Germander Speedwell 

See also the Thames Estuary  page

 

LEADING LIGHTS

The best of British buoys and beacons

"... The Baggy Leap, Black Deep, South Inner Dowsing, and the Sunken Buxey Buoy ..."

 

PEAKS AND DEEPS

Place names of undersea features

"...Shackleton Canyon, Plantaganet Bank

Spartacus Seamount, Ptolemy Trench

Zoroaster Shoal and Herodotus Trough ..."

 

THE SHIPPING NEWS, QUEENBOROUGH, WINTER 2012

Written as part of The Shipping News Room project - see the menu for full version and details.

"...Car-carriers loom over Lappel Bank

With PORGY perceived throught the Abbott Lab Gap;

A container ship shape is made out in the mist

And a careful watch kept for the VIGILANT..."

 

GONGOOZLING

The language of Britain's canals.

'...Fen lighters, Clyde puffers, Ampton flats and Shroppie flies

Humber sloops, Severn trows, Calder keels and Scots scows...'

 

60 WAYS TO LURE A FLOUNDER

The lurid and curious names of fishing lures.

"...Sinking minnows, surface lures; jerkbaits, jigs, spinners, spoons and chuggers:

     Heckham Peckham, Reckless William, Mulberry Bumble, Devon Dumpling..."

 

LOADINGS

Trade conveyed via the Thames Estuary today (from the Soundings from the Estuary project).

"...Ballast and bitumen, cement clinker and gypsum, pallets of bricks and waste silt for landfill;

Contaminated waste, granulated slag, bottom furnace ash and ironstone hoggin..."

 

LANDINGS

Shipping movements in the Thames Estuary today (from the Soundings from the Estuary project).

"...RIX CONDOR to Rotterdam, STOLT GANNET from Belgium,

STAR EAGLE to Bremen, and MARTIN passing parliament;

BRAVERY to Belfast, AUDACITY at the Oaze,

ENDEAVOUR to sea for orders, and HERO to Northfleet Hope..."

 

LOADING LINES

Occupations, activity and apparatus of the dockyards of the Thames and Medway.

"...Cabin keepers, ballast heavers,

Scuffle hunters, carrot-crunchers,

Oakum pickers, coal-whippers,

Hog grubbers and rat-catchers..."

 

COMPLIMENTS TO HEART'S CONTENT 

Written for the Atlantic Basin Project.

This piece follows the route of the Atlantic telegraph cable, from Valentia Island in Ireland,

across the Atlantic seabed to Heart's Content in Newfoundland.  

"...A land of Happy Adventure and telling nomenclature:

Come-by-Chance, Run-by-Guess and Blow-me-down

Quidi Vidi fishing village, the whalebones at Dildo..."

 

COD SMACKS AND CATCH SMASHES

The language of fishing and shellfishing in the Thames.

"...Clam digging, shrimp dragging

Cockle raking and winkle picking,

Catch smashes and riddle rejects..."

 

THE RHYME OF THE WAYWARD MARINER

A playful collage of nautical terminology, shanty songs, maritime and modern culture.

"...To the poop-deck, jib-boom, snap head and butt joint,

      The parrel tackle, joggle shackle, barrack stanchion and anchor shank..."

 

IN HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE

A collection of curious, surprising, and aggressive names of British naval ships, these ones being especially from the 19th & 20th centuries.

"...Destroyers named Cheerful, Vanity and Vivacious

 But there's no mistaking the destination, of HMS Devastation..."

 

THE END OF THE ADVENTURE

Romantic, ambitious and unfortunate ship names, with their fates and misadventures.  See full version below.

"...The scuttling of the Implacable, the wrecking of the Impregnable,

     The sinking of the Invincible, the grounding of the Indefatigable..."

 

WHAT KNOT? 

Nautical knots and ropework.

"...A cuckold's neck; gouty ends

     A locking tuck to a becket bend

     A snuggle hitch or a strangle knot..."

 

ESTUARY ENGLISH - see Place Names page

 

MERMAIDS' PURSES - see Flora and Fauna page

THE END OF THE ADVENTURE

 

The scuttling of the Implacable

The wrecking of the Impregnable

The sinking of the Invincible

And grounding of the Indefatigable.

The silting of the Formidable

The scrapping of the Indomitable

The breaking up, of the Inflexible;

The relegation of the Audacious

And whatever became, of the Tenacious?

 

The overwhelming of the Avalanche

The torpedoing of the Goliath

The crippling of the Colossus

And collapsing of the Hazardous;

The collision of the Antagonist

The attack on the Avenger

The perishing of the Terror

And surrender of the Revenge.

The casualties on the Ardent

Mutinies on the Adamant;

The defeat of the Indignant

Disposal of the Arrogant

And selling-off, of the Inconstant. 

 

The Independence - grounded

Integrity sunk, Intelligence lost,

Resolution broken, Success wrecked

Triumph sold, and Hope plundered;

But the Victory - saved

Recovery recaptured

Desperate cancelled

And Great Britain rescued.

There’s lulls in levity and laws of gravity

From the ruin of the Restoration

To the descent of the Ascension

And the end, of the Adventure.

 

 

 

© Germander Speedwell  

 

 

All of the above are true events and fates of the named ships, though most of these vessels had productive lives and many adventures, and often also changes in identity or nationality, before coming to the inevitable end of all ships that are not irrevocably lost at sea, which was the shipbreakers.  It took a ship of great repute, such as the Victory, or a lot of luck or effort of enthusiasts, such as the Great Britain, to become one of the very few historical ships that survive today.  

 

Nautical

AdventureHead2

The End of the Adventure indeed... the Adventure's

figurehead displayed in Greenwich's National Maritime Museum.

HMS Gannet - Deeds Not Words

The wheel of HMS Gannet: permanently moored at Chatham Historic Dockyard, this vessel is today more words than deeds.

Anger at Sea

Careful!  Anger at Sea