Akaru-Hime: First Sail

And another excerpt:


“I know Nigel and I am sorry. You do know that it was me that alerted the authorities about your personal challenges, especially after the death of your father.  I was also able to convince the naval brass at Dartmouth to take you on. Better than some of those schools for wayward boys I might add.”

That it was I thought. That it was. I had heard of the Fairbridge Society[1] and wanted no part of that.

“I am going to bring her out next Saturday. I want you and Ruth to help me. Are you on for it Nigel.”

“Yes Sir. I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Thank you so much.”

That we did and what a beautiful remarkable sight to behold as we graced the Dart with Lillian’s fine looking lines. Her sails were of lilly white sailcloth: white canvass, bulbous when filled and bright in the noon day sunlight. Not a fleeting luff was seen between the main and mizzen. The foresail was cut perfectly and not a ripple, or a fluttering luff or a backing bulge was detected.  The beautiful synergy of the sails was matched only by the clean lines of the white hull. You could detect each and every planked seam. Lillian’s clinker design, a design made famous by the Viking shipbuilders and sea goers, was considered a classic and for a gaff rig sailboat like “Lillian,” appropriately classic. Like the beautiful woman that she was she was oh so elegant on the water. She turned heads.

The bright-work of her caramel coloured teak decks and mahogany uppers almost blinded one with their deep rich hues, especially with a high noon sun that was unobstructed by clouds. Her tall mast, her gaffs; the running rigging that was almost devoid of winches; and her long projection of a bowsprit enhanced Lillian’s lines and curves and waterline perspectives as she sliced through the water effortlessly as a sharp knife or saw would cut through butter or wood. The slight heel to port in this light breeze underlined her righteousness and with an arrogance to all who saw her that she was meant to be on the water. The tiller and rudder was well balanced and only required the slightest touch by Mr Sommers to keep her course true. The rigging was well tuned. Lillian seemed to have a mind of her own as she appeared to sail herself.

Coming about, beating up as far as we could go with a gaff rig; gybing, running before the wind was child’s work for Lillian, especially under the guidance and expertise of Mr Sommers. He did this slowly and painstakingly at first as Ruth and I were novices to a boat of this size, shape and structure. Yes I did have experience with the Royal Navy’s sail training vessel Mercury but Mercury was a standard sloop. She was a lot less complicated than Lillian’s gaff rigged ketch configuration. Indeed it took almost the entire afternoon of course changes, sail tuning and the odd bit of cursing on Mr Sommers’ part before we became comfortable with the running of Lillian.

Ruth and I worked hard managing the array of lines, blocks and tackles. I would take the foredeck while Ruth worked the main, or vice versa. Mr Sommers always took care of the mizzen. Lillian’s running rigging was also of a classic design and comprised almost entirely of manila cordage. Blocks and tackles managed the strain and pressures of the topping lift, outhaul, downhaul, sheets, halyards, Cunningham and boom vang. Just about every aspect of the running rigging that made Lillian dance, was of rope. The only exception to all of this was the two winches situated just below the main companionway, port and starboard, which controlled the port and starboard sheets of the foresail. Once everything was set by Ruth and I on the orders of Mr Sommers was the management and control of the sails through the sheets. One could equate the sheets to a transmission in an automobile whereas the power and aspect of the wind dictated the pressure of the sheets on the sails.

It became obvious to me that Mr Sommers had had a great deal of experience sailing although he was very reticent about this or anything else to do with his past.

[1] Fairbridge Society: In 1909, South African-born Kingsley Fairbridge founded the “Society for the Furtherance of Child Emigration to the Colonies.” The purpose of the society was to educate orphaned and neglected children and train them in farming practices at farm schools located throughout the British Empire: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa. As they say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”


Wonderful.

SJ…Out


Two of my books. Good reads:

Akaru-Hime: “Lillian”

Some more of the Akaru-Hime story:


I continued my afternoon sailings with Mr Sommers. One Saturday afternoon was of particular note as he told me to meet him at the Noss Shipyard. There at one of the berthing slipways was a beautiful gaff rigged sailing vessel of stripped mahogany about 35 feet in length: “Lillian” she was christened. Of course she was.

