Stoke Cannon Pub Fund Raiser
Twentysixth day of March, Year of Our Lord 2019
St, Mary Magdalene Church, Stoke Canon
Weather: unseasonably warm.
Wind: f. 1-2 var.
The buoys are attracted to pubs like moths to lighted lanterns, pirates to plunder., and Yarmouth sailors to bits of string. Imagine their delight to be asked to rescue a besieged pub, whose building piratical owners were seeking a king’s ransom for. Desperate their beloved inn would be plundered, scuppered, and sold, heroic villagers have rallied round to raise the ransom.
Ever gallant and patriotic, their hearts of oak stirred to the core by this act of gold lust and calummny, The Malarkey urgently sailed to the rescue. They fired forbitters, shot salvoes of shanties, and let loose two broadsides of ballads, all for to win, hopefully, the necessary dubloons, ducats, pieces of eight and gild moidores to liberate the noble Stoke Canon Inn.
Holy ground Once more – the concert was in the local church, where the good priest of the port had opened her heart and church for us. We made the rafters roar, where the welcoming wooden interior had as wonderful an acoustic as a wooden ship’s fo’c’sl. Overcome by the unusual venue, Anchorman Wayne was moved to reverently remove his hat, before producing a fine forebitter that could as well be a holy hymn as a pub sing-around – Row on Row on. Some of our ballads were less devout – dodgy adventures with ladies of easy virtue ,like Maggie May, and losing hats, trousers, waistcoats, money, and something less mentionable to the same. But a profoundly penitent Bosun Quill, vowing to go to sea no more, assured us he would ‘go sleeping with no whores, but get married instead, and spend all night in bed ...’ - the Vicar could not have put it better.
Then well into the Night Watch, the buoys did their best to keep the Pub afloat by drowning countless pints, all in the course of duty. Thank you Stoke Canon, and may your endeavours be richly rewarded.
Fisherman's Friend Film Premier
15th day of March. Year of our Lord 2019
Picture House Cinema, Port of Exeter
Weather:- Troubled and stormy
Wind:- West Norwest f. 5 to gale 8, occasionally 9.
THE BUOYS have been present at many launches of vessels small and large - but this is the first time they have been asked to assist at the launch of a CINEMATOGRAPHIC FILM - a newly invented species of magic lantern show where the figures actually MOVE and TALK - as jerkily as the Malarkey's crew after a night on the sauce. From the obscure recesses of little Cornish fishing ports and the smoky snugs of West Country bars shantying has set sail, and conquered the folk world - and foremost among the crews to do so, the Fisherman's Friends from Port Isaac, who have done so much to share our salty heritage with foreigners (that's anybody not from Cornwall.)
On this occasion the Fisherman's Friends were 2 dimensional, on the silver screen, and ESM assuredly 3 dimensional, especially Cameron Nails (from any angle.) Fortified by free PINTS & PIZZA (a foreign concoction apparently of hard tack and hard cheese - remote cousin of our own Welsh Rabbit - tho' you must never use that word afloat - bad luck!) We were warmly received by the crowded cinema cafe, and like to think we didn't let the side down, but showed the gusto, humour, passion, earthiness and sauciness of all good Shanties, as of course do the Fisherman's Friends. But we must admit, all credit to them, they not only sing great, but as actual seafarers sailors lifeboatmen and fishermen, have experienced the realities, and sometimes the tragedies, for real, which most of us just sing about. If you have a chance me hearties, heave-to near a cinema near you, clamber aboard, pay your ducat or doubloon, and enjoy a superb seafaring drama about much more than shanties. And we wish Fisherman's Friends good success - with creels and pots and nets on the high seas, as well as on vinyl and celluloid.
Miedzynarodowy Festiwal Piosenki Zeglarskiej Shanties
The 21st day of February. Year of our Lord 2019
Weather:- Chlodny chlód i oczyszczac
Wind:- f.0 - f.2 Zmienny / zachód
Departure from the Port of Bristol much delayed. Swabbie Mal apprehended (again) with piratical knives accidentally concealed about his person; and Canon Fodder strip searched with a haversack load of steel screws. (Screwing of course forbidden to Chaplains whilst on duty) Both items useful aboard in case of emergency, but apparently unwelcome aboard our air-ship setting sail to Slavonic skies.
The buoys welcomed with open arms - literally! - and hugs and kisses. Unlikely as it seems our female fan base is here in Central Europe. In a basement restaurant where ale is served by the metre (for sailors = 0.561666 of a fathom) egged on by waitresses; in the underground Stary Port Tavern, centre for Polish sail training, and where a ship’s bow and bowsprit appears to have crashed through the ceiling, and we were billed to shanty till the wee small hours; and in the huge 1000 seater theatre, we sang our hearts out. A typical shanty concert here is 5 hours - and the Polish and international audience join in with gusto in every seafaring tongue, and applaud each crew with shrieks and whoops and whistles.
22nd to 24th daies of February, Year of Grace 2019.
