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Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig

Charley Noble 24 Dec 01 - 11:11 AM
Ditchdweller 24 Dec 01 - 04:20 PM
Charley Noble 24 Dec 01 - 05:48 PM
dick greenhaus 24 Dec 01 - 06:15 PM
georgeward 25 Dec 01 - 02:03 AM
Charley Noble 26 Dec 01 - 09:26 AM
georgeward 27 Dec 01 - 03:00 AM
Dead Horse 27 Dec 01 - 01:42 PM
Gareth 27 Dec 01 - 03:38 PM
Snuffy 28 Dec 01 - 06:34 AM
Charley Noble 28 Dec 01 - 08:46 AM
Gareth 28 Dec 01 - 02:40 PM
alanKH 28 Dec 01 - 02:56 PM
Dead Horse 28 Dec 01 - 04:30 PM
Charley Noble 28 Dec 01 - 05:56 PM
Charley Noble 29 Dec 01 - 05:17 PM
Charley Noble 04 Jan 02 - 10:21 AM
stallion 14 Sep 08 - 06:04 AM
Charley Noble 14 Sep 08 - 11:03 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Sep 08 - 06:52 PM
Charley Noble 14 Sep 08 - 08:08 PM
GUEST 05 Oct 16 - 01:07 AM
Tattie Bogle 05 Oct 16 - 06:35 PM
GeoffLawes 01 Nov 16 - 06:25 PM
GeoffLawes 01 Nov 16 - 07:08 PM
GeoffLawes 01 Nov 16 - 07:31 PM
GeoffLawes 01 Nov 16 - 08:27 PM
GeoffLawes 01 Nov 16 - 08:40 PM
Richard Mellish 02 Nov 16 - 11:57 AM
Richard Mellish 02 Nov 16 - 12:00 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Nov 16 - 03:23 PM
Charley Noble 02 Nov 16 - 03:54 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Nov 16 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Susan 30 May 18 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 May 18 - 11:30 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 31 May 18 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 31 May 18 - 06:47 AM
The Sandman 31 May 18 - 05:08 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 05:19 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE COLLIER BRIG
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 11:11 AM

I'm familar with a couple of songs Bob Roberts, the last of the Spritsail Bargemen, used to sing "Stormy Weather Boys," and "The Worst Old Ship." (Re-released on CD by Saydisc label, "Sea Songs & Shanties" basically recordings taken by Peter Kennedy in the 50s and 60s for the BBC), but I'm curious whether the songs are traditional or were composed by Bob. The two songs share the same basic tune and I first heard them from a Bristol friend Chez Watts.

The version I now sing has been slightly modified over the years, and includes verses from both songs:

THE COLLIER BRIG
(Traditional as sung by Bob Roberts Saydisc, CD SDL-405 Sea Songs & Shanties Adapted by Charlie Ipcar, 2000)

C--------------------F
The worst old brig that ever did weigh,
C-----------------------G
Sailed out of Harwich on a windy day;

Chorus:

G---------C
And we're waiting for the day,
F
Waiting for the day,
------C
We're waiting for the day
--------G7----C
When we get our pay!


She was built in Roman times,
Held together with bits of twine...

The skipper's half drunk and the mate is too,
And the crew is fourteen men too few...

As we shoved off from the Surrey Dock,
The skipper caught his knickers in the main sheet block...

By Orford Ness she sprang a leak,
Hear her poor old timbers creak...

We pumped our way 'round Lowestoft Ness,
When the wind backed round to the west-sou'-west...

Through the Cockles to Cromer Cliff,
She's steering like a wagon with a wheel adrift...

Into the Humber and up to town,
"Pump, you bastards, pump or drown"...

Her coal was shot by a Keadby crew,
But her bottom was rotten and it all fell through...

So after all our fears and alarms,
We're all ended up in "The Druid's Arms."

So, we're waiting for the day,
Waiting for the day,
We're waiting for the day
When we get our pay! (2X)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Ditchdweller
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 04:20 PM

I first heard that one in '72 when, as a very green Sapper, I was on a fuel pipeline exercise in Suffolk getting AVTUR from an RFA tanker lying off Orford Ness to the USAF bases at RAF Woodbridge and Bentwaters. The nearest pub was the Oyster in Butley, a mile or so down the road from where we were camped and every Sunday was a superb song session!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 05:48 PM

Sapper - Glad to hear the song was still alive and well in its home turf in 1972.

