London International Shipping Week

11th and 12th day of September. Year of our Lord 2017

City and Port of London: Bank Underground Station

Weather:- Storm Aileen: heavy showers and very strong winds
Wind:- WSW gale 8, severe gale 9 occasionally storm 10

A rough night passage: we arrived  at the great metropolis in the middle of the morning watch (0500 hours) and sheltered from the inclement weather in the City’s deep subterranean passages, caverns, and tunnels, where no whisper of wind, or roar of stormy sea is ever heard. 

 We had thought the shameful days of slavers and slave ships were long past, but were astonished to note huge faceless crowds of slaves, captured in rattling prison vehicles of tin and iron, then forced to run through the tunnels to workplaces where they would be chained in huge sweat-shops, and forced to stare at dim flickering lights for hours on end without relief, fresh air, or adequate sustenance.

We counted nigh on seventy thousand such unfortunates: how many who scurried past with pallid and haggard faces, might long for the noble life of the open oceans of which we sang so lustily? For three hours underground without pause, and thereafter for an hour to shipmasters in the Baltic Exchange, we sang to celebrate today’s Ships and Seafarers - and shared the lament of today's Jack Tars, no longer free and easy, but chained to rigourous schedules in container ships ... We all got drunk in Tilbury town, Twentyfour hours to turn around, We’ll go rolling down the river.

The buoys kept their eyes open for Kettle Jane and Teapot Ann, without success, but all agreed that a toast be drunk and a song be sung to Allied British Ports, and to our Ships and Crews, without whom our lives would be impoverished and bereft of all material comforts and exotic luxuries.

 


Aboard the tea clipper Cutty Sark

12th day of September. Year of our Lord 2017

Greenwich
Weather:- Showers clearing, wind easing
Wind:- W veering NW 7, 5 later

At the first dog watch we rattled our rigging down Ratcliffe Highway, and downstream to Greenwich, the once beating  heart of Britannia's naval prowess, and there before us, such a vision of beauty as  put a lump in the throat of even the most case-hardened matelot - the Cutty Sark, the finest and fastest clipper ever to sail; the seas. Invited aboard, our worthy bosun Curly Quill, the only literate member of the crew, was inspired to sing a chanty he’s recently penned in praise of the voluptuous curves of the fastest lady he’d ever desired ... Sharp at the prow / She cuts like a knife / Hardly a bow wave /With a waist like your wife’s /Lovely to look at / But a bastard to sail /Speeding along in the teeth of a gale / We’re sailing the oceans for tea and coffee!

Voluptuous too, the curves of the winsome young witch at the ship’s figurehead, clad only in her cutty sark - a short chemise / slipping lingerie - revealing all the delights a lonesome sailor might long for far out at sea.

Nursing daydreams and pints, the crew of the Malarkey prepared for the long sleepless beat home, in the teeth of the still booming gale.



Starstock Mini-Festival

9th day of September. Year of our Lord 2017

Starcross Yacht Club

Weather:- Heavy showers
Wind:- SW6 to 7

The more navigationally challenged of the Malarkey’s crew mustered at Mr. Brunel’s recently completed Atmospheric Railway pumping house, rather than the designated shoreside establishment of Britain’s oldest yacht club. Finally reunited, the buoys were pleased to find the doughty Corinthian sailors of the Starcross Yacht Club, reading the abounding ominous weather omens, had erected a canvas Pavilion for the planned festivities.

In a club dating from 1772, the buoys repertoire of 18th century ballads and shanties, and unkempt and historic attire, seemed entirely appropriate. Disdaining the proffered sound check, the crew, rampant as discharged seamen anywhere, rollicked into the bar and tent, clambered onto their oaken sea-chests, and gave vent to a rip-roaring set of nautical songs. Yellow-oilskinned Starcross sailors landed their dinghies alongside, and well-cloaked Starcross damsels crowded into the marquee to join in.

Swabbie Mal Demaer gave a passionate, powerful, and poignant performance of Mr. Thos. Arne’s newly composed patriotic anthem, Rule Britannia, and the entire loyal company joined in lustily. The rain hammered down, drumming on the canvas, and the wind provided a howling descant. (Apparently 174 nautical miles to the East, in another minor festival and at the same exact hour, the very same song was sung - but we do not doubt for a moment our rendition transcended theirs in sincerity, melodiousness, and enthusiasm.)

Over the lewd words and suggestive sentiments of some of the other shanties the less inhibited crew gave voice to, modesty suggests and propriety insists this chronicle draws a discreet veil.



British Society for Oral & Dental Research

The 6th day of September. Year of our Lord 2017

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
Weather:- Autumnal. 
Wind:- SSW 3

Not usually noted for their oral and dental hygiene, mouths more used to being rinsed with rum than Listerine, and teeth oft loosened by scurvy and lack of vitamin C, the crew of the Malarkey were astonished to be invited to provide background music for the above conference of high powered academics, researchers, and dentists.
The most medical among us, ship’s surgeon Dai Wright, took the lead: Doc delivered hearty shanties, in several incomprehensible foreign tongues, and although we were surrounded by shoals of fishes, live sharks, and cetaceans, bravely sang of harpooning the same, in an institution otherwise nobly dedicated to their conservation.
Luckily we were hardly heard above the loud chatter about, presumably, the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth, and decided to become strolling minstrels through the aquarium's underwater chambers and passages. 
An amorous octopus, with 8 wandering arms, was claimed to be the most intelligent mollusc present; lower down the evolutionary tree, shipmates boasted or repented of the escapades their wandering arms and hands had got them into - notably with polka-dancing New York girls, Sweet Ladies of Plymouth, and Maids of Amsterdam.
Rather to our surprise, it transpired some had both heard and enjoyed our shantying - who then harpooned us with selfies, and rewarded us with engraved glasses and access to a dozen groaning tables with the best of the West’s seafood, sweetmeats, spirits, cider, and beer. A thoroughly fishy experience, and although we had done nothing for oral hygiene, perhaps we did adequately fill a few aural cavities.

‘Thank-you’ River Cruise for RNLI Volunteers

The 5th day of September. Year of our Lord 2017

River Exe
Weather:- Cool and Breezy 
Wind:- WSW  5 to 7

A full contingent of the crew clambered aboard the Pride of Exmouth, pitching and tossing in the forecast f.7, to entertain the many willing volunteers who keep the Exmouth Lifeboat afloat through fund-raising and manning the lifeboat shop. Skippered by Harry of Stuart Lines - also the lifeboat’s Safety Officer - we felt in safe hands, as ‘The Pride’ poked her nose into the channel, then wove deftly upriver through an obstacle course of moored boats, and Tuesday night racers under buxom and bulging spinnakers, who appeared not to have read the rule of the road for larger vessels constrained by draught, or navigating in narrow channels.  
The Buoys provided a suitably salty accompaniment, as heroic volunteers, many shrouded in blankets, sang along lustily - and then the new lifeboat herself, the Shannon Class R & J Welburn, came out to salute the volunteers. In a masterful display of seamanship, she pirouetted as gracefully as crew’s heartthrob Miss Helen Highwater, then surged beside The Pride as intimately as a bow-wave riding dolphin, and, to loud Huzzahs! steamed off (or rather water-jetted off) into the sunset.



BIE DAIP - Appingedam Folk & Seasongs Festival

The 24th to the 28th day of August. Year of our Lord 2017

Appingedam, Groningen Province, The Netherlands.
 
Weather:- temperate
Wind: - Variable 2 to 3

Trains and boats and planes - the Exmouth Expeditionary Force sallied forth for the Lowlands Low, carrying ropes, chains, phonographic recordings, bottles, and other vital impedimenta. The overland detachment, resplendent in uniform Stogs shirts, were apprehended at Liverpool Street Station - the ticket inspector yelling aloud at our Anchorman's beloved Viv - YOU MUST BE BETTY STOGS ! And so she remained.
The arial party’s heroic dawn raid proved successful till apprehended on a Dutch train WITH YESTERDAY’S TICKETS. Fines of 50 Euros PER HEAD were only averted by the threat of, and eventual delivery of a Shanty at full volume. The Malarkey steamed on. 
Appingedam - delightful medieval port and canalside town - welcomed us with open arms. With a little Dutch Courage, some of the Buoys were soon as lit up as the wonderful night time procession of illuminated boats and barges and yachts in fancy dress.

Bie Daip, Appingedam, continued :-
The 26th day of August, Year of our Lord 2017
Weather:- warm, brief showers.
Wind: - Variable 1 to 2

After two evening performances, five more today. We were not necessarily the most harmonious - superb shantying by Kimbers Men and the Longest Johns ...  nor the most attractive - the dancing Polish violinists of Za Horyzontem in black leather basques and swishing skirts left members of the crew old enough to know better drooling ... nor even the most heroically bearded - El Pony Pisador out-hirstuted us. But we can claim to be the Crew that created the most audience participation - hauling in unsuspecting passers by to heave on ropes, or be shanghaied and dressed as cabin-boys or honoured as Admirals. 
 Sam Minella, as befits ship’s cook, experimented with extra herbal ingredients - which added a subtle hint of amnesia.
A delightful day in the narrow streets, the small bars, the canals, and even the Kirk of the town. The buoys flirted outrageously with the lassies and matrons of Appingedam, who despite Cameron Nails' scurrilous mockery of the Dutch hero Jan Rebek, responded warmly.

Bie Daip, Appingedam, continued :-
27th day of August, Year of our Lord 1217
Weather:- pleasant and delightful
Wind: - Flat calm, f. 0

Three final performances. In a glorious display of English, Scots, Breton, French, Dutch pro-Europe unity, we were invited by Les Brouilleurs d’Ecoutes to to add harmonies and demonstrate actions for ‘Chicken on a Raft’, while Lis Steria danced the Gay Gordons.
 A wonderful last night party in the wee small hours as in a dozen accents and languages - notably Ank, and Mal, and Eamon - voices, hands, and hearts entwined under the stars.
 Grateful thanks to Armstrongs Patent, and all involved in organising and hosting Bie Daip - we hope eagerly to return!  Over three days the Crew sang 83 different shantys and forebitters, without hesitation, deviation, or repetition.  And with all the right words and right notes, and until the final concert, in the right order too.
 Next morning the Malarkey lurched homeward, after a great weekend - the only casualty ship’s chaplain Bish, who was swamped, suffocated, broadsided, dismasted, holed below the water line, overwhelmed, flattened and sunk by a very large and loquacious overlapping lady, who totally demolished his religious credentials.



Warwick Folk Festival

The 28th to the 30th days of July. Year of our Lord 2017

Warwick School fields & nearby taverns

Weather:- fast moving deep depressions; showers.
Wind:- SW 4 to 7

‘A wet sheet and a flowing sea, a wind that follows fast’ ....  as so called sailors the buoys should be well used to wet canvas - but for those camping at Warwick wet sheets, shirts, vest, pants, became the norm. Liz Teria, wife of ship’s cook Sam Minella tricked out the galley with festive bunting, fairy lights, crates of ale for the crew, and (ominously) an emergency life buoy. A rough passage through adverse tides and shoals of holidaymakers meant most of the crew arrived only moments before our first performance in the appropriately named ‘Living Traditions’ centre.

Feeling more like living fossils, the buoys actually gave the performance of a lifetime for a packed and appreciative crowd. Strangely moved, our Anchorman, down on one knee, poured out his heart attempting to woo a heroically bearded (male) shanty-lover - who says we’re stuck in the 19th century?

For the rest of the weekend, in a town as far from any sea as it’s possible to be in Britain, the Malarkey’s ship’s company gave the East Midlands a taste of Exmouth anarchy, authentic salt, and rum-sodden singing. Warwickshire weather added authenticity - July in Warwick became as wet and bumpy as beating round the Lizard in January. An almost sober Ank wound himself up to holler “The rain it is raining now all the day long, Bold Riley-oh!” And it was. And bedraggled audiences responded enthusiastically.



Falmouth International Shanty Festival

16th to 18th day of June, Year of Our Lord 2017

Falmouth

Weather:- Blistering heat!
Wind:- Variable 2 to 3

Falmouth, first port of call after faraway voyages, and home of the Crew’s heroine, the voluptuous and indestructible Betty Stoggs, whose likeness many of the crew bear emblazoned on their bosoms or backs. Thence we all arrived at Midsummer, Bish aboard the cutter ‘The Cause’ (more by grace of God than any navigational skill) and the rest of the buoys aboard the Malarkey for a three day extravaganza / smorgasbord of pints and pasties, shanties and sing-alongs - along with 60 other crews from the four corners of the world, and all to pleasure the aforesaid Betty, and enable her to expand and inflate and gather to her capacious bosom and rib-cracking embrace ever more Shekels, gold Doubloons, Pieces-of-eight, Euros, or even devalued Sterling, all for the support of the wonderful work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and their gallant and hugely busy Falmouth crew and lifeboats, on whom we may all depend in our hour of need.
After 3 days, 8 concerts, and countless foaming tankards, the aforementioned vessels wended their slightly zig-zag course tacking back to Exmouth, tired but happy. A great weekend. In the last bar, with the Grey Funnel Line in evidence nearby, topsail hand Alfredo Heights finished with a stirring tribute to “our soldiers, our sailors our statesmen, our Queen” and jolly tars and bystanders alike joined in the chorus with gusto - and an encore for the aforementioned Betty.



Wimborne Folk Festival

10th day of June, Year of Our Lord 2017

Wimborne

Weather:- Fog patches
Wind:- SW 2

The Malarkey hove to abeam of the ancient Minster, where lie the mortal remains of Ethelred the Unready, Feeling a bit like the unfortunate monarch, and fluffing several openings, nevertheless the buoys were warmly welcomed and encouraged by enthusiastic shanty lovers. The crew proved infectious ( not with the usual unmentionable ailments they sing about lustily) in a Shanty Workshop, inasmuch as they inspired others to stand up and sing too.
 At the final evening concert the crew were honoured and humbled to meet singer Jim Radford, youngest cabin boy in the Normandy Landings, whose experiences and songs truly demonstrate the wars, dangers, shipwrecks many of our shanties record - and who has committed a life time of seafaring and singing to the cause of peace.
Cheered to the rafters, we set sail for home, a winding course through thickening fog, as rival navigators challenged each other’s fixes and dead reckoning. Not quite a Great Circle course, or the Rhumb line planned - more like ever decreasing circles back to the darkening Minster!?





Gloucester Tall Ships Festival


28th day of May, Year of Our Lord 2017

Gloucester

Weather:- Heavy 
Wind:- NNW veering E 2

Shipmates from previous voyages a-plenty appeared to have washed up in the mighty Gloucester Docks, and the alehouses and taverns of the said city. All the church bells rang; wake boarders, agile as albatrosses, flew across the waters, tall ships’ masts and yards pierced the sky. We were happy to add nautical background music to the urgent business of eating and drinking that the whole town appeared engaged in. 
 Neptune and Zeus at least must’ve enjoyed our singing, and the prophesied thunderbolts, lightening strikes, and hailstones narrowly missed the crew and struck elsewhere. Wasting no time we upped anchor, and ran south before a veering wind.



GWRSA Railway Club Exmouth

31st day of March, Year of Our Lord 2017

Exmouth

Weather:- Cloudy
Wind:- SW 3

Undeterred by the ubiquitous presence of railway locos & steam engines on every wall, the Malarkey’s crew hauled everyone back to the previous technologies of the Great Days of Sail; & impressed railwaymen (& women) into heaving on hawsers &  stomping round capstans.
The evening was intended as a melodic & harmonious fund-raiser & farewell for one of the crew, ship’s carpenter Cameron Nails, who was about to be transported to the far Bermoothes Isles; where he single-handedly would attempt to keep the honour of Exmouth afloat in a bizarre international contest where the prize went neither to the brave nor the swift, but to he who could cry the loudest & longest. Oyez!


Concert with Steve Knightley in Lympstone Church

25th day of March. Year of our Lord 2017

Peoples Republic of Lympstone

Weather:- Chilly
Wind:- N/NE  4

The crew, not all noted for their piety & sanctity when ashore, nevertheless were not discombobulated to find themselves in a crowded-to-the-gunn’ls Lympstone Church, where the parish authorities had kindly provided a bar. Fortified by a few pints, the Nave of the Church, with its wooden ribs & beams, seemed not unlike the hull of a Naval Ship, & the acoustics were marvellous. The crew truly “made the rafters roar” as the warm-up act for a concert by famous local lad, folk-singer Steve Knightley of ‘Show of Hands’, on his sell out village hall tour.
The final song, Steve Knightley, plus the buoys, plus the entire congregation, made a fine sea-chanty, or a gospel hymn! - When true love seems so far away, The tide will flood your heart some day ... Keep hauling Ho! Rouse & raise your voice! Hold your course & don’t let go, Keep hauling boys. 
And Amen say all of us. A great night was had by all - & plans are afoot for a follow up charity concert with Steve & the Shantymen in the autumn, in our home port of Exmouth. Watch for signals from the yardarm.



Launch of Pilot Gig ‘Shelly Maid’

25th day of March. Year of our Lord 2017

Shelly Beach, Exmouth

Weather:- crisp & clear.
Wind:- N f.3
 
The most welcome sight for our ship’s company homeward bound from foreign parts (apart from the nearest dockside tavern) is the Pilot Boat pulling alongside. The crew of the Malarkey were delighted to be asked to accompany the launch ceremonies for The Exe Gig Club’s newly crafted vessel, a six-oared Scillonian Pilot Gig. 
The Esteemed Mayor of Exmouth revealed the name, ‘Shelly Maid’, beneath the Devon Flag; one of her oarswomen poured the traditional launch bottle of Green Valley Cider over the bow; a passing dog, caught up in the spirit of the event, came and urinated on the prow; prayers were said; and then, as the gig kissed the sweet waters of the Exe for the first time, the buoys burst into joyful chanteys and songs. Success to the Shelly Maid! God bless her and all who row in her!



Miedzynarodowy Festiwal Piosenki Zeglarskiej Shanties

23rd, 24th, 25th dayes of February. Year of our Lord 2017

Krakow, Poland

Weather:- Spokojny i fajny
Wind:- f.0 - f.1

Waitresses in an underground Beer Cellar demanded the buoys perform spontaneously, where ale was sold in fathom-tall glasses  ... “Pump ‘er dry” shanties seemed appropriate. Thus fortified the crew then sang to astonishingly huge crowds of Polish shanty lovers in a 1000 seater converted cinema; & in the sweaty Stary Port bar (a centre for Polish Sail Training ) so crowded  it was only possible to move one body part at a time. A whole sailing ship bowsprit & bow appeared to have crashed through the ceiling. The entire company knew all the words of our repertoire in English or Polish, & joined in with gusto.
A brief respite day: well used to blocks & tackles, the crew  ascended Poland’s  highest mountain by funicular; & perched atop a frozen snowdrift entertained bemused skiers with a blast of raucous & harmonious sea-level singing.
Final day, carrying injured crewmates (deadly cherry vodka) we were part of an international flash mob singing ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ in Europe’s most hallucinogenic Gothic town square. A truly memorable weekend, for those crew members who ... er ... remember anything at all. 



Port of Bristol

23rd day of February. Year of our Lord 2017

Lulsgate Bottom, North Somerset

Weather:- Storm warnings
Wind:-  W f.8 - f.10

The bleary-eyed crew were roused from their bunks at six bells (3 of the clock) to discover most craft forcibly grounded by hurricane force winds. The buoys seized a brief weather window, & clawed to windward across the N. Sea, & arrived in several pieces at the landlocked Hanseatic League port of Krakow, where a few years earlier they had been feted as the “most authentic shanty singers” ever.
Leaving port was much delayed while swabbie Mal Demaer was strip-searched: he’d inadvertently concealed nautical weaponry - cutlass? jack-knife? - about his person.



Spirit of the Exe/Exmouth Mussel Festival

24th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2016

Exmouth

Weather:- Mild but windy
Wind:- SW 6

The crew approached this festival with some trepidation, the word muscle striking fear in their hearts, speaking as it does of hard work. We were however much relieved to discover the mussels in question were of the edible kind, were free to those quick enough to purloin them, and could be washed down with copious amounts of locally-brewed ale. Thus suitably refreshed we sang heartily to the amassed crowds, who bravely faced near gale force winds to receive both oral and aural delights simultaneously.



West Country Beer Festival, Bicton Inn

16th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2016

Exmouth
Weather:- Unseasonably warm
Wind:- SW 2

With the Malarkey safely docked in her home port, a slim crew, in number if not in figure, made their way to the Bicton Inn there to partake of fine ale and equally fine company. The landlady was particularly accommodating, as is her wont, and even supplied us with free beer and ciders, hoorah!! The audience were in a most merrie mood and when volunteers where asked to join us on stage, it took the merest of threats, by way of the cat o nine tails, to get them to sing with full gusto and vigour. We were joined during the evening by visitors from the American Colonies, who, though completely baffled by our appearance, were none the less enthralled by our antics, and a most hearty night was had by all in one of Exmouth's finest ale houses.

Lyme Regis Folk Weekend

10th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2016

Lyme Regis
Weather:- Fine and calm
Wind:- S 1

A second voyage eastwards for the Malarkey in the space of six days finds the crew at large in the fair town of Lyme. Having chanced upon a crowd gathered on the seafront, we regaled them with songs and stories of the sea not once, but twice in the same afternoon. Thus completing our welcome obligations to the Lyme Folk Weekend, we headed west in glorious evening sunshine and returned to the fond embrace of our homeport of Exmouth.


Weymouth Water Festival

4th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weymouth
Weather:-
Wind:- SW 4to5

A welcome return to the sea as the Malarkey made an easterly journery to Weymouth along the famous Jurassic Coast. Once moored the crew searched out the nearest inn and were greatly impressed by the serving at said establishment of our favourite ale - Betty Stoggs. Suitably refreshed we entertained ourselves and, we trust, the assessmbled throng on Weymouth quayside with our musical shenanigans and tales of nautical times gone by.


Towersey Festival

27th, 28th and 29th day of August, year of Our Lord 2016
Towersey
Weather:- Warm and fine
Wind:- SSW 3

A rare and long overland journey sees the crew of the Malarkey ensconced in the fair Oxfordshire village of Towersey, there to fulfil an invitation to the 52nd Towersey Festival. Having berthed and refreshed at the Headless Horseman on the Saturday, a first performance followed at the Festival Folk Sessions.  Sunday a day of rest was not, as the busy crew were asked to sing on four further occasions. One such to a large family crowd in the market square, who, we venture to surmise, were amazed, shocked and some might say, completely baffled, by our performance, but nonetheless soon joined in with hearty and joyful singing. Not content with voices carried by the air alone, we were soon transmitting both word and song over the mysterious ‘aether’, courtesy of BBC Radio Oxford who, by such means, unleashed our thoughts and music to the good people of Oxford and beyond. As evening approached, and having rounded up various lost souls from their various diversions, of which no more should be said,  the crew took advantage of the marvellous acoustics and lighting wizardry of the festival’s ‘Big Club’ venue to entertain a large and enthusiastic crowd – so enthusiastic in parts that one misguided creature there assembled, no doubt carried away by our vigorous and at times amorous refrains, broadcast a marriage proposal to his fair lady (that we are happy to report was accepted). Our farewell to a fine and enjoyable Towersey came on Monday, by way of a brief entertainment aimed at children of festival goers; they sang with us, hauled ropes, heaved the capstan and generally showed the aged crew how things should be done!



Cridford Inn, Trusham

19th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2016
Trusham
Weather:- Light rain
Wind:- WNW 4


Enticed by the promise of free beer, the crew of the Malarkey made a short overland journey to the Cridford Inn, reputed to be the oldest in the country that has been in continuous use as a tavern. In lieu of payment for said refreshments, much singing was undertook by both the crew and assorted assembled patrons, making for a most enjoyable evening sojurn for all.


Sidmouth Folk Festival, Dukes Inn

31st day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Sidmouth
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- S

A short hop eastwards along the Jurassic coast for the Malarkey and its Jurassic crew sees us dock safely in the quaint town of Sidmouth. After a hearty sing at the Dukes Inn, the crew disperse to join the gentile bacchanalia of the famed Sidmouth Folk Festival.


Exeter Sea Salt

30th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Exeter
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- N

A second voyage up the Exe estuary in only five days sees the Malarkey docking at Exeter Quay, so allowing the buoys to serenade the busy denizens of that fair city in celebration of five years' trading by the famous emporium that is Sea Salt.


A la Ronde

25th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Lympstone
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- WNW

A straightfoward trip for the Malarkey today, consisting an easy navigation up the Exe estuary to Lympstone, there to permit the buoys to entertain, as best they might, the gentry of East Devon assembled to celebrate the 25th anniversary of A la Ronde's grateful protection by the National Trust. No great adventures or calamities to report, save for the denuding of said establishment's entire supply of beer and clotted cream scones by a ravenous crew.


Departure

21st day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Douarnenez
Weather:- Broken cloud
Wind:- SW 2

On the early watch the Malarkey quietly slipped her mooring, set her fore sheets and hauled away down the channel of the Pouldavid whence she set course for Exmouth. With almost five full sailing days before she needs to be safely back in her home port, it should be a pleasantly relaxed voyage.

This entry is also the last by this recordist as he passes on his duties to another after some years and several hundred entries. He wishes readers well and hopes that future entries will be able to set down the details of continuing success for the Malarkey and all who sail in her. 



Temps Fête

20th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Douarnenez
Weather:- Mercifully cooler 
Wind:- WSW 3

With welcome cloud cover and the bulk of the day offered as well-earned shore leave before their one obligation; moved from its original timing to early evening; the crew once having agreed when to assemble later, were free to avail themselves of whatever local delights they were able to locate.

The one public outing they were contracted to honour having been fulfilled, to the apparent satisfaction of those who bore witness, the buoys combined a little sustenance with rather more liquid refreshment over the course of their remaining daylight hours in France before setting sail in the morning. A most sociable and satisfactory end, for those who partook, to a very worthwhile visit.



à Douarnenez

19th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
L'Atlantique
Weather:- Extreme 
Wind:- Une jolie brise

A grand parade of sail took a huge armada south from from Brest to Douarnenez, the Malarkey with her skeleton crew and having plotted a slightly different course gently sailing up river earlier than some. The mooring reached in reasonable time and new lodgings found before a welcome repast, the lads (and lass) were well prepared for their mid afternoon assault on local French ears.

To the accompaniment of occasional gunfire from the river as some later arriving vessels were investigated as to friend or foe, the sound of singing entertained a small but receptive audience at Scéne Horloge. Their day's work done, local hostelries were individually sought for the cooling hours before dusk.


Last meanderings

18th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Brest
Weather:- Blistering 
Wind:- W 3

Unbelievably hot even by the time the buoys clambered from their bunks, some decided to obtain steerage on the first available vessel and return to England. Those with more stamina remained in port and, apart from one dockside venue which required their presence in the early evening, were given free time in which to get the Malrkey shipshape for her voyage south on the morrow. This was achieved largely by them sitting all day in a shady tavern.

With the attending gentlefolk being offered the chance to be gently hosed down by the fire service to avoid undue heat induced illness, and with their final performance duly delivered, the remaining lads once again repaired to a dockside inn for refreshments of both the solid and liquid kind. In the morning they sail south.



Remaining alongside

17th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Brest
Weather:- Even hotter
Wind:- NW 2 veering SW and strengthening 

Warm from very first thing, the heat and lack of breeze presented some difficulties for a crew more used to English conditions and who had to walk considerable distances around the docksides from one proscribed venue to another. Obviously thus affected, the Leadsman forgot where the Yankee packet was sailing to and the gunner's aim temporarily proved unreliable enough to worry even those experienced in his ham fistedness.

Eamon recovered his composure and clear sight after a break in work while Abner, his brain boiling in the ever increasing heat, was perked up no end by the Spanish lady who danced on to the stage for his later rendition of the similarly named song. A mercifully brisk wind finally began to moderate the temperature in the evening.



Still in port

16th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Brest
Weather:- Sunny & Hot
Wind:- W 2

None of the buoys quite knows what time their cook found his bunk last night, or quite how much whisky was downed before the early hours' singing with 'Nordet'. None will ask. Yet he was remarkably spry at the breakfast table. The morning passed without incident, much to the surprise of viewers, listeners and those directly involved.

In spite of some confusion and communication difficulties, they fulfilled their postprandial commitments before repairing to the facility offered for such visiting crews to obtain the necessary liquid refreshment to assuage the day's increasing heat. This was collectively felt to be most welcome. At various later times, lodgings were relocated for the night.



En Bretagne Nord Ouest

15th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Brest
Weather:- Fine
Wind:- WNW 3

Following a disturbed night for some, the crew made their way back to the waterside in time to take a smack across the harbour to Scéne Guignette, where they did their very best to teach the assembled audience some choice English words and phrases. Most snatched a rushed visit to the 'artiste's' dining shed before heading straight back out for their two other scheduled performances of the day.

The afternoon went well except for the moment when the Bosun attempted to move one of the chests, when he managed to spill both it and all atop. The buoys were then given well earned shore leave for the rest of the day.



Sur La Manche

14th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Exmouth to Brest
Weather:- Warm
Wind:- NW 5-6

On a fine but very blustery day, the voyage across the Channel to Brest was rapid and straightforward, even for the motley crew that sail the Malarkey, and once they had located their lodgings away from the water and allocated bunks, they headed back into the environs of the metropolis to find ale and sustenance; the latter of which proved somewhat difficult.

There were extraordinary late night rocket-fired illuminations in a spectacular display around the port in remembrance of Bastille Day, which is a significant date in La Belle France, not that any of the lads stayed alert enough to see them. Should they manage to rise in time, the true purpose of their being in Brittany will commence on the morrow.



Mid Devon celebrations

9th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Templeton
Weather:- Warm
Wind:- SSW 4

After the overland journey up-country to the bucolic idyll that life between the Moors represents, the buoys off-loaded their gear on a farm's sloping field where, after sampling the fine ale on offer from the handily placed keg, they tried their hardest to add to the good spirits of the event underway, even adding to their number for one song the best looking additional crew members seen for some time.

While they have attended nuptial celebrations before, it was the first time they had experienced the bride offering to sing, with some of her friends, a shanty that she had composed herself. Most excellent it was and, with their usual willingness and gusto, the lads joined in the choruses and will no doubt steal the song in due course to add to their own repertoire. 

They left before being tempted to 'borrow' anything else or getting into too much trouble with the boyfriends and husbands of their temporary crew.



Falmouth Shanty Festival

19th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
Falmouth
Weather:- Gentle drizzle
Wind:- Calm

The buoys were given a relatively relaxed programme for the day, which matched perfectly the equally gentle Cornish mist that had arrived to envelop Falmouth.

First visiting The Grapes, they staged a performance that quite astonished several of the ladies in the audience. After a brief pause, this was followed by a visit to the very much more refined, and therefore utterly alien, ambience of The Falmouth Hotel where they provided one to almost enliven the attending gentlefolk.

Later, while some remained ashore for the Festival's finale, the remainder sailed the Malarkey safely, albeit exceeding slowly back to home port.



Festival before wedding

18th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
Falmouth
Weather:- Better than of late
Wind:- SSW 4

A pleasant sail westwards down the Channel saw Malarkey tied up alongside in the inner harbour at Falmouth in easy time for the crew to scramble ashore and into Events Square, where they put on what they were told was a most splendid performance for the large audience gathered in the sunshine before strolling across the road to Five Degrees West for their next.

Thereafter, they took an overland route to the majestic and picturesque clifftop at Porthleven in order that Jessica's wedding to David should be celebrated in truly bawdy and boisterous fashion as befits such a lovely Cornish couple. Thence via a further ale or two to their boarding house for brief respite in preparation for the demands of the morrow.



The Queen's bithday

11th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
Lympstone
Weather:- Improving
Wind:- SW 3

On what was otherwise to be a well-earned day of rest, a handful of the crew were dispatched to Candy's Field in North Exmouth to add their inestimable presence and vitality to the village's planned celebrations which were laid on in honour of their Sovereign's 90th Official Birthday.

Although the Monarch failed to appear in person, apparently detained by some minor function on The Mall in London, a most splendidly patriotic time was had by all once the sun decided to cooperate in proper Devon style and add warmth and brightness to what was in any case a beautifully colourful party.

"God save our gracious Queen" long may she live and reign.



On the Strand

5th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
Exmouth
Weather:- Splendid
Wind:- SSE  3

The morning after the night before saw the buoys encouraging each other to draw out the last reserves of their remaining energy and vocal chords after an exhausting ten days, for them partly spent on the Continent and for others, occupied almost exclusively at the three successive venues of the Exmouth Festival.

Being real troopers, they did this in as much of their usual ebullient style and with as much gusto as their spent bodies and voices could muster for the throng forgathered in The Strand to bask in the almost-as-good-as-the-day-before sunshine and enjoy the variety of acts that ware paraded in front of them. With additional events in nearby hostelries again and many other attractions to boot, there was little excuse for anyone who witnessed the spectacle not to be thoroughly entertained and surely it was but a few who could possibly have left the 2 day extravaganza unsatiated in aural gratification, not to mention in sustenance and refreshment. Altogether it was a very fine weekend.




West Country Traditions

4th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
Exmouth
Weather:- Hot
Wind:- SE 2 to 3

'West Country Traditions' is itself now becoming a tradition within the Exmouth Festival and once more the lads found themselves alongside dancers and singers, steamers, all and sundry & other crews from as far afield as Bristol. 

With the event being extended this year for the first time to fill two whole days, all the aforementioned had loins girded for the necessary efforts that were going to be required and, in these, they did not disappoint in the opinion of at least a representative sample of the large crowds who filled the town's plaza for this sun-warmed day. With more to come on the morrow, some even prolonged the singing into the late evening in a nearby local hostelry.




Perfect evening

2nd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
River Exe
Weather:- Sunny, warm and calm
Wind:- SSW 2

After a couple of days ashore following their recent foreign exertions, the buoys went aboard "Pride of Exmouth" with about a hundred other souls for a cruise up the estuary on what turned out to be the most perfect evening of bright sunshine and clear skies. And a fine time was had by all who made the trip.

This Log however is but one place in which praises should be sung to Stuart Line Cruises, who generously supported this trip as they have done for many years past as their invaluable contribution to the Exmouth Festival. It is calculated by those who know such things that the annual Festival shanty cruise has now raised somewhere in excess of eight thousand guineas over its time and for this, both the crew and the Festival organisers offer their profound gratitude. Three cheers for Stuart Line. Hip hip ....



Battling the elements

30th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Voyage home
Weather:- Cool
Wind:- NNE 6

Surprisingly, the town was only painted the very slightest shade of pink last night as general malaise and the prospect of rising early in the morning was fully realised. Oostende will live, as will most of the buoys, to fight another day.

The voyage back to home port was accomplished without significant or noteworthy difficulty despite a strengthening northerly gale that had swept in overnight making it more wearisome and demanding than was necessary. 

Overall, there is a feeling that this was a job well done and that a few rest days have been thoroughly earned.



Not all at sea, Oostende

29th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Still at anchor
Weather:- Fine until thundery late showers
Wind:- NW 5

The final day of activity for the buoys around the harbour was fine in all respects until they had finished and during it they performed on Hydrograaf once more before closing their vocal account on the main stage in the square of Peter & Paul.

The period of the late afternoon saw the assembling and stowing of gear ready for their departure from foreign shores in the early morning tomorrow; a task they had decided was best achieved before the night in the town's taverns that had been planned in celebration of a successful sojourn in northern Belgium. There may well be some sore heads on the morrow.



Belgian coast

28th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
voor Anker
Weather:- Misty & Overcast
Wind:- NNW 5

The weather has deteriorated slightly on a daily since the Malarkey first moored in Oostende but remained dry at least which, with almost all of the crew's work being outside, they are very grateful for.

After a morning spent entirely on Hydrograaf, gamely singing across repeated attempts to throw them off couse by various means, and even at one point by the arrival of what appeared to be a firing squad, the buoys re-visited Avenue Terasse Vindictive for a short while before lurching unsteadily back to Hydrograaf to complete their day's engagements.

The evening will forever remain a mystery; certainly to those who didn't witness it, and quite probably also for those who did!




In harbour, Belgium

27th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Oostende
Weather:- Muggy
Wind:- NW 5

The day was long with another most demanding programme which led to some tired voices and weary muscles by day's end, working as the lads were in very warm and close conditions, even if the weather is disregarded.

However despite those climatic perversities and periodic interruptions & aural interference from Scottish windbags and other supposedly musical assemblages across the harbour, they are understood to have acquitted themselves honourably and to warm appreciation from several who sought them out subsequently to generously praise their efforts. If there is a storm later it wouldn't be a complete surprise.





Oostende Voor Anker

26th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Oostende
Weather:- Marvellous 
Wind:- WNW 3

The day dawned rather brighter and earlier than some of the crew who were taking it easy after the long sail yesterday. Indeed, the Festival organiser was heard to mention something about too much beer; a phrase unfamiliar to those present.

The day was taken at a generally steady pace while the buoys also managed to put on two thoroughly entertaining shows for the town's burghers, first at Terasse Avenue Vindictive and, later, at Place St Pierre et Paul where they were joined on stage for an encore by members of two other crews. The evening saw them once more temporarily installed in 't Waterhuis where, at least for the time being, they appear to be extremely welcome.





Belgium via Kent

25th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Oostende
Weather:- Fine & dry
Wind:- WSW 3

The first long voyage of the season took the Malarkey along the southern coast before setting a southerly course across the Channel to Dunkerque, whence overland to Oostende where the crew arrived in late evening at the Kapotan Borchardt which will be their berth for their time in Belgium.

The journey proved uneventful, if lengthy, and aside from some minor confusions at Dover, Eamon believing that he was headed for Calais and the Bos'n throwing part of his lunch down his best dress smock, all was well. Their work begins on the morrow.




Beautiful harbour

7th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Poole
Weather:- Very good
Wind:- WSW 3 - 4

The spectacular harbour in which Poole lies has to be one of the world's most beautiful and, once tied up alongside the many other local craft, the buoys entered the hallowed portals of what can only be described as their unnatural habitat. They had been invited to the yacht club for the diversion of Kate and her many friends on the occasion of her particular birthday.

Once fed and watered in grand style, much singing took its place within the evening's planned shenanigans, with many joining in word and action as the songs became more raucous and the revellers more lubricated & relaxed. Indeed, some of the ladies seemed quite pleased to be given the opportunity to help with the hauling and hoisting usually reserved for their menfolk. It is probably fair to say that for some, the evening will last long in the memory.


Pirates Ahoy!

