Michael.” His second in command said. “I don’t think we should proceed. We should head back to Bruges.”

Michael looked about his environment. He studied the sky, measured the strength of the wind, eyed the seas then examined his sail trim. The ship was dangerously heeling to port. It took all of the strength of the helmsman to keep her on a steady course. The ship moved precariously, jerking and shuddering with each gust of wind from side to side in a very wide arch. It seemed at times that the entire ship would implode into itself by the short pounding seas. They were close to losing control. The wind was getting stronger and stronger from the northwest, whistling as it was through the rigging in a very high pitch squeal.

“I think we should be fine Henry” Michael yelled. “But to be
sure, take down the top gallants. Leave only the main sail up, furled
slightly, and one staysail. We will leave the mizzen out.” This was the
same staysail innovation and configuration that his grandfather used
during the war with Spain. The man he was named after.

Their ship, the MONK’S ORCHARD II, turned into the wind
to affect the sail changes ordered by Michael. Gingerly executed,
entirely under the watchful and experienced eye of Henry, the ship
immediately came under control and slowed down considerably.
Steering became less onerous. Henry looked at Michael and smiled.
He gave him a ‘thumbs up’ gesture. Happy with the sail change Michael yelled back at Henry telling him to stay on deck while he did some rounds below.

The sail changes ordered by Michael calmed things considerably
but this was only temporary. The wind became stronger and stronger
out of the northeast. It was almost storm force winds that challenged
their tiny ship. As Michael went below decks he was struck by the
creaks and groans of the wooden beams and planking of the ship’s
hull. Sudden lurches and gut-wrenching crashes occurred without
warning every time the ship fell forward and down into a trough or
a rogue wave crashed against the hull’s quarter. This was extremely
disconcerting if not dangerous. One could lose their balance
immediately and be seriously injured.

Below decks things were chaotic. MONK’S ORCHARD II had
not been entirely secured for sea as most times the passage from
Bruges to Southampton was a relatively calm one. Barrels, staves
and bales of cloth, wine and cheeses on the main cargo deck were
tossed about like children’s toys. Barrels in particular were a cause for concern. Loose and rolling about, they could crush a man in an instant, without any warning. A few sailors, who were off watch, tried to catch a few minutes sleep. They were being tossed about in their hammocks or bunks entirely oblivious to the dangers around them. Michael raised an alarm, roused the sailors, and ordered them to tie down anything and everything that could move about.

Suddenly a loud crash was heard about him. The ship’s bulkheads creaked and shuttered. The entire main deck above him seemed to be on the verge of collapse. He thought he detected some screams in between the noise of the seas and the wind. He turned, bounded up the ladder of the main hatch and found himself topside. What he saw terrified him. The main mast had collapsed and had crashed on to the deck. Sails and rigging were lost in a chaotic maelstrom of hemp and canvas. The large oak mast was down across the deck perpendicular to the fore and aft lines of the ship. Some of it was hanging precariously over the port side. Michael saw the danger immediately. If the large canvas sail areas fell into the sea there was a good chance that the downward pressure of the water on these sails could pull the entire ship over onto its port side. If that occurred the ship and its crew and cargo would be lost.

Check out my book Monk’s Orchard. Click on the link at the top of the page.




An excerpt from my next book. In draft:

At 12:30 pm, Wednesday, January 30, 1974 we departed. We said our goodbyes all day and the night before. Ted had organized a small farewell party for us at the yacht club. Everyone in our circle was there. Nigel was a no show. No matter. He was not the most affable of guys around here. No one liked him but it was his own fault. He was distant and unfriendly, having an arrogant superiority about him to most of the people that he came in contact with. Many of whom I became acquainted with. For no good reason. I do not understand why he acted in the way that he did.

Big ole Sven, our Swedish yacht buddy, drinking mate, and one of Nigel’s rare buds, came by to say so long and to let our lines go for us. It was a surreal feeling knowing that you will never see these guys, and gals ever again. And I haven’t.