Weather - unchanged
Exmouth expects every crew member to acquit themselves as expected!? - once on shore they did:-
Billy Rowlocks, our Krakow virgin, was not devoured by the fire-breathing Krakow dragon as tastier virgins had been in the past - his boots. buckles, buttons, beard (and booming bass voice) proving indigestible to the most ferocious monster - but he nearly suffered asphyxiation when a Stary Port lady demonstrated smother (rather than mother) love.
Levi Shore entranced a delightful and dishy Pirate moll in full fig - though whether it was his jokes, his Steve Knightly look-alike hair do, or sheer personality, none could tell.
Our Anchorman, having shipwrighted wonderfully watertight travel plans and set lists, single handedly saved the faltering Polish economy - quaffing prodigious quantities of ale, served here 6 glasses at a time - and appropriately curtain-called our final theatre set with Rolling Home.
Our gunner Eamon Fyre, avoiding salvoes of deadly cherry brandy, acted out with impeccable swordsmanship (RADA meets Morris dancing) bloody ballads of sea battles to loud acclaim - and demonstrated thumbs like marlin spikes, and fingers like fids.
Bosun Curly Quill was followed from bar to bar by those desperate for second helpings of his Chicken on a Raft - where his agonisingly extended longest lowest loudest note beat local favourites ‘The Pirates’ by a gasp and a half.
Bish happily squeezed his concertina, while the rest of the crew likewise experienced squeezes and hugs from the most wonderfully welcoming Polish shanty lovers. We eagerly await our next invite.
Sam Minella, our noble captain, was commended for bravery in baring his fine legs, calves, feet etc etc. in subzero temperatures in the open air concert in the Medieval Market Place, where our torn 18th Century cutty sarks and pantaloons and weskits stood out among a scarved and fur-hatted and anoracked crowd. And lo and behold, on the last day, he recieved on our behalf the Stan Hugill Trophy for ‘The Most Authentic Shanty Crew’ - a fine bronze anchor and plaque.
25th day of February. Year of our Lord 2019
Weather: Polska i UK wykapal sie w Wesolosci
Mal, minus knife, was raptured by Leonardo’s ‘Lady with a Ferret’
(visiting locally) and added to Krakow’s buzzing artistic and international
vibe by a roof-raising Rule Britannia in our final midnight set - where
we enthusiastically waved Polish flags to show our European committement. Which
only goes to prove that just as the Krakow Dragon was overcome not by brute
force but by intelligence, so The Sea, Sailors, Ships, and Shanties do more to
unite Europe and the World as one, that ever the follies of politics or
boundaries do to divide.
St Ives Shanty Shout
24th day of November. Year of our Lord 2018
Harbourside Taverns & Alehouses of the above haven.
Weather:- Squally showers
Wind:- North Easterly, f.4/5
England had just beaten Australia (37/18) so we floated into 'The Lifeboat Inn' on a wave of raucous goodwill - and proceeded to share shantys from The Caribbean, Labrador, Louisiana (ships' crews were always polyglot and multinational, and shantys too) as well as 'dear old England' - but Alfredoe finished with a heartfelt patriotic "Hearts of Oak". Imagine our surprise when by a miracle of the newly invented Magic Lantern, animated images of the Buoys appeared on the same screens where moments before our heroically battling and magnificently muscled 15 had disported themselves.We created a scrum of sorts in the heaving pub as we press-ganged unsuspecting punters to heave and haul and sing and dance and ship temporarily aboard The Malarkey, where your ‘tackle’ has totally different connotations.
We enthusiastically downed and sank copious quantities of hot mulled cider (it was rough outside) and good Cornish ale (and sea-cook Sam duly lilted lyrically his homage to Betty Stoggs) - all this in order to help raise and lift up Cornwall's recently invented "Aire Ambulance"- a sort of levitating sky-lifeboat, that can swoop like a seagull and soar like an albatross, powered by what appear to be spinning windmill sails fore and aft. Apparently this "Heli - Kopter", as she's christened, is able to rescue and succour the distressed and injured in Cornwall's wildest and remotest coves and cliffs and hamlets and moors.
Our final shout was in 'The Castle', where drinkers and singers were jammed and packed together as cosily as a barrel of pilchards - and shanty crews provided the salt. We were delighted to meet up with our old friends from up North, Kimbers Men: and Neil, John, Gareth and Steve added Cape Horn strength harmonies and Double-bass sonority to our own Anchorman's not insignificant rendition of 'Rolling Home.' We raised the low rafters, and hopefully helped the "Heli - Kopter" likewise rise and take-off even more.
RNLI Charity Evening
|16th day of November. Year of our Lord 2018|
Ye Point Bar & Grill, Exmouth Dock
Weather:- Drizzle and mist
Wind:- Easterly, 4
SHIPS THAT MEET IN THE NIGHT: S/V Malarkey and RNLB R and J Welburn. The ageing crew of the former, and the youthful crew of the latter joined in a delightful fund-raising festivity, the generous project of ‘The Point’ restaurant, where diners were treated to a superb fish supper, met some of Exmouth’s lifeboat team; and (to add a sense of maritime disaster and foreboding to the evening?) salty shanties and forebitters from the buoys - and of course our one lady, Helen Highwater.