2nd day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Brixham
Weather:- Cool & drizzly
Wind:- SW 4

The Malarkey's first voyage since the depths of winter saw the crew sail down the coast to Brixham, where pirates and other such nautical reprobates were gathered in taverns and diverse places around this famous and historical fishing harbour. 

On two occasions during the period of the fore- and afternoon watch, the buoys brightened the audio landscape by bursting forth in song for all and sundry but especially those three brave souls who had ventured far from their native, landlocked, Chipping Sodbury to see and hear the lads in full flow. Grateful for their steadfastness in the face of increasing rain and wind for the later entertainment, and of those other few who stuck it out, the crew gave of their best in the challenging conditions before re-boarding their ship and setting course for home on a strengthening wind under brightening skies.


Charity Concert

20th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2016
Sidmouth
Weather:- Better than forecast
Wind:- WNW 3

The light winds made for a gentle sail eastwards in the late afternoon which took the Malarkey to Sidmouth, whereupon the buoys lugged their gear up to the Manor Pavilion Theatre and set themselves up alongside the Town Band for an evening's musical extravaganza to raise funds, through the Sidmouth Lions, for 'Headway Devon'.

This excellent charity supports those who have had the misfortune of a head injury from such accidents as falling from the rigging or being hit by a passing horse and cart, and it is understood that the proceeds from the shared concert were substantial and much appreciated. There were certainly expressions of enjoyment from some who had witnessed the shanty-fuelled raucousness twinned with the somewhat more elegant notes of the Band.


Quarter of a Century

2nd day of February. Year of Our Lord 2016
Exmouth
Weather:- Cooling fast
Wind:- NW 4

Individual members of the crew have shown their personal support of the Bicton Inn on very many occasions by attempting to maintain a rapid flow of ale through the taps so, when asked to help landlady Alison celebrate her 25 years behind the bar, there was little chance that they would not give their full cooperation.

As the Inn gradually filled during the evening, the buoys similarly became more fulsome in their singing and the valiant attempt, at least by some, to empty as many barrels as possible from the host assembled for the anniversary week. Raucous, occasionally harmonious, pitch almost-perfect and with words in all sorts of orders, they gave voice to many of their best known songs, ensuring that Alison at least will be quite unable to forget what she witnessed.


Up the Plym

26th day of January. Year of Our Lord 2016
Turnchapel
Weather:- Driving rain
Wind:- SW 6 - 7

Sent out on this filthy night by Skinners Brewery to the river Plym to extoll the virtues of drinking Betty Stogs ale, the Malarkey tied up in a small creek to land the crew at Turnchapel where they immediately fell into the Clovelly Bay Inn to be warmly greeted by Rod, Dino and all within. Shortly thereafter, copious quantities of the most wonderful food was offered to help mollify the effects of the ale and as a bribe to the buoys to sing for it afterward.

They did so in two parts, separated by some proper harmonies from the delightful 'Scarlet Harlots' in all their finery, which doubtless thrilled the local imbibers at least visually far more than would the previous and subsequent performances. All in all however, those who ventured down the hill were given a thoroughly entertaining evening.


Yuletide Carols

20th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2015
Dockside, Exmouth
Weather:- Mild & Damp
Wind:- SW 4

Rather than being frosty or covered in snow as is everyone's dream for this time of year, Exmouth's harbourside was damp and unfathomably mild as the large crowd gathered outside in the early evening to sing Christmas Carols and be further entertained by musicians & various community ensembles, all freely offered in aid of a suitable organisation which gives charity to those less fortunate.

Thereafter, many repaired to one of the two adjacent taverns for a glass of warming ale and the company of like-minded seasonal celebrants. 

As this was the last commitment of this year for the Malarkey's buoys before they departed for a brief but well-earned period of shore leave, they would like to take this time and place to give their Festive Greetings to all who read this ship's log. May you each be merry and bright as you head into the next twelve-month.





Bay Horse Skinners

15th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2015
Bay Horse Inn, Totnes
Weather:- Wet
Wind:- WSW 5 

On a rather unpleasant & grizzly evening, the mainly younger carousers of Totnes were abroad to enter into the spirit of Christmas by spending their hard-won coinage on fripperies for loved ones and later, in the Inn at the top of town, where they were diverted by the sound of sea shanties brought ashore.

The lads supplied songs to warm the dampest and most exhausted of hearts and had quite a number of the ale-suppers joining in with words of a reasonably similar nature to those being sung or clapping and banging the tables, sometimes in time.

Appreciation must be extended particularly to Kathy for looking after the crew so well and, of course, to those very special folk at Skinners Brewery in whose honour the evening took place and who so generously provided the buoys with Betty Stogs ale aplenty throughout the evening.


Dress Uniform and posh frocks

12th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2015
Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth
Weather:- Mainly dry
Wind:- SW 6 occ. 7


Fighting a strong headwind, the buoys sailed down to Plymouth to the 300-year old base of HM Royal Marines at Stonehouse where the Officers and their ladies were holding a seasonal celebration for which they had requested some authentic entertainment.

Having been present at several such military occasions before, the lads put their experience to good use, knowing how & when to change the tenor of their offered repertoire and how best to encourage audience participation, which they did in some style at the close of this fine dinner.

They did, however, learn one invaluable lesson: if you want a sheet hauled, ask a sailor but don't ask a Marine. Apparently Her Majesty's RM officers really have no idea what to do when presented with a rope! That aside, all the diners seemed to be partying in style and were generally in fine voice, joining the choruses when suitably encouraged before willingly & loudly showing their appreciation.


The Wardroom

5th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2015
HMS Nelson, Portsmouth
Weather:- Mild & Dry
Wind:- SW Gale 8

Vanessa & Ben had asked the buoys to sail up to Britain's oldest Naval Base to help them celebrate at the wedding breakfast following their nuptials in the Chapel and which was held in the extraordinary grandeur of the beautiful Wardroom.

With a south-westerly gale to drive them, the afternoon voyage eastward was fairly easy; unlike the beat back during which our helmsman certainly earned his square meal. In between the two legs, the crew did their bit as requested to entertain the many guests in between the courses of most excellent victuals and accompanying fine wines with which they were being provided.

It is believed that the proceedings in general were much as the joyous bride & groom had desired and the lads wish them well as they set sail on their new life together.


In aid of the RNLI

22nd day of November. Year of Our Lord 2015
The harbour, Exmouth
Weather:- Cold & clear
Wind:- SW 3

There is a crew of sailors in Exmouth who man the lifeboat and risk their lives to help those at sea who run into trouble and, when asked to support them, the Malarkey's buoys like to do so if they can. As this could never take the form of practical assistance on the water, they feel that the best way to give their help is by aiding such fundraising projects as are suggested.

This night, the lads gave their time to the cause by agreeing to provide jollity and song to amuse those who had gone to the harbourside eatery known as the Pier Bar & Grill to donate their hard-earned guineas also in aid of such a worthy enterprise. Fine food and wines were enjoyed by the diners; fine chorality was enjoyed by the shanty men.


At the mouth of the Dart

14th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2015
Seasalt shop, Dartmouth
Weather:- Extremely miserable
Wind:- SW 5

A after a battle against the strong wind, the Malarkey finally moored in the harbour at Dartmouth whereupon, after briefly stopping for a warming beverage, the crew arrived at Seasalt's newly opened emporium. As requested, they valiantly entertained all those souls brave enough to ignore the elements and venture out into the late Autumn rain to experience what delights the shop had for them.

In between bouts of singing, the buoys were royally looked after by the staff of The Wheelhouse, who kept them well sustained with tea, coffee and welcome lunchtime fare, which was much appreciated on a very wet and chilly day. It has been several years now that the lads have had the pleasure of working with Seasalt; a company which follows good ethical guidelines and with which they are comfortable in associating. They very much hope that they will continue to do so in the future and Abner, for one, felt greatly enriched by his day's experience.




Remembrance Festival Concert

6th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2015
The Pavilion, Exmouth
Weather:- Overcast but dry
Wind:- SW 2

Engaged only at the eleventh hour to bolster the ranks of performers at this year's Royal British Legion's Remembrance evening, the Malarkey's lads (apart from Mal Demaer who apparently got lost on the way) duly mustered at the appointed hour just half a nautical mile East of their harbour mooring to open the proceedings in their usual, indomitable style.

A short while of an Autumn evening spent honouring those who have fallen in the many battles of so many wars. 




Inspirational paintings

30th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Kennaway House, Sidmouth
Weather:- Mild, with occasional light rain
Wind:- S 4

For the second time in as many weeks, the buoys found themselves in prestigious surroundings; this time a fine Regency mansion, in whose grand ground floor rooms the most excellent paintings of local artist Colin Bentley were displayed to members of the public for the first time.

With a motif to the exhibition of "the South West Coast" the artist felt that the evening's entertainment should be similarly themed and so the lads duly took their place amongst the sumptuous surroundings and provided background music of a nautical nature which fitted well the period of the house's construction, even if it didn't match so precisely the gentility and sensibility of the work presented therein. 



Trafalgar Day

21st day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
CTCRM Officers' Mess, Lympstone
Weather:- Pleasant
Wind:- SW 3

On the occasion of the anniversary of Nelson's famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, Her Majesty's Royal Navy and Royal Marines like to celebrate the event and, for the past few years, those officers based at CTCRM Lympstone, have chosen the Exmouth crew to help them do so.

Always an evening of gravity mixed with remembered and current expressions of joy, it allows the buoys to deliver songs from their repertoire which are not often heard beyond the walls of such a Mess as well as those with which the assembled company, all in their finest dress uniforms, can join in. Tonight, as on previous occasions, this 'went down' as well as the French fleet did in 1805.



SS Great Britain

20th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Bristol
Weather:- Extraordinary
Wind:- SSW 2

It is rare that the crew get to board one of the very greatest ships ever built in this land of such long maritime heritage but, on this evening in the historic port of Bristol, they did just that and found themselves on Brunel's finest sea-going feat of engineering.

Although tinged with the slight sadness of knowing that it was Isambard Kingdom's creation which, more than any other single factor heralded the gradual decline of sailing vessels, they much enjoyed exploring his behemoth and filling her decks with heartfelt songs and shanties.

When they ventured back towards Exmouth the buoys were clearly enriched by their experience and hope that those who witnessed their appearance in Bristol were similarly enriched by what they saw and heard.



L2F

16th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Lichfield 
Weather:- Light cloud, mild temperatures 
Wind:- SSE 3

With a particularly long voyage to be completed, the Malarkey cast off her moorings shortly after the noon hour and headed North towards the landlocked city of Lichfield where, many a mile later, she arrived at the fine and ancient Guildhall.

The crew were welcomed warmly & hosted most kindly and, in return, headed up the evening's entertainment for the full house which assembled therein to enjoy listening and oft times contributing their own many voices to the rousing work songs and sad laments with which they were regaled.

Their efforts duly acknowledged and with words of appreciation ringing in their ears, the buoys undertook the blessedly quicker journey home, arriving safely well before dawn.



Santander reception

8th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exeter
Weather:- Light drizzle
Wind:- Calm

That the motley crew of the Malarkey should ever appear at one of the best sporting facilities in the country is surprising to say the least but, to Sandy Park they did travel this day to give their all, not on the green table-like surface outside, but inside amongst sumptuous surroundings such as are equally foreign to these hard-bitten sea dogs.

Standing where royalty had stood the previous day, they delivered their programme of rowdiness to all who would listen, before just reward by way of ale and sustenance was offered - and gratefully accepted. A pleasant evening all round and home in time for some to further enjoy a flagon or two as well.


Seasalt bargains in 'Diagon Alley'

1st day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exeter
Weather:- Like summer
Wind:- ENE 2

The crew's association with Seasalt goes back several years during which they have appeared at various of the trader's outlets though never, until this day in the smart emporium in Gandy Street, Exeter, made famous as the inspiration for J K Rowling's creation of Diagon Alley.

To help encourage purchasers into the premises, the buoys sang outside the entrance and at other nearby places in the centre of the city, exciting comments and picture takers aplenty - and a few very puzzled shy glances - after which the company's local manager declared their efforts a great success; about which they were very pleased.


Sporting pastimes

26th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2015
Bovey Tracey
Weather:- Excellent 
Wind:- SSE 3

A short evening sail to Bovey ended at the Cromwell Arms where, for some time, the lads joined the full house in observing some of their national sporting heroes attempting to overcome the Welsh dragon. During a break in the action they sang in support and hope; at the end of affairs, they sang to help overcome the grief of defeat.

Although this was not the outcome that most had wanted, as their very presence was helping to raise vital funds for those very special Macmillan Nurses, all was not lost and the evening at least ended in some sort of triumph.



Hydrographical doings

17th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2015
Plymouth 
Weather:- A clear and star-filled night
Wind:- SW 3 gusting 5 

Upon arrival on Plymouth Hoe, with its quite wonderful view across the Sound and out to sea, the lads sallied forth to fulfil their commitment to sing for their (excellent) supper and for the assembled international delegates at the close of their conference on all things to do with shallow water maritime surveying; an activity which for obvious reasons is dear to the heart of any sailor.

And sing they did, with a noticeable degree of proficiency and aplomb, and also in a manner which, they were told later, was well received by those with overall responsibility for this prestigious event to which fine minds and skilful hands had been drawn from all over the world. To prove that marine maps are useful, they even managed to navigate their way home without incident.



Bivalve Beauties

12th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exmouth 
Weather:- Warm and sunny, cooling towards evening
Wind:- SSW 5 Freshening

The very first festival in celebration of the area's famous mussels combined demonstrations by the town's very best chefs with music from various local bands, of which the Malarkey's buoys were one. There is little doubt that it can be hailed a great success.

With plenty of time in between their two staged antics, the lads were able to enjoy such molluscs, other seafood and locally brewed ale as was on offer, yet still deliver a later performance which was, by some distance, the most nautical and boisterous of the day and which had both young children and older members of the audience singing along as they basked in the sunshine.



Weymouth Waterfest

6th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weymouth 
Weather:- Warm sunshine all day
Wind:- SE 3

A keenly anticipated return to the crew's favourite Dorset waterside venue was improved further by the weather, which was startling in its brilliance compared with the recent autumnal wetness that has been so prevalent while the Malarkey has been tied up in her home port.

This in turn brought large crowds down to the harbour on the Wey to experience all the varied food & drink, entertainment and rowing gig racing that was mustered all around for their delectation. It is fair to record in these annals that everything ran smoothly and, fulfilled and not uncoloured by the sun, the buoys made way back to Exmouth well before dusk.



Homeward bound

17th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015
The Channel 
Weather:- Perfect 
Wind:- S 2

The day of this trip's final voyage began in leisurely fashion when the Malarkey finally slipped her moorings in the late afternoon and headed north on a calm sea for the Devon coastline some sixty leagues distant.

After an incident free sail, with dolphins occasionally playing across the bow, she made home port in time for the crew to find a hostelry for a celebratory jug of ale before each man headed off wearily to his lodgings and the prospect of a few days ashore before the next voyage.



French Festival Finalé

16th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015
Still in Pempoull 
Weather:- Cool & cloudy
Wind:- SW 2

A slightly late start to their schedule than on previous days gave the buoys a chance to catch up a little of their missed beauty sleep- not that the difference is too obvious - and allow them to sally forth on to the quayside to give festival goers the benefit of their élan.

After another fine lunch, they offered further impromptu raucousness near the harbour wall before decamping to Scène Michel Pinc for their final show, which they delivered to a large audience who gave every impression of enjoyment, sometimes singing along and offering warm applause at appropriate moments.

This task completed, small quantities of alcohol were consumed during the evening before they prepared for the return voyage to Devon on the morrow.



English ships & French harbours

15th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015
Paimpol
Weather:- Beautiful 
Wind:- SSW 4

Following an early vocal wandering around the bedecked harbour, the crew found themselves on the pilot cutter Amelie Rose where they sang a few songs with the splendid musicians who had brought her over from England: a real treat.

In the afterglow there was a moment of strife when Mal stole food from another's plate. With warnings of keel hauling and flogging to come if this were to be repeated it is hoped that such unsavoury behaviour will not be witnessed again.

Disaster averted, the lads went as one to the "Guinness" stage at the far end of the site to find, and subsequently keep, a large, vociferous and aware audience singing along with gusto until well past the witching hour and for which exertion compliments and plaudits were apparently given.



Late beginnings

14th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015
Paimpol, Brittany
Weather:- Torrential rain giving way to cool dryness
Wind:- SW 3

The appalling weather of the night and morning prohibited any outside activities until after a fine mid-day meal had been consumed but, thereafter, various performances were given around the harbour prior to the buoy's main effort of the day towards midnight.

On "Scène Pempoull" they thoroughly entertained the late evening audience and kept many in their thrall as they went through some of their repertoire. They furled sails and even rounded the Horn in their hour on stage, while Terry certainly pulled something ... though it may not have been a rope.


Across the Channel

13th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015
To Northern France
Weather:- Stormy to fair
Wind:- SSW 6

With flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder as a background in the first hours of morning light the crew made way to Plymouth and thence, on choppy seas, to northern France for a fondly anticipated return to Paimpol.

The evening's high tide brought many tall ships into harbour to swell the number already there and turn the small space into a wondrous sight of masts, rigging and bunting, around which the Festival will fully unfold on the morrow. Old friends and new were spotted and acquaintances will be confirmed in song on the harbourside over the next few days.


Other folk

7th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015
Sidmouth 
Weather:- Hot & sunny
Wind:- Calm

During this same week each year, the very finest folk musicians in the land and some from over the seas, congregate in the small town of Sidmouth to provide the vast numbers of visiting devotees with a packed programme of music and dance; and the buoys were grateful to be invited to join them once more.

At the farewell 'nautical' concert, once the full theatre auditorium had been thoroughly warmed to their task by the American singer Jeff Warner, the lads took the Manor Pavilion stage by storm and closed the year's offerings there as only they could.

They thank all those concerned and hope that, as they were on their very best behaviour, they might be asked back.



Estuary Spirit

1st day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exeter
Weather:- Dry & warm
Wind:- WSW 2

Another short voyage took the buoys up the very estuary this event was celebrating with its annual festival 'Spirit of the Exe' and they managed to arrive, most of the crew still on board, at the appointed time and place across the water from the custom house.

Following immediately after a daredevil demonstration by men on two-wheeled devices, they performed in their usual manner for an age-disparate and rather transient audience and particularly delighted in seeing some old and new friends who had ventured along to renew acquaintance.



Exeter University

24th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exeter
Weather:- Wet
Wind:- SW 5

There lies, but a few leagues away in the city of Exeter, a fine and well respected seat of learning for people from all over the world who are already well read and knowledgeable before furthering their erudition there and it was to this place that the buoys were invited by someone who quite obviously  should have known better.

They certainly managed to lower the tone of the conference at the dinner of which they made their appearance, thus proving that a fully rounded education can take many, probably unexpected forms.



Trophy visit

8th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exmouth
Weather:- Brightening 
Wind:- WNW 7

It is only fitting that the lads, mid-season fit as they are, should appear with one of the world's great sporting trophies and so they did, singing beside the small but beautifully crafted Webb Ellis Cup which was on show for a while at the seafront in a planned pause on its journey around the West Country and beyond.

As the earlier rather inclement weather passed northwards and the throngs grew more fulsome, the county's original buoy band gathered to entertain, their voices harmonically carried to listeners on the wind.


Cornish Country Fair

4th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2015
Padstow 
Weather:- Very pleasant
Wind:- SW 6

A vintage rally is almost the perfect place to find the Malarkey's crew, particularly when their ageing bodies and minds were still recovering from their recent long voyage. That it was combined with a country fair with music to be had, completed the picture.

On this, their second visit to Padstow, they found much changed from the previous year, though the staging provided for their antics was as before, allowing an intimate audience experience interrupted only briefly by the shriek of steam whistles from the agricultural leviathans nearby.

Safely back in Exmouth well before dusk, they felt they had had a gentle day out.


Homeward bound

29th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015
Via Hamburg 
Weather:- Sunny & hot
Wind:- SW 3

Leaving Lübeck on the early tide, the Malarkey slipped into Hamburg for a few hours on her way back to Exmouth for her crew to see for themselves on the rope walk known as the Reeperbahn, how sailors there deal with sheets & ropes.

After this experience they embarked on the last leg of their journey in fine spirits, tired but stronger for having shown everyone they had met on the mainland what they could achieve as a team, and not even slightly jealous of the extra attention given to Helen High/Clear/Bilgewater.

It may rightly & fairly be recorded that a fine time was had by all.


Festival Finalé

28th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015
Down by the sea 
Weather:- Hot
Wind:- SSW 5

Permissions to stay having expired for the late arrivals, they were allowed only to complete this day's first effort before they were ushered away as quickly as possible.

Those remaining later gave a final pulsating performance before attending the closing ceremony and socialising briefly with their new German acquaintances and then returning for the last time to Lübeck and, Tini's being closed for the day, seeking out a different tavern where much beer, all brewed within the tavern itself, was consumed in the company of a number of the crew of 'Shantychor Esslingen' - definitely the first time the buoys from the Malarkey have ever sung about watermelons to the accompaniment of accordion and mouth organ.


More shenanigans

27th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015
Travemünde 
Weather:- Sunny, hot
Wind:- ESE 6

With the missing members of the Malarkey's crew now arrived, and most of them with all their kit, the full ship's compliment for this trip travelled again to Travemünde to face the now clamouring fans of their very different style of entertainment.

After a tempered start they fully regained their sea legs from yesterday and duly delivered a fine rendering of the chosen selection of bawdy and essentially British songs and shanties before once more retiring to Lübeck where they descended on Stadtschänke where the most delightful Tini provided beer and fine wine while her husband cooked up the local speciality, Labskaus.

As sales of their musical aspirations by the buoys' ladies began to break all recent records and as requests about their next appearance times were still being made in plenty, one comment overheard in the crowd was "apparently they are very famous in England". With 'infamous' more usually the term used, the crew noted with great pleasure this unexpected departure and hoped it was not solely something lost in translation.


Lübeck to Travemünde

26th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015
The Trave
Weather:- Slightly thundery
Wind:- NE 6

The crew already in Germany were greeted by none other than one of the Queen's Officers and escorted aboard the "Lisa von Lübeck" bound down river to its mouth. A pleasant hour or two was thus spent watching another crew, the boys from Möwenschiet Chor, do all the work.

Upon arrival in Travemünde, and after some light refreshment, they found their way to one of the several areas along the river's western bank which had been set aside for performances by the many continental crews in port and on which they shortly stunned with their ebullience.

Buoyed by their reception, the lads later delivered two further spine-tingling performances, the last being quite exceptional, before escaping town and returning to the safety of Lübeck whence they were to return on the morrow.


To the Baltic

25th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exmouth to Lübeck
Weather:- Threatening rain
Wind:- S 3

While some of the crew enjoyed an uneventful journey to the north east German coast, others were delayed by incomplete earlier travel documents and will arrive later.

Once Lübeck was reached, their hostelry located and bunks prepared, the lads found their way to a nearby inn where, despite the almost opaque atmosphere caused by the use of tobacco by locals, they managed to sample such beer as was offered before the short stroll to bed.


Sailability naming

19th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exmouth
Weather:- Sunny & warm
Wind:- SSW 5

After the Trinity House Admiral, sailing club Commodore and the assembled great & good had boarded the harbour-berthed lifeboat, the speakers spoke, the Crier cried and the lads regaled the huge crowd with song as the Sailability charity's newest bunting-bedecked fleet addition was expertly brought out of the basin and alongside for the champagne to be broken across her bow as she was named 'No Excuse'.

Thereafter, while No Excuse was excused, to depart for sea trials, the dignitaries and crew of the Malarkey made way to the clubhouse for refreshments and more shanties.


Falmouth International Shanty Festival

13th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015
Falmouth
Weather:- Fine & dry
Wind:- SW 4

The Malarkey slipped her moorings in the early morn to make sail westward to  Kernow and the fine port town which hosts this country's biggest and best gathering of shanty crews from around our isle & across the seas.

At Custom House Quay, the lunchtime audience was treated to a sight to behold when Betty Stogs showed up to join the buoys on stage during their act while, at The Grapes later, those therein were given what can only be described as a roistering performance.

In the evening however, at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, while some were happy to be entertained, there was a deal more interest by the majority in food and chatter than in listening as the lads struggled manfully to make themselves heard above the cacophony. A pity, as they did this rather well.



Wessex Folk Festival

31st day of May. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weymouth
Weather:- Fine
Wind:- W 4

After embarking for the eastward voyage to Dorset in light drizzle and subsequently passing through a thick sea fog, the lads steered into the Wey in fine weather which drew forth increasing attendees as the post meridian hours progressed.

With quite a few such performances in the town behind them over recent years, appearances on the harbourside and at Brewers' Quay felt comfortingly familiar to the crew and this allowed them to entertain the crowds as only they can. Appreciation was shown and food and a little liquid refreshment was enjoyed before the uneventful return leg of the journey was undertaken.



Festival Shanty Cruise

26th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2015
Off Exmouth
Weather:- Fine & dry
Wind:- WSW 3 - 4

Over a hundred people embarked on Pride of Exmouth for an evening cruise in quite glorious though breezy weather to watch the sun go down while viewing the Jurassic Coast accompanied in song by the Malarkey's crew who had slipped on board before departure.

As some unsuspecting genteel folk were pressed into duties as varied as Admiral and cabin boy, others took their turn on the sheets and all were encouraged to enjoy the experience as well as they could.

Most pleasant of all though was that this voyage was given freely by Ian Stuart entirely for the benefit of the Exmouth Festival and, with all transportation fees paid being thus donated, a very fine sum was duly raised.



Gloucester Tall Ships

24th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2015
Gloucester
Weather:- Generally overcast
Wind:- Light Westerlies

Under a threateningly liquid sky the buoys embarked in the early morning for the Gloucester docks where, after a brief sojourn waterside, and with much foot tramping throughout the ensuing hours, they performed their own brand of singing and play-acting to the good folks of that town in further places beyond the harbourside and as diverse as the Café Rene & King's Square, before finding themselves in Blackfriars Priory.

Unaccustomed to such ecclesiastical surroundings and with due deference in respect of their oft-fruity language and questionable behaviour, they waited patiently and attentively to several other notable singers of the genre before being invited to bring the evening, and the entire event, to a fulsome and melodious close. 

Some of the crew remaining unscathed by the doings of the evening while others fell in the course of their duties, it was well into the Middle Watch when the Malarkey sailed back into Exmouth.



West Country Traditions Day

23rd day of May. Year of Our Lord 2015
The Strand, Exmouth
Weather:- Hot and sunny
Wind:- WSW 2

The second such extravaganza had The Strand filled to the brim with stalls, exhibits, film shows, entertainers, dancers and musicians of all hues while the Malarkey's lads were accompanied in their endeavours by other crews known variously as The Back Beach Boyz, Castletown & The Nauti Buoys.

With alternative offerings of musical folk in the Grapevine and Spoken, there was something for everyone and most found just what they were looking for. The Exmouth Festival is surely much enriched by this recent addition and it must be noted that those who departed the town to head upstream to the County Show almost certainly had the poorer of the two affairs and may long rue their decision.



East & North of Exmouth

9th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exmouth & Lympstone village
Weather:- Clement after a worrying start
Wind:- SW 5 slackening to 3

The first port of call on a busy day for the crew took them along to the eastern end of the promenade to sing for the assembled dignitaries, supporters and locals who were at the Lifeboat House for the auspicious naming and dedication ceremony for the town's new state-of-the-art lifeboat.

With great good timing, the earlier driving rain cleared to leave sunlit skies which enabled the proceedings to go ahead outside as planned. Many turned out to witness this proud moment and, afterwards, the Malarkey set course upriver to Lympstone.

The briefest meander upstream took the Malarkey into a mooring near 'The Green' and from there it was but a wander up the main street to the village's hall where they set up for their evening show.

With invaluable assistance from several of the locals, this was achieved in quick time and in readiness for the villagers to turn out in their droves to witness what followed. The buoys entertained throughout the remainder of the evening with a suitable, and sometimes even subtle, combination of refined and more salacious songs which attracted warm applause, much jollity and some most generous comments. 




The Nobody Inn

15th day of April . Year of Our Lord 2015
Doddiscombsleigh
Weather:- A perfect evening 
Wind:- S 2

More used to navigating at sea than over land, finding their way to this village on the far side of the Haldon Hills presented something of a problem; though nothing like the difficulty of finding their way home again later. Whether this had to do with the fine ale provided for them at The Nobody Inn is debatable.

In between times, and in support of an educational and enlightening talk given by one of Exmouth's brave lifeboat men, the lads performed with their usual gusto at what was the proper beginning of a summer season which will take the Malarkey's crew far and wide.





Food and Ale

13th day of March. Year of Our Lord 2015
East of Orcombe
Weather:- Cool and damp
Wind:- NE 4

A far shorter voyage than their last took the crew east round Orcombe Point to the neighbouring and genteel town of Budleigh Salterton where a gastronomic festival was getting underway.

It was a new experience for the buoys to share their stage with a stuffed cow but, with typical calmness under testing circumstances, they performed with gusto a spasm of songs made surprisingly brief by the time taken earlier by the organisers to arrange the beast in its position.

Once the event was properly underway, the Malarkey set sail for home.




Greeted by snow

23rd day of February. Year of Our Lord 2015
Landing in England
Weather:- Inclement
Wind:- NNE 6

This day saw a weary and bleary eyed group of shanty men assemble for the voyage back to home shores. Fortunately there was no early start. While in Poland the crew had expected cold weather only to find it like Spring. As they arrived in England, they were greeted by snow flurries.

That and the strong winds aside, their return was uneventful and they were safely tied up in Exmouth before darkness fell, bringing home with them happy memories of beautiful Polish women and fine Polish beer, while trying to forget the strangely thick heads brought about by vodka.

Wayne, the anchorman, was not with the other buoys when they set sail and is thought to be still somewhere on the continent. No doubt he will find his way home at some time soon.



The Rotunda

22nd day of February. Year of Our Lord 2015
From Rotunda to Stary Port
Weather:- Sunny, bright & warm
Wind:- NW 2

The buoys always realised that there would be a price to be paid for two slack days and that price was hardly a spare moment during this Sunday, which saw them in the Rotunda for many of the daylight hours. Their first appearance was both surprise and pleasure when they were invited on to the stage by the lovely Malgo, musical director of the "Chór Academii Marynarki Wojennej w Gdyni".

Subsequently they performed again there twice between other performances and encouraged the packed house to sing along in English, Polish or any other language with which they were familiar. An unscheduled (and not normally permitted) encore was demanded by the audience much to the lads' astonishment and delight.

The day's dying hour had them back at 'Stary Port' similarly causing loud yet melodious singing from the full to bursting taverners of the late evening. Just as had happened earlier at the Rotunda, and when they had thought they were finished for the day, they were asked to sing again with the lads and lassies from the Gdansk Military Academy Choir, which led to yet another very late return to their bunks for the crew. 



Krakow

21st day of February. Year of Our Lord 2015
In the city
Weather:- Chilly
Wind:- W 1

Unusually and surprisingly, the crew had been given another day free of duties. Even more surprisingly, several spent some time and ale money on gifts of jewellery and trinkets at the market before setting off afoot to see the castle and other parts of the city.

Despite the Bosun managing to lose quite a few of the initial party during the morning, and Abner's impromptu display of pavement gymnastics, everyone managed to meet up for another splendid repast to set some of them up for a beer fuelled evening at the Rotunda while others opted for a quiter time and a return to lodgings before midnight.



The Salt Mine

20th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2015
Krakow to Bocnia
Weather:- Sunny & mild
Wind:- Calm

In some fear and trepidation due to rumours that they had heard, our brave lads set out from the relative safety of the city to the distant town of Bochnia.

It transpired that the salt mine found there was not after all a place of punishment and servitude but one of hard manual labour not dissimilar to, though on a grander scale than that of our countyfolk in the ancient tin workings of Dartmoor.

After enjoying a fine meal and a tour of the most impressive underground workings, they undertook the return journey to Krakow where a free evening allowed them to return to 'Stary Port' for ale and conversation with all and sundry.



Off to Poland

19th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2015
Via Bristol
Weather:- Mild
Wind:- Light Breeze

The earliest hours of the day saw the crew depart in carriages to Bristol whereupon they embarked a fast vessel for Krakow in Poland where, shortly after arriving and at a suitable hostelry, they attempted to catch up on a largely missed night's repose.

After an ale-accompanied repast in the evening hours, they appeared at the 'Stary Port' tavern in the city where, helped by Alfredo's selection of local volunteers and to a combination of great exuberance and enthusiastic audience participation, they proceeded to deliver a sample of their country's traditional shanties and sea songs to a more than willing audience. Their production of Polish flags at a certain point In proceedings was an inspired idea & welcomed by all those present, who greeted it with unrestrained clapping and cheering.

Rumour has it that beer was consumed and several varieties of local vodka sampled until late into the night.


The middle of where

10th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2015
Old Market Inn, Holsworthy, Devon
Weather:- Dry and mild
Wind:- WSW 3

For the third and last time this winter, the crew set off, this time by charabanc, to the furthest north western reaches of the county in late afternoon and in search of an inn serving Skinners 'Betty Stoggs'.

After successfully negotiating the many leagues of unfamiliar, back lanes through the landlocked countryside they stumbled into the Old Market Inn, where landlady Pat and her accomplices served them well with their preferred ale and more solid sustenance besides, before the lads settled in to seranade the very small assembledge of locals who had braved the dark night skies. They were given to understand that a certain Jack Russell and his friends thoroughly enjoyed their performance.


Across the Tamar

17th day of January. Year of Our Lord 2015
Cross Keys Inn, Cawsand, Cornwall
Weather:- Dry with light airs
Wind:- WNW 2

On this most clement of winter evenings the Malarkey slipped her moorings for the first time since the turn of the year and set sail for the further side of the Tamar estuary.

Upon arrival in Cawsand the crew enjoyed a very warm welcome from Isobel and Geoff at the inn, where they sang for their (most excellent) supper in celebration of that wonderful nectar, Skinners ale.

It was with a collective, and almost audible sigh, that they remembered the joy of sailing together once again and they look forward to their many more planned voyages in the coming twelve month.


Quayside carols

14th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2014
Harbourside & The Beach, Exmouth
Weather:- Relatively mild with light rain
Wind:- SW 4

If traditions are events that happen more than a few times then Exmouth's 'Carols on the Quay' must surely qualify. To musical accompaniment by some great music from the Town Band & Boys Brigade's bell ringers, carols were sung, with other accomplished solo performances in between. And the crew managed to deliver a few of their songs to spice up proceedings.

Afterwards, and to warm up the many who had come to join in, the buoys and some of the other musicians fell into The Beach where, ale in hand, they all enjoyed a fine sing-song, the tavern filled to its rafters. 

On this merry, and occasionally tuneful note, they have now abandoned the Malarkey for a spot of well-earned seasonal shore leave. They will be back on board and ready to set sail again early in the New Year.


Concert guests

11th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2014
The Pavilion, Exmouth
Weather:- Incresingly heavy rain
Wind:- Westerly gales

Despite the advance forecast of a meteorologically inclement evening, enough of the good ladies and gentlemen of Exmouth turned out to fill the Pavilion and listen to the Town Band's Christmas Concert, in which the crew had been invited to take the stage as guests.

Entering from the wings with unaccustomed quietitude for their first offering, they managed to deliver an almost accomplished set of three songs before the interval; shortly to be followed by a virtually flawless performance at the show's recommencement.

They understand that a surprising sum of money was raised for charity by this concert and are pleased to have played their small part in that enterprise.


Waterfront feast

9th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2014
The Waterfront, Exmouth
Weather:- Heavy rain showers
Wind:- WNW 7

As is customary at roughly this time in December each year, the crew assembled the kitty into which they had all been placing their meagre offerings over this last 12 month and brought together the whole to share an evening of sumptuous food and fine wine with their lady-folk.

On this occasion the chosen place for the ensuing shenanigans was 'The Waterfront' right down by the harbour and alongside the main estuary channel. The Full Moon of last week's end had heralded a change in the weather and, on such a windswept night as this, the creaking of the building's rain-lashed timbers added to the general ambience while the surrounding furnaces kept all warm while they ate their fill and sang the night away.

The party also had the (as always) immense pleasure of supping that most excellent of ales, known as Betty Stogs and gifted to them for the occasion by Skinners Brewery across the border down there in Kernow. They cheerfully, and with some sore heads, acknowledge this generosity.



The Old Church House Inn

18th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2014
Torbryan, Nr Newton Abbot, Devon
Weather:- Very mild
Wind:- Calm

Used to navigating at sea, some of the crew found reaching this pretty landlocked hamlet in south Devon rather more of a challenge and, despite the promise of waiting victuals, were somewhat delayed in their arrival. Arrive they did however, and duly tucked into a delightful light meal prepared personally by the inn's proprietor.

This most characterful ancient inn then echoed, as perhaps never before in it's 1100 years, to the sound of shanties for a large portion of the remaining eventide, with the buoys accompanied lustily by those who had come to see them; the whole ensemble being well lubricated by tankards of Betty Stogs ale, as created by their friends at Skinners Brewery in Truro.

This was certainly an example of a well- or perhaps that should be mis-spent evening.



Society of Editors

10th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2014
Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton 
Weather:- Turning to heavy rain
Wind:- SSW 5

Berthing in Southampton Water in the early evening, the Malarkey was somewhat dwarfed by the much larger ships around but, undeterred and not at all abashed by any feelings of inadequacy, the buoys from Devon made their way to the (very) Grand Harbour Hotel where they were to perform.

Therein were the great and the good from the world of the national press, gathered for their annual conference and, this evening, invited to attend a champagne reception hosted by Associated British Ports.

Judging by numerous politenesses received immediately after their vocal assault on those present, the crew definitely made an impression. It is strongly advised that none read the following day's newspapers for fear of finding out just what that impression may have been!



Remembrance

6th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2014
Pavilion, Exmouth
Weather:- Unpleasant
Wind:- SW 7

Each year in Exmouth, as in very many places across the land, the nation remembers in various ways those who have fallen in battle at home and abroad. The local branch of the Royal British Legion once again organised an evening of remembrance and fundraising and invited the lads to be a part of that.

With aplomb and predictable gusto, they had pleasure in opening the show and setting it underway towards what they hope will prove to have been another storming success. 