There occurred one incident before we left that had a profound effect on me. It happened just before New Years – that week between the holidays – when nothing of importance is really going on. Akaru-Hime was berthed on the breakwater, bow in and facing the shore, the stern secured to some hard point on the stone breakwater. On one side of me was Skip. On the other was some dude named Peter who I barely knew. He seemed to be out of his depth, nerdy looking, about thirty I would expect. We never really hit it off as friends or neighbours. He kept to himself most of the time other than the odd hello, good morning and small chit chat like that. But one evening he asked if I would accompany him to a meeting in Waikiki. This I did.

He took me down to a small building located on a short side street that bore north off of Kalakaua Avenue down in the Waikiki district of Oahu. There in an upstairs room we met up with about twelve people all of whom appeared to be close associates of Peter. It turned out that Peter was a born again Christian and part of the Jesus movement here in the Hawaiian Islands. This was not surprising to me as the Jesus movement was huge in the early 1970s. I witnessed it first hand in my home town of Toronto where many of the young people I knew, many of whom were juvenile gangsters, petty criminals, drug dealers and users, converted to the movement and became fanatical in their beliefs and their personal conversions. They wanted to share their enlightenment with a non suspecting public with their own personal road to Damascus.  There were many a Saturday night in the parking lot of the local pool hall where I was caught up in their rhetoric and preaching with no escape route in sight. That is not to say I was not a Christian or a believer. No, I was just more subtle with my faith. I was not an in your face kind of guy when it came to spirituality and the supernatural. My relationship with God was a personal one.

Nevertheless, I spent the evening with Peter and his friends singing Psalms and praising the Lord. I was more of an observer than an active participant but I did admire their commitment and tried to be seen as among them as an active colleague of the Lord. I was impressed with their devotion, especially those young men and women, who were not yet worldly or experienced in life. Living on blind faith alone brought them all a sense of peace and wonderment, fulfilment, happiness. My only hope for them was that the burdens of life, of living, of making a living does not undermine their spiritual contentment and positivity with the aura of cynicism and despair that life’s challenges can deliver.

Peter and I left the meeting with a renewed sense of revival, at least for him as I had always been a believer. It seemed to me that these people had to justify their spiritual beliefs, their existential existence in a secular world that shunned them for their beliefs and their faith overtly. The revival meetings became their lifeline from the real danger of backsliding into a world of pleasure and deception. It was that world that many of them knew so well and were keenly frightened of.

We got back to our boats and said goodnight. Nothing more was said. I fell asleep mindful of the evening events. A sense of peace enveloped me. I was content. I was out for the count.

The next morning Peter stopped me before I could leave for my morning routine of coffee, smokes, and “S” square times two.

“Jim…Jim, I hope you enjoyed the meeting last night. I hope we weren’t too presumptuous in our faithful exuberance with you.”

“I did Peter…and no you weren’t. Thank you very much for inviting me.”

“Just one thing Jim.” Peter went on. I had a hard time falling asleep last night so I came back topside for a short spell to clear my mind, rationalize my thoughts.”

I nodded to him

“The strangest thing occurred to me Jim. And I hope you don’t feel ill with me for telling you this as I know how this sounds. But it is the truth, so help me God”

He had my undivided interest now.

“Yeah, go on.”

“While I was sitting there in reflection of the night’s events, a vision enveloped my senses. It came over me, smothered me but more importantly it came over Akaru-Hime. Your boat lit up like a beacon of light. There in the pulpit of your sailboat sat an angel. It or she or he was resplendent in white: a blinding brilliance of righteousness and holiness. It was a guardian angel Jim. I know how this sounds but I swear it to be the truth. I had to tell you.”

“Really?” was about all I could say. I didn’t know what to think.

“I know…I know…I know Jim. I know this sounds crazy but it happened. As God is my witness. He paused for a brief moment to collect his thoughts and then continued. “Then the angel looked directly at me Jim, and smiled, and then looked over your boat. It spread its wings out and then in as if to signal to all of the world…to me…protection. Don’t you see Jim? You and Nigel have nothing to worry about. Akaru-Hime has the protection of the Lord. You will be safe.”

I didn’t know what to say to Peter. All I could do was offer a grin of questionable understanding and acceptance for what he said. It was an uncomfortable moment: for Peter to tell me this and for me to acknowledge his supernatural experience.