In the middle of one of our more lecherous ballads (‘A Roving’) suddenly the pagers went off! Just at the point Jack Tar vainly hoped to start undressing his moll, floozie, doxy, maid of Exmouth, the recently volunteered lifeboat crew had to leap into action in seconds, strip off, struggle into sea boots, armpit trousers, and RNLI oilies to be ready for a ‘shout.' Competitive Strictly Come Kitting Up! The real crew I suspect were much quicker.
All good fun - and a reminder of the realities of the lifeboat service, to be ready at a moment to put to sea in storm, tempest, wreck, cliff fall, medical emergency ... to save the lives of fishermen or merchant seamen, windsurfers or dinghy sailors, mariners or holidaymakers - or even dogs! Albert Truss, oarsman, reminded us of all those lost at sea in the haunting ‘Mollymauk’ - albatrosses, the souls of dead sailors.
Old and young - Terry Firma, octogenarian oldest member of our crew, sang plaintively ’Time ashore is over’ - but we were delighted our fund raising was for the training and equipping of young Tom (17) not much older than a cabin boy, the newest member of Exmouth's Lifeboat Crew - and who unlike us, literally will have to leave the shore and set out whenever there’s a shout.
Our thanks and best wishes to the staff at The Point, and all who supported the event, and The Malarkey dips her ensign , fires a salvo, salutes, and raises a cheer for our heroic volunteers who man Exmouth's 2 lifeboats, and our best wishes go with Tom and all the gallant crew who’ll set out whenever the need is greatest for 'those in peril on the sea.'
Bridgewater Guy Fawkes Festival
|3rd day of November. Year of our Lord 2018|
Ye High Street & Angel Place
Weather:- Chilly and autumnal: rain incipient.
Wind:- NE 3 to 4
With the crew of the Malarkey decimated by disease, dissolution, and injury, a small heroic remnant sallied N. across the Lowlands low, the soggy Somerset Levels, to the County's only inland seaport, summoned to muster thereto as one of the warm-up acts for Bridgwater's legendary Carnival.
In the shadow of Admiral Blake (who some historians rank alongside Nelson) we took our turn between Punch & Judy shows, Acrobats, Jugglers, and Steel Bands - but surprisingly gathered a reasonable crowd each time. The good Admiral looked on impassively, shrouded in corrugated iron lest Carnival revellers should damage his dignity (or other bits.)
Equally surprisingly, no mishaps befell us:- Billy Rowlocks demolished no microphones; Eamon Fyre's anti-Napoleon rant incited no visiting French or 'Remainer' revenge; Sam Minella's enthusiastic press-ganging of little children excited no police suspicions; Curly Quill didn't collapse with asphyxiation during 'Chicken on a Raft'; Canon Fodder didn't fall overboard during his foolish attempt to mimic a bowsprit, and wonderfully, Alfredo Heights inspired an outbreak of dancing mania during a toe-tapping 'Bonny Ship the Diamond'.
Helen Highwater, as always, entranced the crowd with her charms, and luckily affirmed her love for British Sailors NOT Soldiers - just as well in Bridgwater where bitter memories remain of the Redcoats' terrible reprisals and slaughter of Monmouth's pitch-fork rebels at the recent Battle of Sedgmoor, and Judge Jeffreys and the Bloody Assize have neither been forgiven nor forgotten.
As noble Shantymen the Buoys were pleased to play a small part in the fantastical Fire-Festival that is Carnival, and without which, locals know, women will not get pregnant, grass not grow next Spring, the dying old Sun never resurrect, and darkness will consume the land eternally.
Stoke Gabriel Community Concert
13th day of October. Year of our Lord 2018
Church of St. Mary & St. Gabriel
Weather:- Brief eye of Storm Callum
Wind:- Southwest f. 10 forecast / var. 3
The Malarkey's full crew disembarked in the ancient Church House
Inn to warm up, next to a mummified sacrificial cat built into the walls
- a foundational pagan sacrifice? (we are now in deepest darkest Devon) or a
dire warning as to what happens to those who yowl out of tune? Worrying. The
nave of the ancient church itself, with its wooden walls and deck beams, and
lit by oil lamps, was reassuringly similar to a ship's fo'c's'le.
Some of the more credulous members of the crew, more used to a heaving foredeck than a church, were anxious lest the Almighty might be offended by the more lusty and lecherous of their imaginings, or words not usually heard from the pulpit (tho' frequent in the denunciations of the Prophets) However no thunderbolts of Divine displeasure zapped the buoys, and in fact the wonderful acoustics of the old church enabled the crew to perform their best, with both trademark gusto, and exquisite and melodious harmonisations. Not quite 'angel voices ever singing' but the congregation, more used to chamber music and motets, responded politely and warmly.