“What do you think Nigel?” Mr Sommers said on seeing me.

“Beautiful” was about all I could say.

“Come aboard.” I did…in awe.

Mr Sommers had been working on “Lillian” for some years now.

“Just after the war’s end.” He told me. “My wife Lillian had been killed and my work with the yard and as Dockmaster and Harbourmaster for the Port of Dartmouth was considered essential by our government, thus my exemption from military service. I was too old as well they told me but I didn’t like to think of myself in that way. The activity of the Port, my job and my responsibilities were important to the war effort. Yes, perhaps, but it kept me sane, grief stricken as I was with Lillian’s death. And I had Ruth to take care of.”

“I am sorry sir.” was all I could say for the moment. We went below deck into the main cabin. I followed his lead and took a seat across from him on the port settee. He continued.

“I found this piece of maritime flotsam, as I referred to her, up in the western arm of the Dart, by the Old Mill Boatyard. She was in rough shape, neglected and up on her side on the mud flats in a little bay just to the east of the marine slips on the north side of the arm. Being the Harbourmaster it was my responsibility to ensure that derelicts such as this could not be used by the enemy for nefarious operations against the port. Believe me Nigel there were many spies and Nazi sympathisers in this area, especially given our proximity to the Royal Navy’s presence at Plymouth. Plymouth was strategic and an important target for the German bombers. Nevertheless, I gave whoever may have owned her a chance to recover her. I posted notices up and around the various slipways of the Dart and in the small towns and villages around here and upriver all the way to Totnes. No response.”

“Then what?” I asked, while admiring Lillian’s interior teak.

“I took ownership and had the lead shipwright and naval architect at Noss’ come over and survey her. Turns out she was stable. Her hull was sound. The mast and gaffs were strewn across the mud flats and beach but all of the bits and pieces were still true to form in relatively good order. Her standing rigging was gone however. I felt that with a bit of sweat and a loving touch I could bring her back to life.”

He paused to reflect on something. He looked directly at me.

“On the selfish side of things Nigel I knew that bringing her back to life would provide for me a focus and purpose to continue living without dear, dear Lillian. Sure I had Ruth’s welfare to consider but she wasn’t enough.

“So I had some of Noss’ crew come over and right her, get her floating again and bring her over to the shipyard. There they found a slip for me, and a cradle on the hard which was out of the way of prying eyes. I could use the resources in material and expertise of the yard to draw from in which to restore her. That I did over the years, but on my own time and at my own expense.” He looked forward then aft toward the engine compartment.

“It wasn’t until after the war’s end that I could really focus on her in my spare time, of which I suddenly had lots.”

He looked at me again, grinned, then added. “And that is why those Saturday afternoon sails in “Lilly” were so important to me Nigel. In a selfish way I might add I used you and our time together to placate my own fears and loneliness. It provided a welcome break and respite from my work as Harbourmaster but also a break from my responsibilities in raising Ruth. Furthermore, our afternoon sails reminded me as to why I was so eager in restoring “Lillian.””

“You were not using me Sir.” I responded. “I enjoyed every minute and it got me away from a home life that was becoming unbearable, if only for an afternoon escape.”

Hope you enjoy these snippets.

SJ…Out

Akaru-Hime

Another excerpt from a story I am working on. This is in draft form. More work to be done. I am now 95 pages into it. About 25% completed. It is fun and relaxing though. Hope to have it done by summers end.


In about a week’s time I was pulled out of school by the Kingswear council authorities and child welfare department. Our house on Church Hill was cleaned out, deloused and vacated as it was not family owned. My few belongings were passed to me in an old suitcase and carrying bag. Before I knew it and without any prior knowledge I was placed in the charge of the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman, 3rd rate, under the auspices and guidance of the Royal Navy’s disciplinary regimen at HMS Britannia, Dartmouth. Being only 13 years young, soon to be 14, this was to be my lot in life until such time as I could join the Royal Navy as a formal recruit at eighteen years of age, if I wanted to, or as an Officer Cadet, if I was so inclined scholastically and again if I wanted to. Signing on at eighteen would be a twelve year commitment. I was not sure if I wanted that. How can a thirteen year old be sure of anything? But I had to survive.