John Warner of the Australian sea songs group The Roaring Forties does a robust version, which recently revived my interest in the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 06:15 PM

The Saydisc CD is available, of course, from CAMSCO Music, as is dam' near everything else.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: georgeward
Date: 25 Dec 01 - 02:03 AM

Someone left a tape at our house years ago (late '60s/early'70s with this song on it. The singer (who shall remain nameless unless she wants to jump in) sang the third verse as: "The captain's half Dutch and the mate's a Jew...". And she had one other verse:

"There's nothing in the galley, nothing in the hold,

The skipper's turned in with a bag of gold."

- George ::-.--O


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 09:26 AM

George - I admit to dropping the Dutch and Jew references, prefering alcoholic references to ethnic ones, but I was frankly puzzled over "The skipper's turned in with a bag of gold" not being sure if I was hearing the words correctly or whether something was being camouflaged. A clearly camouflaged verse from "Stormy Weather" runs:

Then up jumps a mermaid covered in mud (muck),
We took her down the foc's'le and had a good time (f*#k)...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: georgeward
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 03:00 AM

CN - I just assumed it was another dig at the skipper - too cheap to stock the galley or to care about a profitable voyage so long as he got his. Fits the general theme. But Bowdlerization does spring eternal. And traditional songmakers have been known to edit themselves in polite company. Could be. -G ::-.--O


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Dead Horse
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 01:42 PM

Hows about another verse:-
There's a bump and a crash & she's ashore
The mate says "Christ, we're on the Nore"
And the one about the *ghost* or was that only in Stormy Weather ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Gareth
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 03:38 PM

Little bit of thread creep.

The Thames sailing barge " Cambria" the last barge to trade under sail on the London River- and Bob Roberts was the last trading skipper, is now stuffed and mounted in the Dolphin barge Museam at Sittingbourne in Kent.

This Song "Waiting for our Pay" was certainly sung by Mike (name forgotten) a Whitstable resident, and Bob Roberts Mate on the "Cambria" in impromtue sessions in the "Old Neptune" at Whitstable in the Mid 1970's

For those Catters who don't know what a Thames (Spritsail) Barge looks like CLICL HERE to see "MIROSA" under sail off Whitstable - Sorry no copys of "CAMBRIA" in my collection.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Snuffy
Date: 28 Dec 01 - 06:34 AM

Perhaps you should add that info to the 'Do you want to be buried or cremated?' thread, Gareth. I hadn't considered having myself stuffed, mounted and put in a museum! :-)

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Dec 01 - 08:46 AM

Nice adds! Just the kind of details I was hoping for. I'm sure that verses floated back and forth pretty freely between "Stormy Weather" and "Waiting for the Day." The ghost verse from "Stormy Weather" runs:

On the top of the tide the barge did fleet,
When the mate sees a ghost on the tops'l sheet...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Gareth
Date: 28 Dec 01 - 02:40 PM

I Must be getting old and slow

The "Clicky" Will take you to the Dolphin Museam Pages, and the "Cambria" site - See what Bob Roberts was singing about, CLICK 'ERE

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: alanKH
Date: 28 Dec 01 - 02:56 PM

Hi sapper..when I was a green un' greensleeves was new...but we used to sing worst old ship in the Gibraltar folk club at around that time 71/72..and I have not heard it since...thought it was one brought in by the Navy lads.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Dead Horse
Date: 28 Dec 01 - 04:30 PM

Away we went and the ghost did steer
The cook drank the last of the old mans beer......


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Dec 01 - 05:56 PM

Dead Horse - you're right, there's more than one ghost verse, although according to the CD notes of "Stormy Weather" the verse runs:

So away we go and the ghost did steer,
And the cook drank the dregs of the Old man's beer...

I also have a tape that my friend Chez Watts of Bristol recorded for me with less adulterated words; maybe I ought to did around in the drawer for that. The mind moves slow in this dark season.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 05:17 PM

Three times around spun our gallant ship...Refresh!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 10:21 AM

Three times around spun she...Refresh!


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Subject: Lyr Add: STORMY WEATHER BOYS (from Palmer)
From: stallion
Date: 14 Sep 08 - 06:04 AM

Hey Charley, Martin took apart "Stormy Weather" and put it back together again, he is from Southend and sailed the area in his childhood / youth he he recognised it as a geographically disjointed narrative of a trip from Surrey docks, Greenwich to Yarmouth on a Thames sailing barge, he even wonders what is going on because they usually had a crew of two, a skipper and a boy so quite where the cook comes in? Anyway, he put it together to be geographically correct

STORMY WEATHER, BOYS

We were laying in Surrey Dock one day.
The mate knew that it was time to get under way.

cho: Stormy weather, boys, stormy weather, boys,
When the wind blows our barge will go.

He's homeward bound but he's out of luck
'Cause the skipper's half drunk in the Dog and Duck

Then the skipper came aboard with the girl on his arm
He's going to give up barging and take a farm.