And verily our Bosun Curly Quill finished the evening with what could count as an admirable sermon worthy of any clerical pulpit, exhorting " ... don't do sleeping with no W----s, get married instead, and spend all night in bed ...". The Archbishop of Canterbury could not have put it better. As we set sail on 'The Roseabella’ we were delighted to have been of assistance in raising funds for charitable and good works for the more unfortunate, lonely, and destitute of those shipwrecked by the headwaters of the Dart at Totnes. Canon Fodder, ship's chaplain, earnestly hopes to see the crew embarking again on the (for them) unlikely vessels of piety and mercy and charity.
Jurassic Coast Cruise
13th day of September. Year of our Lord 2018
Inshore Waters, South Devon
Wind:- SW 3 gusting 5
Undiscouraged by distant hurricane warnings out in the Atlantic, or embarking on the thirteenth, the crew shipped aboard the good ship 'Pride of Exmouth' for the fabled Jurassic coast Cruise. The vessel was loaded with geologists, geomorphologists, paleontologists, fossil hunters, pre-historians - and us.
Undeterred by radio-active nodules, contorted strata, or the fact the biggest extinction of life on planet earth is precisely marked by Exmouth, the Buoys demonstrated on the return trip what the lecturers had discoursed of so eloquently outward bound - what old fossils, dinosaur DNA, and Neanderthal men (and grateful women) were capable of. As the 'Pride' rolled gently into the sunset, we proved that genuine sea shanties, like fossils, are almost indestructible, however hammered about, and still have the power to resurrect lives and struggles long past, and (thanks to ESM and all our fellow shanty crews) not quite extinct.
Bromyard Folk Festival
8th Day of September, Year of Grace 2018
Far Northeast of Herefordshire
Weather:- Constant Drizzle
Wind:- Variable 0-2
A pre-dawn raid to the interior. The Malarkey, skilfully piloted by Bosun Curly Quill and foredeck lookout Levi Shore, lurched northward. Despite our apprehensions of furrin parts, the natives received us kindly. Our first shantying was in the sweaty bar of the local Foote-balle Club. (Foote-balle - a barbaric northern sport played with inflated pigge's bladder or enemie's head.) Alien beers however - all nobly and personally tested by our ever-ready anchorman Ank - proved effective lubricants for Exmouth shanties and tonsils, as we aimed, and occasionally hit, high notes and harmonies.
We were then shanghaied and seduced into taking part in a strange local art form and initiation ritual - "Ye Olde Tyme Musik Hall". Skippered by a chairman with a large hammer (less terrifying than a mate with a belaying pin) and firing salvoes of dated blue(ish) jokes; and repartee where the audience gave as good as they got. The Buoys, joining in the raucous spirit of the occasion, discovered their earnest and solemn acting out of erotic and tragicall maritime catastrophes, were received as totally in keeping with the event.
After a final late night concert under canvas (as befits hardened sea-dogs) the Malarkey headed south with her snoring crew all asleep (bar the helmsman hopefully) to pick up her home mooring in the middle of a pitch-dark middle watch at about 3 bells.
Lost Quays Visit to Exmouth
2nd & 3rd daies of September, Year of our Lord 2018
Exmouth foreshore & assorted taverns
Weather:- warm & clear
Wind:- SW 2-3
Like two ships that meet in mid-ocean from opposite corners of the globe - the Lost Quays out of Fremantle, West Australia, and the Malarkey, crewed by Exmouth’s finest. Greeting each other like long-lost brothers and sisters (we quite probably shared delinquent ancestors) we shared an open-air concert on Exmouth’s new sea-front pyramid stage, followed by two rollicking nights in the Bicton and in the Beach, joined by shipwrecked sailors and sea-song lovers from other furrin parts who turned up to greet our salty antipodean friends.
It wasn't meant to be a competition, but like the Rugby and the Ashes, each crew gave of their best. Honours were even.
Lost Quays - won on excellence of beards.
Each crew had precisely ONE genuine, qualified deep-sea Captain & navigator: a fine Australian Scot beside our own Albert Truss (now reduced to oarsman) Most of our qualifications, like those provided by the notorious Paddy West, are more fake than factual.
The Women - our ‘Ladies who Launch’ excelled themselves in a wonderful welcome banquet for the expected rugged, handsome, beach-bodied, tanned Australians - and the rest of us.Their redoubtable women-folk - the She-Shanties - responded with a feisty ballad about precisely what (or who) they twiddle with while their men are away at sea.
Singing with gusto - honours even. Each crew raised the rafters, but the Lost Quays specialised not just in toe-tapping chantying, but in unique “body-percussion”. (We've humped our sea chests round the points of the compass, but never dreamed of using our own as drums.) Honours to the Lost Quays, climaxed by their performance of Esiquibo River where every man jack sang and played a different percussion instrument in every verse. ESM are mostly incapable of multi-tasking, leaving that to wives and sweethearts.