Ruth went off to St Dunstan’s School for Girls, a private or public school in Plymouth. We would see each other from time to time over the next few years but only as her term breaks and my brief respites from my study and duties at Dartmouth would allow. Mr. Sommers continued his Saturday afternoon sails of which I accompanied him as my responsibilities would permit. Normally I had Saturday afternoons off, just after cleaning stations and Captain’s rounds. Unbeknownst to me at the time it was Mr. Sommers who contacted the local council and child services department in Kingswear and Plymouth about my personal station in life after my father passed.

How I loved those Saturday afternoons with Mr. Sommers and with Ruth. No longer an object of neglect but with three squares under my belt I was beginning to form out physically into an adolescent – a fine young man they said. Life at Dartmouth for a young lad such as myself was stark and harsh but I grew to enjoy it for it was secure and structured. Discipline could be severe but it was needed. Not physically abusive as one would think of an institution that was hundreds of years old. Never, ever were we brought before the mast with a lashing from a “cat o nine” tail. That was a maritime myth. But mentally? That was a different matter. Looking back on those years I can understand why. There were other boys like myself there with backgrounds as disturbing and as varied as the colour and sight lines of the many sailing craft on the Dart. There were “ner do wells,” the delinquents, the orphans, the physically abused, the homeless…well…just about every conceivable personality trait that covered the entire gauntlet of all of the social discords and ills of post war England. It was here and under these circumstances that I began my life’s journey into the maritime environment.

Over the next few years I learned a great deal. It turned out that I possessed an acuity and aptitude for mathematics and the sciences. I excelled at navigation, relative velocity and engineering. Seamanship came naturally for me, perhaps as a result of the many Saturday afternoons spent sailing with Mr. Sommers. My seamanship skills were quite advanced for my age. So much so that in my spare time I could be found scurrying about HMS HINDOSTAN, which was a decommissioned Royal Naval vessel, permanently moored at Sandquay, exactly 187 steps down from the Royal Naval School, HMS DARTMOUTH. The HINDOSTAN employed a Chief Boatswain Mate, or Bos’n, who was a senior plebe of the school assigned to the HINDOSTAN on a three month rotational basis. Given my age I was not yet qualified as an Officer Cadet or a Rating thus my presence there turned out to be the seamanship continuity on that ship. I got to know everyone from the college and they got to know me. Not always a pleasant experience as I was often times belittled and bullied by the Cadets who were of a class much higher and broader than mine. Amongst my own peer group of ner’do’wells etc…well we were all lower class in the eyes of the Cadets and not worthy of coexistence in their midst. One instance became ingrained in my mind and was directly responsible for one of my life decisions.

“You…you there…” someone yelled. I turned in the direction of the voice. It was a senior Officer Cadet, standing aft on the quarterdeck. I made a pointing gesture to myself without saying a word.

“Yes you…come here…NOW.” he had a number of fellow cadets with him. They were standing behind him, all snickering at my presence.

“Sir” I answered, for he was an Officer candidate if even under training.

“What is your name…turd.”

Confused at this turn, I answered. “Nigel.”

“Nigel what.” he came back.

“Nigel Filtness.”

“What? WHAT?” he screamed.

Oh…yes, I thought to myself: “Nigel Filtness…SIR” At attention now.

“Well Nigel Filtness Sir. Looking at your working dress I would say you were what, a Boy Seaman Third Class. Hmmm?” He looked me straight in the eye, sideways, with his left eyebrow raised.

“Yes Sir.” I answered meekly, without confidence.

“What?” he screamed.

“YES SIR” I bellowed.

“Well you know Boy Seaman Nigel Filtness Sir.” as he walked slowly around me, poking me with his “pace” stick. “You are the lowest of the low. The surface layered blackened scum of the bilge. To be expunged. You are not a seaman, you are certainly not a cadet, nor will you ever be an…Officer. So what are you Filtness? Hmmm? Hmmm?

“Whatever you want me to be…SIR.”