So the mate ran forrard and the cook fell in the dock
And the skipper caught his knackers in the mainsheet block

The mate's at the wheel and he gybed her twice
'Cause the skipper's got his knackers in a bowl of ice

At last we're off down Limehouse Reach,
When our leeboards knocked on Greenwich Beach

The barge went ashore and scared our whore.
She said:"Chuck this, I'm off ashore."

We shoved her off and away we go,
But the skipper's got a barrel of beer below.

She fills away and she sails like heck
But there ain't no bargemen up on deck.

There's a crash and a bump and she's ashore
The mate says: "Christ, we're on the Nore."

The skipper says: "I think we're on the Whittaker Spit"
Then up comes a mermaid covered in slime

Then up comes another one covered in Muck
So we took her down below and had good time.

On the top of the tide the barge did fleet,
When the mate sees a ghost on the tops'l sheet

So away we go and the ghost did steer,
And the cook drank the dregs of the old man's beer.

We laid close-hauled round Orford Ness,
When the wind backed round to the south sou'west

We reached our port all safe and sound
And tied her up in Yarmouth Town.

So after all our fears and alarms
We all ended up in the Druid's Arms.

from the Oxford Book of Sea Songs, Palmer


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Sep 08 - 11:03 AM

Peter-

Thanks for adding to this fine old thread!

Clearly the song still lives!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE COLLIER BRIG
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Sep 08 - 06:52 PM

I picked up a hybrid version in the sixties which was being sung in the Hull area and have been singing it ever since. I call it 'The Collier Brigg'. A collier brigg would have had a crew of at least half a dozen carrying coal from the Humber/Trent ports down the coast.
Here's my current version but like many songs of this sort it lends itself very well to adding new verses.

Oh the worst old ship that ever set sail
Sailed out of Harwich on a windy day
Stormy weather, boys, stormy weather, boys,
When the wind the wind blows the ship will go.

She was built in Roman style,
held together with bits of twine.

Skipper's half Dutch and the mate's a Jew,
The crew were fourteen hands too few.

Nothing in the galley, nothing in the hold,
The cook's rolled in with a bag o' gold.

Off Orford Ness we sprang a leak,
Hear our poor old timbers creak.

We steered our way round Orford Ness,
Wind backed round to the sou' sou' west.

Up the cobbles to Cromer Cliff,
Steering like a wagon with a wheel adrift.

We tied her up by Cleethorpes Pier,
Skipper's gone ashore for a barrel o' beer.

Up the Humber and up to town,
Pump, you buggers, pump or drown.

Then on a sandbank we got stuck,
Skipper's pissed in the Dog and Duck.

Up come a mermaid covered in slime,
We took her down the hold and we had a good time.

We nearly come a cropper upon Trent Falls,
Skipper's got the helmsman by the throat.

We thought our troubles all were passed
At Keadby hoist we made her fast.

The coal was shot by a Keadby crew,
the bottom was rotten and it went right through.

After all our fears and alarms,
We're all off into the Druid's Arms.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Sep 08 - 08:08 PM

Steve-

"We nearly come a cropper upon Trent Falls,
Skipper's got the helmsman by the throat."

Nicely put!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 16 - 01:07 AM

Version I heard had "And the skipper's caught his knackers in the main sheet block"

Next verse had: "And the skipper's got his knackers in a bowl of ice"

And the last bit, rather than "Druid's Arms" was:

"And we all ended up in the trueie's arms"

Col Peters, Oz


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 05 Oct 16 - 06:35 PM

I still have the EP (remember them?) of Bob Roberts' singing: 5 tracks including "Collier Brig" and "Stormy Weather Boys" and I did transcribe all the lyrics used in those recordings, so will look them out again. Lots of what is posted above seems familiar, anyway. Btw, who remembers "Stormy Weather Boys" in an ad for fish fingers, and the singer's concertina falling apart?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 06:25 PM

Bob Roberts Singing it


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 07:08 PM

scroll to page 11 of pdf for song


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 07:31 PM

"The coal was shot by a Keadby crew,"
(in Steve's penultimate verse above)
Keadby is pronounced "Kidby" and is a small village in North Lincolnshire. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keadby


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 08:27 PM

I see that the verse with the second line
"steering like a waggon with a wheel adrift"
has a variety of first lines.

"Up the cobbles to Cromer Cliff" (Steve Gardham )

"Through the Cockles to Cromer cliff," (Charley Noble )

The Singing Histories site, on the link I gave two posts above this, says
    "Through the Cockle to Cromer Cliff,"
The capital letter for Cockle and Cockles suggested to me that this might a reference to a geeographical feature called the Cockle or the Cockles. Is there such a feature near Cromer?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 08:40 PM

On the BoB Roberts recording it sounds as if it could be Copple rather than Cobble???