But truly delightful for both sides to hear how the same chanties we share have diverged and developed creatively 13337 nautical miles apart. And finally, to close what had been a wonderful weekend, a stirring double-headed rendition of (of course) South Australia, alternate verses led by an Ozzie and English shantyman, both equally magnificently bellied, bearded, and bass-voiced.
We’re angling for an (all expenses) invitation back to Freeo!
Sidmouth Folk Festival
10th day of August. Year of our Lord 2018
The Manor Pavilion Theatre,
Weather:- Intermeittent Showers
Wind:- SW f 4
TALL SHIPS & TAVERNS. Some of the Malarkey’s crew had spent the entire week carousing and chortling in the ale-houses, streets, and canvas pavilions of the normally genteel waterfront of Sidmouth - all of it vital research and rehearsal for the crew’s headline billing (or at least the final event of the last night of the festival before the flaming torchlight procession) where the buoys had prepared a two part Extravaganza of shanties and forebitters. A packed house responded enthusiastically, as first the crew shipped them across the briny, with outward bound capstan shanties; sail-setting heave and haul shouts and grunts; lecherous shipboard imaginings of sailors far out at sea; and catastrophic tales of death, disaster and amputation (Mr Dai Wright, ship’s surgeon, specialises in such blood curdling ballads) and then homeward bound shanties, never sung till indeed our ship was.
Part Two saw the buoys ensconced in a dockside tavern, where the sailors' sweetheart, Miss Helen Highwater proved her pub was the nearest most Jack Tars would ever get to heaven, as she dispensed beer and grog to home-at-last-sailors blowing their pay in a night of revelry. As a woman she of course could multi-task ... simultaneously dispensing pints, keeping order, singing, and proving Lympstone girls could dance the polka as well as any transatlantic sailor's moll. And even sea-sodden shanty men managed to at least drink, jest, and sing at the same time. A good time was had by all, except new hand Billy Rowlocks, who convinced his beer was off, began blasphemously invoking the Almighty to send a razor-winged dove to cut the throats of those what sold bad beer, and he at at least determined to head off seawards again insanter.
The Almighty didn't respond - but the other invisible powers who made the whole night possible were superb. The super-helpful lighting and sound crew; and all those who laboured mightily to make Sidmouth an unforgettable and rapturous week not only for Shantymen, but every conceivable kind of Singer, Musician, Story-teller, and Dancer, The Malarkey’s log hereby notes our grateful thanks.
14th day of July. Year of our Lord 2018
Lat: 51° 23'19" North. Long: -3° 83' 06" West
Weather:- fine & bright.
Wind:- Southwest f. 3
IN A SPIN IN LYNMOUTH. The finest setting for a regatta: the tiny
harbour, the towering cliffs, the white-capped Bristol Channel, and there
waiting for us, the finest collection of real deep-sea square rig gear,
torpedos, old rope - and including a magnificent capstan. The buoys abandoned
the stage to seize the bars (capstan-bars - they'd already located the other
sort) and began full-throated to Stamp and Go! and holler capstan chanties as
they were meant to be.
Their more feeble efforts to dance the Polka (lusty New York gals presumably excel at it) were completely upstaged by the couple who spun and danced magnificently to Mal's sorry tale of his seduction and narrow escape - "you're safer round Cape Horn."
Still spinning, Bosun Curly Quill navigated a spiral course home through never-before-seen backwaters. Thank you Lynmouth: and we hope we helped the Sailing Club and the Devon Air Ambulance stay afloat and airborne too.
Festival der Shanty-Chöre
5th to the 8th day of July. Year of our Lord 2018
Travemünde, North Germany
Wetter:- glühend hell und klar
Wind;- Variable 3 immer Nordosten 5 oder 6
Leaving The Malarkey behind, the crew were appalled to discover
their scheduled craft had been grounded, sunk, or abandoned. Thence followed a
manic chase to find an alternative vessel. Not since Lieutenant Lapenotiere of
HMS Pickle raced from Falmouth to the Admiralty with news of Trafalgar have
Jack Tars been post-chaised and taxied across the breadth of Britain at such
speed; and finally, sleepless and red-eyed, took passage from the Port of
Heathrow to arrive in Travemünde minutes before their first set.
YOU HAVE DIRTY VOICES! Said an Opera Singer and Professional
Conductor (approvingly) Surrounded by impeccably rehearsed and uniformed German
"Shanty-Choirs" each at least 50 strong, and accompanied by
squeeze-box orchestras, the Malarkey's little crew of 8 stood out like sore
thumbs (every thumb was a marlin spike, and every finger a fid!? Perhaps
because of that, we, scruffy, small, anarchic, with our a-cappella dirty
voices, were most wonderfully welcomed as an unusual and exotic species from a
strange and alien land, and were plied with tokens of affection ... fresh fish
sandwiches, copious strong beer, bottles of schnapps. So much so that 2 of our
company, loaded far below their normal Plimsoll lines, had to abandon ship to
jettison part of their cargo early. There is a corner of a Lubeck churchyard
that will be forever England.