Harbourside nuptials & Acorn Folk Club

1st day of November. Year of Our Lord 2014
Minehead
Weather:- Sunny turning to rain
Wind:- WNW 5

The sail round to the North Somerset coast completed, the crew hove to in the harbour immediately below the small mariners chapel, where they had been asked to welcome a wedding party to their ceremony. This done, they repaired to the Hobby Horse to do the same for guests assembling to toast the newly married couple.

This achieved, and after visiting a local hostelry in the town for victuals, the buoys moved on to the venue for the Acorn Folk Club, where they joined the evening's shenanigans as the main attraction. Quite what this says about the folk thereabout none is sure but the local populus showed a great willingness to become fully involved and join in many of the subsequent vocal offerings. 

By time of departure a previously fine day had turned very wet and thus it was a more than usually bedraggled crew who set sail for home in the last hour before the morrow.


Staying aloft

30th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2014
RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall 
Weather:- Warm & foggy
Wind:- SSE 2

A long post-meridian voyage took the Malarkey west towards The Lizard & their destination near Helston whence the crew were greeted warmly and, once fully searched for hidden weaponry, granted entrance to that part of the Air Station in which sustenance was located and shortly enjoyed.

Thereafter, vocal chords were stretched in remembrance of HMS Pickle; not least by those lads & lassies whose regular work is with the huge mechanical hoverflies which were almost constantly within hearing and needing to be drowned out by the combined efforts of so many a by now well-lubricated voice.

Late in the eve, and despite the even greater lack of visibility encountered, and numerous navigational obstacles, the Exmouth buoys reached home port and the safety of their hammocks.



Trafalgar Night

23rd day of October. Year of Our Lord 2014
RMCTC, Lympstone
Weather:- Dry
Wind:- W 4

It is but a short skull upstream from home port to the river edge of the Royal Navy's Commando Training facility and it was achieved without fuss, allowing the buoys to land in good time to entertain the Officers and Ladies there gathered to celebrate Admiral Nelson's most famous victory.

The beef was paraded and subsequently eaten; the beer and wine were drunk and later on, copious quantities of port were consumed while the Malarkey's upstanding crew played their full part in proceedings as in years before.

Some thicker than usual heads may be in evidence in both Exmouth & Lympstone in the morning.



Going round in circles

10th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2014
Woodbury Park
Weather:- Damp & cool
Wind:- WNW 3

Those good people from the district Rotary organisations either like the crew or are tone deaf, as this is the third occasion on which they have sought the services of their local, uncouth sailors to enliven proceedings at their gatherings.

This particular evening their fine dining had stretched long into the evening before they felt emboldened enough to welcome the buoys into their midst (and possibly thus to risk indigestion) but they need not have worried as many, and particularly some of the ladies present it was noted, not only enjoyed the saucy offerings which followed; but greatly partook of the mood thus engendered.

Apparently, this was the very last such event to be held by this organisation. Rarely before have the Malarkey's lads been able to say that they well and truly finished something off .... other than beer of course.



A long way from the sea

29th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2014
Central Birmingham
Weather:- Dusky evening
Wind:- Still

The Malarkey was left tied up in harbour while other transport was sought to take the lads to what is pretty much the furthest point from the sea in England to help Associated British Ports celebrate their successes around the country.

Even in so greatly a land-locked city as Birmingham, the volume and clarity of performance both outside the venue tavern and inside it afterwards attracted smiles of recognition for some of the songs and some lusty joining in from the assembled company of desk-bound landlubbers and several of those who will name Westminster and the Houses of Parliament as their place of work.

The late-night journey home passed quite painlessly in pleasant chatter and quiet snoring from some.



The widest street

27th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2014
Marlborough
Weather:- Warm & dry
Wind:- SE 2

It was for their friends at SeaSalt that the buoys journeyed to this land-locked Wiltshire town. On arrival, they trooped into the new retail establishment set on the side of the widest high street any had ever set eyes upon, with market stalls set in its midst, between the busy passing pedestrians and carriages.

After singing for their sustenance, the now thirsty crew were directed to 'The Lamb' round the corner where, after a mighty delay, they enjoyed fine victuals before returning to serenade and encourage to enter the shop as many promenading folk as possible; in which task they were apparently quite successful.




Small carriages & large lifeboats

7th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2014
Exmouth boathouse
Weather:- Very fine
Wind:- SSW 1

A short stroll along the promenade took the crew to the venue for the day's event in support of those brave lads who give help to those in difficulty on the sea.

A remarkable assembly of tiny horseless carriages was to be seen stationed on the slipway aside the town's new lifeboat, which served to make them look even smaller; and it was in amongst this display that singing took place, with audience joining in occasionally before availing themselves of the delightful refreshments on offer.



Weymouth Waterfest

6th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2014
Weymouth harbourside
Weather:- Summer returned
Wind:- WSW 2

Once more unto the East, dear friends with a second voyage to the mouth of the Wey in as many months. This time to the harbourside wall of Trinity Road rather than the buoys' usual haunt around Brewer's Quay. Although further from the taverns and thus more inconvenient, the views afforded of water-borne activity were pleasing.

With dockside food available for passers by in addition to the arranged entertainments on & off the water, there were folks aplenty to bear witness to the full gusto and sheer aplomb with which the Malarkey's crew deported themselves and even a few complimentary noises were heard.



Lost Gardens, Tall Ships

30th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2014
Various parts of Cornwall
Weather:- Sunny and warm
Wind:- SW 3

Unusually for this crew, it was decided that the best way to get to the day's two different venues was by charabanc, which duly took them first to Heligan where they wandered the famously now-found Gardens in search of a suitable place amongst the arbours and Autumn fruits to stand and deliver for the duration of the morning while extolling the continued virtues of SeaSalt, of Kernow, for ladies to purchase their desired new-season clothing from.

Later in the post noon, the party set off once more along the county's rural byways to Falmouth, where the docks were inundated with Tall Ships gathered from all quarters of the globe. After leaving the dockside audience enraptured, a brief visit was made to a previously enjoyed tavern in the town, where they made every effort to learn some new songs and the Anchorman tested his newly commissioned quart tankard.

Thereafter, these never work-shy buoys (Abner excepted) moved to the main area of the harbour where, following a particularly boisterous offering from others, they performed to a packed 'Events Square'. Despite moveable equipment aplenty and many sheets, cleats & words to trip over on occasion, all went well enough to satiate the gathered throng and before too long into the gathering twilight, a start was made on the long journey home.



Smokey day trip

16th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2014
Oxford Street, London
Weather:- Pleasant & fine
Wind:- WNW 4

An early morning start on the iron horse to - and later back from - the capital city was hindered by unexpected disruptions; as was the subsequent use of a new-fangled vertical transportation system, which caused consternation and an increased level of perspiration for some. Despite this, the crew managed to arrive in the correct part of the well known shoppe of one John Lewis, to celebrate that it is now even older than Terry Firmer.

Being unused to finding themselves any further west within the ' big smoke' than Wapping led to some strange behaviours, such as the two perceived poster buoys cosying up in rather odd ways, before the whole of the travelling party were escorted to the building's roof where they proceeded to break into song; wisely as far from the general public as possible. Food was consumed thereafter and Exmouth reached again before the dog watch.


Crawling around the town

5th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2014
Various inns, Sidmouth
Weather:- Increasingly wet
Wind:- SW 5

So many taverns, so little time. The Anchor, The Black Horse, The Swan and numerous other hostelries were visited in the course of an evening spent helping to collect monies for the local lifeboat which in this town is resourced entirely independently.

Naturally, as well as the several hours they spent doing something very worthwhile, the crew managed to find sufficient time during their wanderings to imbibe countless tankards of the finest local ales. All in all it was quite probably a good night - but strangely few, by the end of it, seemed able to remember.

Duking it out

3rd day of August. Year of Our Lord 2014
Dukes, Sidmouth
Weather:- Not quite as predicted
Wind:- NW 4 - 5

There were plenty of 'Folk' in Sidmouth when the Malarkey furled her sails after the brief morning reach. Painted faces and strange costumes abounded along the Esplanade as the buoys made their way to "Dukes" where they were due to entertain the masses.

This they did with much help from a (mainly) willing audience, several of whom appeared to know the words better than the crew and who were more than happy for the chance to join in the oral and aural lunchtime feast that was offered. There is rumour that a second voyage east will be undertaken in a couple of days time.

Back home

28th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
La Manche
Weather:- Variable
Wind:- Still to WNW 3

A very early departure from their digs saw the Crew setting sail in the rather beautiful and still early-dawn mist which was so soon to be replaced by a breeze and some intermittent rain.

In seemingly very short time, all were safely back in home port and able to reflect on a particularly gentle and relaxed trip to a newly discovered harbour festival gem in western France. They are now on a few days shore leave before mustering aboard again for their next voyage.


Nearing the end

27th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
La Guingette and harbourside
Weather:- More of the same
Wind:- WNW 5

A marginally less relaxed morning saw the crew singing before lunchtime in the harbour's main square, where fellow voyagers from diverse countries had gathered to sit and listen. The buoys sung tales from those travellers' countries of Ireland, Scotland & France; and those of many another nation too.

By evening, with an orchestra, a proper choir and aerial entertainments as a son et lumiere due to close the festivities at nightfall, a last, great effort was made along the dockside wall to make sure that their singing would long be remembered by all in this pleasant port. With this in mind, much of the local vineyard product was sampled in between renditions during the delightfully sultry and largely dry later hours.

Their billet was reached - or by one who is quite old enough to know better, staggered to - in the very small hours of the following morn.


Scène Escales

26th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
Still in harbour
Weather:- Bright sunshine 
Wind:- None

With the arrival of the ship's cook, most was well on this extremely hot day which saw all the buoys hiding in the shade as far as they were able and downing many gallons each of water. While for most this may not seem unusual behaviour, to those who know well the Anchorman's typical liquid consumption, this aforementioned fact is nothing less than momentous.

The day saw the buoys visiting some old friends on board the fine fishing ketch, "Vigilence" out of Brixham and new acquaintances on "Grayhound" of Fowey, and gratitude is expressed to both their captains & crew for making the Malarkey's lads as welcome as could be. Moored alongside "Vigilence" was "Keewaydin" on whose deck the buoys had hauled & sung for many an hour a few years ago during the making of a programme called 'Coast'.

In the early evening the crew were once again encouraged to sing for their supper and this having been achieved they gathered together to share their reward. Apart that is from Mr Nails who set forth alone to spend all his money and consume much of the day's earlier catch by assorted local fishermen and drink the harbour inn dry.


Temps Fête, Douarnenez

25th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
West coast of Brittany
Weather:- Very hot
Wind:- SSW 2-3

The Old Man having most unusually awarded the crew a largely free day until late afternoon, several availed themselves of the local facilities in their various forms. 

Later, all the buoys - bar their cook who had dallied in England and been forced to take a berth on another ship sailing on the evening tide - mustered in a room provided for 'artistes' and proceeded to demolish stocks of food and wine accumulated for their savouring, and from which place they were duly taken to a very large and prominent stage whereupon they attempted to sing, sometimes in French.

Apparently they impressed the Festival Director enough as he subsequently invited them to do the same again on the morrow and broadcast to a far wider audience by some means altogether unfathomable to such simple sailors; an offer that, sadly, the buoys were unable to take up because of prior commitments. 


Away to France

24th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
Devon to Brittany
Weather:- Sun turning to thundery rain mid-channel
Wind:- Calm before mild westerly

The voyage over to Douarnenez proved to be as simple as could be and Malarkey even had harbour porpoise cruising at her bow for some of the trip.

Once safely tied up, the crew went in search of their temporary lodgings, food & drink. All were successfully located, although to find themselves in lodgings dedicated to St Elizabeth (Patron Saint of pregnant women) came as something of a surprise.

A further recce around the harbour revealed all they would need to know over the next few days and late in the eve, as the bats emerged into the balmy night, they climbed happily into their bunks.


Sea Food Festival

13th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
Weymouth, Dorset
Weather:- stiff breeze
Wind:- W 6

The Malarkey sailed east along the coast on a strengthening wind to that well-loved harbour they had visited on several occasions in previous years. All around the harboursides were stalls purveying all manner of sea food, in many guises and different styles.

At the very heart of Brewers Quay, the buoys found a suitable stage from which to make noise, much to the enjoyment and sometime astonishment of those who had ventured into the sunshine from the interior of the many local inns and taverns, though it is quite possible that some of the ladies spotted in the throng later wished that they had stayed in the darkened rooms to which they are more accustomed.


Organs without monkeys

12th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
The Strand, Exmouth
Weather:- Hot
Wind:- SW 3

A small number of crew members found themselves in The Strand assisting in the advertising of organ transplants to the public at large.

This was somewhat surprising as their previous knowledge of and interest in human organs was limited to keeping theirs intact and as clear from the ship's surgeon's rusty tools as possible or to using a certain one in a certain way that cannot be mentioned in these pages. No harm came to any as far as it is possible to ascertain.


Bristol Channel Harbour

11th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
Minehead
Weather:- Dry & warm
Wind:- NW 2

On an almost perfect summer's evening, the Malarkey sailed to north Somerset and into the harbour at Minehead, where the worryingly named Ship Aground hostelry was quickly located as the place to be on the opening evening of the town's Harbour Festival.

With a full bar as well as diners in the next door room and many an outside table creaking under the weight of tankards and glasses, the buoys were more than happy to raise the volume and get many singing along with them. Much ale was drunk and for some time the increasingly hoarse voices of the yokels rang out into the moonlit night.


North Cornish coast

5th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014
Padstow
Weather:- Fine
Wind:- WSW 3 -4

With the ship's cook otherwise engaged, the crew made their way to that well-known north coast Cornish town of Padstow to sample for the first time the 'Rally & Country Fair' taking place there throughout the weekend.

Shortly after arriving, and after some vital sustenance made possible by earlier pig slaughter, they delivered their customary brand of harmoniousness to any who chose to stop and listen, and proved themselves as being in fine fettle, attracting gales of laughter from those who were truly listening and warm applause from others.

The journey home, with a following breeze, was made with some ease and in good time.



Celebration cruise

27th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2014
Home Port, Exmouth
Weather:-  Dry & sunlit after the day's heavy rain
Wind:- NNW 5

The buoys embarked the 'Pride of Exmouth' once more to assist the parishoners of St John the Evangelist in Withycombe celebrate the 150th anniversary of its consecration, which they had decided to do on the river & with a sea picnic.

Protected from the stiff breeze by the Haldon Hills, and after an initial sing-along on the top deck, many went below to eat and seek liquid refreshment and listen to more shanties, while Albert Truss exchanged billet doux with various women folk, causing him such long-forgotten excitement that he was seen to punch the ceiling. That aside, all arrived safely back at the pierhead in timely and gently appropriate fashion.



Opening The Waterfront

26th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2014
Home Port, Exmouth
Weather:-  Clearing rain
Wind:- WNW 2

A new addition to Exmouth's excellent promenade was officially proclaimed open this slightly damp evening and, after some splendid roistering by our very own shanty men, it's future success was toasted with glasses of the finest wines and a buffet of sumptuous seafood.

'The Waterfront' has a wonderful outlook across the tidal race of the estuary towards the Warren and will undoubtedly provide a welcome eating place for locals and visitors alike. 



Rington's Velo Vintage charity ride

15th day of June. Year of Our Lord 
Home Port, Exmouth
Weather:-  Partly cloudy, warm
Wind:- W 1

Unaccustomed as the crew are to doing any land-based exercise other than that of a salacious kind, they were startled by the sight of many local folks on penny farthings and velocipedes arriving in Manor Gardens after a lengthy ride out up river.

Although some of the aforementioned wheeled contraption aficionados appeared rather hot & bothered by their exertions the buoys simply registered amazement and did what they do best: deliver their own brand of raucous and energetic vocality. This suitably done, they left the Gardens to their previously sedate peacefulness.



Beer & pasties

14th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2014
Falmouth, Cornwall
Weather:-  Cloudless
Wind:- SW 4

The Malarkey made way during the early dog watch hours to that most attractive Cornish harbour of Falmouth where many other shanty singing crews were gathered for this annual extravaganza.

With the promise of an imminent reward of their most favoured ale to sup while devouring that particular luncheon package so enjoyed by those of Kernow, the buoys set straight to 'work' in a harbourside tavern or two before later repairing up the hill to find the Princess in her Pavilion - Eamon Fyre divesting himself of most of his posessions the while - where they were to be the main attraction and highlight of the evening.

Joined briefly by that fine example of west-country womanhood, Betty Stogs, and for a grand finale by their Dutch friends, Scheepsfolk,they put on quite a show for the limited audient before setting sail for a very late return to home port ready for further engagement on the morrow.


The Cove of Anstey

7th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2014
Near Torquay
Weather:-  Indeterminate
Wind:- SSE 5

As in the previous few years on the corresponding date, early arrivals to this fundraising event encountered a band of particularly unsavoury sailors half way down the path to the Cove. Fortunately they were assaulted only with noise and raucousness.

Those who ventured all the way down the steep slope to eat, drink and make merry with all that was on offer enjoyed some peace and pleasantry before the self-same band of ruffians arrived to regale them further with songs of the sea, often with a decidedly salty flavour.

The crew sincerely hope that their efforts helped the Trinity Sailing Foundation to raise many guineas. 


Homeward

2nd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2014
Voyaging home
Weather:-  Most pleasant
Wind:- Calm


Leaving the Hostel de Ploate, which had looked after them so well, the buoys made their way from the now largely emptied Mercator Dock in Oostende, through Belgium and northern France before re-crossing the Channel and making way to Exmouth. A few hours en route spent in the very picturesque medieval city of Brugge being an enjoyable interlude in an otherwise unbroken and long day of travel. 

Those with whom they had travelled were pleased to return and those who had been left in port were delighted by their late but safe return. A feeling of satisfaction was therefore shared by all.


Fame not fortune

1st day of June. Year of Our Lord 2014
From Oostende to Roeselare
Weather:-  Warm and sunny
Wind:- NW 2


Finding their planned arrangements compromised, the crew gave an impromptu performance on the dockside this morning causing pedestrian blockage of the main horse and carriage roadway but fortunately no accidents.

With Eamon Fyre now battling with Terry Firmer to be the crew's pin-up buoy, the lads then wandered round to the Haddock Lounge to sing to the great & good of the Festival and cause consternation and public humiliation to the organisers, Hubert and Jean-Pierre, by demanding their assistance on the halyard.

Immediately thereafter they were whisked away overland from Oostende to the distant town of Roeselare and its town square for a performance to be shown as it happened by some type of magical lantern called "één televisienet" to the whole of Belgium.


Ostend at Anchor

31st day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
And along the coast
Weather:-  Cooler, sun trying to shine
Wind:- NW 4 - 5


After a very fine luncheon aboard the flagship the lads entertained a gathering crowd alongside the Amandine, with Abner closely guarding his tankard and its contents from people wanting to drop coinage therein and the Anchorman, having mislaid his enormous pot on three occasions yesterday, scarcely letting it out of arm's length.

The mid afternoon found the crew back on the deck of 'Etoile du Roy', best known to many as Horatio Hornblower's ship, to sing to those passing by; after which they repaired up the coast to Blankenberge to spend the evening in the good company of friends made there on previous voyages and with whom ale was shared.


In full swing

30th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
Still ashore in Oostende
Weather:-  Cloud turning to hot sun
Wind:- WNW 4 veering NW 6


The ship's carpenter reappeared this morning amid tales of imagined lust and chocolate, him having been notable by his absence from the shared jollities of the previous evening.

Back at the Terrasse around lunchtime the buoys once again did their best to disrupt the digestion of those eating nearby - with some success they were told - before returning later to the main cathedral square where, after being invited to join Les Mâles de Mer for their last song, they offered their own interpretation of shanty singing to all who would listen before heading off to their hostel and thence to a reception on the fleet's flagship 'Etoile du Roy' where meetings with other crews were had on & below deck and a gay gordon or two witnessed by stunned onlookers.


Tall ships in port

29th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
Oostende Voor Anker
Weather:-  Warming up
Wind:- WSW 4


A stroll around the fairly compact docks area allowed our groggy buoys to locate the various places they would need to know and this was completed in time to see them turn up on Terrasse Avenue Vindictive and assault the eardrums of those nearby.

After this, and a spot of both liquid & solid refreshment obtained nearby, the late noon found them in the Place St Pierre & Paul outside the cathedral doing much the same to a great assemblage of local folk who had come out to enjoy the now warm sunshine and convivial sociability. The end of the day saw them once again sampling local produce in a backstreet inn.


Across the Channel

28th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
London & beyond
Weather:- Grey and misty
Wind:- SW1

After an early morning muster at Exmouth the crew for this extended voyage took a series of iron horses up country to London and beyond, eventually finding themselves on the flatlands of Belgium and in the harbour at Oostende.

Having located the hostel where they were to be billeted, they then departed for the first available tavern where they spent a few hours sampling the local fare prior to stumbling to their bunks.


Evening cruising

27th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
Channel & River
Weather:-  Calmly warm
Wind:- SE 3


This evening saw the buoys surrounded by exactly the type of audience they like: on board a vessel with no way off. 

This year's 'shanty cruise' had them playing to a packed "Pride of Exmouth" in order to raise funds for the Exmouth Festival and, with the ship being given once again most generously free of charge by Stuart Line Cruises, many guineas were put into the pot for next year's extravaganza.

Despite - or perhaps because of - being effectively captives on board, the gentlemen and ladies proved themselves to be both capable and in fine voice as they partook of the spirit of the evening with cheerfulness and not a little gusto. Much gratitude is given to them all for their support.


Long way inland

25th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
Dulverton
Weather:-  Quite fine
Wind:- S 2


A mid afternoon voyage well above the navigable head of the Exe found a somewhat disoriented crew on the edge of Exmoor, far inland, in a very pretty settlement in Somerset.

Locating with remarkable ease the Town's Hall, and finding that they had fortuitously landed at the climax of the Dulverton Folk Festival, they settled in to conduct a workshop on the subject of shanties; the history and singing thereof. Many enthusiastic and vocal local inhabitants were then treated to an evening concert in said administrative HQ before being sent to their beds with some fine harmonies and surprising new words ringing in their ears.


Traditional Holiday

24th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
Exmouth
Weather:-  Threatening
Wind:- SW 3


As their first contribution to this year's Exmouth Festival, our hardworking buoys had arranged a special day and invited the Royal Marines & four other singing crews to join them and dancers galore with sticks and bells in the town's Strand and adjacent licensed premises.

All went very well until in mid afternoon the heavens opened and then things went swimmingly! After a very brief consideration, and while the various hawkers and pedlars who had set up nearby rapidly packed away their wares, the singing events were adjourned to a nearby hostelry from which shanties were heard late into the evening. 



Starlit Stroll

10th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
Exmouth
Weather:-  Mild but very windy
Wind:- SSW 7


The buoys turned out this eventide to support and encourage those energetically generous lasses who were raising pecuniary contribution towards the upkeep of their local Hospice by walking a considerable distance in comparatively short time.

Whether the organisers thought that having the crew singing at the walkers would be added encouragement, or simply an anti dawdling device one cannot be certain though, whatever may have been the design, the plan did seem to work and the hope is that much gold and silver coin was collected.


Coast or Estuary?

8th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014
Exmouth
Weather:-  Blustery
Wind:- SW 6

On an unusually grim day in this most benign part of Devon, the crew boarded the "Pride of Exmouth" for an afternoon cruise. Aboard and waiting to be serenaded were many of those folk who write for a living in periodicals and journals throughout the land and the venture was designed to show them, and through them their readers, the joys of the geologically renowned 'Jurassic Coast' and the facilities and wonderment it has to offer to all who choose to visit. 

With marvellous timing, the weather cheered up immensely as the moorings were slipped and, excepting a rather vigorous wind, a pleasant few hours were heralded; though not before the voyage was altered from a coastal to an estuarine one in order to avoid the possibility of the land-lubbers being upset after their recent repast by the pitching and yawing of the ship.

In the end, a very fine time was reportedly had by all.


Perfect season opener

23rd day of April. Year of Our Lord 2014
Beer, East Devon
Weather:-  A very pleasant evening
Wind:- SW 2

Properly stowing their travelling chests with gear for the first time this year, the buoys made the hardly arduous sail along the coast to the village of Beer where they beached the Malarkey and marauded up the main street to the Dolphin Hotel.

There they found that the Jurassic Folk Club was expecting them and, with a full house of mainly local and some very much more distant aficionados of the genre assembled expectantly, they sang with their usual combination of gusto and pathos in what can only be described as a perfect way to make the opening voyage of what is set to be a busy time for them over these next months.

The crew is most grateful for the welcome they received; and for the return of those ship's effects apparently 'borrowed' by the villagers while they were ashore.


Salty Seas inland

19th day of April. Year of Our Lord 2014
Bath
Weather:-  Sunshine breaking through
Wind:- SSE 3

After nigh on two months of inactivity in home port it was good to begin what is set to be a very busy season with this first trip to the mellow city of Bath, where the buoys were welcomed to the newly opened premises of clothing retailers 'Sea Salt' who hail from Cornwall.

The Easter-busy streets of the town were further cluttered by the crew who rejoined in song all and sundry, whether pedestrians or those passing by on horse and cart or in handsome cabs, to enter the shoppe and part with their hard-won weekly wage; in which effort they proved most efficacious.

Travelling back to Exmouth in the day's twilight, they will now draw breath before embarking on the many voyages which lay just ahead.


Heads held high

24th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2014
Via Bristol
Weather:-  Rain
Wind:- WSW 6

With pride in their hearts and their trophy safely tucked away in a kitbag, the lads made the return voyage to Exmouth, once again in record and quite alarmingly quick time. It was almost as though they were flying.

Although their first trip to central Europe had been an enormous success as already logged, it had also taken its toll and upon arrival in home port, many of the crew succumbed to the illness that one of their number had generously shared with them over the days away. If nothing else, this allowed a brief respite during which the effects of Polish vodka could finally be shed.


Last day abroad

23rd day of February. Year of Our Lord 2014
Back to the Rotunda
Weather:-  Winter sun
Wind:- Calm

At around midday, the Malarkey's crew were called upon to play their part in the final mass celebration of traditional shanty singing which was held in the Rotunda - scene of their previous night's efforts - by topping the bill.

Among the many who performed in this grand finale, it is noteworthy that the Russians were outstanding, and Malgorzata Rolak quite superb as the Director of the Chor Akademii Marynarki Wojennej.

After the show however, the greatest possible accolade was given to the buoys by the organisers of the whole Festival when they were presented with the "Stan Hugill Trophy" for the 'most authentic shanties'. As this is precisely what they have been trying to re-create since their very first voyage, it was fine recognition indeed.



Not sent to the salt mines

22nd day of February. Year of Our Lord 2014
Still in Krakow
Weather:-  Very mild for the time of year
Wind:- WSW 3

The threat of being sent to the salt mines this day, under which the buoys had been since their arrival, was lifted at the last minute and thus they were able to spend many hours doing little except lazing around the Rotunda Cultural Centre.

Later on, however, they were once again called upon to show their best to the assembled gathering of some five hundred shanty aficionados. Food and other forms of liquid sustenance followed.

Rumour has it that by late evening the Bosun had some difficulty in controlling his eyes once Sophie appeared and that the Anchorman almost pulled some sort of hawser; though perhaps, as he has never been known to pick up more than a tankard, this may have been misheard.


The day after the night before

21st day of February. Year of Our Lord 2014
Krakow
Weather:-  Unseasonably warm
Wind:- W 2

Sore heads ensured that the early part of the morn was unseen. During the remainder of the day however wonderful local victuals were sought and enjoyed before the business of the day ensued.

After mustering for practice with many other shanty crews from around Europe, our lads headed for the 'Stary Port Tavern' where, with some accompanying hair of the dog, they did their very best to show what true English seamen can do with voice and action before wending their weary way back to their lodgings.

For the presence of the ship's new surgeon on this run ashore, some had much gratitude.


Voyage to Poland

20th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2014
Krakow via Bristol
Weather:-  Too dark to tell
Wind:- SW 3

In the very smallest hours of the day such crew as were available departed Exmouth for Bristol whence, before they knew it, they seemed to arrive in Poland.

After locating their hostel they had a free day for which warnings were given about mixing beer with the local intoxicating distillation of potatoes. In the true style of British sailors abroad this admonition was completely ignored and thus little more is known about either the day or evening, other than several unreliable reports of the ship's cook, Mr Minella, trying to dance in some hostelry or other.

Sleep apparently followed in varying degrees of peacefulness for all.


Cold evening, warm welcome

11th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2014
The Clovelly Bay Inn, Turnchapel
Weather:-  Wintery showers
Wind:- WSW 4

A small landing party travelled to the eastern reaches of the Plym, having been invited to regale the local folk with their usual combination of tender and heart-rending songs alongside gusto-delivered shanties. Even some sword dancing was arranged; though fortunately not to be done by the crew.

Rumour has it that all the above was well received by sundry and all. And particularly so by Dino, the landlord, despite the Loblolly Boy trying to dismantle the inside of the ale house oar by oar and the ship's cook attempting single-handedly to eat all the provisions provided, which were such a very pleasant change from the normal on board slop he offers the crew.


Fishy matrimonials

1st day of February. Year of Our Lord 2014
The Village Hall, Lympstone
Weather:-  Temporarily dry
Wind:- ESE 3

Having rowed upstream to that place oft known to them as 'North Exmouth' the lads came upon a wedding party in full swing at the local Hall with many foregathered therein, whether landlubber or not, dressed in similar - though fairly cleaner & smarter - attire.

Invited to partake of the jollity, and with the promise of a fresh-caught and cooked fish or two as reward, their early planned return to the estuary mouth was delayed by a well received bout of singing, much of which was enjoined in both note and action by bride, groom and sundry senior and junior merrymakers.


Pounds for penny farthings

25th day of January. Year of Our Lord 2014
The Lifeboat Station, Exmouth
Weather:-  Decidedly cool with horizontal showers
Wind:- SSW 6-7 gusting G8

Fortunately for all those brave lads from our local lifeboat crew who had donned their sou'westers and swapped their usual mode of transport to ride penny farthings and boneshakers from Honiton to Exmouth, the very worst of the weather only hit once they were safely back under cover.

Which, of course, is where the not-so-courageous crew of the Malarkey - accompanied by their new Ship's Surgeon (fast finding his sea legs) Mr Dai Wright - were waiting to greet them and support their gallant effort to fleece the general public of East Devon of as many of their hard-earned groats as possible. Song was enjoined by all; along with a little participation and some victuals.


Shore leave approaches

15th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2013
The Beach, Exmouth
Weather:-  Driving rain
Wind:- SW 7

The planned community, shanty-led singing of 'Carols on the Quay' was defeated for the first time in its 5 year history by the torrential rain and near gale force winds that prevailed, and was held instead in the warm and dry environs of The Beach where the lads were joined by other local musicians and as many folk who braved the weather as could be accommodated.

This change of plan did however save the crew from walking the whole twenty paces from the quayside to end up there anyway as they'd arranged to do and sing the night away to anyone brave enough to stay and listen. What a very pleasant, informal way to end a busy, far-travelling year: Back in home port, in a tavern right beside the harbour, enjoying a home-cooked meal together and drinking good ale.

All the buoys offer, through this Log, their most sincere thanks to everyone who has supported their efforts in 2013 in the many and varied ways that they certainly have been supported and as they head off for a brief shore leave, they wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Posh and foot happy

13th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2013
Devoncourt Hotel, Exmouth
Weather:- Unseasonably mild
Wind:- W 4-5

Having been to a particularly pleasant restaurant earlier in the week, the Malarkey left port briefly, to cruise easily along the length of the esplanade before off loading her goggle-eyed crew to the sumptuous surroundings of the sun room at the Devoncourt Hotel. Shocked at this peculiar turn of events, our rough and ready buoys checked their calendar only to find that it was Friday the 13th. Could there be something afoot they wondered?

But, no. All was well. They were expected and well received by those fit and healthy souls who choose to forsake the many diverse methods of transport available to them locally and instead, to walk from place to place, exercising their 'happy feet'. It may have helped that said audience had, immediately beforehand, enjoyed a large and well lubricated meal.


Fine dining experience

10th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2013
Chronicle Restaurant, Exmouth
Weather:- No-one noticed
Wind:- Perhaps ... later

Each year at around this time the crew enjoy a seasonal social get-together accompanied by their fair longsuffering wives and girlfriends.

The venue, as last year, was the Chronicle Restaurant on Chapel Hill in Exmouth and all who so foregathered were wined and dined in sumptuous style by their hosts, Kathy and Ricardo, who looked after them wonderfully while coping remarkably well with the usual bouts of singing in between courses.  

And they give thanks also to their friends at the aforementioned Skinners for the generous gift of fine ale.


Baying horses for Christmas shoppers

3rd day of December. Year of Our Lord 2013
Bay Horse Inn, Totnes
Weather:- Remarkably mild
Wind:- SSW 2

As a thank you to Skinners Brewery for their support again this year, the lads cruised down to the upper reaches of the navigable Dart and trotted along to the Bay Horse Inn, where they squeezed themselves into a back corner on the first of Totnes' seasonal late shopping nights.

Thirsts regularly quenched with the finest of beers by the aforementioned brewers and bellies filled wonderfully and variously by the Real Food Company and the inn's kitchen courtesy of Kathy and Rob, many songs were rendered with full gusto and more to a sardine-like and willing audience of shoppers, drinkers, singers and the local Beltane Border Morris side.

A high time was apparently enjoyed and appreciated by all.


Bradninch's Fine Folk

19th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2013
Castle Hotel, Bradninch
Weather:- Brass Monkeys
Wind:- NE 4

For a change, the lads embarked on a run ashore inland, towards the wilds of mid-Devon in the fine town of Bradninch, where some locals regularly offer a folk music club for those of similar mind and to which this motley crew had been invited.

Sandwiched between some other fine performances and several vital breaks for liquid refreshment our brave buoys sang in their finest tones a selection of boisterous and melancholy songs depicting their life at sea at the time of the square riggers.

Despite being only mid November, the journey home late in the evening was cold enough for some light icing on the sheets and spars.

 

Down & Up the Cobbles

17th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2013
Clovelly Herring Festival
Weather:- Pleasingly mild
Wind:- NNW 1

Once more invited to return to this most picturesque north Devon harbour village, the crew prepared for another day of freezing their parts off on the quayside wall, only to find themselves sweltering in their excessive thermals while the weather remained unseasonably and stubbornly mild.

For some, the stroll down the cobbled hillside street to the sea was sufficient legwork for one day while for others the hike half way back up midway through the excursion for some victuals proved thoroughly worthwhile.

In between times, and in celebration of those silver-sided darlings caught in such profusion by the local fishermen, a number of shanties were sung from the corner of the beach to the entertainment of listeners and bystanders above, below and all around.


 

Festival of Remembrance

8th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2013
Royal British Legion event
Weather:- Chilly
Wind:- WNW 3

For the third time, the buoys made themselves available to support this Festival of Remembrance held at Exmouth Pavilion in honour of those brave souls who over the past century have given their lives for their country. This annual evening is held to raise vital funds for any ex-Servicemen and women who need help.

While thinking it is such an enormous shame that humanity still feels that waging war is either a good or productive way to proceed, offering their presence at this event and remembering those who have fallen is the least the crew, in the company of other like-minded performers, is able to do.

 

Return to Plymouth

11th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2013
Wessex Rotary Conference
Weather:- Suddenly autumnal
Wind:- NNW 5-6

And so, on a blustery and cool early evening the lads found themselves for the second time this year and after a pleasant journey, at the Stage Door of the Plymouth Pavilions ready to share a couple of hours of Devon/Cornish mix once again with Dalla for the entertainment of numerous Rotarians from an English shire to the east. As before, the two bands complemented each other well and elicited some favourable comments from their audience.

There was even talk at the end of our brave buoys being invited down to the furthest reaches of Kernow at some future date for renewed shenanigans by a kind (or possibly deaf) Gentleman who had been witness to this evening's raucousness.

Many hours after first setting out, a very late homecoming was ensured by the many obstacles placed in their path by the powers that be on the roadway to Exmouth this night that it would have been far easier and probably quicker had they voyaged around the coast by sea!


 

Idle evening

17th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2013
Run ashore up river
Weather:- Very pleasant
Wind:- WSW 3

With little better to do, a number of the crew decided to row upstream to that most satisfying Exeter port town of Topsham, whereupon they needed refreshment after their exertions and fair marauded into The Lighter Inn.

After an ale or two they wandered up Fore Street to The Globe and thereafter to the Passage House Inn along Ferry Road from whence they rolled their way back to the quay and thus eventually made way down river to Exmouth - a fine evening having been spent in purposeful pursuit of pleasure.


 

'Crabstock' Sunday

15th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2013
Sea Food Festival day 2, Sandy Bay, Exmouth 
Weather:- Not so clever
Wind:- WNW 6

Having travelled home to their wives and mistresses at the end of yesterday's exertions, the buoys gathered once more at the Devon Cliffs park mid-morning in rather less clement conditions. Swiftly deciding (in true sailor-like fashion that they didn't wish to get wet) they decamped to the warmth and comparative cosiness of the South Beach Café.

With many fewer to sing to this day, they did their best and, despite the early departure of all the outside stallholders bar the one purveying shellfish, determined to carry on until all inside the eatery had heard quite enough.

And thus, once more, back to the dockside area of home port for a quiet evening in!


 

'Crabstock' Saturday

14th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2013
Sea Food Festival, Sandy Bay, Exmouth 
Weather:- Pleasant and mild
Wind:- NW 2

Asked to provide some salty sea songs to accompany this weekend celebration of local shellfish and seafood, the crew made the exhausting journey across town to the Eastern fringes atop the cliffs at Sandy Bay.

After an initial aural assault or two on those outside who had come to assess the quality of market stalls set up in the vicinity, they wandered into the South Beach Café and proceeded to interrupt at various points in time the indigestion of numerous folk there eating previously in peace. A good time was had by some they gather and they certainly enjoyed the crab-based food they were given mid-way through the day to keep them going.

 

Jurassic journey

1st day of September. Year of Our Lord 2013
Lyme Folk Weekend 
Weather:- Pleasant
Wind:- NW 3

Invited to be a part of this inaugural event in the town made famous by its Cobb, the buoys made way along the Lyme Bay coast and arrived late morning whereupon they made their way to the refectory.

With spirits uplifted by provision of food, they decided to introduce the seaside throng to their own, individual interpretation of sailor-songs with a short rendering of such by the beached anchor on Marine Parade. Afterwards, they went first to The Pilot Boat and subsequently to Town Mill Square to entertain, if that is the correct word, further unknowing folk who happened along.

