Sunday, April 22, 2018

black and white Beachcomber

Participating in  classic rallies brings the benefit of having people with cameras shooting at your boat while you are busy having fun. While we are always aware of happy snappers when we sail this boat, we seldom see the photographs, except when photographers are generous on Facebook.

I know the previous owner has some old pictures of Beachcomber, but these below are all I have in my possession of her in former times. She was known for a long time as Alfreda apparently. The photo on the slipway shows her planking quite clearly,  the same as she is now bar the top plank which is detailed slightly differently- it was replaced in the 1990's, as was the rudder. This is Beachcomber at her most ungainly I think. She had a big old motor and a pretty pokey cabin and she carried very little sail. The date is likely to be in the 1930's, and she would have been an old boat by then- sixty-something...pushing seventy maybe.
 This photo below is also undated, and it is probably earlier than the first pic. It is my belief that she had the cabin added by her last owners before she spent some years at the bottom of the Mitchell river, waiting to be rescued. Below she still has most of her rig and a more sensible engine box, rather like the one she carries now. This may be the period in which she was used as a farm utility, transporting livestock between islands.

Below I include a bit of conjecture, guesswork even. I have looked at hundreds of photos of old sail boats from this district and this is the only one I have seen which could be Beachcomber. The stem looks right, and there may be a hint of counter stern in it, and the balanced lug was common in Paynesville. Whether this is of Beachcomber, or Alfreda or another boat entirely it is likely to be a hundred and ten or twenty (or more) years ago that this was taken. Even then she would be a thirty or forty year old boat at the time.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Go Set a Watchman, a review of Harper Lee's Novel

Go Set a WatchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Put aside the wild and varied discussions this book created when published. I couldn't bring myself to read it at the time, and I'm grateful for the distance I had in reading it now. However and whenever this was written, and for whatever purpose it was published, it is simply beautiful.

Lee brings us into the home in this one, people of decency and culture and fine intellect are placed under the urgent microscope of a gorgeous outsider, an idealistic misfit born of the most respected man in town. We are left with a wonderful portrait of the South, the baggage that comes from deep history there, and some of the ways that people of good will tried to make sense of race and all the complications of a riven society.

The prose is delicious with many subtle literary references. The last half of the book will make you want to dog-ear many pages with passages to come back to. This one will stay a while in my mind.

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The blurb on Goodreads says:

From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience. Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic. 

Hardcover278 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by HarperCollins
Original Title
Go Set a Watchman
0062409859 (ISBN13: 9780062409850)
Edition Language
Maycomb, Alabama (United States) 

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Picture She Took- a review of the novel

The Picture She TookThe Picture She Took by Fiona Shaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very satisfying read, interesting for the obscure insights into the 'Troubles' in Ireland, and the tensions in the lives of two characters brought together by chance. The author sets us for a quest and a potential romance, but is skilful in avoiding a sentimental, easy route. Ethics and behaviour are set against each other and the things permissible in war are tested through the lens of peace.

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The blurb on Goodreads about this book:

Set in England after the Great War, and Ireland after the Black and Tan War, The Picture She Took is a detective story. It interweaves the lives of an impatient and frustrated young woman whose life came alive in a bombed-out village during the First World War and a haunted young man whose memory returns again and again to the traumatic events of a day on a road in Ireland. This searching, beautiful novel is about the wars we wage against others and against ourselves; it is a powerful story of memory, flight and desire.