“Well Nigel Stillness…you are shyte as far as I…we…are concerned,,,Nigel.” he looked at me tauntingly but smugingly at his cohort. “Shyte of the lowest order of shyte, and that is low.”

“Yes Sir…”. I responded.

He looked at me for a while but wasn’t sure of what to say to me next. He was lost for words, as only bullies could be. He grunted, turned and with his colleagues crossed the brow, arrogantly, and left the ship to return up the 187 steps to the college. I stood still, remained at attention, humiliated and ashamed at my dressing down and my lack of resolve and ability to respond. But I couldn’t respond for fear of a major reprisal and punishment. Banishment from the college if I ever dared to challenge a pretend Officer, an Officer in waiting. No matter what the cause or occurrence. Being right did not always matter in the Royal Navy, especially when it came to the chain of command. That was the emotional discipline that we had to put up with. But it was nothing compared to the abuse I received all of my life at home.

“Pay no heed to them.” Petty Officer Brand offered in my defence.

It sure would have been nice to have had you there when this was going on. I thought to myself. Cowards, the lot of them. I looked up to PO Brand but for now I just shook my head and continued on with my chores. Inside I was fuming.

Other than the bullshyte abuse from some of the Cadets, life at the college was good. It gave me disciplined structure. My senior ratings were fair and treated me with some respect, probably due to my seamanship ability, aptitude for Celestial Navigation and common sense. My instructors, supervisors, all Naval Officers and Senior Ratings, were veterans of the war. They were extremely tough but fair minded. Our practical sessions were aboard some of the college’s sailing vessels, one of which was a 40 foot ketch. I excelled at sailing thus was given free hand at 16 years of age to assume charge of “Mercury” but under the watchful eye of Petty Officer Brand. We often sailed out into the channel for coastal navigational training and celestial practice when we had a clear and unobstructed horizon and clear skies. It was great fun.

It was now 1955. I was sixteen years on.


Great song.

SJ…Out

 

 

Like…Like…Like

A First World Problem

Left is all in a tizzy over this Jeopardy winner’s reaction of having won his third game:

a man wearing a suit and tie

“It’s a racist, white supremacy gesture,” so say the lefties. “Kick him off the show and make him apologize.”

His response?

See the source image

Get a life lefty snowflake.

Another First World Problem:

A Christian pastor in the UK was arrested by police after a member of the public reported him for the “homophobic” comment of saying that marriage was between a man and a woman.

What the world is coming to. Unbelievable.

And another:

We are entering a new “Dark Age.”

That is the good-bad news; the really great news is that Shakespeare has been canceled by some woke American teachers because they think his classic works promote ‘misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir’ (is there anything else?). That is a direct quote. All I can say is that, although I am perhaps overly attached to the past, it’s no wonder that so many people love Shakespeare ( from Taki).

Whew, I never could understand that dude.

“Our enlightened age is being replaced by the “Like” age. Like, like it or not you will like, accept like the woke way of like doing things as in the likeness of being like (SJ).”

Hey bro, don’t ya know that like reading, writing and mathematics, like as in 2+2=4, are so like white dude and must like be eradicated dude. Ya bro, we’re all just like real simpletons like don’t ya know that like 2+2=22. It is like really woke to be like a real simpleton. All white dudes and dudesses should be like simpletons just like the rest of us like simpletons…like…like.

Ah yes, someone wrote a book about that as in The Unbearable Likeness of Being A Woke (my apologies to Milan Kundera)

We have entered…..ta da….

The Second Dark Age.

After all we have honored likeness like in when we named a highway in Honolulu the “LikeLike” Highway. Hawaii: The Like State.

Why does diversity only apply to black people or people of colour as in enrollment or attendance. If you have a class of 50 white people and one black person or someone of colour then by definition you have diversity. Differing cultures…like, ya know bro.

Yo dude. I like that.

I am proud to call myself a Christian. I like that.

Have a great weekend.

SJ…Out

Check out my books by clicking the links at the top of the page. I am sure you will like them. Support a like struggling Canadian author…like…like ya know bro.

Living On a Thin Line

Check these out by clicking the links at the top of the page.