Later, as the day's sun was setting majestically behind the hills, they made the short voyage back to Exmouth for what they believe to be a well-earned ten days or so of shore leave.


 

Last legs

27th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
Journey home part 2 
Weather:- A sea fret giving way to overcast
Wind:- SSW 2

A very calm crossing of the sea from Holland gave the crew the chance of an early morning disembarkation in Essex which only required a few more carriage rides to get them back to Exmouth.

One of the more educated among them, using most of his fingers and toes deduced that they had taken a grand total of some 19 carriages in the six days since they left home six days previously, in addition to the two sea voyages, and a feeling was shared that should they return at any time, the furthest reaches of the Netherlands were best travelled to by an alternative route.

By mid afternoon though, all were safely back in North or central Exmouth with a day or two for the visiting of well-known ale houses and other shore-based pastimes before their next, short voyage eastwards along the coast of Lyme Bay.


 

Districts of Amsterdam

26th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
Journey home part 1
Weather:- Hot and beautiful 
Wind:- Calm

This was a day of many carriage rides, through Groningen and on to Amsterdam where the buoys enjoyed a pause of several hours.

Finding that Angelique was temporarily unable to accommodate them, they found solace with Ellen at Hotel Old Nickel, where they quickly reduced her to tears with their rendering of Mingulay, it making her reminisce of her native Scotland.

Thereafter, various districts of Amsterdam were individually explored with great interest; some which were made pretty by the juxtaposition of water, trees, buildings and bridges; and some which had different attractions on show.

It was with eyes newly and widely opened that the crew later boarded their next carriage which would take them to the port for departure for England ....... but not before a few of them had popped quietly back to the Café Int Aepjen, where Angelique obliged them most graciously.

 

 

Bosun in lust

25th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
International Shanty Festival "Bie Daip" 2013
Weather:- Sunny and hot
Wind:- Easterly 2 backing 5

Something that escaped the Log yesterday was the Bos'n managing to miss a pre-arranged Bosun's Locker meeting with the crew while he lusted after a group of foreign maidens from eastern Europe. Today saw him still with dewy eyes and a strange facial expression. Meanwhile today the ship's carpenter had spent some large proportion of his early morning light-duty hours making similarly unsubtle eyes at the wife of the local mole-catcher. There must be something in the water ... or perhaps there should be.

The crew gave a memorable performance on the Festival's main stage this afternoon, with two members of Armstrong's Patent when invited to assist a rope pull, trying their very hardest to unsettle our Anchorman, used as he is to doing little in response to such activity. That shenanigans aside, all went well and was followed by further outings, first to the Bar Meneer Jansen and then once more at the Kameleon.

The Festival's Grand Finale was dealt with without any difficulty - although the sight of the Malarkey's Bos'n, Cook and Anchorman attempting a particular dance should not be commented upon further - and was remarked upon by all because of it's fine arrangement and feeling of shared enjoyment for all concerned.

This was followed by a celebratory feast for everyone and much carousing was enjoyed late into the evening.


 

'Bie Daip' Appingedam

24th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
International Shanty Festival "Bie Daip" 2013
Weather:- Bright and breezy
Wind:- Easterly 4 - 5

Early in the morning Appingedam's town square opposite the copper merchant's house museum was transformed into a lively and clearly thriving produce market with the arrival of many pedlars, accompanied by a wandering minstrel.

The day's first vocal offering was over the canal at the Pavilion and the attendance there of an artist led to the following day's paper notification of local matter carrying images of our lads in the single most prominent way.

Yet this was just the beginning of a long day of performance which our lads also undertook further efforts on a barge voyage around the town, outside a trading establishment and at three different bars and hostelries within the very small confines of the town centre, all of which appeared to be popular with those there to witness the spectacle.

Most fittingly for this crew on a Saturday, they completed their day and evening's busy-ness at 'de Oude Rechtbank', better known in their own tongue as the Old Courthouse. At what hour they were released, no-one is apparently able to say.


 

Netherlands and carriages

23rd day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
Journey across Holland to the 'Bie Daip' Festival
Weather:- Misty to start but hot & sunny later
Wind:- S to SE 4

Arrival in Rotterdam was greeted with a general acknowledgement that the Netherlands are flat! But well treed.

Once the very long journey across the entire breadth of the country was finished, a meal of vast quantity was greatly enjoyed at the Bovengroningen Hostelry in Delfzijl until all had to admit defeat.

And so it was that with their later arrival in Appingedam, and with necessary duties done, the buoys assembled at the Café op de Hoek to begin their weekend's work, at the International Shanty Festival 'Bie Daip', of showing the good burghers of the town how shanties should be sung, in which endeavour they were informally assisted by the similarly visiting Norwegian crew of Riggerloftet Shantychoir who were also in town.

Not content with this, the buoys subsequently moved on to the Bar Kameleon to repeat the exercise before wandering off to their various lodgings.


 

Weighing anchor in Essex

22nd day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
To the North Sea coast and beyond
Weather:- Sunny and clear
Wind:- SSW 3 - 4

A long journey by carriage was to be this day's main undertaking with eventual arrival in the East Anglian port of Harwich the end product, whence departure for the Netherlands was effected without much ado.

After resolving some considerable confusion over bunking arrangements and the consternation this caused, the voyage across was quite calm.


 

Homeward bound

12th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
Back across the Channel
Weather:- Grey in France, sunny in England!
Wind:- Strengthening North Westerly

The voyage towards home was accompanied by a noticeable swell and was one well spent with some eating and occasionally a little sleeping, interspersed with much laughter which brought tears to the eyes in shared acknowledgement of enhanced comradeship. Arrival at Plymouth was achieved in uneventful fashion and after the inevitable lengthy delay of passage from dockside to town, the ride back to Exmouth was as rapid as could be expected.

And so, with that feeling of a task completed well, the lads then dispersed according to their various priorities; some venturing towards favoured hostelries, others to wives and home.


 

A late night

11th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
Paimpol 'Festival du Chant de Marin' day 3
Weather:- Cloud giving way to lighter skies
Wind:- Calm

The day began in St Quay with two aforementioned crewmen once more displaying physical prowess in the waves while the more sensible enjoyed beverages on land and the Cook, who had been successively turfed out of several different rooms during the night, yet to be seen.

All meeting up in Paimpol, our assembled group performed an impromptu song or three to secure their invitation to Oostende in the Spring of next year and then retreated to the safe haven of their favourite café for an hour or two of relaxation before once again venturing round to Vigilance for a brief interlude there.

The evening saw the crew fed in typical French style with snails and other crustaceans before it finally drew to a close with their last performance at midnight in the 'Taverne Guinness' offered to those who were still therein at this late hour. Congratulations and thanks must be given to those brave souls and the buoys can only thank them for staying awake right through to the end.

The carriage ride back to their lodgings left the crew with just enough time to close their eyes before having to open them again in time to leave for England shortly after dawn.


 

Quayside ships and Veronica

10th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
Paimpol 'Festival du Chant de Marin' day 2
Weather:- Warm sunshine
Wind:- WSW 2 - 3

Fully breakfasted in the village of St Quay, the Bos'n and Mr Heights decided to sample the water of the bay and disproved the theory that sailors cannot swim.

And thus, having so exercised, they joined the others and made their way to Paimpol for a late lunchtime performance on the 'Bateau Fee de L'Aulne', from which quayside vantage point, passers-by were aurally (and at one moment, courtesy of the baguette projected by the ship's carpenter, physically) assaulted by the lads' usual gusto-filled singing.

An invitation from Captain Smith of Veronica was accepted with alacrity and in the vocal exchange between crews, there was the unexpected treat of a beautiful song, composed by Jo and rendered with great skill by the Veronica's company (fortunately without Clive acting as described) and much pleasantry and pathos was shared by the two crews together as they fondly remembered a lost friend, some hours after which, on their return to St Quay, some of the Malarkey's crewmen retired to their bunks, one with a head made giddy by wine, while others made way for the town's inns in which the English soundly beat the French on the final tavern's table.


 

Return to Paimpol

9th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
Paimpol 'Festival du Chant de Marin'
Weather:- Grey but dry, sun later
Wind:- SW 3 to Westerly 4

A night on board riding the swell was followed by a calm arrival in Brittany and a carriage ride to Saint Quay de Prideaux, whence to Paimpol. A marvellous French lunch was enjoyed before the buoys met up with Vigilance and her crew to arrange a later get-together and locate harbourside watering holes and other necessary points of reference such as the stage on which they would perform in the evening.

A late run back to St Quay ended a long day which had witnessed a competent entertaining of those many who were present at Scene Pampoull for the first of the lads scheduled appearances, though any hoped-for sleep was limited by the sparseness of any comfort or quiet at their temporary lodgings at the Lycee de la Closerie in which a thorough application of goose fat to all door hinges and bed frames would not have gone amiss. 


 

Dessus de La Manche

8th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
Exmouth to Brittany
Weather:- Sun the cloud
Wind:- Southerly 3

After an uneventful overland journey to Plymouth docks, embarkation for Roscoff was managed without any difficulty and, once aboard, the crew drank some ale and ate hearty meals before singing a lullaby or two to those gathered around and then locating their bunks for the remainder of the voyage. 


 

Festival Ale & other pleasures

6th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
'Sidmouth Festival', Devon
Weather:- Warm and dry
Wind:- SSW 2

Patrons of the Anchor, Black Horse, Swan, York and Faulkner, Bedford, Sailing Club and elsewhere were paid a surprise visit by the lads, accompanied by a posse of festival-going followers, in order that they should be politely fleeced of their available loose coinage in support of the town's most splendid but independent lifesaving vessel. A task that proved highly successful.

In between bouts of singing there was noticed to be a certain amount of recharging of tankards by the crew but they managed to stay on their feet long enough to make a triumphant return late in the evening to their starting point in the 'Middlebar' thus proving that rumours about their navigation are somewhat unfounded.


 

Back East

4th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
'Wickham Festival', Hampshire
Weather:- Cloudy but dry
Wind:- SW 4 backing Westerly 6

The Malarkey's first voyage to Wickham began inauspiciously with the apologetic news on disembarking that there had been an organiser's error in their advertised plans. However, this was soon dealt with and an alternative arrangement settled upon.

Thus it was that the crew found themselves with a goodly amount of free time to negotiate the best available price for luncheon from various peddlars and traders in the vicinity, before assembling in the "Cinema" for a swiftly re-scheduled performance therein, which was followed almost immediately by another on the stage nearby, both of which were witnessed by large and apparently appreciative audiences prepared to participate as fully as requested. 

There is, so the buoys are led to believe, an invitation to next year's jollities already being scribed.


 

Bright lights in the West End

 
31st day of July. Year of Our Lord 2013
Floridita, Wardour Street, London
Weather:- Cloud, drizzle and grey
Wind:- SSW 3
 
The buoys embarked on a most unusual trip to our country's capital city and hence to the fleshpots of Soho, which some in particular found quite delightful. Many new sights were seen: some rather more picturesque and beautiful than others!
 
Engaged to commiserate with invited guests of Pussers Rum the anniversary of the sad demise of the naval ration many years ago and known as 'Black Tot Day', they found themselves in the most unfamiliar surroundings of a club of the night time, whereupon they burst into rounds of song followed swiftly by rounds of other, more liquid entertainment and a moment or two dallying with Lucy and her friends. One hard-nosed driver of a local handsome cab even went as far as to pay the compliment of saying "Well, you were better than average." High praise indeed from such a source.
 
Once safely back in their temporary lodgings in Camden Town, most enjoyed a traditional breaking of their short fast in a pleasant hostelry around the corner before being packed into large underground tunnels like rats in a drain and subsequently re-emerging in to the by then very warm daylight which would light them all the way home.
 
 

 

Valley of the oaks

6th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2013
'South Devon Shanty Festival', Dartmouth
Weather:- Cloudless & Fabulous
Wind:- SSW breezes

Having arrived by diverse methods of transport, the crew dressed The Bandstand to suit all & sundry who would perform there during the day and then headed to the quayside from where they serenaded passing ships and unsuspecting pedestrians.

While so doing, they were approached by Kate, a purveyor of the finest beverages, who asked if they would be interested in bartering a drink for a song or two. Never known to turn down such an invitation, our brave lads allowed her to lead them to the 'Café Alf Resco' where this perfect exchange took place. Warmed in belly and heart, they set out back to the centre of the day's activities for their planned assault on the hearing organs of the well-prepared burghers of Dartmouth.

There followed two, more or less equally lengthy attempts at singing, split neatly by the chance to devour some delicious pasties before the buoys boarded the Paddle Steamer 'Kingswear Castle', built in Dartmouth by Philip & Sons in 1924 and now the very last coal powered paddle steamer in the country, for a gentle song-accompanied cruise up the Dart to Dittisham and back down to the castle. All in all, a most pleasant way to spend a summer Saturday!

 

Jolly declamations

29th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2013
'Roger's Rant'. Milborne St Andrew
Weather:- Glorious
Wind:- Light westerly

It was a markedly different feeling as just half the crew sallied forth on this quite beautiful day to Dorset; the other half having been struck down by scurvy and other unspeakable afflictions which had thoroughly disrupted the original plans to follow their afternoon exploits with an evening on the harbourside at Poole.

Arriving in the village of Milborne, they found a small but friendly set up mainly within a large field no doubt more commonly used for archery practice and other sports. Fortunately, they also quickly located the village hostelry and by lunchtime, had opened their account therein with the Anchorman and Abner in particular making their customary eyes and advances to the ladies.

After the singing, mirth and jollity had at the Inn, and after a jug or two of ale had been supped, the buoys dragged themselves back up the hill to the sporting field where, later in the post-noon, they provided further entertainment to those gathered early in the hut for their supper and where no ranting Rogers at all were spotted. They were especially glad this day to have the company of Helen, whose voice was said to be in fine fettle. 


 

Over the other side

22nd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2013
Cockwood (or perhaps Cofton) Devon
Weather:- Squally rain showers and intermittent brightness
Wind:- SW variable

In the late afternoon, the Malarkey set sail on the rising tide to that village set on the opposite side of the estuary known variously as 'Cock-Wood' or 'Cockood' depending on local dialect; and upon disembarking, the crew were immediately directed to 'Cofton Village Green' which lay but a chain's length from the little harbour. Is it any wonder they were even more confused than usual?

On reaching the Green they found a number of villagers ensconced thereupon, arranged either on tarpaulins or more comfortably in a fine range of outdoor seating and quite ready to eat, drink and make merry; the variety of sou'westers and warm clothing being disported suggesting that they may most probably have done this before.

Following their best efforts to enhance the early evening merry-making the buoys made haste to the temporary field cookhouse to avail themselves of the freshly prepared hot food on offer while downing an ale or two and prior to setting sail in the darkening skies for that place with but one simple name that they call home. 


 

Eating the Exe

16th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2013
Coast and Estuary, Exmouth
Weather:- Rain, wind and decidedly cool
Wind:- SW 6

Upon invitation by the town's administrators, a bevvy of scribes who sample and write about food had assembled in our home port to be shown around the finest eating places. After spending the previous evening at 'Les Saveurs', they had broken their fast at 'Coast' and, before spending their second evening in town enjoying the delights of 'The Chronicle', embarked on a cruise which ended at the remarkable 'River Exe Café' floating as it does, midstream on its pontoon.

Those lads still vocally fit after the long day before, joined these souls on the ship to introduce them to the true sound of Exmouth, before them as were able to do so also accompanied them in the sampling of fare offered by Richard and his team. Suffice to say that even Mr Nails was defeated by the sheer quantity of quite delicious culinary delights presented; and Mr Clew was heard to mutter as he left that no more food would be required by him for some time! 

 

 

More Shantymen Than Pasties

15th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2013
Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival
Weather:- Unexpectedly good
Wind:- SSW 3

After a year away, ploughing the seas elsewhere on the given date, it was good to have the Malarkey sailing back to Cornwall for this festival of all things shanty.

A morning spent on 'The Moor' was well enough received by a rather small and far-flung audience but this was adequately balanced, after a necessary pause for pasties and beer, by a late afternoon hour or so spent entertaining those packed into the 'Watersports Centre'. With Betty Stogs in attendance all around the harbour venues, our cook's heart was sent a-fluttering in the earlier showing and, so far as others could tell, was only settled again just in time for the second spasm.

From the Watersports Centre, our intrepid lads were whisked off to the furthest eastern reaches of the town to surprise those who sought to spend their evening in the hitherto restrained and polite surroundings of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club. Their initial shock at the invasion soon gave way to merriment however as the buoys shared their experiences with the local sailors and made eyes at the ladies so foregathered. 

A late journey home followed close on behind but not until two standing ovations and the cries of "more, more" had faded on the gentle breeze. The crew wish to express here their gratitude to Skinners Brewery for their generosity both to the Malarkey and to this festival, which would be hard-pushed to survive without it.


 

Triassic Eastwards for Wessex Folk

2nd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2013
Brewer's Quay, Weymouth
Weather:- Beautiful
Wind:- WSW 1

An easy voyage along that part of the southern coastline now commonly referred to as the "Jurassic Coast" saw the crew draw alongside in Weymouth in the late morning, ready to take by storm the temporary staging emplaced in Brewer's Quay.

Normally a quiet and sedate part of  the Old Harbour, the former peace and quiet of a Sunday morning had earlier been interrupted by dancing in the streets and the playing of music, only to be further split asunder by the buoys announcing their presence in their usual raucous fashion.

This done, and the good burghers of the town having been fleeced of much silver coin by the crew's travelling 'Ladies' in exchange for dubious goods, the lads left the town to others and boarded the Malarkey to set sail homewards on the ebb tide.  


 

Coastal Estuary Cruising

29th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
Home Port - Exmouth
Weather:- Variable
Wind:- NW 2 - 5

Dragging themselves from various nearby hostelries after a day misspent, the crew boarded 'Pride of Exmouth', on which they had last sailed exactly one year ago and where they were surrounded by an entire boat-full of landlubbers wrapped up against the expected evening's chill.

Making way at first along the coastline eastwards there came a point where the sea was sufficiently chopped up and the increasing wind and rain sufficiently uncomfortable that 'Pride' was tacked towards the relative calm of the estuary which she navigated gently for the remainder of the voyage.

From reports given as the passengers disembarked, they had had a splendid evening and were most pleased to have been on board listening to and even joining in with the caterwaulings of the crew.

And it is also important to have here recorded the buoys' thanks to Ian, Philippa and their team at Stuart Line Cruises, both on board and on shore, for their generosity in gifting once again this year, all proceeds from the evening to the Exmouth Festival. 


 

Home Festival


26th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
Home Port - Exmouth
Weather:- Sunny and warm
Wind:- W1

The crew's joy at being back in the Manor Gardens at their home festival week, where it almost all began for them, was almost unbounded. There is nowhere they would rather have been on this quite fabulous early summer's day. The entire grassed area, and much of the in-between, was packed to bursting point and the lads - despite one or two tired vocal chords - gave it their all.

This concert marked the official launch of their most recent assemblage of songs, known as "Runashore", which the throngs were encouraged to purchase for the exchange of small quantities of gold coin. What finer place to do so.

Joined on stage at the end by numerous 'Half Pint' shantyers (or children if you would prefer) who had learned their words earlier in the forenoon, this grand finale was met with rapturous applause before the boys shot off to a nearby inn.

 

Inland Shanties

25th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
Chippenham, Wiltshire
Weather:- Beautiful
Wind:- Calm

After a long but easy horse ride to this pleasant inland town the buoys duly mustered, as I'm sure you will be surprised to read, in a central hostelry known as the Bear Inn. After essential sustenance was absorbed, they sallied forth to the most delightful 'Yelde Hall' where, with "Shanty" Jim Mageean and Graham Knights, they educated all and sundry with some shanty history set in the context of the songs.

Later in the evening, repairing to the green of the land next the river, they found themselves in a large tent alongside Jim and Graham, for an hour or two's entertainment of those there foregathered. The evening was enhanced by the presence of several other crews and much joviality was had, after which Shanty Jim was heard to say of the lads "You are great showmen; and great at what you do". High praise indeed from one who has wandered the shanty seas all across the world for so many a year. 


 

Up River

17th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
Exeter
Weather:- Almost Spring-like
Wind:- SW2

With little ado, the Malarkey sailed upstream to the county town, carefully avoiding the many thousands who were travelling to a different part thereof for the large annual show of agricultural skills and produce.

Upon arrival on St David's Hill they were escorted through the locked door leading to the cellar workroom of the lovely Sheila Blige, with whom they spent a most pleasant half hour talking and rendering their best abbreviated version of that song, writ by the Bosun's not-so-fair hand and relating to beverages from abroad.

Sheila managed to behave in anticipated fashion, and to disport herself with great good humour, and the buoys for their part returned to port, their morning voyage successfully accomplished.


 

Over Underland


12th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
Blankenberge to Exmouth
Weather:- Grey, cold, wet, windy
Wind:- NW 5

Thanks for the invitation and wonderful hospitality having been extended to Peter and Fio and, with their work in Belgium now completed, the crew and accompanying Ladies dragged themselves early from their hammocks and after another sumptuous breakfast repast walked to where they were to board the first of the various carriages that would take them back to England.

With several halts for horses to be refreshed, Mr Nails to take on extra ballast and the Anchorman to keep his liquid levels up to the mark, and having successfully navigated their way through diverse metropolises en route, the lads finally made sedate progress down the Exe estuary towards their home port with a general feeling of satisfaction pervading throughout. 

 

 

Buffeted About

11th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
Blankenberge, Belgium
Weather:- Occasionally very wet, always windy
Wind:- NW 5 backing NNW 7

Suppered and rested well after their exertions yesterday, and after another breakfast feast supplied by the ever-pleasing Inge, the buoys set forth once more out into the weather; this time to wander the town and subject its inhabitants to unexpected warbling from various steps and corners, raising smiles from several and a cheer from a group of young female sea apprentices.

During the afternoon a rain-induced rescheduling moved the lads into the main festival tent where, competing with a group of men demonstrating the art of pile driving immediately outside, they held their rhythm and gave a beautifully paced performance, before once again finding themselves playing in the round within the Captain's Circle where they found plenty of volunteers to help them haul the ropes.

After a necessary break for food, the evening was completed with a final concert back in the main festival tent, at which all crews present in port gathered to render their best both individually and collectively to those assembled therein, braving the cold. Once over, our buoys adjourned to a nearby alehouse where, quite unplanned, they encountered the crew of 'Avis de Grand Frais' from Brittany and some of the local Shantykoor Blankenberge, which led to much joint and separate singing lasting into the early hours of the following morning.

  


 

North Sea Wind

10th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
North Sea Folk & Shanty Festival, Blankenberge
Weather:- Grey with a biting wind
Wind:- N 6-7

After a most wonderful breakfast at the Jose Hotel and an opportunity to orientate themselves in this new port, which mainly involved locating suitable waterside inns, and during which Molly had inconvenienced the local gendarmerie by blocking the road, our buoys reported as required to be given instructions for the remainder of their sojourn, whereupon they were presented to a most pretty and comely young wench by the name of Fioranna who had been given the unenviable task of looking after their every need. Sometimes a sailor's life can indeed be sweet.

Later in the day, and after freezing various delicate parts while having pictures made on board the unique sailing ship Endlicht and performing in the open on Leopoldstraate, the lads took refuge from the constant gales in the Captain's Circle and managed to amuse greatly those other shivering souls who had sought shelter within. So enamoured were they with this 'Spiegeltent' that it was decided that they would entertain there again later rather than  having to brave the elements again as originally planned.

It was during the second visit to the Spiegeltent that attention was drawn to the newest of the crew's Launching Ladies who was deporting herself in daring manner at the bar surrounded by foreign sailors and, or so we are told, charging them several sovereigns for the pleasure of her company. An enterprising lass who will go far on the Malarkey!


 

Across the Water

9th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
To Belgium
Weather:- Clement and cool
Wind:- NW 5

After mustering at the appointed time and place the crew boarded their transport, only to find already ensconced therein, their navigator heading the wrong way. Sirius, unavailable for this trip much to the relief of all those wishing to get to the destination as speedily as possible, had apparently decided to meet them to pass on his best advice! Once he had been removed from the carriage, all was well for the remainder of the outward journey and arrival in their hotel Belgique duly accomplished many hours later.

A meal was sought soon thereafter, with Mr Nails, as is customary, out-doing everyone else in being served a platter of vastly greater proportions than much of the rest put together. Oh how his wife will miss the wage that is thus spent! 

And thus to bed in the simple but clean lodgings so courteously provided by their hosts.


 

Capturing Devonian Hearts

5th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
"Heart of Devon" Festival, Bow
Weather:- Hot and breezy
Wind:- SSW 3-4.

Never let it be said that our brave boys are merely heart-breakers with a girl in every port.

Invited to this very gentle festival in the heart of Devon on a beautiful spring day in rolling countryside and far from any visible water, the crew travelled by diverse methods to bring a little of their customary raucousness to this previously sedate Sunday afternoon.

During their all-too-brief stay, the lads took the village field by storm and - or so they believe - also stole the hearts of many of the buxom beauties found thereon. Between performances, the crew were seen to avail themselves of the services of the purveyors of victuals and fine ale where, amongst stalls offering many things, it was noticed that several were particularly struck by the delights of 'Beryl's Baps'.

 

Very Grand Pavilion

23rd day of  April. Year of Our Lord 2013
Plymouth Pavilions
Weather:- Sunny & warm
Wind:- WSW1

After a very brief stop over in home port the Malarkey set sail almost immediately again to the west, this time to the well-known city of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers, where the crew found themselves in the most cavernous house they had ever seen and which is known as Plymouth Pavilions.

The lads shared the evening's entertainments with 'Dalla', a Celtic music band from across the Tamar and, faced with an audience of a thousand or more well-to-do ladies of the 'Inner Wheel', fresh (or otherwise) from their 2-day national conference, our noble boys sang for all they were worth - which of course some may say is not much at all. 

Proceedings ran a little late due to the tardy arrival of the ladies after their pre-concert repast but, that aside, all went to plan with the boys' vocal and thespian offerings being very well received and many of the audience joining in when invited to on songs they knew. Their final leaving of the stage at the end of the evening, alongside 'Dalla' who joined them for a final song or two, was greeted with loud applause and cheers.

They left for the homeward journey in the sure and happy knowledge that if they could satisfy so many ladies at once, the future was looking very promising indeed!


 

Shifting Sands and Shouts

21st day of April. Year of Our Lord 2013
The Watering Hole, Parranporth Beach
Weather:- Less than Springlike
Wind:- WSW 5-6
 
The early part of the morning saw the lads venturing west and, some time later, crossing the border into Kernow. On arrival in Perranporth and finding that access to The Watering Hole could only be obtained by a lengthy hike across the beach with all gear in hand, the first refreshment of the day was scarcely far behind.
 
In due course, the buoys opened the Sunday instalment of this year's "Shout" with their first spasm and thus set the tone for what was to follow; that being several other shanty crews from around the South-West. There followed a sumptuous luncheon and some quantity of ale to keep body and soul together on what turned out to be a wet and windy afternoon on this part of the north Cornish coast, and which caused much of the sand previously quite at home on the beach to be brought into the inn.
 
Our brave lads were then called on to complete the afternoon's vocal renderings, in which they were greatly assisted by a certain Betty Stogs, who had been blown in with her trusty bucket and much jollity, before they headed back home, only being mildly inconvenienced by the sudden closure of the main arterial roadway back into Devon.
 
 

 

Nuptial Celebration

29th day of March. Year of Our Lord 2013
Reed Hall, Exeter University
Weather:- Sunny with a bitter wind
Wind:- ENE 4.

Invited  by Mark and Emily to help them, their family and guests to celebrate their marriage, the crew of the Malarkey undertook another short voyage up river, this time to the grand estate of Exeter's seat of learning. None of them having experienced such surroundings before, they managed to bring their own particular brand of education to the unsuspecting wedding party.

The previously polite and sedate affair was thus usurped by the buoys and their requirement that several of the besuited gentlemen, well-attired ladies and clean-looking children should assist the crew in furling the bunt, turning the capstan, and all manner of nautical activities that they certainly hadn't anticipated when giving an affirmative response to the couple's invitation to attend. In fairness to all, even those so very recently wed were pressganged into taking their turn on the halyard sheets.

All was taken in good heart however and much singing and revelry was enjoyed before the buoys departed for home in time enough to catch the ebbing tide. Mutual good wishes were given and received and the happy twosome were left to recover from their exertions before leaving to begin their new life together; in which venture they are offered every possible happiness and success.


 

African Well Digging

23rd day of  March. Year of Our Lord 2013
Exeter Golf & Country Club
Weather:- Still cold
Wind:- E2

The crew for this event was somewhat depleted by two of its members being laid low and in their bunks with some unspeakable disease. Those not shirking covered the duties of the missing so well however that them as were assembled for the evening's entertainment did not even notice.

Although a comparatively highbrow venue for our brave lads, their august surroundings proved to be the perfect place for the start of the new season. Invited to be involved, or so they thought, in digging a new well for an African village, the crew turned up in Exeter - nothing surprises them while Sirius Erra is the navigator - to find that rather than actually digging, they were expected to sing during a fund-raising supper.

This they managed to do in their usual inimitable style and with their assistance (or perhaps despite it) sufficient monies were collected by the organisers of The Castellan African Trust from those in attendance that the instruction to begin excavation was to be sent to The Gambia by carrier the very next day.

The evening could therefore rightly be called an all-round success.



 

More Beeswax, More Needles

23rd day of January. Year of Our Lord 2013
The Grove public house
Weather:- Light snow
Wind:- W5

During the early part of the day, it had seemed at times quite likely that the planned evening's proceedings would be unable to go ahead due to the particularly wintery weather prevailing in much of Devon and especially on the southern edge of Dartmoor, whence the 'recording gentlemen' were in lodgings. However, the afternoon saw conditions improve and their arduous journey was undertaken successfully. Once again, The Grove was to be the inn of choice for the evening's shenanigans.

All being assembled and ready, including another audience of locals with nothing better to do; several beeswax cylinders were etched in the appropriate manner and many more songs, ably administered by the crew were thus recorded so as to be available to the general public some time hence during this coming Spring, when it is hoped they may agree that the whole endeavour was most worthwhile.

Mention must be made in this log of the bold gentlemen who travelled through the snows to undertake the task in hand, and the lads acknowledge with gratitude the considerable skills of Paul and Jamie Field, to whom they are indebted.

It is also entirely necessary to give such public thanks as may be offered here for the kindness of Anna and Jason in allowing us to use their hostelry. One can but hope that the sounds floating up the stairs to the rooms above, where they were lying on their sickbeds throughout both evenings, has spurred them on to a quick recovery.

 

Needles and Beeswax

22nd day of January. Year of Our Lord 2013
The Grove public house
Weather:- Hail and sleet
Wind:- SW4

The evening saw invited friends and motley acquaintances of the crew assembled in the upper room of the waterside inn known as The Grove in readiness for what they had been told would be a highly unusual experience. A brace of worthy gentlemen had earlier arrived from the moorside town of Bovey Tracey, bringing with them all sorts of very modern paraphernalia upon which to capture the sound of sung renditions of some favourite shanties and forebitters.

The buoys, having been thoroughly prepared for such an event were only slightly inhibited by the arrival of all the odd trappings and performed in their own inimitable way. They were subsequently led to believe that the results of their efforts were more than acceptable to the two aforementioned 'recordists' who promised to return the very next day to do more of the same. Many of the audience were aso heard to mutter that the lads had rarely been heard in better voice.

 

Toward Orcombe Point

20th day of January. Year of Our Lord 2013
Exmouth promenade
Weather:- Extremely cold
Wind:- S2.

The buoys first outing of this new year was but a short wander along the seafront from their winter retreat by the fire of The Grove public house to the specially built house where those most excellent volunteers keep their lifesaving vessel. The event being held was to raise funding, by the extraordinary means of riding a number of penny-farthing type contraptions from Dawlish to said house and thereby attracting many to offer good money to witness the ending of the expedition, all in aid of obtaining for the town a new vessel along with the horse and cart necessary to launch it.

The weather being as it was, certainly quite cold enough to ensure that any local brass monkeys were without their spheres, meant that a comparatively small number were hardy enough to brave the conditions, yet those who were were entertained in style sufficient to warm the very coldest of their heart's cockles. One can only hope that safe homeward passage was enjoyed by all before the expected evening's ice made such travelling treacherous.

 

North from Brest

Winter has arrived, Autumn having been and gone and somehow we have reached the end of a very busy year.

Apologies to all our readers, as well as those who've hosted us at diverse harbours and other stop-overs between early July to now but our wonderfully erudite Log of these past months has been lost at sea. As indeed has our First Mate, last seen disembarking in August and not found again since. Some say he slipped away into a beautiful Exmouth sunset; others that the fast waters at the mouth of the estuary may have swept him whence no-one knows. In either case, we have said farewell to Mr Seymour Cleavage and have set to making good the hole in our crew caused by his loss.

We have sailed many miles and run ashore in many diverse places as far apart as Brest in France and Cockwood, just across the river from home. In between, we have called in at Sidmouth, for their FolkWeek; been filmed by Channel 4; travelled up the canal to Banbury; sailed into Poole and even appeared occasionally in our Exmouth, much to the delight of some of our home-port wives and girlfriends.

And so it is that we use this entry to proffer our acknowledgement and deepest gratitude to those who have been the cause of and reason for our travels to each and all of the above, those who have invited and hosted us. We have enjoyed this year and look forward to the many new ports and encounters which we hope will provide as much busyness in the coming one.

And we have even managed to put together our few remaining groats and purchase a brand new Log. Should you have nothing better to do, please keep your eye on this place, which we hope will keep you enthralled. 

 

Swan Inn Aground

8th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2012
North Exmouth – Swan Inn Aground
Weather:- West Bank Visible
Wind:- SW4.

After what turned out to be not such a quick dash northward, mis-information on part of mine host via Wayne, our lads found themselves ensconced outside a public house close to the eastern shore of the Exe Estuary. The occasion being a celebration of the brewer’s art necessitating regular attendance to the flavours of said products.

Attempts to make themselves heard in the neighbouring City of Exeter failed miserably as Sam admitted defeat after wrestling with yards of mineral spaghetti. Truth is his normal pasta offerings are not much different. The buoys had to make do with being heard through closed doors and thick walls to the great frustration of those followers of battledore who had secreted themselves away from the distractions of village life.

But a reasonable proportion of locals and invaders from across the river settled down to be amazed by melodious utterings from our motley crew. Luckily for crew morale a hard core of chorastic & thespianic types remained attentive throughout the afternoon even suggesting, once the ale had taken hold, that they join in with utterances of their own. As events proceeded swiftly downhill the entertainments grew in raucosity with a suggestion that once the dust had settled our lads should travel over the water to rough up a larger group of lady vocalists. The stampede to get to the front of the queue was most unbecoming.

 

Government Building

8th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2012
Home Port – Government Building
Weather:- Chilly For July
Wind:- SW4.

With the promise of wenches, ale and song deferred to later this day our gallant crew found themselves on the very steps of the afforelogged government building on strict instruction not to pass the threshold.

Luckily the majority of those gathered to part with their doubloons for the express purpose of providing succour to those far less fortunate, were gathered in the open spaces to for’ard. Whilst gainfully losing their money to vendors of goods and dubious pleasures the throng were treated to a blast from the crew which was not totally lost in the stiff breeze blowing off the sea.

Things went smoothly enough until the call of nature presented itself on myriad occasion to the youngest of the Heights family. This required the attendance if Mr Heights which occasioned him to miss his duty on this watch. A full report has been sent to the First Mate and to the Captain when he sobers up.

 

Sea Picnic

30th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
Sea Picninc  – Ansteys Cove
Weather:- Improving
Wind:- NW 007.

A gathering of the great and the good hailing from the environs close to the shores of Torbay meant that, unlikely as it may seem, the boys of the Malarkey had willing ears to assail as the above mentioned personages wended their way down the cliff face to part with hard kept monies for the benefit of underprivileged sailors.

As the nattily dressed hoards passed by they were treated to tales of days gone by both sad & salty and not necessarily in the best of taste. Notwithstanding these tales were warmly received and enjoyed by all giving our lads hope that following endeavours would be given full attention.

However, the call of plate and jug meant that attention drifted to more serious matters such as the procurement of funds for the worthy cause of providing berths for those who may never have even seen the sea.

Large etchings were sold, trips to foreign parts won and lost and pledges made with the promise of decidedly dangerous aerial entertainments made.

And to close proceedings a grand entertainment was promised. This did not go quite as smoothly as the organising junta had probably expected. Craft were often behind schedule and the pyrotechnics occasionally missed their targets. On the bright side a comely wench was seen to be dragged from the sea by an over dressed officer of the realm which did much to raise the blood pressure of him who was giving loud comment on the actions.

Once all excitement had subsided and with no more call being levied on our nonplussed crewmate’s time our brave lads left the shoreline for pastures new.

 

Sedimentary Cove

30th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
Sedimentary Cove  – Landed Gentry
Weather:- Chilly For June
Wind:- N3.

After the earlier display of refinement our lads arrived atop the cliffs near their home port to find all again dressed to the nines. This evening’s brief was to meet and greet those who had chosen to invest in a small piece of Devonshire before the incumbents went to dine heartily in an edifice erected as protection from the increasing squalliness of the weather.

Inside the newly completed bawdy house and on the greensward outside the tented arena our boys gave it their all, possibly to the bemusement of some but definitely to the amusement of the staff. In fact so keen was the crew that our lads eventually managed to get out of the rain by invading the foyer and then proceeded to give a display of manly activities loosely disguised as a facsimile of sail furling. The official meeters and greeters didn’t know where to look.

Another marquee in another port that the crew may never see the inside of again!

 

HSE Nightmare

23rd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
Home Port  – HSE Nightmare
Weather:- Warmer In Than Out
Wind:- SW6.

The call had gone out for the crew of the Malarkey to gather to help celebrate the most recent birthday of one of North Exmouth’s most worthy dignitaries. And of course, our brave lads rose to the occasion with their accustomed good cheer and gusto.

The enjoyment of what happened thereafter was coloured somewhat by the receipt of a communiqué penned in the chambers of those set to order all things in our community.

An Official wrote:-

It has come to our attention that, during a recent display of foolhardiness in the town’s premier edifice for the provision of entertainments, certain rules pertaining to aspects of safety were, not to put too fine a point on it, flouted.

A certain member of the crew was seen to leap onto a structure not wholly suited to the receiving of a fully grown male at precipitous velocity. Not only were no harness worn by the protagonist but no cushioning material had been properly laid out to prevent injury in the likely event of a fall.