“Thanks for that Peter. It is reassuring for sure.”

I looked forward to the pulpit. There was nothing there but the stainless steel guardrails or the pulpit and the boats beyond. Nevertheless, I smiled, nodded my head to whoever may be there unseen except in the spiritual domain.

A sense of security did come over me and I felt extremely happy.

Thank you Peter.



Dumbing Down

More leftist insanity:

(Rex Murphy…NP) The Vancouver School Board is cutting all sports programs and all sports competitions because, the school district says, “they do not comply with the equity and inclusion goal of ensuring that all students can participate in every aspect of the curriculum.”

Gall darnit anyway. If we have one person in a class that is dumb then gall darnit anyway…everyone will be dumb as well.

For the same reason they will also end all coaching services for those students who show special skills at hockey, track and field, wrestling and ping pong. “Sports competitions are an especial plague,” said one staff member who demanded to be kept anonymous since everyone would think (he/she) is a total moron, (and he/she is) “because in every one of them two or three participants always end up in the winner’s circle, while others are either left in shame at the back of the pack, or worse still, have to sit them out in the bleachers cheering on their ‘superiors.’ “


If one person in our school sucks at sports then everyone at the school will suck as well. So, blow on this will ya.

Oh this is rich: I hear that the Klu Klux Klan wants to become more diverse and inclusive.

“If we want to survive as a racist organization and compete with BLM, Antifa and the Federal Governments of the USA and Canada, then we have to attract and recruit more pricks… ”

The International Olympic Committee is very worried that its higher, faster, stronger mantra is being undermined. There are winners and losers in all competitions but in our new world order of things everyone will be a loser because that bar is the easiest bar to strive for, for equality and divershity.


Hey, you made the rules:

Now live with them. Would you want to be friends with her?

And their (the left’s) grammar sucks as well.

I kid you not: Justin Trudeau is looking for a contractor to re-educate middle-aged Canadian white people about how racist they are.

See the source image

Sounds racist (good) to me!

Even babies are racist in this new world order. Five signs that your new born may be racist….(Babylon Bee).

New World


The More Things Change….

Designated non vaccinated seating area. And, if you are a person of colour…,standing room only at the back of the boat.

And here I thought that we as a society have come a long way since the 1960’s civil rights movement…guess not.

And the left are not crazy??

According to the Biden administration women are “birth givers” and men are “penis havers” Insanity and bad English go hand in hand with the penis havers – and the Biden administration.

Need a manicure? There’s now a robot for that.

In under 10 minutes and for less than $10, you can get a “Clockwork Minicure” — the perfect manicure, done by a robot.

PHOTO: All Clockwork services are performed by a robot rather than a human.

And after that a Clockwork Orange hairdo:

See the source image

And another one bites the dust. Canada’s founding father:

Sir John A. Macdonald statue removed from Kingston’s City Park

a person standing next to a treeHe was Conservative

But…but…What about Laurier? Nope, he is a liberal and the spiritual icon of the Liberal Party of Canada. Saint Laurier was responsible for the Chinese Head Tax and an ardent supporter of Residential Schools. And what about Pierre Trudeau? In 1970 he said this in a speech given in Vancouver with respect to the government’s “White Paper” on indigenous matters: “We can’t recognize aboriginal rights because no society can be built on historical ‘might-have-beens.'”

But Macdonald is the racist of the woodpile.

Cancel Canada Day in Victoria, BC. Soon to be cancelled: British Columbia, Victoria, Vancouver. Wait for it. It is coming. Under our current PM there is a real danger Canada will no longer exist as a unified country. The USA is toast as well. All because of leftist policies….sad.

Climate Hurricane Agnes: Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania

a group of people walking on a city street

Climate Change 1900: The Great Galveston hurricane, known regionally as the Great Storm of 1900,was the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. Yes Virginia, worse than Katrina.

A look back at the devastating 1900 Galveston hurricane ...

Climate Change: Nothing new.

Great Canadian band of the 1970s. Big hit when I lived in Hawaii in 1973/74.

Have a nice weekend. Read ya Monday.