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 11:57 AM

On one occasion of which I have a recording Bob said in his introduction 'I'll try and make it rhyme'.

In the song he sang '... scared our girl', then after the next line
'She said "Blow this, I'm off ashore." '
added a spoken comment 'Doesn't rhyme, does it'.

From that same recording I can offer an alternative version of the mermaid verses.

'Then up jumps a mermaid covered in mud*
The skipper says: "I think we're on the Whittaker Spit"

Up jumps another one covered in slime
We took her down the foc's'le and had a good time'

*Another instance of an obvious substitution, but without suggesting the "F" word.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 12:00 PM

I should add that Bob clearly treated these as two distinct songs. The tunes are different. As pointed out by Steve, a collier brig was significantly different from a Thames barge. And one voyage is from the Port of London to Yarmouth, the other from Harwich to the Humber.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 03:23 PM

Hi Geoff
I believe 'Cockle' is correct and have started singing this when I remember to. Cobbles was part of the folk process. When I put my version(s) together it was after hearing the song sung many times by different people. Jim the Fish probably more than anyone but that was back in the 60s. It's one of the few songs in my repertoire that has stayed there for 50 years and I doubt if I ever sang it the same twice in that time. It's still evolving.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 03:54 PM

Happy to have this old thread refreshed.

Cheerily,
Charlie Ipcar, aka Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 04:29 PM

Geoff,
Cockling still is a well-known industry off the north Norfolk coast. I haven't yet found it on any marine charts but according to the song 'Cockle' lay somewhere between Lowestoft and Cromer. Presumably it would have been a spot particularly renowned for its cockle beds. There is a Norfolk sailing boat called a cockle but it wasn't invented till the 1990s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 30 May 18 - 09:00 PM

This is a really cool song, and it has a great rhythm. Did everyone know that it was on the soundtrack of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag? (video game)

I mention this because my husband and I really took a shine to the shanties sung by the crew during the game, and since we often play Renaissance Festivals, we had a good deal of musical/geekery overlap amongst our listeners. So we decided to record a selection of the songs from the soundtrack for a new album. We were pretty sure all of the songs were traditional, and leafing through my Hugill's has bourne me out - but of course we have this one hang-up, we can't seem to find if anyone wrote this one! Even checking the credits on the official Assassin's Creed soundtrack it's pretty vague, and doesn't even identify any songs as traditional. Can anyone help me out on this?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 May 18 - 11:30 PM

“We pumped our way 'round Lowestoft Ness,
When the wind backed round to the west-sou'-west...

Through the Cockles to Cromer Cliff,
She's steering like a wagon with a wheel adrift...”


"DIRECTIONS FOR SAILING FROM YARMOUTH ROADS, THROUGH THE COCKLE GAT, &c.

The COCKLE GAT is that passage which is bounded on the western side by the Barber and Cockle Sands, (already described,) and on the eastern side by the Scroby and Sea Heads.


[Norie, J.W., New and Extensive Directions for the Navigation of the North Sea, (London: Charles Wilson, 1846, p.31)]

Note: Not too far from the Scroby Sands wind farm.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 31 May 18 - 06:25 AM

I never met the man, but did go when he was booked at the amazing club run by Bob Davenport & the Rakes at the Fox on Islington Green.

It was winter 1964, and I'd got the 27 bus from Twickenham to the Angel- for such an epic journey you got a bus ticket about two yards long in those days....

The weather was filthy & I got soaked so it was disappointing when Bob D stood up & said Bob R couldn't make it as he was stormbound in Ostend!

It was still a great night of course, but I never got to see him, although I enjoyed his EP many times- can't find it now.

Question- is my memory playing tricks or did these barges cross the channel as part of their trade?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 31 May 18 - 06:47 AM

Jim- Thames Barges certainly did a lot of cross channel work - to France and Low Countries - cargoes of coal, pitch, even Apollinaris Spring water. Very busy during and after WW1 with a wide variety of cargoes.. More info on Society for Sailing Barge Research


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 May 18 - 05:08 PM

I did meet him. he was intersting,maybe a bit right wing, in his book Breeze for a bargeman, he describes crossing the north sea unsuccessfully, amongst other things


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Worst Old Ship/Collier Brig
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 05:19 PM

The Bob I knew was a gentle friendly chap who would help anybody. Most working people of his generation were conservative in outlook, openly racist/sexist, but they were brought up to that and were of their time. It was instilled in their religion, education, and passed on from one generation to another. It was the norm. Not right by modern standards but it's what they knew.


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