As events transpired Mister C Erra did in fact miss his footing and, more by luck than judgement, was fortunate not to sustain serious injury.
This conduct reflects badly upon the crew of the Malarkey and may have influence on the weak minded who, without supervision of their betters, may try to emulate these caperings in their own residences.

We have instructed the Sherriff to approach the captain of the Malarkey the better to pursue the actualities behind the aforementioned events and to suggest most strongly that Mister Erra be confined in the brig the better to learn the error of his ways.

Signed: E Hall.

It is unlikely that the crew will ever be invited back to any building controlled by any government body again.

 

Stormalong

9th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
Ashore  – Port Of Plymouth
Weather:- Stormalong
Wind:- SW 8.

Our now less gallant crew soon found themselves thrashing around the shores of the South West and veritably surfing the waves in a force 8 South Westerly gale after tacking half way across the channel just to make it to Plymouth in time for their 4 bells appointment with the renowned John Govier who seemed to have shady connections with the BBC. (Bells of course nothing to do with Pictish Distillings). Our Bosun arrived late due to his other duties in litter clearing following the loud tones of raucous “Joey the Lips” heard the night before on the banks of the Exe and inciting piratical pleasures and much drinking and debauchery.  

Seymour Cleavage was delighted to arrive early with the crew on the good ship Mercedes at the lodgings located in the road named after him many moons ago, Cleavage Crescent. It is said that Seymour had some of his early dalliances in this very place but that may be a myth put around by the Les Francais to sully his good name.

Monsier Govier welcomed all with tight lips and some reservations likening us to a certain cartoon character who shall not be named. Playing the Captain Pugwash Polka was a dangerous thing for him to do with most of the crew present, but he got away with it. After all, he had a team of young bloods surrounding him, fresh from adventures in the land of Britain's Got Talent. They were young and fit and young and fit and young..... Billy looked likely to spurn any shantyman with just one spin of his giant hoops. He warmed to us and even wanted to become our cabin boy, brushing aside all unsavoury suggestions of the duties which he would have to perform on a long voyage. Billy was soon offered a hammock in/on our next passage but only if he would teach the lads to spin with hoops in full costume. He has promised to get back to us with a firm offer.

The crew were then treated to a soulful funk from young Charlotte.  Only 23 and already holding a degree and a research position at the Peninsula Medical School. A position or two were again soon on offer which she would be well advised to follow. Despite evidence to the contrary she was tempted and could perhaps see some future in it.

A blast of horns assailed the crew, who thought they were about to go aground on the rocks in the fog, but John George from Joey assured them it was Funk not Fog. The lads were then wooed by Hope Murphy who was beaten by a girl with a performing dog on BGT. Well the dog was cute, so in truth she had no hope!  Still a vision free broadcasting medium might be the way to go!

Whilst being entertained in the studio by all these young bloods, in temperatures similar to that found in a pressed mens’ hulk lying at anchor in Spithead awaiting despatch to the next naval vessel to set sail, the boys were even requested to exercise their own vocal chords from time to time into machines going by the name of Mike. John G assured them that by so doing they would be heard by some 80,000 or more people across Devon and the world. Indications were that he had had too much Brandy, which incidently he did not share. The tea and cakes were nice though!

The lads, having shaken their booty with some of Britain’s young finest, departed to much slapping of backs and capturing of images on the steps of the place they call the BEEB. While most departed on the good ship Mercedes, the Bosun left for Marks and Spencer, a well known merchants in a place they call Drake's Circus. Drake ran a circus? Now fancy that: if he was still alive he would almost certainly have recruited young Billy.

 

Lull In Storm

6th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
Out On a Boat – Sold Out
Weather:- Lull In Storm
Wind:- SW 4

Fortune smiled on the lads of the Malarkey as after earlier leaden skies, the sun broke through for the evning. Unfortunatley the wind had other ideas and, whilst having an argument with the tide, managed to ensure that the worthies accompanying our brave crew  found it difficult to embark thereupon. Once the shelter of the Exe Estuary had been gained things calmed down markedly, except perchance the need for Ank to replenish his Quart Flagon.

The buoys gave forth at least as expressively and well as could possibly be expected both above and below deck during the course of the evening with Seymour in particularly fine form, finding the most innovative ways of insulting those on board from the midlands, the north-east, Wales and, of course, Sidmouth in fairly equal measure.

 

Due to the unusually high Spring tide, the Pride of Exmouth, a top heavy looking vessel if ever there was one, was able to extend the journey upstream to the navigable head of the estuary, by the bridge near Exeter's Countess Weir. This being far above the call of duty and of draft. To do so, she had to pick her way carefully upstream through the many moored small boats at Topsham and, on the return leg, was forced to navigate a most careful course through a sailing race, much to the obvious and expletive ridden annoyance of one of the yachts concerned, the crew of which later apologised for the signs and language emanating from their vessel ‘twould have made a maiden blush.

That moment aside, it was by all accounts an excellent evening's sojourn, enjoyed by all who had handed over their hard-earned doubloons to join the merry throng. Again the crew of the Malarkey express their gratitude to Messrs Stuart Line for their generosity in giving all monies extorted directly to the coffers of the Exmouth Cultural Festival.

 

Down Dulverton Way

4th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012|
Between Two Shores  – Down Dulverton Way
Weather:- Fine For June
Wind:- W3.

The weather was fine and inexplicably dry as or brave lads departed in their chariots for deepest Exmoor where seamen rarely set foot amongst. Our lads arrived early to avoid disappointing the awaiting hordes of loafers and locals eager to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Gracious Majesty Elizabeth II. A pageant this, day was being held upon the Thames but due to the un-navigability of the higher reaches of the Exe, a Royal River Pageant here would prove somewhat of a challenge.    Lack of water was a problem for salty sea types, so the buoys gathered on the banks of the Exe and limbered up their dry throats with a “John Kanaka”. This reached all the way to the back of a group of surprised villagers startling a yummy mummy and her child. Any port in a storm says I (Quill the Boatswain!)

What to do now? Remembering that their home port of Exmouth would be heaving with festival and jubilee jollity and that they had chosen the metropolis of Dulverton instead to expound their talents, our brave crew roamed the village, which took at least one minute, and found a fine place to extol their virtues to the gathering throng.  This throng was now numbering some ten fine folk clearly hoping to escape to the tranquillity of the countryside idyll. Instead they found themselves being barked at by a motley crew of reprobates unused to hunting the stag and other high moorland activities.

The lads soon found the Bridge Inn and at last and settled there to bring in the sunshine to an appreciative audience who were gently quaffing ale. A perambulation through the lower recesses of the town down to the playing fields led to the discovery of what had been laid out for Jubilee celebrations. There, the crew’s compare, looking like Mad Max and twice as crazy, introduced our dishevelled mob to the those arriving and a shanty or two was dispensed with wild interjections from our host.  The townsfolk looked on with bemusement wondering how a group of raggedy arsed 18th century shanty singers could ever have reached their fortress of English retreat and peacefulness.

Thereafter the afternoon was passed in gentle somnolence before waking up the folk singing circle within the dark recesses of an inn where sad ditties of murder, intrigue and betrayal were expoused. These sad folk soon laughed and cheered at our crew’s impertinence before retreating back to their sadness in the gloom. Our crew on the other hand relished the sun and the open air and ordered meat and fish pies alfresco and fit for a king (Well in this case a Queen – being as it was Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee).

Ah! and then the evening for which all had been waiting. The Town Hall suddenly exploded with a riot of people anxious to hear the sibilant tones of the Carrivick Sisters.  But first the poor fools had to suffer the strident tones of the Malarkey’s Crew. But were they pleased to see us? Yes, without reserve, they whooped and hollered and, unprovoked, stamped themselves into a frenzy leading to an unaccustomed standing ovation. 

It was now time to for the lads to remove themselves from that place of rural bliss before they found themselves transported from a place of sleep and turpitude where the only thing to rouse them would be the bleating of sheep, the lowing of cows and the acrid smell of ruminant waste.

 

Festive Raucosity

3rd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
Home Port  – Festive Raucosity
Weather:- Inclement
Wind:- S5.

With the Malarkey hard alongside Exmouth Quay her gallant crew set foot ashore to re-visit some of those familiar haunts of years past. As the clouds cleared and the squalls diminished the fair folk of Exmouth were of like mind and gathered in their hundreds to join in the experience of the day.

Earlier the young blood relations of those mentioned above, were treated to some lessons they would never forget. Under the kind ministrations of Sam & Alf the cabin boys & girls of future voyages were beaten into shape. Their talents to be displayed later under the eagle eye of Mister Cleavage.

Then, as luncheon was being taken, the Brigantine “Flash Jack” hove into view and was soon docked alongside Malarkey. This run down Brig out of Plymouth soon got to grips with proceedings, giving a lengthy virtuoso account of herself before the huddled throng. Unfortunately some of the throng, being of low moral fibre, abandoned ship early having been mislead unto the appointed time of the appearance of our own brave lads. Notwithstanding, the addition of this well endowed vessel to the celebrations gave a more musical note to these emanations.

Once the Malarkeyites had ventured from the dark recesses of what bawdy houses they had found, all was restored to harmonious calm and to thunderous acclaim. With the weather improving all the while the manorious crowd were treated to the appearance of a warming brilliant body, with the sun coming out as well. And then, as eventide approached, the aforementioned cabin boys and girls appeared alongside their elders and all joined in harmony to bring the day to a close.

All that was left was to bid adieu to Flash Jack and wave a tear soaked scarf from the lofty Grove heights as they set sail into the setting sun, Westward Ho! 

 

Cool East End On North Sea

29th  day of May. Year of Our Lord 2012
On Voyage –Cool East End On North Sea
Weather:- Frigio
Wind:- L&V

Helen serenaded the boys off Artemis while Sirius accompanied them to the jolly boats (to make sure they were really on their way) and was seen to wipe an eye as the ships left the bay.

By 3 bells the lads were drinking coffee in Brussels and, shortly thereafter, were safely checked through the transport home. While most drifted into a station shop to get a snack for the journey, Ank took himself off to a café/restaurant where, after ordering his own food, he remembered he had a wife with him and invited her to join him! Sufficiently fed, he resumed his head-counting travel-leadership role.

Most of the crew duly arrived in Exmouth later in the day, having left Ian in London, Terry in Exeter and Mr and Mrs Anchorman in North Exmouth where, apparently, they were due in the Swan “in 3 minutes”.

Therein ended the “Summer of 2012” shortly to be followed by the autumnal gales of June and the mists & mellow fruitfullness of July!

 

I See No Sail in East End On North Sea

28th  day of May. Year of Our Lord 2012
On Voyage – I See No Sail in East End On North Sea
Weather:- Scorchioish
Wind:- NNE 1 - 2

The day effectively began when the lads were welcomed back aboard Vic 96 with “ so glad you’re back with us this morning because when you’re on board, no-one else wants to.” We understand this was meant in the sense that the ship's crew got a break from constant invasion from the public but it could have been something else?!

Similarly, in the evening, Sam gave the (all female apart from the captain) crew of Artemis a CD as a thank you for looking after us and this very nearly reduced one of them to tears (of joy naturally). Possibly as the young lady concerned was missing her friend on the other ship!

In fact, the boys were on Vic 96 twice today, before and after lunch. Cam has croaked his last and is now a sorry sight.

As has now become customary, in between times the crew went aboard Vrouwe Nele where, every time they appeared, loads of folks wanted photographs of and with them, they gained good crowds on the harbour wall and sold many of the goods & chattels they had had the foresight to bring with them.

The Vrouwe Nele also gives Aaron C. Resque ample opportunities to climb the rigging and dangle off things to get shots from different angles.

The festival officially ended at 18.00hrs and the estimation is total attendance over the 4 days of around 250,000.

When the crew had finished its last commitment on Vic, the gear was packed and stowed ready for transporting back home. After which the lads headed back to Artemis to freshen up and change before going out for a meal all together to celebrate the end of the trip (and Albert’s 70th birthday); an evening only spoilt by the appearance, shortly before we left, of a troubador at the restaurant with an out-of-tune guitar and a voice not much better.

 

Steaming East End On North Sea

27th  day of May. Year of Our Lord 2012
On Voyage – Steaming East End On North Sea
Weather:- Super Scorchio
Wind:- ESE 1

This fine morning the lads & laddette found themselves on Vic 96, a British ship out of Chatham and currently in harbour directly next to a shore-based steam engine which had just fired up as the crew stepped aboard, obscuring the Chippendale like figures with smoke. Once visible again, a fine rendition of all things nautical entertained those who had assembled to listen.

En route to Vic 96, Albert had taken a tumble down the companionway of Artemis while, approaching Vic, Cameron had almost been pitched into the harbour when the pontoon which he had just reached via the gangway, tipped suddenly due, he reports, to an excess of people on it. Saving himself by grabbing his wife, he was forced to throw his new uniform jacket into the rather unsavoury water of the harbour from where it was shortly fished out looking somewhat the worse for its soaking.

In the afternoon, the boys had the pleasure of singing from the deck of a fishing vessel, Amandine, which pleasure was much added to by having a very delightful family of father, mother and twin girls of about 5 years old on board with our motley ensemble throughout.

When not singing as mentioned above or frequenting a favourite watering hole, Den Akotee, offering coffee with a wonderful glass of eggnog on the side and served by a most delightful and comely wench, the lads once again found themselves aboard Vrouwe Nele, entertaining and being entertained by her crew, accompanied by Crystal (this time with her husband, a butcher with a large chopper!)

And it is also worth making note here of one of the many peculiarities that were observed. This was that small dogs are many here and most are not allowed to walk but are carried in the arms of their owner, little baskets or in a variety of pushed devices. While this is largely the domain of the womenfolk, many of the men desport themselves wearing the most fulsome and flamboyant moustaches, while others display a full head and face covered by the tattooist’s art.

Cam was pretty unwell last night and most of  this day. Was it something he ate? (In fact he seems to have picked up some sort of chest infection) He has spent much of the day hiding in the shade.

We are told that the estimated crowd for Oostende voor Anker today alone was in the region of 93,000, most of whom managed to avoid the crew of the Malarkey by studying carefully information dispersed by the harbour master.

 

Still East End On North Sea

25th  day of May. Year of Our Lord 2012
On Voyage – Still East End On North Sea
Weather:- Sultry
Wind:- NE4.

By the time the lads had breakfasted on board Hydrograaf, which was elsewhere in the harbour, Anchorman had lost his kitbag twice and there were obvious signs that while both he and Albert thought they were in full command of themselves, the fact was their ladies were also under the impression that they were not. Pom was certainly in overall charge of Cameron. There was also the female hierarchy to be sorted through, which would take some time to settle! Especialy amongst the cabin crew of the crew’s residence, the leader of whom, after some discussion and excited rumour, was found batting for the other side!

The scheduled early afternoon performance on the dockside had gone without incident but when the buoys went to pay an impromptu visit to the Black Rose, whose captain had kindly invited us aboard, Seymour decided to throw one of his drumsticks into the water, leading to a mass game of hunt the stick under the pontoon. As Mr Resque was noting everything, we trust that this performance is now recorded.

Back near the Hydrograaf  for a programmed appearance, an Eliza was sought from the crowd to help us and, while the First Mate nearly had a selection disaster, a most suitable candidate, Crystal, was eventually located and the situation saved.

Following this, the whole motley crew headed back shipwards toward their temporary home only to find that having left harbour for a day at sea, she had failed to return at the appointed hour. Ales and sustenance were sought and enjoyed before Sirius (of all people) found Artemis returned, but in a totally different place in the outer harbour, secured behind a barred gate and where she was destined to remain. It was some time later when we gained our bunks.

 

East End On North Sea

24th  day of May. Year of Our Lord 2012
On Voyage – East End On North Sea
Weather:- Continental
Wind:- E 5

Sadly, not all the crew were able to make this trip due to kites n kids. But most of those who were able to muster did so. Some even looking smart in new uniforms, as did Aaron C. Resque and, in several cases, The Ladies Who Launch.

The crew departed on time, with Anchorman leading from the front and managing to lose only one ticket by Exeter – his own.

By the time our travel stained lads arrived at the port off London’s terminus, he had counted the group some 9 times to ensure that even those who were struggling to keep up with his great pace between platforms and stations were still on board. Even though his gesticulations, delivered with gay abandon, were indecipherable to all.

At this point Ian Ormus, who had recently had shore leave in the big city deigned to turn up and, leaving him in charge of kit, luncheon was procured for most but Cameron Nails found it necessary to grab a bag containing enough food for several mules.

Thereafter, and despite one of the ladies walking off and leaving her baggage behind, and Sam trying to dismantle one of the station’s barriers with his kitbag, our rabble got through the checking area and all boarded the Overground Undersea Boat without much further ado.

As the voyage continued – Aaron C. recorded all (including the Anchorman’s passing up the chance to sit and drink beer for a few moments to spot some trains in Brussels!) for posterity – we passed through the European lowlands busy with haymaking before arriving in mid-evening at Oostende, where we were met by Sirius & Ms Highwater who had remarkably managed to arrive before us.

The ship Artemis, a three-masted schooner, on which we were to stay was located, bunks were found and kit was stowed before a local hostelry was sought ashore. Unfortunately between leaving the Artemis and returning later, the fall of the tide meant the already steeply angled gangplank had become an extremely vertiginous scramble down either a now near vertical one or negotiating the rungs in the harbour wall to gain the deck. A fearful challenge for some. We are joined on this new mooring by Mercedes, a brig and Minerva, another three-master.

 

Mountie Show

18th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2012
Up Creek – No Paddles, Ships, Nauticalia
Weather:- Foreboding
Wind:- NE 3.

Again the call went up from those involved in totally landlubberly pursuits for something barely dressed as entertainment with a more salty edge. Those farming types just cannot seem to get enough of our brave lads although their interest seems to be waning slightly as they have engaged a bunch of blokes in scarlet smocks to ride around frightening children. More was to come as another vocal majority, skirts blowing in the wind, elbowed their way onto the deck beforehand to give voice with their nationally famed renditions.

However before all the big stuff kicked off our motley crew found themselves plied with beverages of a more warming nature outside the tented enclosure featuring an acrobatic troupe of those devoted to raising edifices and materials to dizzying heights.

From there it was onward and sideways to the main arena to deliver a spasm of well known ditties and witty remarks to a group of followers who after a while seemed to follow off somewhere else. Such is the nature of these fair weather punters. Some more hardy souls stuck it out and then all decamped to the nearest pavilion dedicated to the sale of hop flavoured water. The secret recipes used by the artisans responsible soon added a little liveliness to proceedings.

As the ship's bell rang to summon the lads back on board they were much relieved to depart by jolly boat as the byways of Devon had become mobbed by those fleeing an excess of agricultural arrangements.

Atop the cliff

24th day of April. Year of Our Lord 2012
In Port - Well almost
Weather:- Exceeding wet
Wind:- SW gale
 
An interesting daytime was passed in this South Beachside eatery on Devon's Cliffs, recently refurbished and with ambiance and furnishings unsullied thus far by useage. The selection of antics and harmonious offerings of an abbreviated crew was interrupted by short speeches and cutting of ribbon by some notable fellow and there then followed the bringing of platter after platter of locally produced foodstuffs prepared, not by the ship's cook, but by someone who could!
 
Such was the extraordinary quality and quantity of these platters that even the ship's carpenter was heard to cry "enough", a word that has never before knowingly left his lips. Clearly in shock, he was still heard talking about this occuranceto all who would listen until much later in the day.
 
 
 

Very far from the sea

22nd day of April. Year of Our Lord 2012
On voyage – To the centre of England
Weather:- Wet squalls
Wind:- NE 7
 
Having arrived in the country far from the sea and after a long journey, almost certainly by way of some typical navigational vagueries, the buoys found to their delight that others had made the same error.
 
Finding themselves thus in the good company of like minded souls they managed to spend the better part of the remainder of the day partaking so fully in Banbury's 'Song & Ale' that their returned presence in the Autumn of this year has been requested.
 
Apparently they accepted this invitation with an alacrity born of knowing how quickly such offers can be withdrawn once the sobriety of the inviter is regained. If you are reading this in the county of Oxfordshire I can only say that you have at least been warned.
 
 
 

North of Exmouth - just!

24th day of March. Year of Our Lord 2012
On Voyage – But hardly
Weather:- Very fine
Wind:- Light
 
After the very short travel from town to our nearest neighbouring village, the buoys spent part of the post-noon ensuring that all chattels and goods transported with them were placed in the most attractive way possible around the Lympstone Hall. The evening's entertainment ensued later with our gallant lads singing with full voice and Mr Cleavage even bringing to the fore a new piece of jocular repartie.
 
This particular evening however had at its heart the lusty and voluble participation of at least certain members of the audience; notably in the person of two of the village wenches who came to the forefront of attention, one by cavorting with the First Mate and inviting all to her diggings for a hearty supper and the other by becoming doubled up with such laughter as really does warm the cockles.
 
Sadly the boys failed to locate the address of the former wench's diggings and the latter had left the premises before it could be ascertained whether it was the deliberate attempts at humour, or the method and delivery of the singing, which had caused her to be thus convulsed.
 
 
 

Beyond the navigable head

3rd day of February. Year of Our Lord 2012
On Voyage – Poltimore
Weather:- Cool
Wind:- Calm
 
After sailing up the Exe as far as possible, disembarkation into rustic wagons was essential to transport the lads to the fine settlement within the Poltimore estate. The good folk of the village listened attentively to all that was enunciated in their direction and, in addittion, the ladies provided te most sumptuous supper to be seen by the crew for many a year.
 
Once mutual niceties had been exchanged and gratitude expressed the none too arduous journey home was begun with full bellies and wide grins.
 
 
 

Music from near and far

20th day of January. Year of Our Lord 2012
On Voyage – With friends new & old
Weather:- Typical
Wind:- Stiff

Invited along the coast to the east of Exmouth, the crew of the Malarkey had the pleasure of beginning an ensemble evening of music which was continued later by local wonder-musician Phil Beer and a visiting band of 'Bully Wees'.

The sedate town of Budleigh, being renowned throughout the land for its gentility and refinement, may well have found this beyond its level of tolerance. None of those who performed are yet sure that they will again be permitted entry beyond the very extremities of the settlement.

 

Quayside carols

18th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port - And home for Christmas
Weather:- Mild
Wind:- W 1-2

One year before, a freezing gale had caused much mayhem to similar candlelit quayside carolling. This day proved to be far more hospitable and some there gathered were seen to forego their fourth, and a few even their third, layer of woollens for fear of overheating.

In addition, the assembled throng sung gustily before making the most of the nearby Dock's Cafe to enjoy a warming drink before subsequently dispersing into local taverns or to their homes and lodgings.

Reports later confirmed that no-one had suffered any ill effects from their outer garment removal and that the whole had been a pleasurable experience for all concerned.

 

Jurassic celebration

14th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
Weather:- Clement
Wind:- SW 5

That part of the town of Lyme Regis which is not yet descending into the Channel has within it the Marine Theatre which was the appointed meeting place for this celebration of the 10th anniversary of the local coastline being recognised as special.

To the backing of waves breaking on the rocks nearby the buoys sang their hearts out to a selection of the great and good from the surrounding area who managed to feign a remarkable degree of disinterest throughout, possibly after having previously been plied at length with much ale and sumptuous vittals.

 

Many melifluous melodies

10th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – God's house in Exeter
Weather:- Dry
Wind:- Astern

To this ancient cathedral were drawn the voices and bodies of many hundreds, come to sing and be sung to this night. Had the celebrated vaulted ceiling not been so well built and secured for some number of centuries, it may well have been lifted off such was the volume of sound.

Our brave sailing lads added their rough and ready harmonies at all appropriate times to this wondrous event.

 

The biggest sing?

5th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port: – Return to the Pavilion
Weather:- Cool
Wind:- SSW 2

The crew's annual appearance for the cause of those of religious conviction who raise funds to support the less fortunate was but one part of a well received and entire evening of musical entertainment lovingly crafted for the good citizens of our home port.

It is possible that at least one of our gallant lads failed to find his way home until considerably later that night, having found himself waylaid by wenches who offered strong drink at their lodgings but of this, enough said.

 

All downhill?

20th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Down the slippery slope
Weather:- Unseasonable
Wind:- Very light airs

On their first trip one year ago to this very fine harbour on the north Devon coast, the weather conditions had seriously inconvenienced all the evident brass monkeys. When the crew ran ashore again in the summer, it proceeded to rain a deluge of four-legged beasts throughout most of their time ashore.

This day proved far more comfortable for all concerned and the narrow strip of beach twixt the incoming tide and the harbour wall the ideal setting for a small crew to entrance those visitors to the village who had managed to navigate their way right down the steep cobbles and needed sufficient time and respite to regain their strength prior to wending their way up the climb back to their wagons and horses.

 

Mageean nights

11th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port - Home for a brief visit
Weather:- Perfect
Wind:- Calm

Returned once more to their spiritual home on stage at the wonderful and intimate Blackmore Theatre of their home port, the buoys were accompanied for this very special evening by 'Shanty' Jim Mageean and Graeme Knights. There followed a concert of the very finest order which was concluded to rapturous applause and entirely unexpected whoops of excitement.

 

Brat on Clovelly

22nd day of October. Year of Our Lord 2011
On voyage – Charity at the Hall
Weather:- Misty
Wind:- WNW

Arriving early at this pretty, small hamlet by wagon allowed the horses to be tethered on the nearby greensward while the village hostelry was visited by those whose thirst needed immediate quenching. Thereafter, and once suitably prepared, the lads entertained the assembled locals to an evening the like of which so they were told had never before been witnessed in this previously quiet backwater.

 

The Long Barn .... again

8th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – The end of the beginning
Weather:- Excellent
Wind:- Southerly

Almost 12 months to the day since they last found themselves in the exact same place, the buoys were once again asked to offer a selection of their fine renditions of saltiness to a select and obviously undiscerning audience.

On the last occasion, the proprietors of the premises had seen fit to pull it down immediately after the crew's appearance. This second visit marked the completion of its rebuilding. Reports have not yet been received to indicate whether, this time, the building has been allowed to remain.

 

Exchanging corn and culture

1st day of October. Year of Our Lord 2011
Up river again – With African friends
Weather:- Warm
Wind:- Thankfully not

Not content with having assaulted the eardrums of the good burghers of Exeter just days before, there was presented an opportunity to repeat the exercise.

On this occasion, in the main hall of this corn-trading establishment, the Malarkey's shipmates were joined by a most energetic, exciting and animated group of young men from Zimbabwe in eastern central Africa, calling themselves The Black Umfolosi 5, who proceeded to sing beautifully as they danced and sometime swabbed the floors of this august room while dressed in bright tunics and strange boots.

 

Barnstorming Exeter

23rd day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
Up river - With the North-East's favourites
Weather:- Fine
Wind:- Gentle

As the foul and dangerous squalls of the Autumn season reach across the western ocean to our home port, and after an unexpectedly and extraordinarily demanding previous six months, the one member of the crew who is able to write lucidly and perform the duty of our scribe has exhausted his wit and the ink for his quill. Once both are suitably restored we hope that entries to the log will be resumed in his usual unique and inimitable style. Until such time I shall do my best. The first part thereof being:

Having sailed upstream to the city, the lads found that another crew had arrived in town and coincidentally at the same, Barnfield Theatre that very afternoon, while on their travels around the south-west coastline. As a result it was decided that an impromtu concert was required and each crew sang their best in turn before uniting in a grand finale to render the long suffering audience who had miraculously appeared both speechless and temporarily deafened.

 

 

A Show of Bravado

 

15th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port – Around Britain In Easy Stages
Weather:- Glorious
Wind:- Always on the bow.
 
As mentioned before our brave lads had another chance to show off in front of what was hoped to be the largest crowd Exmouth’s strand had ever seen.
 
Rumours that a bunch of maniacal velocipedists would be breaking all safety laws along the seafront had caught the attention of a vast multitude of sightseers. The crowds manning the narrow yet strangely unfurnished, our bosun had a hand in agreeing to the desecration of Mr Belisha’s erections, esplanade were in places ten deep. A jester from the big city of Exeter had been employed with the strict instructions to cause as much havoc as possible in the run up to the finale when the owner of the Cavendish Hotel was expected to cross the final straits a little ahead of the others. This proved not to be the case as a returning deportee managed to spring ahead taking the final honours but steadfastly refusing to return the loaf of bread which had been involved in the instigation of his recent travels.
 
And it was to this crowd, or at least part of it, that our lads hoped to keep off the streets that very evening.
 
But now the pressure was on. A famous ensemble and masters of the folk art had arranged to entertain the masses. Their fame had preceded them and the halls of the mighty were filled to seated capacity by those wishing to hear the crème de la crème.
 
And this they certainly got. But not before a strangely quiet and thoughtful crew from the Malarkey had given what turned out to be their best effort thus far. Harmonious outpourings, timings as tight as Wayne’s wallet, humour as bright as as as erm , and to the accompanied stamping and cheering of those present the lads finally emerged into those sunlit uplands with justifiable pride.
 

Final Walk After Sunset

 

14th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port – Final Walk After Sunset
Weather:- As “Wood’s” Would Have Expected
Wind:- Hot & Blustery
 
With the Malarkey back in port for a short two day break the lads decided not to let the gains of the past months go to waste. As fit as, although not as slim as, a match they sallied forth to entertain those rotund ruffians, or rough rotundians, at their annual honouring of all things Empirical.
 
Bringing a slightly less highbrow start to proceedings and managing to maintain these standards throughout the buoys gave good voice and were warmly greeted by the assembled masses.
 
Two short spurts of some of the best utterances to be heard this side of the Tamar, as one travels from east to west, were interspersed with a more classical burst of creativity from those sporting more sombre attire and wielding large weapons of instrumentation.
 
And as the last strains of the concerted concert emanated from the high lands conveniently staged before the audience, our brave lads could be seen waving various signals with their heads just above the parapet.
 

Mesozoic Mayhem

 

9th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – End Of Jurassic In Sight
Weather:- Flat Calm
Wind:- Zephyritic
 
The Anchorman having provided the crew with almost fool-proof directions, map and itinerary, saw the landing party arriving for once at the right place and at the right time! Arrangements were duly honoured and a few songs sung at one of the local hostelries, namely The Red Lion Inn which proved to be full to the point of bursting.
After their first spasm and during the break between that and their second attempt at entertaining the locals, one comely and poorly sighted blond “French Wench” saw fit to engage Abner in lengthy conversations. Thus greatly amusing those others assembled who were heard to mutter about pheromones and the lack of a certain person’s wife in the immediate vicinity. As to the outcome of this entente cordial, none are the wiser?
 
10th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Cretaceous Ahoy
Weather:- Overcast, Precipitation en-route.
Wind:- Increasing Gale Force 8
 
At around midnight last night while still chained to his seat in the Red Lion Wayne finally decided to read the Festival programme with which he had been provided earlier that eve. This unusual attempt at literary acumen lead to the startling discovery that the information therein scheduled the Buoys as performing at an unearthly hour on that very morning. This fact had previously remained unadvertised to those whom it concerned. Unfortunately most being now abed in various lodgings around the town meant that such a gathering in the forenoon was quite impossible. In order not to disappoint too many, the Anchorman took it upon himself to advise any unwise residents of or visitors to Swanage who showed up for this performance, that in fact it would be held later that afternoon.
When the crew gathered for their first known scheduled appearance it was agreed that they would, on the morrow, force themselves from their bunks at an earlier than planned hour to bail the organisers out of a similarly large hole.
Thus to Prince Albert Gardens where a growing crowd gathered to hear what all the fuss was about. Once their appetite was sated, and after the planned procession of dancers and cloggers had sallied forth, the lads moved to the other end of the town’s foreshore to find a bandstand from which to cavort to a different audience.
The later part of the evening somewhat unsurprisingly found certain crew members back at the Red Lion with almost enough room to move an elbow or two while they sang to a bar-room from which none could escape as none could locate the door.
 
11th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Permian Here We Come
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- Gale Force 8 Gusting Severe Gale Force 9
 
The Bandstand location of yesterday’s later performance saw the buoys re-visit it twice today once in the forenoon and once after. The initial small assemblage of local and visiting folks who were there soon had their numbers swelled as others came from all directions to find for themselves what on earth could be making that much noise. Once they found out, they apparently found the temptation to stay one that proved irresistible.
And so it was that this run ashore came to a timely end and all were able to make their way westward back to Exmouth in good time. Perhaps the most notable surprise of this day was provided by two comely young wenches who had watched the post-noon show with wide eyes and ventured the comment: “You guys are so cool!”. We understand that this is some form of compliment in modern parlance. Obviously the request for warmer garments chitty was nailed to the Captain’s cabin door that very evening.

Burnham On Where

 

3rd day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
Run Aground – No Sea Within Sight
Weather:- Obscured
Wind:- SW5
 
Setting out from Exmouth on the evening tide the crew of the Malarkey, now partially ravaged by fever and the calls of the mainland of Europe, duly arrived on a fast ebbing tide off the coast of Somerset. Not a good thing to be doing whilst afloat, for one soon finds oneself not afloat and surrounded by a sea of mud.
 
Unfortunately the Erras had mis-read the sailing instructions and had acquired lodgings in Burnham on Crouch. This easily made mistake saw them miss the entirety of the programme as offered by the rest of the crew who had correctly divined that they be in Burnham on Sea. One does wonder sometimes. And despair!
 
After wading ashore, and consequently smelling less clean than is to be expected, our lads turned up at the Palladium as promised by Wayne who had alluded that our efforts were to be the highlight of this weekend’s “North Somerset Celebration of all Acoustic Tradition”. The gentlemen at the entrance facility soon re-directed the crew to a more ritzy venue just down the street. Luckily other residents of Exmouth soon made the buoys feel at home, as did generous helpings of Porter Stout.
 
After a sublime performance by young Mr Henry & Miss Martin and what was an enchanting opening of the venue by Ms Conley, the evening veered abruptly to the ridiculous as our lads took the limelight.
 
But merriment did indeed follow as those who had failed to vacate their places soon realised that they were in the company of greatness. The definition of “Greatness” may have become a little blurred these days as some may be said to be riding on the crest of the sea shanty wave, but even the vocal local soon was awed by what was unfolding before.
 
The efforts of our lads were said to have flowed seamlessly from one poignant moment to the next. And the bodiceless arrival of Ms Gabbi Lee did much to raise the bar over previous encounters. The future Mr “Gabi Lee” may not have been as impressed as was Mister Cleavage but we wish them both well in their future voyage together.
 
And with the blasphemies of the Headmaster of Hogwarts ringing in their ears, the local worthies retired to their camp sites in the sure knowledge that they had received a right royal education. Many were heard to say, “That taught me a lesson!”

Aons A Bar

 

28th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
Shore Leave – Or Not So Shore
Weather:- Fair, Smoke on Horizon
Wind:- SW4
 
It seemed fair that soon after the first “Fiscal Service Provider” in the country had opened its doors in Exeter, a public holiday be called to celebrate the occasion. This saw the lads at a loose end this day so jolly old Wayne suggested that profit might be gained from joining the beautiful people as they gathered for merry making in a quickly drying field just to the north of Crediton.
 
Wayne soon realised that the term “Beautiful People” did not apply to him or, let’s face it, to any of our lusty crew. This did not dampen the spirits of our jolly band nor pour cold water on their efforts.
 
With what sounded like the reports of cannon echoing all around them the buoys were called forth to entertain an excited yet unsuspecting crowd. Beneath a hastily erected shelter of cloth, with depictions of a nautical nature, those gathered therein were treated to the full force of vocal talent. And when called for the young ladies of the field nearly threw themselves upon the mercies of our lads. Better that it is supposed than to be approached by our navigator hell bent on thespianism.
 
And amidst the smoke of battle, possibly not what Sir W Raleigh had intended when bringing presents home to ER I, the throng enjoyed an experience on another plane to those which were taking place all around.
 
And bye the way, Mr Minella compliments the organisers on their provision of fermented apple products.

Paimpol Cinq

 

15th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Broad – Paimpol Cinq
Weather:- Mist
Wind:-  NW 2 - 3
                
Aroused from their bunks at an ungodly hour, the buoys made way for the port some distance hence and from which they would sail for home. A misty hour-long journey on the byways of northern Brittany brought them to the required dockside and after only the briefest of delays the vessel weighed anchor and the safe voyage to Plymouth and then Exmouth ensued.
 
Rumour abounds that they may be invited back across The Channel on some future occasion. This would be a pleasure for all. Vive La France!

Paimpol Quatre

 

14th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Broad – Paimpol Quatre
Weather:- Fair to Midlin
Wind:-  W2
 
Once more the crew ventured down to the quayside, primarily to the so-called Pub Guiness, for an advertised performance which they gave with their usual degree of finesse. Those of the citizenry who had not stayed up too late the previous evening formed a small but growing audience as the crew’s gusto lured them from their perambulations within the vicinity. Thereafter, and while still counting the by now large quantity of coin accrued from the local populace, the lads marched forth to the other side of the harbour to revisit the good ship Vigilance where they stood in various affectations and poses and even sang for a while.
 
Unexpectedly, and most rewardingly, as they proceeded through the large throngs which had now foregathered around the water’s edge, the Malarkey’s crew were given standing ovations by those who had previously been entertained by them in the preceding days.
 
Later, after another fine luncheon provided by the organisers of the Festival, and with the warmth of this startling and so un-British emotional outpouring in their hearts, the buoys collected their goods and chattels from the temporary storehouse where they had been laid and set out from the harbour town of Paimpol for the final time.
 
Back in Lezardrieux, the assembled company, suitably attired in their matching finery, made for the village tavern where crepes and gallettes were consumed in large number along with enough liquid refreshment to keep them afloat during the next day’s voyage home. On the walk uphill to their lodgings at the end of the day a clear sky revealed the fullness of the moon, which clouds had hidden from view the night before.

Paimpol Trois

 

13th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Broad – Paimpol Trois
Weather:- Precipitation Within Sight
Wind:-  L&V
 
Their first night at lodgings in the village of Lezardrieux, and divided into two separate cabins, had been interrupted for all by bunk breakages. The first occurred when the Anchorman first fell into his and went straight through to the floor while, in the second dormitory, four of the thus accommodated lads had their nights repose punctuated at regular intervals by the successive giving up the ghost of the slats supporting Cameron’s part-sleeping form, all of which instances were followed by utterances unsuited for mixed, or indeed any, sensible company.
 
During a fortifying breaking of the fast, the proprietor of the lodging house had brought the news that a pictorial representation of the crew had appeared on the foremost page of the notable daily publication Ouest France.
 