A final historic encounter: we were honoured to add 8 voices to a successful Guinness Book world record attempt for The Greatest Number of Shanty Singers Singing the Same Shanty ever assembled. The event graced and validated by The Burgermeister (not a fast-food operative - The Mayor) and the Prime Minister. Take note Mrs May! A notable MaritimeAchievement in the annals of European History - and the whole company 1500 strong went Rolling Home together in several different rhythms and keys, variously to Dear Old Hamburg, or Dear Old England,
The Baltic delights of Travemünde: to sing in the lee of the mighty
Four masted barque Passat, last of the Flying P Line; and quietly gliding
by only yards away, today's container ships and ferries, which we also
celebrated in " Rolling Up, Rolling Down, 24 hours to turn
around." Surrounded by so many squeeze boxes, our ship's carpenter Cameron
Nails found his own squeeze ( a wife in every port?) and we now dedicate the
Shanty "One more Pull" to him.
With 5 different stages to perform on, our slightly knackered crew
varied in alertness, but our hosts, the younger of whom learned their English
from Monty Python and James Bond movies, were convinced our mistakes,
amnesia, trips, stumbles, and balls-ups were actually carefully rehearsed
routines, and applauded accordingly.
UNSERE WARMEN UND DANKBAR DANKE to all the organisers of Europe's largest Shanty Festival, for a memorable stay, and especially the local group Lubecker Shantychör Mowenschiet (Seagull Shit) for late night singing and drinking and hospitality. Whatever our politicians are up to, we delighted in and celebrated our European unity.
Falmouth International Folk Festival
Ye 22nd ye 24th day of June. Year of our Lord 2018
Every bar, backstreet, and quayside.
Weather:- Fog patches earlier, bright and clear later.
Wind:- Variable, becoming S.W. 2 to 3
FALMOUTH FOR ORDERS. The ancient cutter 'The Cause, crewed by Sam Minella, proving as ship's cook he could function at 45 degrees bouncing up and down in a fog, and simultaneously shanty and create evolving euro-special 3 day soups of legumes and viandes of unrecognisable origin, arrived in Falmouth after a week of head winds, followed shortly after by the good ship Malarkey bearing the rest of the crew. (Sam, and wife Liz Teria do succeeded in redefining the word HEAVE the buoys sing so lustily) .
Falmouth appeared full of Old Gaffers - bearded shantymen of uncertain age clutching tankards; and old gaffers, traditional smacks and trawlers and aged yachts with 4 sided tanned sails.
ALL HANDS ON DECK. Hauled onstage by our Breton friends, Les Brouillers d'Ecoute, and sweatily hugged by our heroine Betty Stogs, whose likeness many of us bear emblazoned on our bosoms or backs, for an opening night extravaganza on the Sea Salt Stage. Betty's target, like her biceps and bust is ever bigger year on year, and this year she remarkably raised OVER £10.000 for Falmouth Lifeboats - but still got hurled into the harbour, where the water rose appreciably. Cornish damozels are tough, and we were delighted to play our part in supporting her efforts to support the local heroes who put to sea in every weather to rescue the sinking and drowning and lost. Surprisingly large numbers paused to listen and join in hauling on hawsers or stomping around imaginary capstans in our street performance outside Roly's Fudge Shop, where a delicious damzel pressed fudge upon us, to catalyse the volatile concoctions of Stogs ale and Cornish pasty already swilling in our bilges. But it was in the Chain Locker, the first port of call for victorious round the world solo sailor Robin Knox Johnston, the singing really took off - like the venturesome sailors who had left Falmouth only a week earlier to repeat the solo circumnavigation, with only the equipment that 19th century shantymen would have known - rope and canvas, sextant and compass.
Our youngest half-pint crew member followed us faithfully from gig to gig, desperate to hear "Chicken on a raft' performed as only our Bosun can - complete with his feigned asphyxiation and collapse and resurrection. (All to commemorate dodgy naval egg on toast) which finally featured in our last gig at 5 Degrees West, where hoarse but happy, we vowed it had been another brilliant Falmouth Shanty festival.
And to crown the day, the gaff cutter The Cause, crewed by Exmouth's finest pressed men, sailing Carrick Rroads, was awarded the prize for the "best presented crew" in the Classics Festival - looking suitably dated and ragged, but bursting into lusty huzzahs and 'Fire Marengo' at the crucial moment in front to the assembled judges, dignitaries, mayors , sheriffs, & high-ranking naval officers of the county aboard their v.i.p. launch. 'Twas your shanty did the trick, we were told.