Canadian health authorities have determined that a 16 week interval separating vaccine doses is acceptable and innovative. Thus all Canadians vaccinated with the first dose will have to wait four months for the second jab.

Meanwhile, back at the pharmaceutical ranch:

Statement: Pfizer position on dosing intervals of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

“Pfizer and BioNTech’s Phase 3 study for the COVID-19 vaccine was designed to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and efficacy following a 2-dose schedule, separated by 21 days. The safety and efficacy of the vaccine has not been evaluated on different dosing schedules as the majority of trial participants received the second dose within the window specified in the study design.

Data from the Phase 3 study demonstrated that, although protection from the vaccine appears to begin as early as 12 days after the first dose, two doses of the vaccine are required to provide the maximum protection against the disease, a vaccine efficacy of 95%. There are no data from this study to demonstrate that protection after the first dose is sustained after 21 days.”

But we are smug Canadians so we know better.

Doesn’t it make you angry that the vaccine danger that we are now faced with can be attributed directly to the incompetence and failure of Justin Trudeau and his government lackies?

No?

Well it should Ontarian and Quebekers.

More Canadian Covid bafflegab:

Canada has among the strictish Covid measures in the world:

Canada continues to let flights in from infected countries. Our Covid infection rate per capital has now surpassed the US and other G7 countries;

See original text above.

Three in five Canadians say they’ve experienced undesired pandemic weight changes.

Pandemic weight changes? Or is that weight changes of pandemic proportions?

That is Canada-speak to say “YOU ARE GETTING FAT” so stop eating.

In Canada we cannot say the Covid virus originated in China as that would be considered racist hate speech – so says an expert on the Spanish Flu. His Asian Flu colleagues nodded in agreement.

Non sensical nonsense:

“What bothers me is the withholding of opiates for cancer patients, especially terminal patients with pain.  Since cancer is the end of the road for roughly half of people (and increasing as other causes of final ends are being better treated), withholding pain control for the terminally ill out of fear of addiction seems deeply wrong to me.”

Its like swabbing the arm with alcohol of a convicted murderer prior to receiving death by lethal injection.

Just sayin

From The Babylon Bee:

We here at The Babylon Bee are marriage experts. Being considerate and helping your wife around the house is key to a healthy marriage– and it doesn’t even have to be hard work! We drew from decades of combined marriage experience to compile a list of easy ways to help your wife out.

1. Rinse a dish and leave it near the sink: Your lady will swoon when she sees how considerate you are! For bonus points, place the dish in the sink so she can easily put it in the dishwasher later.

2. Place excess trash in an organized pile near the trash can until she takes it out:  Little things to make her life easier go such a long way!

3. Avoid the toilet seat debate by peeing in the sink: Lifehack!

4. Never shower so she’ll have fewer towels to fold: Also, if you never wear socks, you’ll never get in trouble for not throwing them in the hamper.

5. Helpfully gather all the dirty clothes and passive-aggressively place them in front of the washer: Whatever you do, DON’T actually put them in the washer. You’ll probably do it wrong.

6. Leave her helpful instructions on sticky notes around the house so she’ll know how to do things properly: You can add little hearts and “XOXOXO” for extra romance.

7. Say helpful phrases like “My mom didn’t do it that way” when she’s cleaning: Wives love to learn new things from their mothers-in-law. What a great way to pass down helpful knowledge!

8. Send her pictures of the messes around the house while she’s away so she can mentally prepare for the tasks ahead of her: This selfless act will help her stay mentally organized. It’s the least you can do.

9. Start the lawnmower for her: Use your big man strength to start the mower so she has more energy to mow the lawn. If you really want to drive her crazy, roll up your sleeves so she sees your big arms while you crank the engine.

10. Pick up your feet while playing Xbox so she can vacuum under them: Invest in your marriage and do it without being asked!

11. Place all the sandwich ingredients together on the counter to cut down on her lunch-making time: For extra helpfulness, leave another sticky note to help her make it correctly.

12. Have many children so they can help around the house: And if you’re a Mormon, you can also take a second wife to help your first wife with the chores!

So true…or this:

We are living on the thin line…by the Kinks.

SJ…Out