Only later did the buoys also find out that their antics of yesterday had been reported, along with their likenesses, on French national visual media of the type not to be invented until the enterprise of one John Logie Baird some hundred years hence. And not once reported but twice!
 
Then it was back to the quayside for a day of ‘roaming’ amongst the assembled ships and dockside taverns and, as it turned out, attempting to avoid the heavenly torrent which arrived in due course. One brief attempt at vocal harmony on board the “Johanna Lucretia” was closely followed by another under a canvas awning set up to shelter those in need from the elements and then yet another nearby as those in situ within had offered beer for singing: an exchange with which the buoys are always happy to have truck.
 
Encountering a troupe of wandering musicians arrived from Paris within one particular quayside hostelry, the First Mate persuaded them to accompany the usually unaccompanied efforts of the crew with instrumentation par excellence of a rather different musical genre and thus shazz, or shanty-jazz is formed; the results of which can be viewed elsewhere in these pages.
 
Having achieved their accidental objectives of creating a new musical form and becoming soaked to the skin, the lads called it a day and suitable rewarded with food, drink and collected gold coin, they travelled some leagues inland to regale the few brave souls in a village tavern with further raucousness and the polyphonic rendition of numerous bawdy songs before turning in for what remained of the night.
 

Paimpol Deux

 

12th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Broad – Paimpol Deux
Weather:- Drizzle Clearing from Oest
Wind:-  WSW 2
 
Despite the ship’s rolling during the night, when the buoys eventually crawled dishevelled and in various states of disarray from their cabins, the sea was relatively calm and a bright day seemed in prospect.
 
Surprisingly well guided by Sirius, arrival in Paimpol was achieved with no further incident and the advanced landing party of Mr Drinkitall and his current wench, who had been dispatched some days previously, had obtained the necessary enscribings by the production of which, they lads would be allowed into all areas of the quaysides.
 
Thereafter, an orientation of this new port was had with the somewhat unrealistic anticipation that it would prevent the crew from getting lost during the following days. This having been at least partially achieved, a performance was given later on from the deck of the Bateau “Fee de L’Aulne”, which attracted a very large audience who, astounded by the rendition they had just witnessed, proceeded to flock forward to speak of their enjoyment and to purchase mementos with which to shock their unsuspecting friends and relatives.
 
Food and drink closely followed this spectacle and bolstered by the hospitality thus offered the buoys sallied forth to board the “Vigilance” which had recently crossed La Manche from Brixham and whose Captain had carelessly invited them aboard. An impromptu second performance then ensued before beer and porter were found at a nearby hostelry prior to heading the few hundred yards inland necessary to witness an evening’s entertainment provided by the Chieftains and Simple Minds.
 

Paimpol Un

 

11th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Broad – Paimpol Un
Weather:- Drizzle, Sea:- Lumpy, Breakfast:- Not Required.
Wind:-  WNW 5
 
The crew managed to navigate successfully to the port of Plymouth ready to embark on their next voyage, despite one of their number having managed to leave his most vital papers at home: a fact fortunately discovered before too long into the journey.
 
There followed an enormously long delay in permission to board, after which, once safely allocated bunk space, sustenance was obtained and an informal meeting held to discuss the morrow before all retired to the confines of their bunks, being commonly exhausted by the combination of travel, delay and the lateness of the hour.
 

Land Locked Aye Aye Aye

 

31st day of July. Year of Our Lord 2011
Land Locked – No Sea Sighted
Weather:- Scorchio
Wind:- L&V Inc N3
 
After once again safely traversing the passage twixt lodgings and field, a welcome to all was held at Shanty Camp to hear the joyous news that Mister Cleavage was sufficiently recovered to be en route from Exmouth.
 
Required by the organisers to sing into small metal devices on the main festival stage at a time when no-one would be there to hear, the lads then duly did as asked. Within a mere thirty minutes the ‘sounding man’ declared that he had heard quite enough and that he would be able now to subdue or enhance as necessary the inevitable raucousness of the crew’s later appearance.
 
Their hunger and thirst assuaged – for some, on several occasions – and thoroughly bolstered by the timely arrival of the First Mate, the buoys made their way back to the scene of the morning’s shenanigans to find that, on this occasion, the very large marquee which housed the “Main Stage” now also accommodated a substantial gathering of people. At the appointed hour, trunks, chains, ropes and wheels were hauled into position and a spasm of their finest utterances was delivered to the attentive audient with even more than the usual degree of gusto, camaraderie, humour and not a little tunefulness. This remarkable event was fortunately or unfortunately for some, inscribed for posterity.
 
Afterwards, remarks were heard: some of them complimentary, and several individuals found the courage to seek out the crew to ask for personal marks to be made on their recently purchased audio souvenirs. Those who are able to write willingly obliged before chattels and bags were packed away in preparation for the voyage back to home port.
 
Shore leave has now been issued and those of the crew who do not take the opportunity to jump ship will report for duty in just over a week’s time to set sail for France.

Land Locked Aye Aye

 

30th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2011
Land Locked – No Ships Sighted
Weather:- Toasty
Wind:- L&V
 
Having avoided falling into the river and the various ponds which had been cunningly placed to catch them unawares on their journey along a moonless footpath home from the hostelry the previous night, a refreshed crew managed to meet almost at the appointed hour in the “Song House” for a session entitled ‘Sing like a shantyman’. A host of festival-goers also arrived at said venue laughably expecting the lads to have some idea what this activity entailed. Safe to say everyone there learned something. Leastways many were taught a lesson!
 
Shortly after – and with scarcely enough time to visit the heads, some of the same people, now accompanied by others, assembled in expectant mood for a “shanty session”, during which ninety minutes, those attending were invited to sing sea songs, shanties, forebitters or any salty or nautically connected ditties which they knew and wished to share. Whenever possible, and particularly if the guests proved too competent or had too fine a voice, the crew and others joined them in the choruses to ensure that the quality of what they offered was maintained at Malarkey level throughout. Many a budding career foundered precisely at this point.
 
At the latter end of the afternoon, as the heat of the sun began slowly to fade, the buoys once again found themselves on the Plaza Stage; this time as advertised in the schedule of events. Perplexingly they found that some who had seen and heard them earlier in the day were ready and waiting for them again. It would seem that no amount of warning will save those who do not wish to be spared. Indeed, by the time they began, all available seating was occupied and soon thereafter, even more were seen to be drawn in by the cacophony and abortive attempts at harmony. Some were even forced to remain upright as the proceedings unfolded. As they finished, there were unsolicited requests for “more” to which the crew responded as best they could in such a state of shock.
 
As if to prove that strange things were in the air at around this time, one of the numerous and regular wains which had been hired to bring the townsfolk to the school had found the particularly generous entranceway too narrow for its possibly inebriated driver and had partially demolished said portal by striking it on all sides, causing substantial damage to both the fixed brickwork structures and the street furniture as well as the vehicle itself, and managing to alarm considerably the horses and both those on board and those waiting to board it in the expectation of safe passage homeward.
 

Land Locked Aye

 

29th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2011
Land Locked – Middle Lands
Weather:- Mizzle
Wind:- SSW 2
 
 
Having journeyed far inland from Exmouth during the day, the crew arrived at their destination to find that the advance landing party had set up camp and had collected the necessary individual permits and licences, which were then passed to the more recent arrivals. Those who were more familiar with the land in which our brave lads found themselves then conducted the remainder on a tour of the land-locked area to which they had come.
 
This proved to consist of a vast array of buildings and sporting fields belonging to Warwick’s very finest educational establishment – a place of learning most unfamiliar to the crew of the Malarkey, especially as they had left the First Mate (one of the only even partially educated amongst them) behind in his maliferous hammock. After a brief stop at the ‘Shanty Camp’ for some much needed but non-alcoholic liquid refreshment, the newly arrived crew members then sallied forth to find their lodgings.
 
This task accomplished, later that evening, and after changing into attire more suited to meeting their public, the buoys assembled at the so-called Plaza Stage to warm up their vocal chords and astonish an unsuspecting audience with their unadvertised, yet invited, caterwauling. The outburst successfully closed that particular event and simultaneously encouraged those with a musical ear who witnessed it to avoid the forthcoming evening spasm.
 
Some hours later, once all children and those with any sense had long since retired to their hammocks, the lads re-assembled at the “Living Tradition Centre” where they headlined that evening’s entertainments and managed, despite some over-excitement among certain crew members, to complete their performance almost in tune and very nearly in time, before heading back across town via the camp-side tavern to their lodgings.

Westward Ho. Ho.

 

17th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2011
Land Ho – Westward Ho! Ho.
Weather:- Typical Summer Rain
Wind:- W 4 – 5
 
With Westward Ho obscured by squalls of rain and bits of the Devon coast it was a bedraggled crew who straggled ashore after the passage back from Southern Ireland. Fortunately during a brief period of lucidity, Sirius Erra had turned sharp left, realising the coast of Wales was passing under his lee. This miracle happened just off the South Bishop Lighthouse though was probably more likely to have been the result of him grabbing at the wheel after tripping over something on the poop!
 
Other members of the crew had a less comfortable arrival as Mister Normous had taken charge of a Jolly Boat and had found the most tortuous route from the Exe to the hidden valley of Clovelly. How he managed to find a flock of sheep at sea was beyond those hanging on for dear life in the bottom of the boat.
 
Once all assembled the crew quickly split up again, some to grab a less arduous passage down to the shoreline and others to take shelter from the rain and get outside of a marvellous jug of coffee.
 
Once on the Strand, and with scant heed being paid by those few hardy souls who had ventured out at the crack of dawn, our brave and somewhat tarnished crew managed to rouse the spirits of all in attendance. The results of meticulous planning and the urges of our navigator to add a touch of drama to the event all seemed to go by the board but all went largely un-noticed by the slowly gathering multitude.
 
What was called for was a lengthy recuperation somewhere warm and somewhere where pasties and ale might be procured. The latter was readily forthcoming but the expected length of shore leave was roughly curtailed as the cry when up “where are my Blue Mosquitoes?”. It soon transpired that a group of antipodean musicians travelling under that very name were expected that morning to give support to our likely lads. It turned out that their navigator, one Abel Janszoon Tasman, had definitely been to the same school as Mister Erra. An error of 180 degrees saw the group knocking on the doors to the caves frequented by an infamous Somerset Witch rather than being where they should have been, entertaining the good folk of Clovelly.
 
But the speedy interjection of one Emma Cinque, soon rectified the situation their arrival being only slightly tardy. It did mean that after back to back performances our crew could slope off back to the Public Houses early whilst our Tasmanian friends held the fort all afternoon.
 
It was then that the advantages of “Tiny’s Tours Jolly Boat” soon became apparent. A short journey later the lucky passengers found themselves tucked up by the fire in a country pub with lashings of roast beef, roast pork & local sardines for company. The not so fortunate others found that the popularity of Clovelly on that day had stripped the larders of the cook houses bare and there was scant reward for their searchings.

I See No Ships

 

3rd day of July. Year of Our Lord 2011
Erin IV – “I See No Ships”
Weather:- Fog
Wind:- L&V
 
It was with heavy heart that the Malarkey prepared to set sail that morning.
 
A wondrous time had been had by all and many wonderful memories were being taken away of a visit to Erin’s oldest city that will go down as truly remarkable amongst ships logs past & future.
 
The only snag was that the fog was so thick that no-one noted the departure of our brave, if somewhat diminutive, vessel nor did they note the departure of many of the other tall ships on the way to the start of their race.
 
So with some trepidation the Malarkey set out once again for home shores with the uncomfortable knowledge that Sirius had the compass & Wayne the ship’s wheel!

Ships Ships Everywhere

 

2nd day of July. Year of Our Lord 2011
Erin III – Ships Ships Everywhere & far Too Much to Drink
Weather:- Brilliant
Wind:- SE 1
 
Due to overindulgence and lack of discipline not a lot happened this morn. Even Gunner Drinkitall couldn’t get the lads motivated until well after noon. And it was not for honour or glory that the lads stirred themselves this after noon, but for material gain. Well as much gain as could be had by the selling off of parts of the ship, parts of past performances & parts of the crew. Messrs Cleavage and Erra were by far the best at the latter returning home with their images unfortunately spread to the four points of the compass. The best way of accreting wealth seemed to be to stop by a lively bunch of onlookers and demand money with voices. Give 'em just enough then move on leaving them wanting more. A dangerous pastime if the onlookers were fleeter of foot that our lads.
 
And it was perceived dangers which decided Wayne to forgo the pleasures of a visit to one of his previous winter haunts. His advice about the likelihood of a possible terminal attendance persuaded the others, once ensconced in the dark recesses of McLoughlin’s, to stay there and not move a muscle. A short spasm turned into three episodes of glorious harmonising whilst the assembled crowd pushed past the lads on their way to & back from the local conveniences.
 
Once Quill the Boson had retired to his chambers amidst heightened security and had completed his final calculations the crew were amazed by the generosity of those with whom they had earlier jousted against on the fields of commerce. The Malarkey gives thanks to those who gave donations, bought goods & chattels, endured posing with the first mate & navigator and to those who didn’t realise that light-fingered Minella was passing amongst the crowds.

I See More Ships

 

1st day of July. Year of Our Lord 2011
Erin II – “I See More Ships”
Weather:- Sultry
Wind:- NE 3
 
It was early to rise this morn as rumour had it that ships containing bunches of lazy buccaneers were fast approaching the hard. Mr Guinness in his wisdom had invited all and sundry to Bolton Street to frankly just mill around and make the place look untidy. Why so many were required to report there was beyond the crew of the Malarkey but a few brave early risers sallied forth to lead the ever growing number through the portal of fame having previously roused spirits with the odd ditty. Unfortunately Mr Guinness was not overly impressed with this morning’s attendance and has steadfastly refused to include the event in his famous book. “A few pirates short of a crew” was his reasoning.
 
Our lads did have one advantage over the mob in as much as they were sensibly & picturesquely dressed and offered many an opportunity for a quick etching to be made whilst all were trying to stand still against the tide of humanity. Best progress was made through the throng by pretending to harmonise and interject salty sayings in time with the beat. This had the same effect of parting the crowds as did Moses on stretches of La Mer Rouge all those years ago.
 
Another spreading of the word over the Isle or Erin was performed by Mr Dunne during a brief sojourn in his Coach 'n Four later that morning. In fact so effective were his magical contrivances that the word even reached Signor Heights who had been left behind in Albion. As usual Mister Cleavage put any rumours of piracy well to rest as the crew of the Malarkey have to earn a living rather than go around pinching other peoples.
 
After an extended period of shore leave the crew were obliged to gather at the bawdy house as occupied by Wayne the Anchorman & his good lady wife. Apparently their female offspring was in the process of being spliced that very afternoon in the far land of Apollo & Zeus. Pictures of the happy event were turning up miraculously fast as a stream of carrier pigeons raced across western Europe depositing their loads for all to see. The crew, after focusing on the tiny scene, offered many a warm congratulation to the blushing bride & blushing Anchorman.
 
‘Twas then a short step from Athena & Achilles to Rolf & Dame Edna. If only Rolf and the Dame had been there then the Quayside Inn may have been significantly busier. However and notwithstanding the buoys did set up, perform & un-set up to the cheers of several Pink Ladies, one man and a dog.
 
It could be never be said that the lads of the Malarkey would pass up a free lunch, dinner, breakfast or snack if offered. And so it proved this eve as another local house lived up to its name as the buoys Wandered Inn. Porter and wine flowed freely all eve with only a brief requirement to do some work and sing for one's supper. Luckily, others of the same mind were in attendance which allowed our lads a bit more time off than they were used to. Mind you, the production of several lengths of chain soon got the attention of all therein who quickly realised that they were in the presence of greatness, or should that have been “strangeness”? Anyway, thanks must go to the local Hooks & Crookes, for allowing our lads to sneak into the city, for providing them with a free feed and for allowing them to sample some real music as played by real musicians as the evening unfolded.

Waterford by Hook or Crook

 

30th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2011
Erin  – “I See Tall Ships”
Weather:- Overcast
Wind:- SW 4
 
And did those feet in recent times walk upon Erin’s fields of green? The answer luckily was, yes, as a stroke of genius and a sharp right turn off Newfoundland saw the Malarkey pull alongside the quay in Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford. And what had drawn our unlikely heroes this far from their cosy home port, apart from an easterly gale? Not only the chance to savour some of the fine porter produced hereabouts but also the chance to show off their seafaring skills amongst those hell bent on making the fastest passage between here and southern Scotland. Snowballs stand better chances in the fires of Hades than did the Malarkey of even getting that far but hope often far exceeds reality.
 
Fortunately for the gale ravaged crew members of the advanced shore party had secured lodgings in a not so bawdy house which doubled as accommodation for those looking to further their education. Heartfelt thanks go to Wayne the Anchorman for managing to wear down the locals and persuade them not only to put up with our lads but to put up our lads. (Note to log:- Lads = Crew Members & Partners. This ship is an equal opportunities slaver.) However some travel arrangements only hung together by a thread thinner than the cloth of Mister Erra’s trouser seat. This saw a mad dash for the first appointment necessitating the use of horse drawn hackneys.
 
The harbourmaster had thoughtfully ordered our now well watered buoys to spout forth on Frank Cassin’ Warf hard alongside a gathering of exciting entertainments with which to thrill a crowd obtainable by all with the use of money. Another attempt to drown out the utterances of the crew was by the newly adopted moving kettle, recently invented/plagiarised by Mr Stephenson, to sound its whistle at every opportunity to add a cheery backdrop to the early evening’s entertainments.
 
Then on to The Granville which had requested the lads to do their stuff in two parts. This was soon elevated to two parts with a third part thrown in the middle just for luck. The latter arrangement was soon agreed to as the ships coffers had been under some recent strain! Safe to say the attendees in the main body were full of appreciation at the other strainings that the crew were now becoming famous for whilst those of loftier position paid more attention to the repast spread before them. To add to the atmosphere, whilst the buoys were enjoying a well earned liquids break, an impromptu tea shoppe was erected on the main floor to provide sustenance to those whose forbearance was a sign of their temperance. When the crowd realised that all that was to be had therefrom was hot infused water the two entrepreneurs were hastily evicted from their prime location.

Mevagissey

 

26th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – East of Lizzard
Weather:- Misty Morning
Wind:- W 3
 
A feast of fish awaited the Malarkey as it pulled alongside the quay in Mevagissey. Amongst fishing Smacks & Trawlers of every description the towering mastheads of the Malarkey provided a magnificent spectacle as the mists cleared to bring froth a sunny day.
 
Luckily for those adverse to the aroma of so much pelagic produce a lot of ice had been used to keep control of unwanted decay. One was heard to say, “it was reminiscent of a star-gazey pie without the pastry.
 
Fish again featured heavily at lunch although light relief was provided by the discovery of Ms Stogs behind the bar. Passers by were treated to a display of gurning as the crew looked out between the leaded lights of the tavern window commenting that more life had been seen just up the street in the taxidermists window!
 
Before the lads ensconced themselves precariously perching over the harbour waters, Betty left her post from behind the bar to jolly the buoys along with their banter & repartee. The gathering crowd looked on in amazement and with not a few tears in their eyes. This was probably due to the fact that the sun, whilst keeping well clear of the crew, had decided to blaze down from on high directly into the faces of the onlookers. Acoustics and solar radiation lead to the questions, “can they see us?”, “we can’t hear them?”, “is there anybody out there?”.
 
Notwithstanding the crew rallied magnificently and gave forth to the restrained enthusiasm of all present. So restrained were some that the crew were cut short in their prime after having been promised their allotted full span of 3 score and none.
 
So, after heaving all their goods and contraband onto the local wagon service, the gallants moved purposefully through he gathering crowds back to the cliff top ready to strike out for foreign shores.
 
It has been left to Mr Erra to navigate the ship out to the Bishop’s Rock, there to take a sharp right turn and try and hit the southern coast of the green Isle of Erin. Whether he is up to the task another log entry must tell.
 
 

A Feat of Joy

 

21st day of June. Year of Our Lord 2011
At Exe – A Feat of Joy
Weather:- Marvellous
Wind:- NE 2
 
This eve, as a break form the heavy chores required on board, the lads were allowed ashore to terrorise the worthies of Topsham once again. Having recovered from the latest passage home the buoys soon found good voice with which to keep the rapt attention of those dedicated to a more pedestrian form of existence.
 
With not much space to exercise their newly honed skills the lads put up a creditable performance the repercussions of which may soon be felt in the long houses of the rich and famous! But therein lies another story.
 
Many of those present had been long associates of our dearly departed brother, Cutler Legov, and it was with some humility and reverence that our crew performed on that eve.
 
The space provided did not allow for much standing at the final burst but generous appreciation was shown by those there gathered and our crew departed in good spirits pledging to return if anyone would have them back.

Aber Fal III

 

19th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Aber Fal III
Weather:- Recollection Hazy
Wind:- W 4
 
After the departure of Alfredo Heights for godly duties in East Devon, the crew repaired somewhat reluctantly back to 5 Degrees West for the final fling of their stay in Falmouth. Sat snugly in the bay window of yet another bar they were soon joined by many attentive lunchers and the smatterings of crews from far and wide. All cheerfully joined in with the efforts and antics of our quickly re-energising crew until all were spent.
 
And so spent were they that the return passage was to be one of the quietest on record. A busy time lies ahead as the Malarkey, after only a brief re-vittaling stop back in Exmouth would soon turn around and head back to the waters of that very same stretch of “Coast”.

Aber Fall II

 

18th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Aber Fal II
Weather:- Clearing Showers & Crowds
Wind:- SW5
 
And so the prophesy came to pass. Sedateness & un-energeticness were present in equal measure apart, apparently, in the lodgings of the Drinkitall’s who had found some use during that sojourn for the ship’s rope!?
 
Moving swiftly on, the crew broke their fast at their ease before ambling across the breadth of Falmouth to view goings on at that part of the suburbs known locally as “The Moor”. The lads from Sheringham were giving good account of themselves and were undaunted by the squalls that kept blowing in from the Western Approaches. But the sun shines on the righteous as was proved by the clearing skies as the buoys from the Exe stepped to the fore. In fact several Exmothians had made the long haul west just to witness what might unfold during that noontide spasm. And all were not disappointed as the previous night’s lethargy was shrugged off and a sparkling new crew shone forth. Many wished to see the lads again and actively enquired about their itinerary. Some even donated several sovereigns for the privilege of returning home with a memento of that day. However, one young mother of obviously dubious taste, found it all too much and used the prevailing wind to launch her toddler’s conveyance directly at an astounded crew. Luckily the occupant had vacated said conveyance not a moment too soon.
 
And to dine, or so the lads thought. Unfortunately Wayne’s communication with the provider of all things Cornish had gone woefully astray leaving the crew to moan and grizzle mightily. The situation was soon retrieved by Mister Heights but not before Seymour Cleavage had managed a quick dalliance with a young lady who had insisted that she was big in broadcasting! More fool him. Catching on quickly, the rest of the crew did dalliance with another fair maiden who purported to be something of an artist and suggested that the crew could be made to look good along the lines of Dennis The Menace & Gnasher. We shall see.
 
After many a repeat of the lunch provided the gallants from the Malarley headed back to that edifice dedicated to nauticalia. And there before a crowd of several hundred and with a steadily rising gale, they did entertain and convey a little of what life is like many leagues from shore and many months from loved ones. In fact reality soon came home to roost as spars came crashing down and Mister Cleavage found it hard to stand upright with lines twisting around his feet. Nothing unusual there then? But the rising of the star that is Ian Ormous, wholly suited to appearing as designed by the aforementioned artist, took the dockside by storm with a heart rending ballad of poignancy and pace. All will now have to look up to him, not just those associates of Ms. S. White.
 
After a quick stein or two, of ale not the restaurateur, the advanced party repaired to the halls of Shakespeare there to ready the world stage for the inaugural Falmouth Festive Feature for which the locals had been asked to stump up some hard earned cash. And stump up they did in their scores. With Sheringham first on the incumbents were treated to a melodious melange of maritime melodies unaware of the mayhem that was to follow. After a break for the traditional ice cream the crew of the Malarkey dragged themselves and all their goods and chattels up for inspection. And inspection was passed with flying colours as the ensemble, down on the main deck, unsteadily took to their feet for the final burst of jollity. It must be reported that they were not at all coerced or cajoled or were in any way made to make a spectacle of themselves by Mister Cleavage’s subtle and understated urgings. But all were seen to have had a good time, even the lass from Sheringham who had so foolhardily volunteered to sit on Seymour’s knee earlier on.
 
After dismantling the wreckage placed so carefully earlier Sirius was despatched back to the Rouge bawdy House to dump the gear whilst the over excited lads muscled their way in to a prize position some Degrees West. Cameron risked the wrath of the proprietor by providing contraband in the shape of thinly sliced & fried potato. This repast was perfectly accompanied by a bottle or two of red wine, and not so perfectly accompanied by the rest of a crew who refused to let the evening finish. Stories were told and like minded crews invited to join the celebrations. Marks were given to those on parade with only a lucky few scoring a perfect 10. The morrow seemed a long way away but it is certain that this extension to the evening could only be detrimental to the next day’s efforts.

Aber Fal

 

17th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Aber Fal
Weather:- Precipitation Peri-Perpendicular
Wind:- SSW 7
 
At last, with all stowed safely below the Malarkey set sail on her, what may well become, ill fated voyage of 2011. And the portents were not favourable from the outset. Inclemency of weather in the extreme accompanied the raising of her anchor and, upon arrival in the Fal Estuary, the lowering of said anchor was greeted with several loud reports from the dockyards. Cylindrical objects rained down from on high nearly causing Wayne to spill his ale and affecting Terry Firma to loose all sense of direction.
 
Notwithstanding all adversity our gallant crew managed to assemble in the land based lookout attached firmly to that fine vessel dedicated to the preservation of all that is nautical in this fair land. This did not go down well with the custodians thereof who advised our matelots that infringement of several safety issues had occurred and would they please climb down from these dizzy heights.
 
Acceding to the requests of those in perceived authority the crew then gathered on the quayside, a vantage point to which they were far more suited. And what a sight greeted our erstwhile travellers? A vessel from a bygone era, more bygone even than Mr I Normous’ mode of transport, had made fast alongside. The “Matthew”, of Tudor design, had managed to claw her way into the Fal with only the aid of a couple of horses secretly stowed beneath. It is a wonder that these brave fools set out across the wastes of the northern oceans in such a slight and ponderous vessel.
 
“Ponderous” would have been a fair description of the crew as they made their way to the confines of the “Chain Locker” to which Mister Cleavage had directed their steps. Once ensconced therein our lusty lads found themselves crushed between souls of like mind, bent on an evening containing both frolics & debauchery. Unfortunately neither were to be found in the Shipwrights bar but double measures of harmony & conviviality were there in abundance as the crew launched into their third, and probably last, venture to the world of global commercialisation.
 
But Neptune smiled on the brave, for once, and all agreed, or at least those that could hear, that the effort was worthwhile and many a wife has now less to spend on her family than was the case not a week before.
 
And so to hammock, or that would normally have been the case in years past. However, our liberated Boatswain was of other mind. The imminence of a life far away from the petty squabbles of community existence had set him free. A boisterous continuation of the evening’s activities saw the remnants of the crew outstay their welcome with our friendly animated barmaid (Becky of Falmouth was not to be seen) and at last found them dragging their weary souls five degrees west. All would have been well had it not been for the poor hand eye coordination of Mr Minella whilst trying to relieve our former Coxswain of his well earned early morning beverage. Luckily Liz Teria had her finger on the jugular and all was smoothed down with a skill so recently displayed by one N. Bonaparte.
 
And what might the morrow bring? Probably a lot more of the same if in a more sedate and un-energetic manner.

Nearly all At Sea Town

 

11th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2011
At Sea – At Sea Town
Weather:- Fair Enough!
Wind:- SW 3
The Malarkey, having travelled but a short distance from our home port, found itself alongside the quays in the ancient mediaeval port of Fleet. Although more ancienticity could be ascribed to this haven on the East Devon Coast as Johnny Roman had pitched up several centurions earlier with the dubious intention of emptying these isles of anything that hadn’t been nailed down.
 
But that is “l’histoire” as Asterix may have said and he probably would have said a lot more when witnessing the arrival of the above vessel. Suitably unloaded and re-erected the crew set about preparations for an evening devoid of leadership. Mister Cleavage had been left behind guarding the young Cleavages whilst herself disported wildly during uncommon precipitation of a choral nature.
 
Having set their store out and with not some nervous trepidation, our gallants retired to an inner chamber to digest the plans as formulated by ship’s cook Minella, and to digest the repast as formulated by the Lady Legionnaires. All was agreed and set in memories of impenetrable crystal so much the better to provide perfection as the evening unfolded.
 
However memories are not that perfect, mainly due to age and Branoc, and several unplanned episodes helped provide a not to be forgotten evening. Lines were crossed and amplification devices assaulted, over ambitious pitching (although this never occurs when the crew are asked to do the same to the hull & seams of the Malarkey) forced a mini-Mutiny, rowing boats were left un-manned and some of the wit went right over the nodding heads of the assembled cohorts. In fact one lady centurion found the evening too over-stimulating by half and resorted to the time honoured technique of enduring the Malarkey’s attentions by sneaking a quick XL winks.
 
But as the eve drew to a close all were of one accord, and to the strains of the Malarkey’s “departive” overtones, all agreed a thoroughly marvellous experience had unfolded beneath the banner, and in the memory, of their dearly departed colleagues.
 

Flash Tavy Jack

 

1st day of June. Year of Our Lord 2011
Home Port – Run Ashore (Good Advice!)
Weather:- Clement
Wind:- NW 2
 
On arrival at the local shipping office it was noted that a veritable armada of other vessels had pulled alongside on our normally deserted wharves. For what purpose this gathering had assembled all may be made clear later.
 
Anyway, Ali of Exmouth had surpassed herself yet again, and layed on a fantastic spread for the visiting crews. And all were found to be in good voice as Mister Cleavage inveigled his way onto the Poop and led the massed choir in a rendition of Signor J. Kanakakakaka. Fortunately all seemed able to keep up even with the minimum of instruction, much to the surprise of the landlubbers there gathered.
 
As the shipping office had arranged a far more “high brow” event later that eve the Vandals and Visigoths were summarily booted out to wend their way to a chillier venue, via the renowned stockist of all cheap chattels and beers who had recently set up store near the High Street.
 
Now the populace of Exmouth is made or stuff so stern it could finish off the back end of Lord Nelson’s boat. Crowds gathered and asked themselves why? Crews gathered and asked the same question. Custodians of civil obedience gathered and almost as quickly departed. But all were in for a treat and in no way rued their decision to spend an evening sat on the greensward listening to the more professional histories of our sailor’s way of life.
 
The buoys from the Malarkey disported themselves with gusto and some skill. Next to vent forth were the lads and lasses hailing from the upper crossing of the Tavy. And lastly, but not leastly, a reincarnation of Mister H Johnny who was far more “flash” than an ordinary “Jack”.
 
And once the crowd had been sated, in true nautical fashion, the massed voices of the assembled crews were raised in song to give thanks to the attendees and to bid a fond adieu to each and all. Mister Cleavage’s preparations earlier in the day had paid off as reports of uncontrolled caterwauling had been received from personages taking the evening air at the far end of Exmouth’s Strand over a league away.
 
Once the watch had been called to order by that comely wench Miss L of Devon, all tried to repair back to the shipping office. Betty Stogs herself had been rumoured to be heading that way along with Mister Skinner, himself, brewer of a fine pint of ale. But high browness had crept in behind our worthies and, to the strains of an upright instrument of some note(s), the remainder of the provisions were devoured and the crew then slunk off to their hammocks ready to set forth on what will undoubtedly be one of their busiest sailing seasons to date.

East of EDevn

 

30th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2011
Home Port – Estuarine Adventure
Weather:- Much Better Than Earlier
Wind:- W4 – 5
 
After many dire predictions of foul tempest and a deluge of “Arkine” proportions all were proved wrong as the setting sun finally broke through the flying wreck of cloud to illuminate the evening’s outpourings of our gallant crew.
 
Once all were stowed on board the “Pride Of Exe” our skipper for the evening decided to throw all plans, and caution, to the wind as a 90 degree course change saw the bemused stowaways heading out onto the ocean waves rather than up the more serene waters of the estuary. However the keen eyed amongst them would have noticed that the shore was kept no more than a cables’ length off the port beam ensuring at least some might survive what Neptune might throw their way.
 
So, with a following wind which kept things slightly warmer on deck, the motley assemblage proceeded eastwards towards the sleepy hollow in which nestles Budleigh Salterton. The crew of the Malarkey, on seeing the town appear around the headland, re-doubled their efforts and undoubtedly managed to rouse many of the local worthies from their early evening slumbers.
 
The passengers from steerage enjoyed both the spectacle of the impressive coastline and the spectacle our lads were making of themselves. Offers to drop some of the human cargo back home in Brixham were refused on the grounds that personal transport devices had already been procured for the return journey by land. This was a shame as it would have added mightily to the coffers of the crew if these devices had been auctioned off in the local market place of Sea-Bay!
 
Having lost his nerve as the ends of the world drew nigh, a quick “about turn” saw our vessel heading back to Exe directly into the teeth of the gale. In the flick of a mermaids tail all vacated their upper deck berths and gathered en-mass below as close to the ale retail outlet as possible. They were then treated to another spasm of uttering’s from Mister Cleavage et al and were saddened when the dockside once again drew near. But not to wish their guests to be short-changed the buoys gathered by the gangway to wish those disembarking their gratitude for their forbearance and a safe onward journey.
 
The crew would also like to have writ large their appreciation of the generosity of the host vessel and its crew which enabled some 1000 doubloons to be squirreled away into the sea chest of our home ports festive coffers.
 

Twins Ahoy

 

27th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Grove Situation – Twins Ahoy
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- E5
 
An unlikely assortment of Malakeyites gathered in their home watering hole to entertain and say “thank you” to their hosts in years past from our town’s mirror image on the west coast of Germany. Unfortunately the vagaries of weather and travel prevented over half of the advanced party from reaching balmy Exmouth in time to hear the lads spout forth. However the quartet of dignitaries swore it was the best thing they had come across since entering Exmouth some five minutes earlier.

Fair Cop Guv

 

20th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2011
Point West – Mail coach location:- E.I.E.I.O. Again
Weather:- Beech Buoys
Wind:- SE4
 
And once more unto the Clyst rode the crew of the Malarkey. Or at least a motley few managed to drag themselves to the headwaters of this mighty stream. The events as witnessed yesterday continued apace with our gallant lads finding themselves once more on the beach. The beach being the more surprised of the two as it found itself some three leagues from the sea.
 
Amongst other local worthies and purveyors of all the finest Exmouth has to offer the crew entertained and strove to paint a rosy picture of life at the mouth of the Exe. Unfortunately the efforts of Mister Clew to encourage others to view this spectacle, were frowned upon by the great and the good and were advised to keep their directives strictly within the parish confines.
 
Having sampled a generous helping of this year’s offerings, offerings of thanks were given and the Malarkey returned from whence it came ready to fight another day.
 

Fair Trade

 

19th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2011
Point West – Mail coach location:- E.I.E.I.O.
Weather:- Fair Trade
Wind:- S3
 
And thus they did repair to that mighty ground reserved for the showing, and selling, of all agricultural produce which hails from this fair county of Devon.
 
Mighty may have been the ground, but the lads were limited to a tiny portion thereof to give comfort to wandering souls who had been sated by the rich emanations as described above. Many settled down to take heed of the ranting of the crew, glad to ease their sore feet and to be cheered by all things nautical. Verily the difference between chalk & fermented dairy product was commented upon by all in attendance.
 
The lads, giving good voice and a good account of themselves, were surprised to see the masses drift away like mist on the morning breeze once they had been released from the confines of the exulted high place.
 
And so, with the predictability exhibited by the sub-continent’s monsoon, they found themselves joining the revelries in a hastily erected fabric shelter reserved for the squandering of large amounts of money. Sampling of the produce on offer therein fortified our gallants and persuaded them to give voice once more, totally un-rehearsed and un-prepared. Mind you, the inhabitants of this large Yurt seemed to enjoy the company, almost warming to the crew along the way.
 
But other fish had to be fried as the local disseminator of news had requested the crew’s presence at two bells in the last dog watch precisely. This year the supply of energy to the aforementioned provider did not fail at the last moment which, (un)-fortunately, allowed most of Devonshire to descry the buoyish charms of our boson and the “gurnings” of the first mate.
 

Showery Blusterings

 

14th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2011
Home Port – Shore Leave
Weather:- Squally Blustering
Wind:- NNW 4
 
With the Malarkey still tied up alongside in sunny Exmouth it was left to Snr A Heights to keep watch and look after the many Powder Monkeys who have recently found their way on-board.
 
The rest of the crew, on pretext of cementing relations with the locals especially those of the farming fraternity, had had dispersed to “all points of the compass”.  This being a nautical term for, “all the pubs within walking distance of the dockside”.
 
However a resolute band of stalwarts did indeed mingle amongst the populace. And they managed to inform a good few thereof about the looming spectacle that was to take place that very next weekend. Namely, a gathering to promote all that is agriculturally excellent and especially produced from within the bounds of this fair county of ours. The only reason for the lads to be doing this work of esteem-able charity one would surmise, would be to obtain free samples thereof in exchange for some thinly disguised effort of entertainment.
 
In fact the generosity of the townsfolk quickly took hold of the loose morals of the crew as they could soon be heard to be leading a raucous mid-noon session in one of the new fangled coffee houses.
 
So raucous in fact that the strains of singing, or their strains, could be heard on the wind well over a league away. Roses & grog featured large in their exultations so at least the spirit of the occasion, if not the literal detail, was kept to the fore.

All Rugged Up

 

1st day of May. Year of Our Lord 2011
Home Port – All Rugged Up
Weather:- Precipitation Overhead
Wind:- NE4
 
After enduring the driest and finest spring on record our gallant crew found themselves huddled together for warmth under a hastily erected shelter which provided some scant protection from the opening of the heavens.
 
The Anchorman had called this sorry bedraggled gathering together to give some credence to a plan so masterful that it had undergone some seventy revisions. And for what reason had this plan been so formulated? Truth to tell it all seemed rather far fetched.
 