International Neurosurgeons Conference
11th day of April. Year of our Lord 2018
Torre Abbey, Torquay
Weather:- April showers
Wind:- ESE 2
The buoys were greeted by a near naked man tattooed from head to toe, with rings in nose and ears bigger than a hawse hole. It turned out our venue was hosting a tattoo display - "Not Just for Sailors!"- where once monks had chanted prayers. We had been summoned ashore to entertain several hundred brain-surgeons - most hurried by, suspecting ours beyond repair?
As Ordinary Seamen and fo'c's'le hands, we're well used to being taken for granted, but we climbed atop our sea-chests, midway between inked body-parts and incredible intellects, and let rip. Helen Highwater, crew's sweetheart, with both body and brains, sang beautifully; the rest of us staunchly, and with gusto, and even Billy Rowlocks at full volume with his "Poor old 'oss" didn't damage the ancient plasterwork more than it already was.
Having serenaded the surgeons adequately and melodiously, the crew fell rampantly on the undrunk alcohol and remains of their banquet - good sailor grub too! Fish pie and chilli. An enjoyable excursion - and we await to see which buoy will go under the needle first.
4th day of March, Year of our Lord 2018
The Beach Tavern, Exmouth
Weather:- Sub-Arctic; Mist, Rain, Slush, Fog
Wind:- Var. backing NE to SW
The Malarkey left her winter berth for the 1st time for a brief shakedown cruise to her regular haven, the nearby Beach, dodging growlers and icebergs, where many more Northern seaways were still impassible. Lubricated by free rum from Josh, the welcoming landlord, the Buoys climbed on their sea-chests and blasted the miserable weather with a rip-roaring and melodious set of Shanties historic and recent.
Lack of lime juice? - Several of the crew were afflicted with Congenital Contagious Amnesia - notably Cameron Nails and new buoy Billy Rowlocks - but remarkably kept singing and improvising rhyming couplets without losing a beat. Since it was the Sabbath, Billy offered a heartfelt rendition of the ‘Sailors Prayer’ - ‘O Lord Above send down a dove...’ - while Helen Highwater, despite it being Lent, flirted outrageously with willing matelots, and declared her absolute preference for sailors over soldiers.
Special thanks to Josh, the Exmouth Pilot Gig rowers, and shipmates old and new who joined in with gusto, and cheered the Malarkey on her way as she slipped her moorings for passages plotted and voyages planned for 2018.
Wedding of Landlady and Landlord of Globe Inn, Lympstone
The Wedding of Angie and Mike, landlady and landlord of The Globe, Lympstone
22nd day of December. Year of our Lord 2017
Rockbeare Manor, Devon
Weather:- Astonishingly for December- temperate, warm, bright, clear
Wind:- Var. 1 to 2
Perched high on the balcony of a stately home, as high off the deck as a t’gallant yardarm, our manly – and one woman’s -voices rang out over the rolling Devon countryside to rain blessings and congratulations on the heads of Angie and Mike, as they celebrated their mid-winter nuptials.
In a well-chosen set list (finely belayed and shackled together by our eveready Wayne, the Anchorman) we celebrated the delights of love, the joys of eros, and assorted courtship techniques, varying from the full-frontal to the unlikely and bizarre (especially the ones involving lengths of string) all for to celebrate the union of Angie, landlady of the Globe, who’s oft and generously entertained the Bouys in her Lympstone hostelry, and Mike, now her lawful wedded husband.
Hip Hip Huzzah! The Malarkey’s decks heaved with huzzahs and hugs and greetings and kisses – and we hope we helped Bride and Groom truly tie the knot, splice a long splice, and really (and this they literally did) haul together on one hawser to loud applause.
A wonderful end to the year’s voyaging, and Christmas and Hogmanay greetings to Shipmates wheresoever they may find themselves washed up.
RNLI Benefit Concert with Steve Knightley
29th day of September. Year of our Lord 2017
The Ocean, Exmouth Seafront
As darkness fell, the buoys found themselves back on the Ocean again - not the wide seas whereof they chanty and complain, but Exmouth’s newest entertainment venue: delighted to be the launching crew for local boy made good, Steve Knightley (Exmouth to the Albert Hall) in a benefit gig for our local Lifeboat.
Only yards from the local RNLI station, but tucked up cosily behind plate glass, we could see the grey sea roll endlessly from Orcombe Point, across the Exe Bar, and on towards the broad Atlantic. A fitting background for our salty shanties, and for Steve’s laments, protest songs, and anthems ... a diver drowning off Orcombe Point; 10,000 Cousin Jacks forced to emigrate, West Country poverty and lack of affordable housing, and passion strong as granite. “When love just seems so far away - Keep haulin’!”
The oldest member of the crew, Terry Firma, who now feels safer on land than afloat, cautiously checked the wind with his lighted candle - flickering faithfully in the auditorium’s darkness till the final puff! - and persuaded shipmates to stay ashore for the night. Nightfall and evening star and the Exe tide surging alongside, as the Malarkey went “rolling home”, with for once not far to go - even so, some of the crew managed to run aground on another Exe bar.
