Sailing into the past
Maritime history has been flavour of the week, while I’m working on some pages of a workbook for the Welsh Joint Education Council. Smacks, schooners and coracles are the theme of the pages, so I’ve been digging for stories to bring the subjects to life. Shipwrecks, of course, and the daily life of a ship’s apprentice – who could well have been as young as ten years old. All good fun – just a word of advice. When researching coastal fishing boats, never forget to put the word ‘fishing’ in front of ‘smack’ when you google it!
I also gave a talk to the Narberth Museum Friends – just an informal fundraising evening, but great fun. I did a potted history of marine art, concentrating on the pierhead paintings of the 19th century, painted with the eye of a sailor which put the focus on technical accuracy rather than artistic flair. I finished off splashing paint around doing a demo of how a pierhead painter of today might tackle a boat portrait, leaving them all trying to get their mouths round the phrase ‘Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter’ without getting their tongues twisted. Just don’t try it after a few drinks….