Apparently some cove up country had invented a moving kettle which, given due excitement by placing a bonfire there-under, could haul several wagons containing terrified souls at the neck breaking pace of over 4 knots. The only drawback it seems is that the whole contraption requires a pre-fabricated road of metal to enable it move betwixt any two points. So terrifying is this sight that a servant of Mr Stephenson’s household is beholden to walk in front of the sorry affair waving a red flag. And certain gentlemen of the medical profession have decreed that this speed to be excessive and potentially dangerous to the human frame. They seem to have forgotten the fact that it is possible to run far faster than this without injury and persons on horseback heedlessly endanger life and limb on a daily basis. Anyway, we as a crew having regard to all this extreme effort, are of the opinion that it will never catch on.
 
Notwithstanding the above Wayne insisted that the brave boys give voice to celebrate the fact that one of these contraptions had indeed made its way to the mouth of the Exe that very morning. This news took a bit of swallowing but being a good humoured bunch the lads decided to play along. Dignitaries were entertained at the tables of the local worthies who run our town and the assembled crowds of celebrants were entertained in the marvellous central arena by our dignified crew and some friends disporting themselves of the Morris arts.
 
Eventually the sun returned and return did those important peoples from whence they came by the same nefarious transportation devices as used earlier in the day.
 

Another Bridge Too Far

 

2nd day of April. Year of Our Lord 2011
Head Of Creek – Her Majesty’s Pub
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- W2
 
Exploration of the lower reaches of the River Clyst, without the proverbial paddle, ended abruptly as the crew found their way upstream barred by the open doors of a pub. Not any old pub mind you but the very house to which her gracious majesty Elizabeth II had repaired for a one off whistle stop tour several years ago. Totally unlike her namesake, Elizabeth I, who seemed to make a point of visiting every wayside inn she came across.
 
Enough of history, although this document is, in the strictest sense, historic. This can be vouchsafed by several of the crew for whom that evening is a very distant memory. Chiefly due to Mr Sam Buka as introduced by Mr Sam Minella after the entertainments had died down.
 
However, great feats of linguistic and harmonious trickery were being attempted by several members of our gallant band of ruffians. Most memorable was the debut on deck of Mr Ian Ormus who rattled off his heart-rending ballad with great skill and pace. The crew only just managing to keep up with events as they unfurled.
 
An appreciative smattering of local folk almost filled the ancient space, once devoted to the brewer’s art, which opened up before the crew. Many enjoyed the skilfully delivered diatribe from Mr Cleavage, all were enthralled by the poignancy of delivery from Ms Highwater, and some were even moved by Gunner Drinkitall’s Napoleonic history lesson. One fine fellow was so moved that he decided to leave for Dublin straight away vowing never to return. The buoys plan to seek him out en-route to Waterford later in the year. You can run and hide but a good shanty will always find you out.
 
And so, after a raucous night across the bridge beside the stream, the crew repaired to their hovels ready to fight another day or at least ready to once again say “never again!” What is a “night club” anyway?
 

Get Them Fiances In The Hold

 

19th day of March. Year of Our Lord 2011
Inland – Get Them Fiancés In The Hold! ( Bride E Stow)
Weather:- Topographic
Wind:- Catabatic
 
In the proximity of High Willies, or however the locals may pronounce it, the Malarkey pulled up alongside another unlikely dock. Being nearly 167 fathoms above sea level the boys found it a bit of a struggle to get their hulks from the easy reaches of the East Okement River up to the dizzy heights of Bridestowe Common.
 
But far from common were the inhabitants of that fair city who managed to drag themselves away from the comforts of their roaring fires set in the hearths of their Devon Longhouses. In droves they approached the halls of their fathers and were treated to a right royal evening’s entertainment. Chief of which was the appearance of one of the best pasties ever consumed east of the Scillies. Buckets of cider also helped numb he pain.
 
Nothing the like had been heard in Bridestowe before, nor, was anything the like to be heard hereafter. Luckily the audience had been seeded with relatives of some of the crew and they encouraged the Dartmoor novices to throw overboard all restraint.
 
And un-restrained they were. Even inhabitants of East Cornwall heard the strange rumours emanating from the docks of North Dartmoor. They to were keen to participate, but may well have to wait for a more favourable breeze to carry the Malarkey over the border.
 
And so to home.
 
After many a farewell speech and exultation to participate in local affairs, the lads gave final rendition prior to packing away their goods and chattels. They were subsequently cheered by the news that the worthies who had organised the night’s debauchery had in fact profited from the evening in so much as that they might raise a mighty spire towards the heavens and not be affeared of the edifice tumbling about their ears.

90 Years Young

 

12th day of March. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port – Feliz Nadividad
Weather:- Balmy “For the time of year”
Wind:- Variable, due to Mister S. Minella
 
Having been called early from their bunks by Quill the Bosun, the crew, having missed luncheon yet again, repaired to their birthplace in the Beacon Vaults to get ready for the celebration of the 90th birthday of a seafaring cove namely one Petty Officer Pollard.
 
Having checked with the admiralty as to the provenance of such a request the crew struggled up the hill to gather, under the cover of fine ale, in the undercroft of the establishment which was to host the family gathering.
 
Having been lured to said venue by the extreme strategy of a diversionary boat trip followed by promise of a celebratory feast, the gathered company were once astounded, then un-astounded, then re-astounded by the appearance of the crew of the Malarkey!
 
The buoys then proceeded to astound further members of the family & hotel staff with an extended example of their repertoire. So extended in fact that mine host, on several occasions, was seen to wave as if to cut short the deliberations. The crew, with an eye for the subtleties of show-business, assumed this to be an encouragement and continued on to the bitter end.
 
Luckily this went un-noticed by most of the protagonists and the event passed off without resorting to forcible eviction, chiefly on account of Mr Minella distributing placatory gifts amongst the crowd.
 
Please note. Any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors contained herein are not to be placed at the door of the author. Chief responsibility is that of the first mate who has provided sub-standard parchment, poor quality ink and a canny ability to not be able to keep the ship from rolling all over the place.

What A Releif.

 

18th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port – Some Folks Relief
Weather:- Perfect In Los Canarias
Wind:- NE3
 
As the family Heights disported themselves on the beaches of El Anzarotty, some of the crew were given a job to do. When the word job is mentioned normally many slope off to hide in the cable tier but this evening the doors of a local bawdy house beckoned. (Not to be confused with the bawdy house as occupied by Mr C. Nails.)
 
Anyway, suffice to say that signals emanating from the dockside inn in Bicton Street, were received all over the fair county of Devonshire and that a fair amount of gold, to whit £400, changed hands chiefly in the direction of the custodians of the DAAT charitable works. So moved in fact were the attendees that Tug the Cox struggled from his shorebound hammock to give voice in his unique style as a cameo to the utterances of the assembled crew.
 
And as a crew we wish all success to that luminary, Monsignor R Digance, and rich bounty to him in all his endeavours.

A Voyage of Two Halves

 

12th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – All Stogged Up
Weather:- Bootifull My Luvver
Wind:- SW2
 
This was certainly a “Voyage of Two Halves”. The first half, following a short detour to the second half to deposit goods & chattels, began with a crossing of the River Tamar into the forgotten realm of Cornwall. Several bridges & a ferry connect these two counties, none of which could be seen this morn as the Malarkey sailed across the divide on a white blanket of fog. A rapid passage south-westward saw our gallant divertees arrive just afore the planned rendezvous of eight bells in the forenoon watch.
 
And what a sight welcomed the crew. There, amid piles of pins and firkins, stood the object of their dreams with arms open wide. Betty herself greeted the ensemble and soon endeared herself even more by the issue of free flagons of her own special brew.
All that was required of the lads was to stand around in groups, loitering with intent, as a local artiste painted rapid sketches of the scene. Unfortunately Ms Stoggs seemed to get in the way a lot as she made a direct play for the affections of Mister Cleavage. She’ll do anything for a man in a uniform especially if the aforesaid flatters her with poetry what he wrote.
 
After what seemed like an age with the sylph like Betty sat on his knee, Mr Cleavage made the lads get some education, education chiefly on the art of brewing. It is a wonder what Mister Skinner can do with some un-planted barley, some smelly flowers, a few hundred gallons of soft Cornish water, a few lumps of special rock as advised by the boys in Burton and his unique secret little helpers. After a few days mucking about there issues forth the most flavoursome of beverages which has won many a favourable comment from devotees of the art.
 
After a farewell pasty several of the crew went to obtain retail therapy in the bustling streets of the fair city of Truro. However Mister Cleavage singularly failed to set a trend in imported gear for sailors from the land of the rising sun as Mrs Cleavage still seems to have her hands firmly around the pouch containing the family …….. silver.
 
Back the lads repaired to drag Wayne The Anchorman from the clutches of “Betty’s Abode” and to cast off for the shores of Devonshire. “Shores” was a pretty loose description of the location for the second half of the day as the last time this land had seen the waves was about 300,000 years ago just before the mountains of Dartmoor began to get uppish.
 
The bustling fair port of Scorriton, nestling in the hills of the Southern Hamlets, is mis-described in two important details. However the presence of an ale house and quarters where the lads might rid themselves of excess energies were appreciated on many fronts. After altering the décor of the latter and being banned from the former an inquisitive group of locals was treated to a spectacle that will not soon be forgotten. And what a spectacle the boys made of themselves. With controlled enthusiasm the ever growing crowd became more and more absorbed with the crew’s antics. Several had entered into the spirit of the evening with the catch of the day being a young fisherwife dragged to the event by her parents.
 
After a pause for refreshment the merriment continued apace until in a final crescendo, and to the chagrin of a singularly local wag, the entertained requested the return of the lads for a final rendition. With that the village returned once more to the peaceful idyll that the inhabitants had striven so long to create. Some were heard to comment as they made their way home, “well, that was different!”
 
And so the lads prepared to return to home waters. With many heartfelt thanks to those who had welcomed so strange an ensemble to their tranquil island and also thanks to those who had fed & souped the crew beforehand, the Malarkey set sail again on the wings of a freshening gale.

The Crusty Pike

 

30th Day of January. Year of Our Lord 2011
Run Ashore –  Crusty Pike
Weather:- Frigid
Wind:- NNE 3
 
As a New Year dawned on the tattered sails of the Malarkey, it was with some surprise and sadness that the news reached the crew that they were losing their “Cox”. Tug, an original stowaway on the very first voyage, had decided to hang up his kit bag and retire to a less unstable life ashore. The officers and crew of this fine vessel wish him well and “God speed” and, would like to thank him for all he has done in keeping the younger elements of the brotherhood of sailors on the straight & narrow, an education they will never forget.
 
And so to the first run ashore of this new season of squalls and squabbles.
 
All having agreed to venture to the wicked city of Exeter on the latest descendent of young Stevenson’s moving kettle, only three stalwarts stuck to the rather flimsy plan and found themselves deposited on the trackside with only minutes to spare before the commencement of the evening's entertainment. A quick sprint to the hidden hostelry eventually brought the crew together for the first time. How the majority had come to be snugly ensconced in the warmth of the alehouse without recourse to the only available locomotion none were to admit.
 
Safe to say the other occupants of the “Rusty Bike” soon made good their escape onto the dark streets when they saw what the evening was to have in store. Amazingly enough though many reappeared a short while after, noticeably colder and a few ounces of tobacco lighter.
 
And to the even greater surprise of the crew, when the festivities had commenced, the crowd enthusiastically threw themselves into the event and several even offered to enlist as members of our motley crew.
 
As the evening progressed the singing and dancing became even more wild & raucous. Reaching a climax when it was learned that young Alice of Exeter had reached the exalted age of twenty something and that on that very same day, Wayne the Anchorman had moved into his sixty fifth year. Felicitations and congratulations gave way to a reappraisal of what was to follow. Wayne quickly changed the evening’s plan which saw our lads and new recruits rise manfully, and girlfully, over the cacophony drifting over from the tap room. Rebecca of Exmouth soon put a stop to the indiferentees excesses and the evening finished on a resounding note followed by a sitting/slouching/staggering ovation.
 
With shouts of “see you next week” & “amazing” the crew took their leave of a crowd who had shown exemplary taste. This left our three erstwhile travellers to contemplate their return journey over a final flagon of ale.

Yuletide Yodelling

 

19th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port – Yuletide Yodel
Weather:- Precipitation Imminent
Wind:- SW4
 
A summons from First Mate Cleavage ensured that all had left their bunks by early evening to muster on the dockside. Although not as parky as the similar gathering of 2009, the weather was not in the least bit kindly or conducive to the commencement of this years solsticical celebrations. However a merry throng soon packed the quayside and good voice was given by all comers, as directed by the aforementioned First Mate and his more shapely colleague.
 
Unfortunately the crew of the Malarkey, failing utterly to grasp what was required of them, managed a crab like shuffle in and out of the limelight. For how long they were to stay no one seemed to know. Only after several abortive attempts at producing a cohesive ensemble did the penny drop with the realisation that only one twitch at a time was required.
 
Luckily others, more able to produce what was expected, helped the evening along with all due solemnity and appropriate attempts at acoustic alacrity. Various musical instruments were brought to bear and the jolly crowd responded merrily enough to ensure that many future events in similar vein be attempted at the appropriate time of year outside Exmouth’s only chandlerier.
 
As for our easily confused crew, all misdemeanours were soon forgotten with the appearance of Saint Nicklaus on his water borne steed and the promise of the new chocolate drinking fashion being enacted across the way in the Dockside Café.
 
As this year draws to a close the officers & crew of the Malarkey would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported them in their endeavours throughout this season's voyaging. They sincerely hope that all have a prosperous new year and that a few at least will be seen alongside wherever the Malarkey may find herself in the year of Our Lord 2011.

In Port, VSOP Port

 

7th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port – In VSOP Port
Weather:- Hoare Frost
Wind:- NE1
 
And so the crew gathered, coxless, for the annual sharing of good cheer and consumption of good fare. In the strand side tavern, known locally as “A small area containing a thicket of single specie trees and grassy sward”, a fine repast was prepared by Dick the Chef, although some of the crew found themselves without a bird. Not for the first time we might add.
 
Chief topic of conversation was the news that Wayne The Anchorman had persuaded, by the application of Irish Stout, several of the worthies of Waterford, Eire, to part with their fancy doubloons and allow the Malarkey to put into that infamous port. This to be alongside many taller ships who were to take part in a race from here to there. This was unclear as several etchings of public houses masked the finer detail of this event. Suffice to say, all were in agreement to that particular passage and all hoped for warmer weather than was being experienced this day.
 
Another highlight of the evening was the lack of the attendance of the Spanish Inquisition, normally heralded again by the Anchorman. The boys were left to entertain themselves and behave as propriety allowed when accompanied by their better halves.
 
And so to presents. Messrs Skinner did the boys proud dispensing regalia and liquid refreshment. They also promised to completely re-paint the hull of the Malarkey and to feature our brave lads on their forthcoming epic saga, “Betty & the Buoys!” An excursion not to be missed.
 
Pussers were also to the fore with a timely gift very suited to the passing on to those more deserving on or about the morning of Dec 25th heavily disguised in colourful paper. That’s me ole dad sorted anyway.
 
Mister Cleavage then harangued the lads with a trip down memory lane, most memories either being dim and distant or totally absent from the space between the ears. Did we really get up to all that? Mind you, looking back at this log for the last year does mainly substantiate even Seymour’s wildest claims.
 
And finally a toast was made to absent friends, the last ditty rendered by Ank; and Ian Ormus eventually obtained a section of sorry looking fowl for his delight & delectation.

A Day Of two halves

 

4th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port – A Day of Two Halves
Weather:- Dripping
Wind:- E3
 
In an schizophrenic attempt to begin the fast approaching yuletide celebrations and as an aid to our impoverished brothers & sisters overseas, a ragged crew from the Malarkey did leave their hammocks on this cold winters day. In a brief but memorable “tourette” the boys meddled along with a selection of favourites. However, the only recognised show stopping moment was provided by Mister Cleavage as his favourite ditty deserted him. Dramatic pause became lengthy silence with the rest of the crew being of no help whatsoever. Still, those present appreciated our difficulties and good comment was passed on the processionings with the ships lamps.
 
Our redoubtable ladies, who often carry their men folk out to the waiting boats so’s they don’t get cold feet, were present to enable a small wager to be turned into useful artefacts all the better for the giving than the receiving of. Thanks were voiced by the Lady Laura and the whole two page spread was found to have encouraged over 1714 guineas out of the pockets of the rich and famous.
 
A heart warming effort in what must be one of the coldest starts to the winter on record.

Sirius Manages to Find Barn Door

 

27th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2010
Sheldon – Barn Storming
Weather:- The North Wind Does Blow
Wind:- N5
  
The diminished crew of croaky and cough-laden shanty men, Messrs Heights & Cox having got wind of the impending blizzard stayed snug below, arrived in windy and freezing conditions at the Sheldon HQ of 'The Society of Mary and Martha', high on the southern skirts of Dartmoor, to literally bring the house down!
 
This evening marked the end of one of the Centre's main buildings prior to a complete re-build (demolition beginning on Monday). The "Lowering the Flag" ceremony was preceded, nay heralded in, by our meagre offerings, which were rapturously received by an almost full and largely sober audience, only a few of whom had been put off by the forecast of ice, snow and severe winds.
 
Many of them responded to Seymour's “jokes” well, or otherwise reports are unclear on, and their only (expressed) disappointment was when they found out that we'd removed some of the saltier renditions from our repertoire for the evening in deference to the nature of the venue!
 
Our 'Eliza Lee' was, on this occasion a lovely French lady called Gail - thus ensuring that the evening's promised gale did, in fact, appear. At least Seymour, not to mention the rest of the crew, were very pleased with this outcome.
 
The spasm offered was very well received and, on firm instruction from Sheldon's Warden, Carl, the assembled throng gave a standing ovation - which could have had something to do with not wanting to annoy the host before they'd had a chance to get to the supper that they'd paid for afterwards!
 
Once the ovation had died down, and the compulsory encore had been presented, a short ceremony was held outside The Long Barn to lower the flag to the sound of a bugler playing Last Post. Possibly the only genuinely musical part of the evening.
 
Views were expressed below decks afterwards, by several of those who had been chained to their seats, that what they had witnessed had been the least disagreeable - if not the only - event they had ever endured at Sheldon!!
 
Buoyed up by such observations, and after food and further drink, the gear stowed earlier was transported home between towering icebergs & growlers to Exmouth; the promised snow failing to materialise.

Fishy Tails

 

22nd day of November. Year of Our Lord 2010
Clovelly- Herring Fest
Weather:- Overcast, Precipitation Persistent
Wind:- NE3 Increasing 5
 
Departure, for the passage Nor West to Clovelly, was set for seven bells in the morning watch by our over zealous navigator. This ensured that we dropped anchor off the North Devon coast well before any locals had stirred and before any cocks had crowed. Even those enamoured of the Herring were not to be seen on this dismal morning. The only activity espied was that of the gallant crew of the lifeboat manfully putting a brave face on an exercise which probably seemed a good idea at the time of organisation.
 
Slipping down the cobbles to the harbour side, the first shore party were waylaid by the promise of hot coffee and cakes in the cosy retiring rooms of the New Inn. The second shore party, thinking themselves clever in as much as having avoided the perilous descent by cadging a lift on the back of a cart, found the dockside to be cheerless and coffee free. What they did find were various purveyors of herring in its myriad forms. Scaled & gutted, soused, pickled, pancaked, quiched, smoked, smoked again, rissotto’d, open sandwiched and salted. And all this well before the watery sun had climbed aboard the yard arm.
 
Those straggling down the cliff face, not keen on herring, could divert themselves with the purchase of gorgeous glassware and jewellery and could ensure an uncomfortable journey home by the purchase of excessive quantities of liquorice.
 
Before long the lifeboat crew had tired of the open sea managing to reverse their launch into a flimsy looking cage which was then hauled from the water and up the cobble strewn strand by several hundred horses harnessed under one roof.
 
And so the stage was set for the festivities to begin.
 
Our cousins from North Devon bravely shook their legs and entertained the few brave souls who had ventured forth along with the rabble recently disembarked from the Malarkey. And still the quayside inn remained closed.
 
And thus it was, totally unprepared and un-lubricated, that the Men O The Malarkey, disdaining any assistance from those purveying well balanced amplification, set out on an education of the masses the like of which had never been seen before below those spray stained walls. In fact many an onlooker was heard to say, “That taught me a lesson!”. The crowd had swelled somewhat but that might be put down to the imminent opening of the aforementioned public house. However, rumour soon spread that a fine spectacle was to be seen, and less finely perhaps, heard down by the sea shore. Great acclaim was then earned as well as various donations in the ship’s bucket, examination of which was greeted with much gratitude by the crew. All coin to be summarily passed to deserving causes.
 
Once the crowd had been sated with musical entertainment the crew disbanded and repaired chiefly to anywhere that was warmer than the bitter harbour side. A smattering of the lads, bent on enjoyment, found themselves in the snug of the Red Lion attempting repeatedly to relieve the punters of their repast. Tug the Cox failed miserably in this mainly due to him being too fussy about what his lunch should contain. But voices were raised in harmony to the appreciation of the nearby diners resulting in several ales and several guineas being donated to the crew. But larger crowds beckoned and fear of the first mate’s wrath dragged the boys from their toasty vigil.
 
And how the crowds had gathered? So much so as to leave only a corner of the beach from which the crew might shine forth and be looked down on! With the able assistance of young Mel of The Coast, onlookers were accosted and forced to part with hard cash for dubious facsimiles of what was occurring on the foreshore. So taken with Mel’s efforts was Mister Cleavage that he again managed to manhandle his new assistant on to his knee. Little did he know that her consort had taken etchings of what was occurring and will no doubt be sending a copy to Mrs Cleavage by the Pony Express.
 
And so back on board. This time all availed themselves of the offered ride in the hay cart as falling temperature and the prospect of a stiff climb had sapped the will power. Unfortunately some of the herring had managed to sneak on board providing frequent reminders on the passage homeward of their aromatic origin.
 

Countess Who?

23rd day of October. Year of Our Lord 2010
River Exe Blockade- Countess Who?
Weather:- Drizzle
Wind:- W 3
 
Having sailed up the Exe from the hallowed birthplace, the Malarkey ran fair 'n square into a wall built across the river. This had been erected, not by Ms Spiers, but by an earlier countess who’d objected to ships unloading their cargo all the way upstream on the quayside in Exeter. Being a Topsham girl she’d decided that it’d be better for the aforesaid ships to pay their respects and dues a bit further down stream. The best way of doing this was to erect some deft masonry across the Exe about half a league above her home port. This worked famously for a couple of years until the town clerk of Exeter, Master Juan Wokershell, decided to build a canal around the Countess. But we stray from the narrative.
 
Having bedecked the auditorium with all things nautical, chiefly aided by Master G Tape, and promising to return before the start of activities, the crew repaired to a nearby ale house to warm their cockles and other crustaceans as advertised my Ms M Mallone. This was done with concentration and fortitude, paving the way for a most memorable evening. Unfortunately it became so memorable that the crew forgot to return at half time and have never been seen therein since, much to the relief of the local worthies and those for whom feeding the inner person was of greater priority than the damaging of the inner ear.
 
And so, on the most bijoux of decks, besporting, cajoling, goading, suggesting, but chiefly entertaining of the masses therein gathered, proceeded apace. Invasion of the lower decks by the capstan crew and those hauling for better weather didn’t dampen the ever increasing enthusiasm shown by the residents of Weir the Malarkey had docked that eve. Even Eliza Lee seemed to enjoy the attentions of the crew, notwithstanding her earlier rough treatment by the knees of the first mate.
 
And so the crew repaired down river to their hovels, the call of soft feather mattresses and fluffy footwear proved greater attraction than the rough reputation of Exmouth on Saturday night.
 
 

In Memoriam

 

23rd day of October. Year of Our Lord 2010
Exmouth Docks- In Memoriam
Weather:- Precipitation On Heads
Wind:- SW 5
 
This damp day was chosen to commemorate the passing of two of the crew of the Malarkey. A small throng gathered on the dockside to listen to several favourites as beloved by sailors Rigor Mortis & Cutler Legoff. A resting place for weary travellers has been set in wood by kind donations from varied admirers with a view across the ocean vastness awaiting any who visit this tranquil spot.
 
All were moved to some degree proving that the memory of their lost comrades still burns bright in those salty hearts.

And How The Mighty Have Risen

 

24th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port- Kombined Koncert
Weather:- Impressive
Wind:- SE, NW, NNE, SSW, Undecided 1
 
And how the mighty have risen? On a fair autumn eve a brace of crews with not so much as the hint of a challenge, mustered on the blackened moor decks to offer sacrifices to the gods of entertainment.
 
Mister Kimber and his men journeyed many leagues from the north of England, notably without the attendance of Mister Kimber, to give good heart to the crew of the Malarkey. In an evening of two halves the rough and ready offerings of the local buoys was enhanced by the almost operatic overtones of our northern cousins. And, when the two crews joined as one, blind rapture prevented some of our stalwarts from moving an inch out of the perpendicular. Swaying was not to be done in front of such revered guests.
 
Jesting aside, but not too far aside, the cramped quarters below decks saw like minded sailors swapping tales of past voyages and shared experiences. This was signalled to the onlookers above who genuinely appreciated the different techniques and styles as exhibited by the two crews, leaving them with a sense of well being and relief. Relief that not all salty sailors are as shy and retiring as tradition allows.
 
And the Humbersiders, as seen on TV, would like to return to these waters. So keep your scrolls clear for early autumn, year of our Lord 2011.

A Beacon In The Day

 

14th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port- Lessons Learned
Weather:- Scholastic
Wind:- NNE 2
 
A call had gone out from the first mate that a skeleton crew were required to help launch a vessel which, until now, had not tasted the salt sea spray.
 
Those few who could be spared from oiling the wheels of commerce and spared from watering the inner self, gathered in the courtyard of an establishment dedicated to the enlightenment of the young. It’s a pity the crew had not availed themselves of such a facility several years earlier.
 
A couple of rousing calls to join the brotherhood of sailors saw the vessel finally break free from the shore and, coincidentally, a member of the local clergy break free from his duties here in Exmouth.

Corfe It Up

 

11th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2010
Upper Jurassic:- Corfe It Up
Weather:- Fine with Fog Patches
Wind:- S L&V
 
As the Malarkey put out to sea that morning the sun was soon obscured by thick fog. In fact the crew saw none of the Jurassic Coast at all until they finally dropped anchor off Swanage.
 
Once in port, and obviously the result of clean living, the sun broke through and smiled on the forthcoming endeavours. The mooring chanced to be alongside the grassy bowl in which much activity was soon to take place. Folk were to be seen busily creating craft from the flotsam found thereabouts under the watchful eye of the harbourmaster and his strict time piece. The results of their labours were put to the test afloat some succumbing to the lack of design expertise and craftsmanship.
 
The crowds were royally entertained by the lads & lasses from Wareham and then gaped in wonder at the antics of the buoys from the Exe. Their cavortings seemed to be well received, so much so that the lads were soon asked to move on down the beach. Probably a request by the traders in their brightly coloured stalls as the above was soon seen to be detrimental to trade.
 
Our gallant crew however caught up with the intrepid voyagers who had made it back to shore without any of those all too familiar sinking feelings. Having seen and heard the Malarkees they quickly took to raft again and were treated to a dusting of flour, egg and water presumably because their efforts earlier had made them hungry. The sticky mess was made worse by the gods as the skies opened to drench both onlookers and sailor folk.
 
The wet weather followed the crew all the way back to Exe but the promise of future free ale and vittles ensured promises of a return next autumn.

Edificial Consecration

 

4th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port:- Edificial Consecration
Weather:- Inconvenient Showers
Wind:- SW 4
 
After many long months of waiting the eternally sunny seaside port of Exmouth finally was given a new house in which to bring the lifeboat. When we consider that a lifeboat has been stationed in Exmouth since 1803 it’s about time too! But, notwithstanding debates on location and problems with access to the Strand, a flashy new shack has been erected over the original conveniences for public easement and today was officially opened.
 
Luckily, or not so some may say, the crew of the Malarkey just happened to be on shore leave and just happened to be relaxing on the nearby beach. A cry from the first mate rallied the lads and they burst forth in joyous merriment to provide some much needed gravitas to the ceremonials. Gravity itself has not been kind to some the crew but none of the assembled multitude, for such it was, seemed to mind.
 
Once gracious comment had been passed and the new boathouse blessed and dedicated, Mister Cleavage, who in an earlier rash moment had agreed to same, was bundled on board the lifeboat. The crew steadfastly refused to give him an oar, they’d obviously had prior warning on his level of seamanship, as the boat was hauled across the sand by several hundred heavy horse. Instead of the plan that had been surreptitiously paid for by the lads of the Malarkey to dump him overboard at the first least conspicuous moment, the lifeboat returned to shore with our erstwhile hero none the worse for a salt water encounter. Fortune again smiled on him when, having just stepped ashore, the boat returned to the water to attend a successful rescue of real sailors in distress. He even managed to miss the second spasm rendered by our gallant crew due to what can only be described as posing on the Poop.
 
But in all seriousness, the crew of the Malarkey wish those brave souls who risk their own safety to aid others in distress “God speed and a safe return”.
 
And, “Thanks for the tea and cakes”……………………….

Judicial Temptress

 

3rd day of September. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port:- Exeter Quay
Weather:- Unimportant
Wind & Hot Air:- Supplied By The Crew
 
For those with access to the semaphore towers now a common sight throughout Devonshire, this morning held a treat so sublime that those attending on this day could count themselves blessed.
 
Verily, the local lass who had made good gave audience to the crew of the Malarkey in her sumptuous chambers in the fair city of Exeter. The goings on therein were passed onto the populace at large by some deft flag work from her servants. This kept the aforesaid populace mightily entertained and the aforementioned servants mightily overworked.
 
Songs of the sea drifted countywide on the breeze and erudite comment was heard in the four corners of the shire. Some apparent snorting, after said comment had been passed, was noted by passers by but this was put down to over tightened corsets and the presence of Signor Enu Indo. Monsieur D. Entendre was also in close attendance but his presence was somewhat overlooked by those with their fingers on the halyards.
 
Suffice to say a very entertaining morning was had by all and especially it seems by Judi Lee and her sidekick.

 

Ou Sont Les Amis Du Pecheur

 

28th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2010
Under Sail:- Carry On Up The Camel
Weather:- Precipitation Above Masthead
Wind:- NNE 6
 
After the fore guard of the crew had repaired to this next port of call for the Malarkey the day prior, the rest of the motley ensemble straggled in on a whim and a prayer, only to find supplies of “Doom Bar” & “Betty Stogs” seriously diminished. Curiously the Anchorman appeared strangely larger in girth than memory made him.
 
Scattered amongst the bawdy houses of the fair riverside port of Wadebridge and various fields beyond, the crew finally managed to muster on time to bedeck the staging area with their regalia and accoutrements. This time the boys had got in first and had ample opportunity to get well tuned for the expected later encounters.
 
In fact they’d got in so “on time” that opportunity presented itself for repast and re-vittleing. Lucky crew members even managed an audience with Betty herself which came as a sore disappointment as she turned out not to be the woman dreams had made her.
 
And thus the worthies of Cornwall were treated to the best that Devon could provide on that summer’s early eve. The offerings went a long way to assuage some fears that the imposters from “East The Tamar” might not be as good as home grown talent. And a jolly good assuaging it was to.
 
 
29th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2010
Under Sail:- Up The Camel Without An ‘Oar
Weather:- A Blustery Day
Wind:- E 6
 
Having been tipped from their hammocks early that morn by landladies in various states of ill humour the crew met up again at the town’s iron stables to provide distraction for those who had missed the call of the mines and local opportunities for the cleaning of vertical confined spaces. These wide eyed young folk hardly knew what to expect but shrugged off any misgivings to throw themselves with earnest into the roll of the underpaid sailor. Refusing to be intimidated by the scary old men of the sea they assisted ably in the turning of capstans, hauling of lines and exploring of the Southern Ocean on the wings of a song. Signals were soon exchanged with their leaders, to what end only the scandalous broadsheets may reveal, and the crew of the Malarkey departed looking forward to seeing them all again when they have vessels of their own..
 
And then First Mate Seymour said, “I desire to explore this fair town and to meet the beauties to be found herein. Forgo repast brave lads and join with me in revels up the High Street”. He does narf talk posh does Seymour.
 
All were in agreement, except Wayne the Anchorman, who will never forgo repast; not for anyone, beauty or no.
 
And so the crew found themselves across the street from the residence of that most famous beauty, Nicola of Wadebridge. Their angelic like singing and most merry badinage soon brought her to the window of her chambers. And when the veils were withdrawn, to a man, they were summarily reduced to a bunch of incoherent wretches. All except Mister Cleavage whose eyes had obviously failed him at the moment of revelation.
 
Soon a vast throng had gathered to view this impromptu exhibition of all things Malarkey and a pleasant hour was spent in the jolliest of companies. And the crowning moment of that hour was when Ms Nicola deigned to descend from her lofty vantage to mingle with the crew and join in with their final outburst. She was obviously a lady of some intellect as she managed to disappear before any of the crew could pin down the exact location of her abode.
 
Many hours later at four bells in the first watch the crew were summoned from the local watering holes in order to celebrate the close of day in the company of students of the vocal maritime tradition. Though it were late in the day the crew rose to the challenge, even forgetting to forget their words, harmonies, melodies and activities pursuant with the strict entertainment regime laid down on the Quarterdeck. Height restrictions took some toll on the spectacle while width restrictions certainly produced a close knit crew. But those in attendance who had managed to fight their way to the front of the assembled host warmly received what was laid before them.
 
30th  day of August. Year of Our Lord 2010
Under Sail:- The Breaking of the Camel’s Back
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- ENE 7
 
It had come to the crew’s notice over the last day or two that several locals were desirous of learning some insights into the life on board the Malarkey. To this end the lads gathered below decks ready to impart their knowledge and bitter experience. As the bells rang out for the commencement of this infamous act it was realised that the phrase containing the words, “several” and “locals”, may have been slightly over optimistic. One outlander had shown his face above the parapet, possibly in the mistaken belief that from here the last post coach to London may be caught.
 
But eventually word seemed to be spreading with the arrival of many welcome faces the owners of which helped fill the dingy deck space.
 
Sam Minella stood forth to give good report on the “Why’s” & “Wherefores”, ably assisted by Gunner Drinkitall who filled in mainly on the “How’s”. This was chiefly of benefit to the crew who, over the last three years, had been labouring in the dark.
 
So inspirational was the imparted information that several attendees were persuaded to give voice, closely unsupported by the crew who basically did what they normally do and ignore any lead given. Severely reprimanded they eventually settled down and, come the end, all were of one accord.
 
And so the Malarkey set sail once again, on the return passage to the home port of distant Exmouth, leaving behind may happy memories, many new friends and some might say the odd missed opportunity. (See Ms N. of Wadebridge.)

Adieu Mr Cleavage

 

1st day of August. Year of Our Lord 2010
Short Passage:- On Yer Own Buoys
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- W 4
 
After a swift passage back from Portsmouth the Malarkey drew breath in the not so sheltered port of Sidmouth. In fact, if it weren’t for a few stones hastily dumped offshore, there would be no shelter at all.
 
A gathering of young folk required the crew to be on their best behaviour whilst trying to give a flavour of the life endured under the current first mates tyranny. Suffice to say the first mate was not present, having been dragged over to France by the nuptials, which gave greater latitude for doing less work than normal.
 
Set in the fair gardens which are to be found in that town, the crew skilfully interwove their stories with those of a less salty persuasion. The assembled apprentices soon cut their teeth on hauling, capstaning and generally not trying to be pirates. Even their ageing relatives lent a hand when it came to the harder tasks and all enjoyed a libation free morning in the sun.
 
But the libationing was soon to step up a gear. Moving lock stock and several barrels down to the courtyard of the famous Anchor Inn, the lads arrived just in time to miss displays of that past time involving wooden shoes, sticks & hankies. And what was even more surprising was the fact that when the displays ended the expected exodus of the onlooker failed to materialise. If anything the crowd doubled to two.
 
With this added pressure plus the lack of any sort of professional guide on the helm the lads launched into what turned out to be a memorable afternoon.
 
All sailing instructions were remembered, all pithy remarks directed with accuracy and aplomb, ladies and their gentlefolk interacted with and at long last a replacement was found for Eliza Lee. Mind you, Liz Steeria had to drag the unfortunate “Rosie” to her position above the fabled trap door.
 
The crowd, now having increased to three, were heard to join in with the robust outpourings and favourable comment passed between them. Words such as “tight” and “harmony”, hereto unheard of within 20 leagues of the crew, were bandied about with abandon. And the local scribes recording the happenings for posterity admitted the lads to be well rounded and polished.
 
“Rounded” would be fair and accurate, “Polished” we’ll leave to the imagination.

A l'eau c'est l'heur.

 

30th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2010
On Voyage:- Victory Awaits
Weather:- Overcast
Wind:- NW6
 
And so the crew of the Malarkey embarked for an historic passage to Portsmouth to pay homage to the guardians of our shores past and present. This was the real reason for the trip and any rumours that “Rum” had anything to do with proceedings would be entirely accurate.
 
History states that 70 years ago on this day the Royal Navy ceased to entertain their officers and crew with a light cocktail before bed time. Previously many generations of seafarers had been bribed firstly with neat rum in vast quantities, then by half measures as things were getting out of hand and lastly by the sneaky adding of stuff that was “good for you”, namely water, lime juice and sugar. Sugar…..???
 
Our friendly Purser was responsible for supply & distribution and the lads quickly changed the name of the spirit to Pusser’s Rum. The addition of the fruit salad and dilution kit was then termed Grogg after some big wig who strode about in a big coat.
 
Anyway, enough education, in the shadows of HMS Victory the memorial ceremony proceeded apace skilfully conducted by Mister Cleavage. Things went downhill rapidly as the Purser opened the scuttlebutt and dolled out a tot to each man. Comment was made afterwards that the crew had never been seen to move so fast in as much as that as soon as their tot had been received they miraculously appeared at the back to the line with a big grin on their face and an empty mug. The decks of the Malarkey had never witnessed such fleetness of foot.
 
Once proceedings had drawn to a close a Naval Officer of comely proportion invited the crew for a stroll along the dockside. Never being slow in coming forward the lads quickly fell in to line, or more accurately “staggered”. But this officer had plans for our meandering crew. A signalling booth had been erected some distance from Victory with the sole purpose of reaching service men located in over 20 countries worldwide to keep them abreast of events in the dockyards. Being directed to give voice through a tiny porthole the lads were astounded to learn that their dubious tones had been heard by many thousands who were not at that time on duty. Or, more likely, by those who had not had the presence of mind to stick their fingers in their ears or talk very loudly to each other.
 