Splice the mainbrace! A grateful toast to Ocean for their generous hosting of the gig, to Steve for unforgettable songs and stories, and above all to our local lifeboat crews in all they do. Keep hauling’!
London International Shipping Week
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
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
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.
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
Wimborne Folk Festival
10th day of June, Year of Our Lord 2017
Gloucester Tall Ships Festival
GWRSA Railway Club Exmouth
31st day of March, Year of Our Lord 2017
Concert with Steve Knightley in Lympstone Church
25th day of March. Year of our Lord 2017
Peoples Republic of Lympstone
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
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
West Country Beer Festival, Bicton Inn
Lyme Regis Folk Weekend
10th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Fine and calm
Weymouth Water Festival
4th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2016
|27th, 28th and 29th day of August, year of Our Lord 2016|
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
Weather:- Light rain
Sidmouth Folk Festival, Dukes Inn
Exeter Sea Salt
30th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
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
21st day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Broken cloud
20th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Mercifully cooler
18th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
17th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Even hotter
Still in port
16th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Sunny & Hot
En Bretagne Nord Ouest
15th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Sur La Manche
14th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Mid Devon celebrations
9th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2016
Falmouth Shanty Festival
19th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Gentle drizzle
Festival before wedding
18th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Better than of late
The Queen's bithday
11th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
On the Strand
5th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
West Country Traditions
4th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
2nd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Sunny, warm and calm
Battling the elements
Not all at sea, Oostende
29th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Fine until thundery late showers
28th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Misty & Overcast
In harbour, Belgium
27th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Oostende Voor Anker
26th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Belgium via Kent
25th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Fine & dry
7th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Very good
2nd day of May. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Cool & drizzly
20th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Better than forecast
Quarter of a Century
2nd day of February. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Cooling fast
Up the Plym
26th day of January. Year of Our Lord 2016
Weather:- Driving rain
20th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Mild & Damp
Bay Horse Skinners
15th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2015
Dress Uniform and posh frocks
12th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Mainly dry
In aid of the RNLI
22nd day of November. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Cold & clear
At the mouth of the Dart
14th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Extremely miserable
Remembrance Festival Concert
6th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Overcast but dry
30th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Mild, with occasional light rain
21st day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
SS Great Britain
20th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
16th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Light cloud, mild temperatures
8th day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Light drizzle
Seasalt bargains in 'Diagon Alley'
1st day of October. Year of Our Lord 2015
Weather:- Like summer
|26th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
|17th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
|12th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
|6th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
|17th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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
English ships & French harbours
|15th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
Across the Channel
|7th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015|
Weather:- Hot & sunny
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.
|1st day of August. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
|24th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
Cornish Country Fair
|4th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
|29th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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.
|28th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015|
Down by the sea
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.
|27th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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|
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.
Falmouth International Shanty Festival
|13th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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|
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|
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|
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
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|
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
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 Salt Mine
Off to Poland
|19th day of February. Year of Our Lord 2015|
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
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.
|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.
|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
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!
|6th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2014|
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|
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.
|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.
|23rd day of October. Year of Our Lord 2014|
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|
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|
Weather:- Dusky evening
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|
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|
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.
|6th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2014|
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
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
Duking it out
3rd day of August. Year of Our Lord 2014
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.
|28th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014|
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.
|26th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2014|
Still in harbour
Weather:- Bright sunshine
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|
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
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|
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|
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.
|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|
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|
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.
|2nd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2014|
Weather:- Most pleasant
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
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.
|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|
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.
|24th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014|
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.
|10th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2014|
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
1st day of February. Year of Our Lord 2014
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
17th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2013
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.
15th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2013
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!
14th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2013
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.
1st day of September. Year of Our Lord 2013
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.
27th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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.
12th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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.
4th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2013
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
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!
29th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
25th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
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.
17th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
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.
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.
11th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2013
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
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
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
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
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.
|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
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
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 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
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
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.
8th day of July. Year of Our Lord 2012
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.
30th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
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.
30th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
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!
23rd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
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.
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.
9th day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
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.
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
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.
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|
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.
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.
3rd day of June. Year of Our Lord 2012
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
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
18th day of May. Year of Our Lord 2012
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
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
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
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.
18th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port - And home for Christmas
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.
14th day of December. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
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
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
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.
20th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – Down the slippery slope
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.
11th day of November. Year of Our Lord 2011
In Port - Home for a brief visit
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
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
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
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.
23rd day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
Up river - With the North-East's favourites
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
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.
9th day of September. Year of Our Lord 2011
On Voyage – End Of Jurassic In Sight
Weather:- Flat Calm
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
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
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
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.
15th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Broad – Paimpol Cinq
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!
14th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Broad – Paimpol Quatre
Weather:- Fair to Midlin
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.
13th day of August. Year of Our Lord 2011
A Broad – Paimpol Trois
Weather:- Precipitation Within Sight
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.
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.
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
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
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
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”
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
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”
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”
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.
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
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
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.
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!)
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 fo