10 thoughts on “A Life on the Ocean Wave

  1. Moby Dick is a book I’m always carrying around in trips in the van. It’s always in the back, a big hardback edition.

    My favourite sea writer was, maybe is, my favourite writer of all, and that’s Joseph Conrad. The one that’s most about the sea, perhaps, is Typhoon. My favourite of favourites, however, is Lord Jim. The young sailor who’s momentary lapse of backbone when in command of a passenger ship dogs him for the rest of his life.

    Then my favourite sea tales when teenager were Ursula Le Guin’s Tales of Earthsea. Those fabulous Penguin paperback editions.

    I love tales of the sea.

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  2. James, I noticed after posting that the You Tube video of Itsasoa has a Spanish translation. If you are avoiding work any time soon I wondered if you could give us a quick translation?

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    • Hey Tybo, con mucho gusto, I’ll do my best :The sea is misty till the edge of Baoina
      I love you more than the bird loves its young
      The father, under the mist, remembers us through the day the day
      I love you more than fish love water
      There are thousands of stars from north to south
      I love you more thant he moon loves the night
      The sea is misty till the edge of Baoina
      I love you more than the bird loves its young
      I think”Baiona” is Bayonne, iN France, ear the Pyrenees. Is this some Euskadi song from the Basque country ? I don’t understand that odd “The father” verse in the middle there. Where did the dad pop up from, in this tale of love and sea dn fish and birds, not forgetting the moon?

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      • p.s. apologies on the formatting. “Blockquote” didn’t work. Let me repeat (remove earlier if you can):

        The sea is misty till the edge of Baoina
        I love you more than the bird loves its young
        The father, under the mist, remembers us through the day the day
        I love you more than fish love water
        There are thousands of stars from north to south
        I love you more thant he moon loves the night
        The sea is misty till the edge of Baoina
        I love you more than the bird loves its youngI think

        It seems that ”Baiona” is Bayonne, in France, near the Pyrenees. Is this some Euskadi song from the Basque country ? I don’t understand that odd “The father” verse in the middle there. Where did the dad pop up from, in this tale of love and sea dn fish and birds, not forgetting the moon?

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      • Hi James, and thanks. Your posts seem to be linked and I can only reply to this one (I tried deleting it but both posts vanished!)

        Yes, it is a very well known song in Euskera (Basque). I once had a feeble attempt to learn Euskera and our teacher made us learn it but it is so long ago I have forgotten most of what it meant. Translating from Basque to Spanish to English is a good recipe for Chinese whispers.

        However, I think the father is the sea and the singer loves the sea more than the little birds love their babies, more than the fish love the water, etc.

        And yes, Baoina is Bayonne. Basque towns have great names in Euskera. My favourite being Bilbao which is Bilbo in Basque. All the better that they favour a rather Tolkienesque script in the Basque country.

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  3. Urszula has sent in this intensely personal piece that remembers her own brush with a life on the ocean waves, along with a photo of the Queen Mary ll, which she took from her kitchen window and a drawing of the MV Cheshire

    It was on MV Cheshire in July 1947 that
    I arrived with my mother in Southampton from Port Said
    To join my father who was in the army in Scotland
    I was nearly 2 years old and about to start a new life in Britan
    A large troop carrier during the second world war.

    So many different boats and ships
    Large cruise liners some twenty storeys high
    Gleaming white on the ocean
    Small fishing boats and bigger trawlers
    Huge tankers bringing petrol and oil
    Then the tall ships powered by wind
    Sails neatly stowed in port

    On some people have to work quite hard
    While on others people relax and play

    Now living in the Western Isles
    One day eating our porridge
    We looked up and out of the window we saw
    A huge cruise liner looking as if
    It was going to come straight into the kitchen
    It was the famous Queen Mary 2
    That was a surprise! It was gigantic
    Then it sailed on out of view
    Taking people on tour round the British Isles I presumed

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    • Rescued from Sunday School, by Mother, to go sail the sea to see father, that holy day. We three little ones, The Captain, the Mate, Mother and Mrs Mcaulay settled onto the old fishing boat that served as the supply boat to Rona, the island where Father and two other brave men lived in rotation as lighthouse keepers, keeping the light on.

      As we left Portree Bay all was calm. Blue skies, gulls singing, tranquil seas. We children sat on deck free from catechism repetition, much to the annoyance of the Sunday School teacher we later found out! We were living our sabbath on the ocean wave. Free, far out, blue and wide.

      Turning out and then past the Black Rock a breeze a wind and a squall appeared. Nothing to be feared yet, shouted the Captain.
      As the sky grew dark around us.

      Mrs Macaulay poured tea from a flask. The Mate drank something stronger. Mother passed out our sandwiches and we sat on the wooden deck singing.

      Out of nowhere the sea rose, higher than the boat. We climbed up, up then like on a roller coaster ride, down, down.Plunging, slapping the water. On it continued. Thrown up higher than the church, then lower than the grave. The Mate brought out a long rope and we three kids and Mrs Macaulay were lashed to the mast! Mother was in the wheelhouse with the Captain and the Mate hung on to the end of the rope. Mrs Macaulay did not cry so i didn’t either.

      Eventually the sea calmed we untied the rope and hugged each other. We could see land, the Island of Rona coming into view. My little sister got to part steer the boat on the calm again sea a wee way into the pier. My Father in jeans and a royal blue jumper stood on the sea wall and cheered.

      Cathy Macleod

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  4. And from Marie…

    LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVE
    By Mairi Cable.

    I vaguely remember my first voyage on the Loch Seaforth, the old fashioned one the one to Kyle. It was for a holiday to Elgin with my Aunty Mary. We went as a family to her family home. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the journey, I was young at the time, but it was a real far adventure. We had waited so long to have a holiday on the mainland. The old Loch Seaforth was an imposing ship and I don’t remember if we had cabins, were awake and aware of what was going on. I am not a good traveller, so I don’t know if I was sick or not, but it was summer time so maybe I was spared that. I’m sure I was allowed to walk around the deck and enjoyed that when I felt the freshness of the open air and the briskness of the waves. I have been on subsequent ferries but don’t often go out on deck preferring to sit down and hope for the best.

    My father loved to take us spins in the car. He took us all to the beach over the years, so I had plenty of experience of shore life over the years. One short spin he took us on a lot was to the Briaghe and that I think is where he collected many stones to make a border for his garden. He was a great collector. When out on walks he often found money, just small change and sometimes something more valuable.

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