Having ruined the “surprise element” that military strategists are so very fond of, the lads were forcibly removed from the public view only to be plied with more rum and solid sustenance. In the company of real “round the world” sailors a few more libations were offered before a fond farewell and a departure accompanied by the clinking of glassware in every pocket.

Stairway To Fame & Fortune

 

16th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port:- In-Spiered Stairway
Weather:- Fair Precipitation Within Sight
Wind:- SSW 5 -6
 
With the wind whipping across Lyme Bay and the surf rolling over Pole Sands the crew of the Malarkey huddled for shelter behind a hastily erected canvas windbreak prior to participating in this eagerly awaited ceremony. The boys had been gathered to give some gravitas to what was basically the opening of a metal fabrication placed to ease access to a lofty vantage point. Especially useful to those with a finely turned ankle! Once up aloft the occupants keep a weather eye on that section of coast visible through a spyglass, and if required, report to the brave lifeboat crews the whereabouts of persons in difficulty.
 
To bring even greater kudos to the event a local girl who has risen to great prominence in the land was asked to come and cut the ceremonial ribbon. After speeches by the dignitaries and a burst of enthusiasm from the crew of the Malarkey, said ribbon was cut and the aforementioned lady demurely mounted the stairway. In her absence, and despite the wind, the gathered throng were treated once again to what the Malarkey has to offer. This must’ve rubbed off well on our guest as she even deigned to be attended to by Mr Cleavage who always seizes any opportunity to grapple with the situation.
 
Gifts were exchanged and presentations made with promises to keep the newly formed acquaintance alive and moreover to spread the word throughout the fair county of Devon. Indeed a couple of days later the strains of the crew could be heard wafting on the breeze over the length & breadth of the shire.

Bicton Inn Extravaganza

 

13th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port:- Bicton Palace
Weather:- Autumnal
Wind:- Salty
 
Once again the worthies of Exmouth turned out in their droves to support the landlady of this fine establishment in raising funds for the good doctors of the land to further their work in finding a cure for one of the scourges of our time.
 
Late comers to the Inn found the public area packed to the gunwales as the crew of the Malarkey cavorted on tables & benches, more the better to view the assembled throng.
 
Any form of organisation was soon cast to the wind with unexpected ditties being thrust to the fore and the first mate’s witticisms being snatched by the coxswain. It is unlikely that the onlookers realised to what extent the changes had been wrung as they were to pre-occupied in searching for loose change to throw into the bucket, thus preventing Tug having a meaningful conversation at length with them later in the street.
 
Over 140 guineas were given over the evening to be put with monies collected at other events during the week organised by our doughty landlady. Many thanks Ali for allowing the mis-use of your premises over these 7 days.

A Little Bit Of COAST

 

12th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2010
Lyme Bay:- Trawling For Fame & Fortune
Weather:- Fair, too Fair
Wind:- Light and Non-Existent
 
The threat of national exposure did nothing to dampen the keenness of the crew for mucking about in boats.
 
The Malarkey, having been laid up in Brixham, was not required this day so a skeleton crew were left behind. A dozen stalwarts then boarded a trawler and were immediately required to make themselves scarce. Captains orders were quite clear in as much as that any man showing his head above the hatch would be summarily embarrassed and told off by our friends from London.
 
And for what had the crew gathered this day? Well, previously moving etchings had been made and distributed around the country by an organisation entrusted with the National Memory. These fine folk had decided to investigate “goings on” on this stretch of out COAST and felt that pictures containing unwashed ruffians might help explain a lot.
 
The ruffians, namely the crew, were allowed out of confinement for half an hour’s hard labour conducted to the strains of just one dirge. This would then be condensed by electro trickery to 5 seconds of watchable gold. Advice would be to find something else to do of an evening in the spring of 2011.
 
Presumably the unwashdness was too much to bear for the other crew members the lads being hurriedly rowed ashore even before the last refrains had caressed the smooth waters of the bay.

Weymouth Harbour 2010

 

10th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2010
On Voyage:- Weymouth Town
Weather:- Fair
Wind:-  SSW 6
 
With a major competitive sailing event looming not far over the horizon the lads of the Malarkey were keen to show those in charge what their vessel might do if challenged. The main question was how to get noticed and included in the herculean travails that are to come.
 
A bit of raucousness in the centre of town seemed to be a good idea so the crew, after dumping their odorous gear at several bawdy houses located a fair step from their target, rallied within much Hope outside a triumvirate of ale houses.
 
A sizeable crowd had already gathered, ostensibly to sample the fruits of the sea as prepared by cooks even more famous than Sam Minella, and were waiting in barely concealed anticipation for whatever might be thrown at them by the organisers. Unfortunately some of the throwings were what might be called “an acquired taste”. This did mean that when our beloved crew stepped forth the onlookers faces became a picture of awestruck beauty and attention. With the Malarkey’s mainsail full and drawing and in danger of pulling the elevated edifice across the piazza they were then treated to a sublime exhibition of close harmony sweating and grunting. So prestigious was the occasion that several of the crew members actually repaired to the chandlers to renew their tired Haute-Couture. And for a grand finale a sprightly “Eliza” was selected by Mr Cleavage to aid him in his penultimate cavorting. However the aforementioned Eliza refused point blank to “Sat on his knee” and was not to be danced around any district of New York whatsoever.
 
And so the Malarkey moved on to its next berth, hard alongside the “competitive seamanship quay”. The local participants of the afternoon’s activities had gathered to feast and make merry after a hard time afloat in Weymouth Bay. In fact they were feasting so furiously that our beloved crew were in danger of having little or no repast to sustain them through the long night. But after a strong showing on the first watch and a trip to the stores all was well gastronomically speaking. Ale was plied and songs were sung and the crowd grew in size and appreciation as the drizzle fell from a leaden sky. Other crews were more fortunate it was later learned as they were able to ply their trade under cover. But this did not dampen the spirits of our indomitable crew especially as this evening’s “Eliza” was more than willing to get bounced on knees and to be danced anywhere in the world.
 
So, in two years hence, will the crew return to hospitable Weymouth? We can only wait, see and improve.
 
 
11th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2010
On Voyage:- Hope Square Weymouth
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- From Olympus
 
After several of the crew had staggered in late from varied attempts at prolonging the nights entertainments, fast was broken all across town. Luckily for the crew the first mate had given them the morning to themselves all the better to appear bright eyed that afternoon.
 
Reports are sketchy about what actually occurred in Hope Square from four bells in the middle watch, but confidence is high in finding the missing pages from that days log.
 

Lympstone Quay

 

4th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2010
Up Another Creek:- Lympstone Quay
Weather:- Heavy Cloud
Wind:- Too Much To Handle
 
As the recently held colonies celebrated their independence from the Crown a rival event got underway in the pretty estuary-side port of Lympstone. This was more a celebration of the brewer’s art rather than an attempt to reduce the turkey & pumpkin stocks of the North American continent.
 
The grounds of the famous Swan Inn were filled to under-flowing as the wind headed towards becoming a baby storm intent on wreaking havoc with the Malarkey mainsail as set by Mr Erra in error. But once festivities had got underway the worthies of Exmouth & Lympstone had swelled the multitude to a highway congesting throng. Even owners of horseless carriages were seen to stop and gawp at the spectacle.
 
The varied ales, as dispensed by the landlord and his helpers, soon began to run low which was probably just as well from an entertainment perspective. Notwithstanding, Betty Stoggs reared her beauteous head once again much to the relief of Mr Cleavage. This enabled him to again read his “poetry” to the masses, even enticing them to join in on the repetitive bits. Methinks Mr Skinner must’ve bunged a few gold florins his way when we was last down Falmouth.
 
As the wind dropped and the capstan fumbled in its traditional manner the crew swayed along with the crowd to refrains old & old, culminating in a show stopping rendition by Tug the Cox of his Rosy Bella. Unfortunately, three of the villagers had not been warned about the imminent arrival of the Malarkey’s crew and they had not made alternative arrangements for the afternoon. At least they were able to report back to their fellow villagers about that never to be remembered afternoon.

Devon's Big Day Out (I)

 

20th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2010
Up Creek:- Headwater River Clyst
Weather:- Lowering Cloud
Wind:- NNW 2
 
After a tricky feat of navigation to the upper reaches of the River Clyst, Sirius Erra being conspicuous by his lack of assistance, the crew of the Malarkey disembarked alongside an arena dedicated to the display of all things agricultural. The crew should fit in well in this environment.
 
Their presence was required by a mighty organisation responsible for the dissemination of interesting facts and anecdotes amongst the local populace. This to be achieved by the clever use of semaphore signals provided by mobile boxes with glass eyes. The monstrous incarnations of the devil however rely on some electro-trickery, that lack of which causes them to blanche and cease their activities.
 
Indeed, after many hours of careful positioning and warbling and at the crucial moment the sustenance required was brutally cut off. So, unbeknown to the crew, the identity of those that man the Malarkey was again withheld from the population at large.
 
Mutterings of sabotage were heard, once the news had been broken, and dark glances cast in the general direction of the Amis du Pecheurs, now known to be hiding along the North Cornish coast.
 
Tug the Cox found the evening’s only silver lining, namely the vast array of local beers produced & displayed by the county’s finest in their welcoming marquee.
 
Hopefully the morrow will provide a wider exposure, if that is really to be desired!

Upton Upon Severn

 

1st day of May. Year of Our Lord 2010
At Sea:- Upton Upon Severn
Weather:- Persistently Precipitating
Wind:- N 8
 
At two bells in the Forenoon Watch the schizophrenic Malarkey set out from port destined for the Welsh Marches. It really was a ship of two halves. After beating all morning against a freshening northerly breeze, anchor was dropped close the busy port of Bristol. In fact “Bristols” was on the minds of many of the crew as they strengthened themselves for the second half of the voyage at a quayside chocolate house.
 
Leaving such thoughts behind the convoy struck out once again for the banks of the River Severn. As eight bells sounded the fair riverside port of Upton hove into view. But there was literally no room at the inn. Hoards of strangely dressed figures besported themselves on the streets, performing strange rites often with very real risk to limbs & digits. The hoards were particularly dense outside the Kings Head with five different dances being performed to five different tunes all at the same time.
 
With the stores safely stowed and centre stage safely commandeered the scene was left for the other crews of different vessels to trip over and silently curse.
 
After a quick nibble by the river, a scene not unlike those depicted by the French impressionists, the crew repaired back to the deck so recently cluttered. Full report and voice were given as requested by the shore masters and were received well by what can only be described as a smattering. The smattering grew slowly and come the finale of the matinee a veritable throng had gathered chiefly to keep out of the sun.
 
Then back on to the streets to procure gifts for those left in far off Exmouth and to soak up the local atmosphere. Soak is another word we’ll come across later and not in association with “Old” or “Wayne The Anchor”.
 
Following the aroma of roasting hog, and collecting/waking Wayne en-route, several batches of pig en-croute were consumed before diving for cover into the welcoming embrace of a riverside tavern. Bawdy singing then ensued and a mightily fine hour passed in the company of local worthies and other ship’s crews. The hour was in fact so fine that several onlookers felt moved to close their eyes the more to enjoy the sweet refrain.
 
Then back to the tented arena as the clouds lowered and the sky darkened. As the streets deserted the waters fell from on high in almost biblical manner. Those poor souls forced to spend the evening under sailcloth would wake to find the waters of the world lapping at their toes. They would probably find a severe case of pneumonia as well.
 
The smattering of earlier in the day had evolved to a full blown sparsity but proceedings went ahead nevertheless. As ever these things take time to start and protagonists tend to play their part to the full. But even the numerately challenged should have been able to spot that three time three quarters does not a double make.
 
Unfortunately the quartermaster saw fit to curtail the lads’ most exuberant exuberances as the build up to the finale neared. Gear was gathered and a rapid beeline made back to the Malarkey. However those that endured the storm and found their way back to town passed favourable comment on what they had just seen.
 
Once all was safely stowed in the hold the voyage back to the Exe passed off uneventfully, taking into account the deluge and a serious navigational mistake by the helm of the front half of the Malarkey. Port was fetched long after loved ones had taken to their beds and the ragged edges of the storm had blow away into the south.
 

Powder Monkey

 

7th day of April. Year of Our Lord 2010
Home Port:-Exmouth
Weather:- Frigid
Wind:- N -3.
 
Rumour has it that a young wench from Exmouth is currently serving in His Majesty’s Navy on the very flag ship no less. Miss Perriam started off her career carrying charges from the magazine to the guns and has not looked back since. What will come of it time will tell, young ladies will end up running these ships one day if a weather eye isn’t kept on their activities. However the proud crew of the Malarkey holds no truck with ancient prejudices and salute her sterling work. To this end they all gathered outside an illustrious establishment, created in young Nancy’s memory, to celebrate the arrival of fine nautical ales to the shores of East Devon.
 
Unfortunately the news had not spread that far, or conversely the local worthies had stuck their noses out the window to be immediately followed by time honoured phrases such as, “ I be bug**** if I be standin around freezing me wurzels off listenin to that rowdy bunch!”.
 
Safe to say the only attendees to the art of harmonised feline throat restricting, were stalwarts who had experienced the same thing many times affore.
 
Luckily the head honchette of said ale house invited our crew within, which whilst briefly enlarging her coffers, lead to a mass exodus of clientele followed by a mass influx of devotees of the art of bladder kicking.
 
But, rising above all odds, and the call of the Bishop of Truro, entertainment was metered out to the mass(es) whether they liked it or no. The only saving grace for those on the safe side of the deck, being the lack of humorous asides which normally accompany these revels. They were down in Cornwall being bounced of the aforementioned Bishop.
 
For completeness of the log it can be stated that the bladder kickers from our industrial heartland will not again be required to perform against their adversaries from the continent.
 
Also for completeness, the master at arms needs to sort out the starboard watch as nowt could be heard from that side of the deck.
 
And, in passing, Lazy Jane is well worth travelling many miles to experience.

Regil On Sea

6th day of March. Year of Our Lord 2010

All At Sea:- Regil, Abeam Nempnett Thrubwell
Weather:- Kindly
Wind:- SW 1 1/2.
 
After catching the very early afternoon tide, the Malarkey set sail NNE for the vast uncharted reaches of the Somerset Levels. Once them levels had been crossed and various vagabonds retrieved from the clutches of Stevenson’s famous moving kettle, the crew found thereselves in a veritable lost world. So lost in fact that some havens had no resting places for the weary traveller. So lost that Mister Erra had to rely on the good ministrations of mermaids found along the route.
 
However, once port hove into view and the anchor safely dropped, the fortunes of our brave “lads” improved mightily. Exploration soon discovered, amid the halls of King Neptune, a most fabulous cave bedecked in all things pelagic. Even Mr D Jones would have felt at home amongst this splendour.
 
Quickly the crew straightened the Malarkey Bristol Fashion, and, under the guidance of Neptune himself, repaired to the site of his lost Crown! Many entertainments were the enjoyed with Mister Cleavage being most adept at knocking over his nine pints/pins!!
 
But as the mists drew in Regil took on a Brigadoon like quality, causing our wayward wanderer’s to wander waywardly down the wrong way. Only the stern self control of Sam Minella brought the course back under control and enabled the misgivings of Mister Erra to be assuaged.
 
And then to the festivities!
 
As the stream of fabulous undersea creatures entering the cave became a torrent, good voice was given to the throng. Mermaids were awed, Captains captivated, Cardboard Boats caressed, Glitterati gobsmacked and Eliza booked for future commitments. Then, amid the smoke of culinary disasters a banquet took shape. Even the ruffians of the crew, namely our good bosun who is not used to fine dining or so he tells us, were allowed to sample the delights provided. (The Anchorman chiefly delighting in a barrel o’ Butcombe Bitter). Unfortunately our lookout, not being used to the close company on deck or the salty aroma arising from same, was obliged to partake of a frugal meal. Luckily the frugals were of the finest quality.
 
Once Neptune’s guests had been sated they were the then treated to a cacophony of nautical excesses of the most melodious nature. Even Mister Cleavage's most recent comments were treated with an altogether unfamiliar burst of approval and delight. After three years voyaging with the same wry witticisms it is always refreshing to meet those who have been spared the torture of his keen insight!
 
And the finale of all finale’s. As Eliza Lee bounced on to stage, bounced on Seymour’s knee and bounced off home again, the crowd erupted in an outburst of appreciation and disbelief, and significantly failed to throw flowers, gold coin or anything else.

At Large In Lympstone

 

5th day of March. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port:- Lympstone
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- L & V.
 
After an exciting passage up the Exe, soon to be the title of a new literary masterpiece, the Malarkey dropped anchor less than a cable from the harbour wall of Ye Olde Lympstone Village. A great gathering had been promised by Wayne, the Anchorman, which to everyone’s surprise actually took shape within the halls carefully constructed alongside the local church.
 
Raised above the masses and fairly surrounded by same, the crew gave voice amid discarded paraphernalia and chattels, telling tales of daring doo, recounting loves won and lost , of ships flying and foundering, of captains cruel and contemptuous, of shipmates brave and buxom and humour lengthy and laughable. In fact one of the more prominent guests requested with gusto that the last in the list be de-listed and the festivities continue in their absence.
 
Not to be dissuaded, Mister Cleavage continued apace until a natural break in the weather allowed the crew to take breath over a quart or two.
 
Now within spitting distance of the local worthies the air was filled with the most melodious outpourings despite Old Roger doing his best to ruin the evening. Seymour then surprised all and sundry by selecting a non-local visiting-type lady to grapple with as he delivered his long awaited finale.
 
A fine evening and no doubt, with the lads retiring in the happy knowledge that the roof under which they had served, even for such a short a time as this, is once again assured of continued service, as a roof!

Anniversaire Trois

 

23rd day of February. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port:- Exmouth
Weather:- Ruff
Wind:- Excessive
 
This evening’s ship’s briefing held a surprise for those with short term memory loss. After a couple of struts around the decks holding fictitious onions and assuming an interested crowd be gathered, the lads were let off early and ordered to repair across the road to an adjacent alehouse.
 
Luckily the locals knew what was afoot and had deserted the establishment leaving it free for the crew to realise that it was in fact three years ago to the moment that the call had gone out for sailors of like mind to “Come along for a quick ale and see how it goes”.
 
Of that original gathering some had moved to new postings on different ships and a few to sail oceans rolling over and above this world. New faces had swollen the ranks to leave what we see today, “The Ansomest set of angels ever to sing the seven seas.”
 
And sing they did, till the landlady and her daughter brought to their attention the licensing laws and the vast platters groaning under the weight of foods from the orient and Cornwall.
 
Thus sated, stuffed and still surprised the crew retired with gratitude, chief gratification being the survival of three years of nearly going afloat and getting their hands dirty and the fact that this evening produced no Eliza Lee for Mister Cleavage to have “All on my knee”!

Haiti

22nd day of January. Year of Our Lord 2010
In Port:- Exmouth
Weather:- Moderate
Wind:- SW 5.
 
It was with dismay that the crew received tidings of the tremendous shaking of the Earth which had afflicted their brothers on the north coast of Haiti. Hearts went out to those stricken by the quake and to the losses suffered by the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince.
But what to do, how to help?
It was Messrs Tug & Cleavage who had a notion to gather all good fellows with a smattering of musical talent to an evening dedicated to providing succour to those most in need.
With amazing alacrity our Coxswain gathered the musical cream of Devon together and staged an evening of the best entertainment these shores can provide. Entry to the arena elicited many doubloons from those wishing to attend and a lottery game of chance added more gold to the coffers. A final auction of goods and chattels raised the total gathered for the evening to “4381 guineas”. This was sent overseas post haste by our Christian Aid friends who were helping distribute the monies raised to those in most need.
 

Carousing On The Quay

21st day of December. Year of Our Lord 2009
In Port:- Exmouth
Weather:- Fair To B****** Cold
Wind:- SE 3. 
 
The careening continues apace although the weather be bitterly cold. Them navy lads’d better watch their brass monkeys else the balls’ll be rolling all over the place. Anyway, the crew, being at a loose end, made themselves available for a hearty round of Yuletide singing on the slippery quaysides of Exmouth Docks. Lantern light was provided by Messrs Dixon & Dixon, purveyors of all things nautical and order maintained by the sharp tongue & wit of Mister Cleavage.  The only break with tradition was the surprising attendance of the crew at one of the new chocolate houses after the event, rather than the lads repairing back to the dockside alehouse. Davey Jones’ll be turning in his grave.

Cockles & Larynx

19th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2009
In Port:- Exmouth
Weather:- Poor
Wind:- NNW 7. 
 
If the Bishop had thought yester-eve sublime then what followed the very next day should, in print, be adjective free!
It has recently come to light that young master Webb Ellis has disgraced himself and his school by picking up the bladder during a game of “Foot the Ball”. He then ran with it evidently intending to gain some advantage over his opponents. Behaviour of this kind is only too prevalent in the youth of today and will surely lead to the demise of society as we know it.
And so it proved this very eve as the crew came out second best in a contest of voice with “Future Players” of what Master Ellis had set in train.

Cathedral Church of St Peter

18th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2009
In Port:- City Of Exeter
Weather:- Utopian
Wind:- NNE 0. 
 
It might be said that the singing of the crew of the Malarkey can be likened to, “The Heavenly Host who have pulled out all the stops for the celebrations leading up to the birth of our Lord”, or it might not. But the good burghers of the City of Exeter found enough angelic similarity to invite the lads to be let loose in the sacred grounds of the Cathedral Church of St Peter. Joining with nine hundred & eighty eight other souls, His Grace the Bishop allowed the motley bunch to meander up the chancel singing a sweet medley of some of the less raucous ballads for which they are notorious. Tears were seen glistening on cheeks and a collective sigh rose from the gathered masses once the doors had again been firmly shut.
The boys were dead proud to be part of the “Night of a Thousand Voices”.

In Dry, or not so Dry Dock

7th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2009
In Port:- Exmouth
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- SW 3. 
 
The Malarkey now being in dry dock preparing for a good bottom scraping, or careening for those in the know, the entire crew repaired to the Grove Ale House to celebrate the fast approaching birthday of Our Lord.
 
But it was not to be a relaxing evening of untroubled carousing. Wayne, The Anchorman, had devised a fiendish questioning of those of the crew who were not yet in the scuppers. More attention to the lore of the sea and the ways of song masters would have stood the lads in better stead than their normal attention to the wiles of women folk. However, more by dead reckoning than skilful navigation, answers were forthcoming and prizes awarded.
 
Quill the boson had arranged a marvellous spread and the boards near groaned under the weight of fine foods and wines. A team of provenders kept all supplied with vittles and all anticipating what the next surprise might be. A heartfelt thanks goes out from all the crew to those in the galley and to those in the tap room of that mighty enterprise.
 
Also thanks to Mrs Legoff, who had raided her wine cellars to provide the lads & lasses of the Malarkey with Christmas cheer.
 
Fair ‘twas a night to remember!

Blackmore III

14th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2009
In Port:- Exmouth
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- WSW 4 -5. 
 
After a storm ridden week the Malarkey put back in to Exmouth ready to collect devotees of the Shanty art in preparation for an evening voyage around Lyme Bay. With only 9 berths remaining she set sail in early evening hoping to return before slippers of glass turned back into various grocery items. So popular was the trip that a couple of colonists returned from Exmouth Western Australia to experience something of the voyage their forebears had had to endure. In fact the crowd were drawn from far and wide, chief of which being the metropolis of Leicester famed for its maritime connections.
 
Earlier that day, before the Blue Peter had been raised, a practice had been arranged in order that the crew did not lose their footings. This was too much for the Anchorman who managed to trip over an uncluttered deck almost ending up in the scuppers.
 
A raucous evening then followed with Abner Clew out on his first voyage and Tug the Cox laid out with yellow fever down below. Nifty steering with the new ship’s wheel saw the Malarkey return to shore on time allowing the crew to avail themselves of the services of those in the Bicton before being turned out into the streets. All passengers returned accounted for and seemed to have gained from the experience.
 
The crew of the Malarkey would like to send a signal of sincere thanks to Messrs Blackmore & Blackmore for providing excellent vittles throughout the day. May their edifice continue to improve and be supported by the populace of this lively port.

New Home

27th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2009
In Port:- Exmouth
Weather:- Fair
Wind:- S 6.
 
And so to a new home.
 
With various changes afoot in the town of Exmouth a new venue was needed for the crew to gather and make good songs old & new.
 
With great generosity and greater foolhardiness the captain of the Grove Ale House, located but a seagull’s squawk from the ocean strand, agreed to allow the above motley gathering to take place every Tuesday evening. (Except for the 3rd Tuesday in the Month. On those evenings the crew gather at a local boarding house on The Beacon to join others in the singing of folk songs.)
 
Secret meetings will be held initially but from about 21:30 the crew will gather in the public areas to sing their hearts out and entertain any lost souls ostensibly out for a quiet evening. All are welcome to attend and to sing along with your favourite ditties.
 
It was at one of these meetings that Bob, the cabin boy, revealed that he was featured in a series of 12 etchings designed to mark the passage of the year 2010, but why he needed to cuddle a Christmas tree in December he would not divulge. Suffice to say these etchings are on sale from the various worthies of Lympstone, with all gold being passed to local good causes.

Still In Port Harwich

11th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2009
In Port:- Harwich
Weather:- Low cloud & light precipitation, visibility good occasionally poor.
Wind:- SW 3.
 
A grim sky greeted a sombre crew who tumbled from their hammocks somewhat later than sunrise.
 
The main discourse that morn was whether the weather be conducive to giving voice afloat, alongside pontoons masquerading as some type of safe haven for small sailing craft.
 
With an astute sense of timing, coffee was finished as the last of the drizzle blew away to the east revealing a still leaden sky but with the promise of a fair afternoon.
A slippery concourse lead down to the Tug Boat “Fenland” and an even slipperier gang plank gave the crew access to the cramped deck space. All navigated this minefield safely until Mr Albert Truss, late of the “Mastership” of several large galleons, came a cropper, severely damaging his lower limbs. If only he’d had more experience of smaller craft.
 
A crowd soon thronged the pontoon and were treated to a right royal awakening despite the inclemency of the weather. Incoming and outgoing boat’s crews also joined in the merriment making the whole affair a morning to remember.
 
Luncheon was taken in the shanty town of Dovercourt where another group of devotees to the furtherance of sailing techniques had laid out a superb spread which was thoroughly enjoyed by all comers. Unfortunately, “all comers”, included the notorious Tracey who was roughly dragged to the fore and forced to endure the attentions of Mister Cleavage. Songs were sung, tales told and promises of devotion made. Well, at least a promise to call in to Exmouth Docks when cruising the western approaches.
 
With bones thoroughly warmed and bellies thoroughly satisfied the crew near ran to their next & last tryst with Harwich. This was to be on the main quay of the Ha’penny Pier and with some trepidation the crew unfurled their banners. But fears were soon allayed as the crowds poured out of their boarding houses to join the gathering throng which included many of the other crews who had come ashore especially for this event.
 
And then back on board ship. The jolly boat was loaded with all goods, chattels & booty and the Malarkey with personnel. A notable exception being the Anchorman, who was off across the North Sea to terrorise the Dutch coast with bawdy songs & risqué anecdotes. But that tale this log does not tell.
 
The passage home was uneventful although beating down the channel against the prevailing wind and through a whole host of small craft, took a lot longer than had been estimated. But once the Fairway Buoy had been rounded the crew were not long kept from their loved ones and soft fluffy towels.

In Port Harwich

10th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2009
In Port:- Harwich
Weather:- Sunny spells, good visibility.
Wind:- Variable 2
 
Fast was broken heartily this morning, with rumours of cold cuts and fancy breads being proven wrong, with the arrival of mountains of bacon and unexpected sausage from the galley.
 
Once the crew had been collected together by the bosun’s application of wit & sarcasm, plans were laid over coffee in that fine ale house “The Stingray”. The only plan of note therein, was drawn up by Mister Erra, outlining the detailed internal layout of “The Harwich Society for the Furtherance & Improvement of Sailing Techniques”. Our gear was later to be stowed there and the lads didn’t want to place it erroneously under the admiral’s hammock.
 
Runners were then sent to locate the smallest tavern in Harwich, The Globe Inn. Once ensconced therein the crew found that room was only left for the proverbial man & dog. However & notwithstanding, a jovial and enjoyable morning was had by all with the dog contributing a lap of the bar in our honour.
 
Trawling the deserted streets of Harwich netted only one catch of worth that noontide. A quiet backwater leads past the home of the notorious Tracey of Harwich who pounced on the unsuspecting crew and dragged them into her abode. Paintings were then made of the scene possibly for future extortionate behaviour. These are now on sale from Amazon traders in plain paper wrappers.
 
The afternoon watch proceeded slowly with the crew repairing to an edifice built to defend the realm against the worst ravages of Boney Napoleonpart. The garrison must have had rumour of our approach as every man jack had deserted their post. This left the fort manned by a purveyor of hot beverages and two likely “lads” giving voice to empty ramparts.
 
However, once the Exmouth Crew had finished applying the goose grease to ward off sun burn and other maladies, the inmates of various dungeons poured out of their cells to listen to tales of hardship, cruelty and love lost n found. Once six bells in the afternoon watch had sounded they all ran back to Her Majesty’s accommodation, which possibly held more attraction than what had just transpired.
 
Our gallant lads then repaired to the “Harwich Society for the Furtherance & Improvement of Sailing Techniques” buildings located on the seaward side of the peninsula from whence the Orwell flows in to the North Sea.
 
With the gear safely stowed the local street urchins were treated to a sample of the endeavours which were to follow later that eve. Eyebrows were raised and all tickets previously bought rapidly put back on the black market.
 
And thence to supper, where generous cuts of meat were served with fine wines and spirits by the proprietor, & his ever vigilant assistant, of the Bear eating house. Many shillings lighter and in need of strong coffee the crew made their unsteady way back to the coast.
 
In the dim lit halls of the HSftF&IoST, the festivities were already underway. Sailors from the margins of the North Sea were in fine voice to the general approval of the assembled company. Spirits were then dampened somewhat as tales of doom & gloom, depicting life on the not so sunny North Sea, brought a melancholic air to young and old. The tide turned abruptly as boys from the Exe, to thunderous applause and the occasional thunderous silence, gave good account of themselves. The crew overcame all obstacles, chiefly in the guise of inebriated officials and verbose members of the performing arts, and gained the respect of their eastern colleagues.
 
Well received & well watered the crew retired to the various bawdy houses from whence they had set forth this morn. On returning to “The Stingray” the Anchorman was seen to require support from one of the local lasses. Unfortunately the lady in question turned out to be the landlord’s daughter who took a dim view to the above close contact, nearly resulting in half the crew being thrown into the gutter. Platitudes & promises of respectability saw them re-instated and treated to the finest of Port wines. Its chief benefits being the unusually low cost and the comeliness of the serving personnel.
 
Once the entertainment provided for the youth of Harwich had subsided the crew somehow found their way to their hammocks and failed to fall out for the rest of the night.

In Port Exmouth

Malarkey.
9th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2009.
In Port:- Exmouth.
Weather:- Rain, visibility less than a cable.
Wind:- SW 7 to Gale 8.
 
Malarkey left dock at 5 bells in the forenoon watch with Mr Minella at the helm. Sam reported an extended passage towards the east coast port of Harwich with vessels slow moving around the notorious bottleneck of North Foreland. So slow in fact that the anchor was dropped enabling the crew to break their fast at their leisure. After a passage of some 95 leagues Harwich was fetched at 4 bells in the first dog watch.
 
Signals later received suggested that the crew didn’t take long to repair to a quayside hostelry. In a trip of about a week, with nothing to relieve the monotony, days seemed like hours. Even a series of moving etchings from “My Italian Mother” did nothing to ease the boredom.
 
Mister Cleavage & Master Heights departed later that morning in the Jolly Boat laden with contraband and, after only a brief diversion via the Dorset coast, arrived, via a more rapid fetch around the South Foreland, at 2 bells in the first watch.

Welcome Aboard

Here continues the log of the good ship Malarkey, being the 1st day in the month of October in the year of Our Lord 2009, also being the 57th year of the reign of our sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.
 
The original logs were lost overboard in the Great Summer Storm, during which our crew were too afeared to rescue the contents of the Captain’s cabin from the tempestuous sea. In fact they were too afeared to leave the wheel house & get wet.
 
If only Roger, the cabin boy, had bolted his sea chest firm, the records of previous voyages would be available for inclusion herein. This not only lost us valuable reminiscences but lost Roger his position. But every cloud has its silver lining as rapid promotion sees him now the master of his own vessel, the “Falmouth Fish”. A run down craft with a young and motley crew who are mostly obsessed with a wench going by the name of Betty Stoggs. Embarrassed by his misdemeanours on board the Malarkey, Roger changed his name to Dick, thus avoiding the current owners’ potential displeasure.
 
But we digress.
 
The oceans are currently at peace and trade is flourishing between the ports of the World. Some piratical activity has been reported in the Arabian Gulf, but the French Navy has managed to repel recent attacks. Although what they were doing at Trafalgar………..?

Falmouth International Shanty Festival


Falmouth International Shanty Festival

16th to 18th day of June, Year of Our Lord 2017

Falmouth

Weather:- Blistering heat!
Wind:- Variable 2 to  3

Very Still East End On North Sea

26th  day of May. Year of Our Lord 2012

On Voyage – Very Still East End On North Sea

Weather:- Scorchio

Wind:- NNE1.

Having escaped Artemis by finding the gangplank and heaving it into place instead of the sea, our gallant crew wandered towards breakfast on board Hydrograaf where by the arranged time for Bosun’s locker, Anchorman had once again misplaced his kitbag no less than 3 times.

After Locker some went for a walk around the harbour and came across a Dutch clipper, the Vrouwe Nele who was delighted with Seymour’s request to go aboard and sing from her deck, which the unfortunate captain had to suffer on two different occasions during the day. These experiences were enhanced greatly by the aforesaid captain offering beer each time which the lads had certainly earned, by attracting a large and very attentive audience on both occasions. Luckily, the aforementioned Crystal’s lodgings were located immediately opposite the mooring and even more luckily she was happy to hang out of her window to wave and blow kisses, to whom this tale does not tell.

In between the visits to Vrouwe Nele, the lads also performed a morning spasm on the top deck of Hydrograaf  - where they were joined by a local lady, rather unsteady on her feet, who had clearly come via at least one of the harbourside taverns until our cook gently but firmly ushered her away. Then follwed an afternoon in one of the town’s squares where the crew’s efforts had to compete with a now strengthening wind, a fountain and a transient audience. Safe to say we preferred the clipper.

Opening The War

15th day of June. Year of Our Lord 
Home Port, Exmouth
Weather:-  Partly cloudy, warm
Wind:- W 1





12th day of July. Year of Our Lord 
The Strand, Exmouth
Weather:- Hot
Wind:- SW 3

A small group of crew members found themselves in The Strand to assist in raising the profile of organ transplants to the public at large.

This was somewhat surprising as their previous knowledge of human organs related only to keeping theirs intact and well away from the rusty tools of the ship's surgeon or using certain ones in certain ways that cannot be mentioned in these pages. No harm came to any as far as it is possible to tell.






13th day of July. Year of Our Lord 
Weymouth, Dorset
Weather:- A stiff breeze
Wind:- W 6

The Malarkey sailed east along the coast to a favourite port where she has docked several times before. Once again, beyond the many stalls trading in sea food in many forms and guises and in the very heart of Brewers Quay, a suitable stage was found for the buoys to make noise.

This, as ever, they did lustily and with gusto much to the entertainment - and sometimes astonishment - of those who had spilled into the sunshine from the many inns and taverns located around the harbour. Those several local ladies previously known to the crew may well have wished they'd stayed in the darkened interiors to which they are more accustomed.


16th day of August. Year of Our Lord 
Oxford Street, London
Weather:- Pleasant & fine
Wind:- WNW 4

An early morning departure on the iron horse took the crew to - and later back from - our capital city, although not without them being almost defeated at various stages of both journeys by unexpected difficulties. And other new-fangled methods of vertical transportation they encountered also caused delay, consternation and increasing levels of perspiration for some before everyone eventually arrived at the large store of a certain John Lewis to celebrate that it was now even older than Terry Firmer.

Not used to finding themselves in the 'Big Smoke' any further west than Wapping led to some unusual behaviours such as the crew's two most photogenic members cosying up in rather strange ways before the buoys, all together, rendered their songs on the building's roof; possibly chosen to keep them as far from the general public as possible. They safely returned to Exmouth before midnight.


21st day of February. Year of Our Lord 2015
Via Bristol
Weather:- Chilly
Wind:- W 1

Surprisingly and unusually the crew were given another free day to delight in their surroundings. It was even more surprising that some chose to visit the market to invest some of their ale monies in ornaments to give to their loved ones before some walked further to view the castle and other parts of Krakow.

Despite Abner's impromptu display of pavement gymnastics, all arrived unscathed at the agreed meeting place for another splendid repast. This was necessarily followed by a period of rest in order that energy be regained in readiness for another late night in which new ales and flavours of vodka were liberally sampled. 





15th day of April. Year of Our Lord 2015
Doddiscombsleigh
Weather:- A perfect evening
Wind:- S 2

More used to navigation at sea, finding their way to this village on the far side of the Haldon Hills presented some problems for the crew; though nothing like the difficulty of finding their way back home again later! Whether that had to do with the remote location or the fine ale provided by The Nobody Inn you are at Liberty to choose.

In between times though, their performances in support of the RNLI and in between educational talks by one of Exmouth's brave lads, were packed full of their usual gusto and really marked the proper beginning of what promises to be a busy summer voyaging far and wide. 







Sailabilty

19th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015
Exmouth
Weather:- Warm sunshine 
Wind:- SSW 5

After watching the Trinity House Admiral, sailing club Commodore and other great & good board the harbour-moored lifeboat, the lads regaled the huge crowd with a shanty as a prelude to the necessary speeches and the naming of "No Excuse".

Bedecked in bunting as she was brought out of the basin and expertly alongside, the new sailing vessel paused while further words were spoken and champagne was cracked across her bow before she departed for sea trials & others for more songs and refreshment in the clubhouse.


16th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015
Still in Pempoull
Weather:- Cool and cloudy 
Wind:- SW 2

With a later start to this Sunday, the lads were able to enjoy a more relaxed beginning to their day's schedule and, as ever, finding a place along the quays to sing and be heard over the cacophony of the festival was challenging. They acquitted themselves however with élan and, following another most excellent répas, prepared for their last performance in late afternoon.

...... to be continued 




West Country Traditions Day